Oregon Football Well Represented In First Round Of NFL Playoffs

Six former Oregon Ducks will take the field in the National Football League this weekend.

The end of the 2016 regular season saw the start of the NFL Coaching carousel. Now, the Playoffs begin and the contenders are clear. New England is once again the team to beat this season with Kansas City also in the running.  Several former members of the Oregon Football team will be in action this weekend, primarily on the Defensive side of the ball for the Houston Texans and the Miami Dolphins.

The Texans face the Oakland Raiders in a game that going in it appears no one wants to win. Both teams come in with sub-par Quarterbacks. Derrick Carr was lost for the postseason in the final week of the regular season to a leg injury. I expect both teams will lean a little more on their Running Game in Week One of the NFL Playoffs.

The Miami Dolphins visit Pittsburgh in the Sunday game as several Ducks will take the field for Miami including Kiko Alonso.

The NFC Playoffs this weekend will have former Duck Will Tukuafu and the Seattle Seahawks facing Haloti Gnata and the Detroit Lions. Green Bay also take on New York without any official Oregon connections.

Nov 13, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Houston Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson (25) returns a interception for a touchdown as Houston Texans defensive back Eddie Pleasant (35) looks on in the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Houston Texans won 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Houston finished first in the AFC South over Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans in the final week of the regular season. The Texans ar 9-7 and face an Oakland team that faces some questions this week. Rookie Connor Cook gets the start at Quarterback.

Defensively, two Oregon Ducks roam the backfield. Eddie Pleasant has 20 combined tackles this season and five passes defended. He is not the type of player that moves toward the inside that often. He has credit for just half a sack in his NFL Career.

Tony Washington is also on the roster for Houston, but has no official stats for this season.

The Texans are averaging 17 points per game and putting up over 300 yards of Offense in 2016. If they can contain the Oakland Running Game with a Rookie QB and force Cook into a few mistakes, it could be a good day for Pleasant and the Houston Texans.

Houston and Oakland kickoff on Saturday at 1:35pm PT on ESPN.

Jan 1, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levis Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

The second game on Saturday will have Detroit on the road facing the Seattle Seahawks and the 12s. Seattle has seen their share of injuries in 2016. Quarterback Russell Wilson has still thrown for over 4200 yards, but the Seahawks run game has been non-existent with a 4.4 yard average for the season. Last week they brought in former Oregon Duck LaMichael James for a workout, but he was not an option.

Fullback Will Tukuafu has seen action in just 7 games this season and has credit for two attempts for just two yards at Fullback. He is in his seventh season in the league with both San Francisco and Seattle. Haloti Ngata has seen plenty of action in the NFL.

Ngata is in his second season with the Detroit Lions after spending nine seasons with Baltimore. This season he has played in 13 games and had 22 combined tackles, 11 solo and 11 assists. Ngata also has credit for a sack and a half and 3 passes defended.

The Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks kickoff at 5:15pm Pacific Time on Saturday.

Dec 25, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) scrambles with the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 25, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) scrambles with the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh has the weapons in Ben Roethlisberger and Wide Receiver Antonio Brown and that will keep the Miami Defense busy. Kiko Alonso has turned surgeries that could have been career ending into spectacular plays and he has been healthy in 2016 for Miami.

Alonso has played in 15 games and ofRoethlisbergerr Oregon Ducks, outside of Ngata has put together the best season. He had a forced fumble to go with two interceptions He finished the regular season with 115 total tackes, 69 of them solo which clearly added some momentum to the ‘Legend of Kiko’ status he has had over the last few years.

Spencer Paysinger is in his second season with Miami and has also played a full season. He has 58 combined tackes, 42 on his own to go with 3 defended passes. Alonso can be disruptive and for Miami to be successful on Sunday, he will need to be.

Miami and Pittsburgh kickoff at 10:05am Pacific Time Sunday.

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