By Zach Felder
Houston Texans vs. Oakland Raiders.
1: Houston’s defense is outstanding and finished as the league's leading defense. Mostly known for their prowess on the front seven. Houston does, however, have a very talented secondary Jonathan Joseph (#24), A.J. Bouye(#21), Kareem Jackson (#25) and Quentin Demps(#27). Who had 34 passes defended, seven interceptions, and two forced fumbles within their secondary. Connor Cook and the receiving core which includes Amari Cooper(#89) and Michael Crabtree(#15). Will face a challenge. Expect Michael Crabtree to be covered by Jonathan Joseph and Amari Cooper covered by A.J. Bouye with the safeties help.
2: Expect Connor Cook to make a lot of mistakes on defense due to the pass rush of the Houston Texans. Players like Jadeveon Clowney (#90), Whitney Mercilus (#59), and Bernardrick McKinney (#55) who have 8.5 sacks and 234 tackles combined. Houston Texans have an aggressive defense and without Raiders left tackle Donald Penn. It can be expected that the Raiders will have a big challenge to win tomorrow's game.
3: Connor Cook is starting his first career game at Quarterback, and it’s the Raiders first playoff game since 2002. That is a lot of pressure for anyone to handle on any game, let alone a rookie against the league’s best defense. Expect the Raiders not to have a high scoring offense in tomorrow's game.
Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks
1: Detroit’s offensive line is not ready for the pass rush of the Seahawks. Matthew Stafford always collapses under pressure; I call it the “Eli Manning Effect” as soon as someone's in his face he starts to panic and makes a mistake. The Seattle Seahawks had a total of 42 sacks last year, and nearly half came from Frank Clark(#55) and Cliff Avril(#56), both are stout run stuffers as well. Avril had 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and 39 tackles in 2016. While Frank Clark had ten sacks, two forced fumbles and 47 tackles. Michael Bennett(#72) and Bobby Wagner (#54) are clearly studs as well. The duo combined for 201 tackles and 9.5 sacks. Bobby Wagner led the entire league in tackles with 167 in 2016.
2: Jimmy Graham(#88) is the league's best receiving tight end in the league, and it isn't even close who is next. Jimmy Graham had 923 receiving yards 325 were yards after catch (YAC) on 65 receptions with six touchdowns in 2016. Most of the year, Graham was not used due to a healthy wide receiver core. With the injury to Tyler Lockett, Jimmy Graham will be a more involved in the Seahawks offense during the 2016 playoffs. Graham is an absolute force on the field whenever the ball is in his catch radius and Yards after catch (YAC) due to his 6'7" 265 frame and body control of much smaller wide receivers. Detroit's best linebacker DeAndre Levy will most likely will not be playing tomorrow's game with a knee injury, and that will be a void in Detroit's defense.
3: Matthew Stafford threw the ball 594 times in 2016 and Detriot ran 350 times in 2016. The Detriot Lions passed the ball 59% of the time. On top of the one-dimensional offense. Detroit has one of the league’s worst rushing offense in 2016. They ranked at 30 with a total of 1310 yards and nine touchdowns. Zach Zenner(#34) has been playing well for the lions with 334 yards and 4 touchdowns. Which is an okay performance for a team that mostly throws the ball. Pete Carrol and Kris Richard can be assured to gameplan accordingly to stop the excessive passing of Matthew Stafford and make the Lions a more one-dimensional offense than they currently are.