Colts vs. Texans (-1.5):
This is the closest game of the week for me, and I have a hard time picking either team to really dominate a situation. The Colts offensive line has been great, but the Texans also have one of the best defensive lines in football. Each team has a rising star at quarterback and a clear #1 option. The Texans #1 option is better than Andrew Luck’s, but Hilton has been just as good as Hopkins when these two teams face off. Hilton is questionable to play, but I expect him to suit up for this game and be rather effective. Keke Coutee is expected to be back, and he had an 11 reception game vs. the Colts earlier in the year. When these two teams faced off earlier in the year, each team won their home game by 3 points. I expect a similar outcome here. The Texans have home field and I’d rather Deshaun Watson lead my team down the field in a two-minute drill over Andrew Luck due to what he can create on his own. Give me the Texans here in a close one.
Seahawks vs. Cowboys (-2):
I think that the Cowboys are the better team here on both sides of the ball at it will show. Ezekiel Elliott is the best player on the field, and the Cowboys have started to use him as such recently. Coming off his rest week, I expect him to set the tone in this game and grind out a comfortable victory over the Seahawks. I think Carson will struggle to establish the run and that will really hurt for Seattle. Seattle wants to be a run-heavy team and dictate the pace just like Dallas. I think the Cowboys get the lead and do a better job than the Seahawks here.
Chargers (+2) vs. Ravens:
Lamar Jackson’s ability to run will be the key to this game. He only ran for 38 yards vs. the Chargers, but the Ravens still won in the first matchup. I think that Lamar has to excel in this game to win and I just don’t see it. The Chargers will have plenty of experience and tape on him. They have been preparing for this matchup for a few weeks now, and we have seen this type of system start to struggle when other teams have seen them before. The rushing QB that really doesn’t want to sit back and throw is just not sustainable. We see it go on playoff runs like with Tim Tebow, but they fizzle out after teams know how to defend it. Trust me, there are plenty of running QBs out there that can’t get a job that wish this was a sustainable attack. Some would argue that Lamar’s athleticism and ability to throw makes him “different” than other runners, but he can’t pick apart a defense if forced to at the end of the day. I think the Chargers’ speed on the edges forces Lamar into bad situations. I expect the Chargers to win this one outright and really control the game after they get the lead.
Eagles vs. Bears (-6):
The Bears coaching staff is better than the Eagles, and the Eagles’ offense vs. the Bears’ defense in Chicago seems a bit unfair. I have immense trust in the Bears coaching staff to come up with a great game plan to attack the Eagles. I have been an Eagles hater for over a year now because they have glaring flaws that teams just haven’t attacked enough. The Bears throw down field a ton, and the Eagles basically live to lose one on one battles on the outside. Mitch Trubisky is another guy that is a pest to play, especially when he is comfortable using his legs. I think Trubisky picks up a few first downs with his legs and really flusters the Eagles’ defense. On the other side of the ball, Nick Foles is incredibly inconsistent. Yes, I know he has won the Super Bowl in the last year, but that doesn’t mean he plays the same way every game. If there was a spot for Nick Foles to have one of those games that makes me call him “inconsistent,” this is it. A night playoff game on the road in Chicago vs. the best defense in the league. Good luck. I’ll take the Bears, and I think this one can even get ugly.