A Sports Filled Weekend Ahead
It’s wild-card weekend. Yay! The crummy teams that litter the screen each week (particularly on Thursday nights) are home figuring out ways to get better (or worse) and the 12 that range from reasonably competent to true Super Bowl contenders.
Your heiner and your recliner will become best buddies this weekend, so let’s get on with the NFL playoff outlook:
Saturday: Oakland (12-4) at Houston (9-7), 4:35 p.m. ET, ESPN. The Raiders let the AFC West title get away, got two quarterbacks hurt and will start rookie Connor Cook for the first time. Houston, which had benched Brock Osweiler, must go with him after Tom Savage suffered a concussion. This may not be a work of art. Pick: Texans.
Saturday: Detroit Lions (9-7) at Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1), 8:15 p.m., NBC. Seattle’s pass defense hasn’t been the same without injured safety Earl Thomas. But the intense noise in its stadium provides a huge edge. The Seahawks are always a good bet at home, where they are 7-1 this season. Pick: Seahawks.
Sunday: Miami Dolphins (10-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5), 1:05 p.m., CBS. The Dolphins will play backup quarterback Matt Moore, with Ryan Tannehill (knee) out. Temperatures are expected to peak at 19 degrees, so this might be the coldest game in Dolphins history. This is Steelers weather. Pick: Steelers.
Sunday: New York Giants (11-5) at Green Bay Packers (10-6), 4:40 p.m., Fox. These are two of the hottest teams, playing in one of the coldest places. Aaron Rodgers has been smoking for the Packers while Eli Manning has played in such a way as to justify his continual hangdog expression. Giants coach Ben McAdoo is a former Packers assistant coach. Pick: Packers.
For a little diversion, try college basketball. On Saturday night, Arkansas plays No. 6 Kentucky at 8:30 p.m. on the SEC Network. You’ll want to see Kentucky’s players before they all turn pro. … And the PGA Golf Tour is warming up in Maui with the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. NBC picks up a couple of hours from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday.