2017 NFL Picks, Score Predictions For Wild Card Playoffs

Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

After months of anticipation, the 2017 Playoffs have finally arrived. Let’s take a look at the Wild Card round with NFL picks and score predictions for each game.

It’s time—the 2017 NFL Playoffs are upon us. Seventeen weeks of NFL action have come and gone, leaving us with 12 teams all hoping to taste the greatest glory this game has to offer.

Unfortunately, only one team can take home the coveted Lombardi Trophy. The road to crowning the champion begins this week, with the Wild Card round set to get under way on Saturday and wrap up on Sunday. When the final whistle blows this weekend, four teams will have been eliminated from contention.

Now on to the question that brought you here in the first place—which teams will be the ones going home?

Lucky for you, I’m here to provide some answers with my NFL picks for the Wild Card round. I put together a valiant effort during the regular season with a 149-104-3 record. It wasn’t anything to write home about, but I’m proud of the results considering how crazy this 2016 campaign was.

So let’s get to the reason you’re here: my NFL picks and score predictions for the 2017 Wild Card round.

Bruce Irvin Oakland Raiders

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders (5) at Houston Texans (4)

Saturday, January 7, 4:35pm ET

If the Raiders still had Derek Carr, this would be a blowout. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, which means the first playoff game of 2017 could get very interesting.

I’ve always been a fan of Matt McGloin, but it’s not even guaranteed he’ll play against Houston. If Oakland is forced to go with Connor Cook as their starter, things could get very ugly for the Raiders offense. Just look at what they accomplished in Week 17 against the Denver Broncos.

Luckily, they’ll be facing off against a similarly inept Texans offense that may actually be worse at this point in time. No matter who’s starting under center, I wouldn’t expect a ton of points for this Houston offense that has been a mess for most of the year.

Based on the fact that both offenses are hurting right now, I’m guessing it’ll be a low-scoring affair. It’s a tough decision, but I’m going to give the edge to the Raiders. Even against Houston’s tough defense, I’m going with my gut and predicting McGloin gets his act together with the pressure of the playoffs on his shoulders.

It’s sad to see the Raiders dealt such a poor hand after an amazing regular season. It worked out well, though, considering they drew a Wild Card showdown with arguably the worst team to make the postseason.

Prediction: Raiders win 17-13

Le'Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins (6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3)

Sunday, January 8, 1:05pm ET

I’ve said it a couple of times already and I’ll say it again—the Dolphins are overrated. They had one of the easiest roads to the 2017 NFL Playoffs, and are going to learn the hard way what a true contender looks like in the Wild Card round.

Why do I say they’re underrated? Well, the Dolphins only played five games against playoff teams in 2016. Of those five games, they only won one—against a Steelers team led by a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger. It was a strong showing, but Pittsburgh has come a long way since then.

Some may argue Miami has as well, but they’ve taken a couple of steps back in recent weeks. On top of the loss of Ryan Tannehill, the defense has floundered as of late. They got into the playoffs with a 10-6 record, but there were plenty of wins against subpar competition along the way.

Now look at what happened to the Dolphins last week. The Miami secondary was shredded by Tom Brady. It’s safe to assume Roethlisberger will put on a similar performance, especially with both Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown ready to go.

The Dolphins will put up a fight in the first couple of quarters. However, even if Tannehill is back like the Miami Herald believes he may be, they won’t have enough offensive firepower to keep up on the scoreboard. It was a good run, but the dream ends here for Miami.

Prediction: Steelers win 35-18

Cliff Avril Seattle Seahawks

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions (6) at Seattle Seahawks (3)

Saturday, January 7, 8:15pm ET

A month ago, the Lions looked like a serious contender. The offense was unstoppable, and the defense was doing just enough to keep them in games until the end. After three straight losses, though, the outlook has certainly dimmed for Detroit.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have their own demons to deal with. They limped into the playoffs, losing to the Arizona Cardinals in a tight contest and narrowly defeating two awful teams in the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. They haven’t looked like a true contender in recent weeks. Will that poor play leak into the postseason, or will the Seahawks buckle down in January? My guess is the latter based on what we’ve seen in years passed.

Both of these teams are capable of lighting up the scoreboard. Matthew Stafford is having arguably his best season to date, and we all know the potential Russell Wilson possesses when he gets hot. Unfortunately for the Lions, Seattle has one distinct advantage—their defense.

While Detroit’s defense has played well at times in 2016, they can’t stand toe-to-toe with the Legion of Boom. The Seahawks defense may be a bit battered right now, but they’re one of the NFL’s most resilient bunches and will find a way to earn the win on Saturday.

Prediction: Seahawks win 24-20

Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants (5) at Green Bay Packers (4)

Sunday, January 8, 4:40pm ET

I put a lot of thought into determining how the Giants could win this one. When it came down to it, though, I just couldn’t see it happening.

Right now, the Packers have it all going for them. They’ve won six in a row, just stole the NFC North crown away from the Lions, and have their elite quarterback back. Green Bay is playing like a team with a purpose, and that purpose appears to be making a deep playoff run.

Sure, the Giants have looked good over the last couple of months as well. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. are getting the job done on offense, and the New York defense is certainly capable of turning the tide with some turnovers. Will they enjoy that type of success against the surging Packers, though?

I don’t think so, especially not at Lambeau Field. The G-Men really did pull the short straw in this one.

They’ll put up a valiant effort and score their fair share of points, but the Giants are heading home after the Wild Card round. Rodgers and the Packers will invite them in, hand them a whupping, and send them packing with a painful loss.

Prediction: Packers win 31-10

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