Editor’s note: Brien is a well-traveled Houstonian and Army Combat Veteran with an extremely wide range of talents and interests including the NFL (Packers), Irish History, and writing. Follow him on twitter @ODonalsVanguard
By BRIEN O’DONAL
Now that the regular season is over it’s time for everyone with an opinion and an outlet to make their playoff predictions. Here are my observations, probably good, but maybe bad. (Also, be on the lookout for the playoff opinions of the professional Fred Faour later this week.)
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans, Saturday, Jan. 7, 3:35 p.m.
This should easily be the most boring game of the weekend. Defense is not exciting, defense is not sexy. Both of these teams are going to have to game plan for a defensive win. The Raiders may be the team on the short end of the stick. After watching their performance against the Broncos Sunday, I was left shocked. Matt McGloin did not perform nearly as well as I thought he would, and I thought he might just be average. Now he is injured and with his status uncertain it will be up to Connor Cook to lead the way. How bout’ them Texans? I feel like Tom Savage or Brock Osweiller could do just enough to not lose this game if the Texans defense plays as well as they have been all season. I am going to say Texans win 17-9.
Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks, Saturday, Jan. 7, 7:15 p.m.
I like this game in the late time slot. It could be a shootout or a blowout. I really want to believe that the Seahawks are better than their record but barely beating the 49ers when the No. 3 seed was on the line didn’t inspire confidence. The Lions have lost three in a row, so there’s that. Both of these teams have the potential to explode offensively but the defensive edge might lean toward the Seahawks. Then again the Lions are a second half team with a record eight fourth quarter comeback wins this season. I said the game could go two ways but if I’m being realistic I think the Seahawks gain a two score lead and hold on to win 31-27.
Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, January 8, noon
This one is easy. I don’t know anyone who thinks the Dolphins can match the play of the Steelers over the course of a 60-minute football game. I won’t say this is video game stuff but the Steeler offense should roll all day long. Miami puts up a valiant effort but Pittsburgh wins big 38-13.
New York Giants at Green Bay Packers, Sunday, January 8, 3:40 p.m.
And of course the big ratings game is in the Sunday afternoon time slot. The Giants have a history of interrupting the Packers destiny at Lambeau Field and it could easily happen Sunday. The Giants offense has been doing enough to win games lately and the familiarity of head coach Ben MacAdoo with his former team could make this one a slug fest. Aaron Rodgers has been lights out in the last six games so there is a chance even a stout Giants’ defense won’t hold up. As much as I would like the Packers to make this a blowout, I will probably be sedating myself with beer in order to calm my nerves. In the end Packers win 31-28.
There will be some good games this weekend and hopefully it’s enough to show how enthralling playoff football can be. Once again; I like the Texans, Seahawks, Steelers and Packers to advance. That sets up some really exciting games in the second round. They are: Texans at Patriots, Steelers at Chiefs, Packers at Cowboys and Seahawks at Falcons. If I’m right then I should get my own talk show, if I’m wrong then I will continue to do this for free.