The Raiders get smoked in Houston: Oakland Raiders 14, Houston Texans 27
Before I start, my condolences go out to all Oakland Raiders fans. After not making the playoffs for 14 straight years, the Raiders finally clinched their playoff birth late in the 2016 NFL season. As luck would have it, Derek Carr, the Raiders’ quarterback who was an MVP candidate for the majority of the season, broke his leg in Week 16, leaving Matt McGloin to be the Raiders quarterback. If being a Raiders fan wasn’t hard enough already, Matt McGloin got injured late in the season as well, leaving Connor Cook, a rookie, to be the Raiders’ starter.
As you can imagine, this situation was obviously not ideal for the Raiders. In fact, Connor Cook, a rookie out of Michigan State, became the first rookie ever to start his first NFL game in the playoffs. And boy did it show … Connor Cook finished the game with just 161 passing yards, a cringeworthy 3 interceptions, and a downright pathetic quarterback rating of 5.5. Houston’s offense was quite stagnant as well, only finishing with 291 yards of total offense. The decisive statistic in the game that really showed why Oakland lost had to have been turnovers, as they had 3 (all Connor Cook interceptions) compared to Houston’s 0.
Seattle routs in another home win: Detroit Lions 6, Seattle Seahawks 26
To all the haters who believe that the 12th man does not influence the game, you are just flat out wrong. Since 2012 (the year Russell Wilson was drafted), the Seahawks have had a league-best record of 39-6 at home, compared to their slightly above average record of 24-19-1 on the road. After beating the Lions at home this past weekend, the Seahawks won their 10th game in a row at home, which is quite an impressive feat. The 12th man is simply a force of nature, recording 137.6 decibels back in 2014, which broke the world record at the time. All I’m saying is that Seattle’s success at home is not coincidental, and was a major force in this rout.
Detroit was looking to come into the game to shed its 26-year playoff winless streak, but unfortunately, they didn’t come anywhere even close. Based on the stat line, it should come as no surprise that Seahawks completely controlled this game; Seattle had 150 more yards of total offense, 13 more minutes on offense, and 15 more first downs. All of these point to that Seattle dominated this game, and if you watched this game, you could see that they most definitely did.
The ‘Fins come up short yet again: Miami Dolphins 12, Pittsburgh Steelers 30
Although their playoff winless streak is not quite as long as the Lions, the Miami Dolphins’ fanbase has experienced their fair share of torture as well, since the Lions have not won a playoff game in 16 years. And today was no exception, as the Steelers absolutely steamed-rolled the Dolphins in a blowout. Antonio Brown and Leveon Bell led the way for the Steelers today, racking up 167 yards and 124 yards, as well as 2 touchdowns each. On the stat-sheet, the Steelers’ win didn’t seem that dominant, as they only slightly edged out the Dolphins in most of the important categories, such as 3rd-down efficiency, total offense, the turnover battle, etc. However, if you watched in person, this was hardly the case, as the Steelers completely controlled the game in this blowout.
On a side note, Roethlisberger injured his ankle late in the 4th quarter and is currently in a walking boot. However, in a press conference after the game, he said he should be fine to play next week.
Pack Attack: New York Giants 13, Green Bay Packers 38
Well, we discovered 3 important things in this game. The most obvious one has to be that the Giants’ defense is not elite, they are above average at best. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense absolutely tore up the Giants’ defense this week, not a trait that I would usually describe as “elite”. And by consequence, the Cowboys’ offense is not elite either, as they were shut down multiple times by the Giants’ defense. Lastly, but certainly, the most important, Aaron Rodgers, with the exception of Tom Brady, is the GOAT (greatest of all time), as he has thrown 22 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in the past 8 games.
Rodgers and the Packers’ offense was just too much to handle, despite having a slow start in the first half. After that, the Giants’ defense was history, as Rodgers had his way with them, as Adams, Cobb, and Cook were open on virtually every single route. Late in the 4th quarter, Packers fans starting chanting “M-V-P, M-V-P” after Rodgers threw a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb, which basically sealed the Packers win. In conclusion, Aaron Rodgers has been completely unstoppable over the past 8 weeks, and any team that is facing him should be downright scared.
Data courtesy of ESPN, CBS Sports, Football Reference, and Football Data. Thank you for reading!
Written by Jason Platkin
Cover Photo Credits: AP Photo