Numbers represent overall and specific NFL rankings by points except pass/run ranked by yardage. Depending on who has the ball, compare offense/defense strengths in pass/run yardage to anticipate best game plan.
Top five in each category are in red font. Projected winners are underlined.
- Saturday, Jan 7, 2:35 PM MT ESPN ABC
#11 Raiders at #26 Texans
Raiders Offense #7: 20 Pass 7 Run Texans Offense #28: 32 Pass 19 Run
Texans Defense #11: 2 Pass 11 Run Raiders Defense #20: 30 Pass 25 Run
Best part of the game is when the Raiders have the ball. The Raiders should run a lot. If they pass too much, Houston’s 2nd best pass defense could kill them. When the Texans have the ball we’re seeing lousy offense & defense with the Raiders having the edge. Texans could move the ball if they mostly run. Key to the Raider’s winning is mostly running the ball. Houston could win if the Raiders pass too much. Winner: Raiders.
- Saturday, Jan 7, 6:15 PM MT NBC
#21 Lions at #6 Seahawks
Seahawks Offense #18: 5 Pass 24 Run Lions Offense #20: 13 Pass 27 Run
Lions Defense #13: 25 Pass 20 Run Seahawks Defense #3: 18 Pass 1 Run
The Seahawks 5th best passing game should beat the Lion’s low-ranking pass defense. The Seahawks should mostly pass. The Lions should also mostly pass. The Seahawks #1 rush defense should stop the Lions low-ranking rush cold. Winner: Seahawks.
- Sunday, Jan 8, 11:05 PM MT CBS
#24 Dolphins at #5 Steelers
Steelers Offense #10: 13 Pass 15 Run Dolphins Offense #17: 5 Pass 8 Run
Dolphins Defense #18: 14 Pass 31 Run Steelers Defense #10: 15 Pass 19 Run
In points scored, the key measure of team strength, the Steelers come out much better than the Dolphins in overall ranking as well as in offense and defense. But in yardage detail on offense and defense, the Dolphins offense looks much better than the Steeler’s defense. Go figure. Maybe the Steelers have a deciding edge in special teams or field-goal scoring or maybe a significant turnover difference. Maybe Miami has a red-zone problem. Nevertheless, anytime the better scoring team is not the better yardage team there is a great possibility of an upset. The Steelers should run mostly against the Dolphins’ second-worst run defense. Yardage-wise, the Dolphins look good on both the pass and the run, and yet points wise, the Steelers defense should stop them. Winner: Steelers.
- Sunday, Jan 8, 2:40 PM MT FOX
#12 Giants at #8 Packers
Packers Offense #4: 15 Pass 7 Run Giants Offense #26: 24 Pass 30 Run
Giants Defense #2: 7 Pass 2 Run Packers Defense #21: 32 Pass 14 Run
Here’s another game where one team, the Packers, ranks higher in points but not in yards, so this one could be an upset. It will probably come down to how well Rogers will play against a tough Giant’s pass defense. Giants should mostly run. Winner: Packers.