Steve Believes: Wild Card Weekend 2019

  • Indianapolis Colts Vs. Houston Texans. The Colts wrapped up the 256th and final game of the 2018 regular season, as they defeated the Tennessee Titans, 33-17, to claim the sixth seed in the AFC playoff bracket. As for the Texans, they put any doubt to rest about their seeding, by defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-3, to claim both the AFC South title and the third seed in the aforementioned AFC playoff bracket. The last time that these two teams met, Andrew Luck basically did what he wanted against J.J. Watt & Company en route to a 24-21 Colts victory at NRG Stadium. Will history repeat itself this time around or will the Texans avenge the Week 14 loss? The fact that the game is at home has me tempted to lean towards the Texans. However, there are still some glaring weaknesses in Deshaun Watson’s game that the Colts defense will expose early and often. So with that being said, I like the Colts in an upset.
  • Seattle Seahawks Vs. Dallas Cowboys. After a one-year absence, the Seahawks return to the playoffs with the league’s number one rushing attack and a defensive unit that’s overachieved without The Legion Of Boom. As for the Cowboys, they return to the playoffs with league rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott and the seventh ranked defense. The last time that these two teams met, the Seahawks held the Cowboys to 303 total net yards and 13 points, along with forcing three turnovers and sacking Dak Prescott five times. Plus, they punished the Cowboys on the ground with Chris Carson a.k.a. Marshawn Lynch 2.0, as he rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown. Ever since the 1996-97 season, the Cowboys have only won three playoff games, whereas the Seahawks have won eight playoff games in the Russell Wilson era. Going back to Week 10, every Cowboys win has been decided by one possession. The same can be said about the Seahawks’ past three games overall and two of them were at home. This game will also be decided by one possession, but it will be a regression toward the mean for the Cowboys, as Seattle’s big game experience will ultimately be the difference in this one. 
  • Los Angeles Chargers Vs. Baltimore Ravens. Two weeks ago when these two teams met, the Ravens came up big in primetime, as their second ranked rushing offense and stout defense had its way against the Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park. Plus, Lamar Jackson’s arm also played a role in that game, as he had his only game of 200 or more passing yards, and that included a 68-yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews to allow the Ravens to regain a lead that they would never relinquish. The Chargers are among one of the league’s best road teams with a 7-1 mark away from Dignity Health Sports Park, and that lone loss came all the way back in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Rams. However, they could have lost two of those games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs, along with the fact that the Denver Broncos gave them quite a battle last week. Regression toward the mean will come into play again, as I see the Ravens repeating Week 15 history in this one.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Vs. Chicago Bears. The champs are still alive, thanks to a three-game winning streak and the Bears, the latter of whom defeated the Minnesota Vikings in order for the Eagles to begin their pursuit of a second straight Vince Lombardi Trophy. And just like last year, Nick Foles is the Eagles’ starting quarterback in place of the injured Carson Wentz. However, the Super Bowl 52 MVP is going through an injury of his own and there’s no telling how effective that he’ll be in lieu of that. As for the Bears, they return to the postseason for the first time since the 2010 season, thanks mostly to a defense that got bolstered by the free agent acquisition of Julius Peppers. And just like those Bears, their defense played also played a big role in a postseason berth, thanks to their trade acquisition of another impact edge defender in Khalil Mack. Look for Mack & Company to render Foles ineffective, and look for Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense to play complimentary football in the dethroning of the Super Bowl champs.