We have finally reached the NFL post season. Wildcard weekend is always full of ups and downs, upsets and all the tribal passion that comes with the NFL.
Here is a look at the first two games for the weekend played on Saturday in the USA or Sunday here in Australia.
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans – Sunday 8.30am (AEDT)
Two teams that looked unlikely to make the playoffs at the start of the season. The Colts got off to a 1-5 start, while the Texans were 0-3.
Houston finished at 11-5 to win the AFC South, narrowly missing out on a wildcard weekend bye, while the Colts defeated Tennessee in a loser goes home last game of the regular season to clinch a wildcard berth at 10-6.
Both teams have strong quarterbacks in DeShaun Watson and Andrew Luck. When either is on their game the respective teams are hard to beat.
The battle of Luck and his offence against JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney will be one to watch, however the Texans defence versus the underrated Colts defence will be just as exciting.
The Colts have the edge in the battle of the coaches. Rookie head coach Frank Reich has brought the midas touch with him from his time in Philadelphia, while Houston’s Bill O’Brien ha a history of not coming up in the big moments.
This is the third meeting of the two teams this season and the road team has won the first two. I’m tipping that trend to continue.
Indianapolis 28 Houston 24 – Colts move on to play Kansas City in the Divisional Round
Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys – Sunday 12.15pm (AEDT)
Another battle of two teams that were not expected to make the playoffs pre-season. Seattle were tipped to be on the decline, while Dallas were coming off the back of a miserable 2017 team where their divisional rival won it all.
Seattle won the earlier game back in September where they jumped out to an early lead which the Cowboys could not overcome. It was the third time in the last four seasons that Seattle had beaten Dallas.
This game however was in Seattle, where the Seahawks are nigh on impossible to defeat, especially in the playoffs.
They won that day on the back of a balanced offence which did not rely solely on quarterback Russell Wilson to dominate.
Seattle’s defence, while not quite the legion of boom of years gone by, has been one of the better defences in 2018.
Dallas has taken full advantage of being in probably the weakest division in football, with a solid offence behind the exceptional running back Ezekiel Elliott, who has 1,434 rushing yards for the season.
But for me, the playoff experience of the Seahawks and the clearly superior coaching of Seattle’s Pete Carroll over Dallas’ Jason Garrett, who with another home one and done playoff series must be in jeopardy of losing his job, will see the Seahawks prevail.
Plus no Eagles fan will ever pick the Cowboys to win a playoff game 🙂
Seattle 27 Dallas 26 – Seahawks move on to play the Saints or Rams in the Divisional Round