Wild Card Round: Can Raiders Overcome Quarterback Injuries?

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The Oakland Raiders were one of the best stories of the regular season. They won 12 games and have returned to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. However, injuries to their top two quarterbacks are limiting their ability to make a deep playoff run. Can they survive a road trip to Houston with their third-string quarterback running the show?

 

No Carr, No McGloin

The Oakland Raiders went from 3-point underdogs to +4 for their game against the Texans in Houston on Saturday. That’s because their quarterback situation has gone from penthouse to outhouse in a matter of weeks. Franchise quarterback Derek Carr was playing at MVP level this season before breaking his leg in a season-ending injury. Backup Matt McGloin injured his shoulder last week and is out for this week, too. That leaves rookie Connor Cook as the trigger man, as the Raiders make their first playoff appearance since 2002. The Raiders averaged 27.3 points per game in contests that Carr started; they had just six in their first outing without him last Sunday.

 

Detroit Lions Hope to Conquer the Outdoors

The Lions will face a challenge when they visit the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. Eight of their nine season wins came indoors. Now they’ll embrace the fresh air at CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks were an impressive 7-1 this season.

The Lions were just 3-5 on the road this season, and one of the reasons they struggled away from home is because of their unreliable running game. They ranked 30th in rushing yards this season, compiling 81.9 rushing yards per game. It will be tough for them to go into Seattle and win if everything is put on quarterback Matt Stafford’s shoulders.

 

Giants Defense Looks To Cool Red-Hot Rodgers

The Green Bay Packers’ resurgence has been one of the top storylines down the stretch. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the team on a six-game winning streak to end the season. Now they head into the Wild Card weekend and face the New York Giants.

Since losing against the Packers in Week 5, the Giants went on to win nine of their final 11 games on the strength of their suffocating defense. They finished the season second in points per game allowed (17.8) and were even better down the stretch. They allowed just 14.3 points per game over their final seven games. They’ll have to keep Rodgers under wraps if they hope to win on Sunday.

 

Important Injuries

Earl Thomas (SEA): The Seahawks will play without All Pro safety Earl Thomas, who’s been out since early December. They allowed 24.5 points per game in December.

Tom Savage (HOU): The Texans’ quarterback suffered a concussion and won’t be ready for this week. Brock Osweiler will start.

Ryan Tannehill (MIA): The Dolphins are waiting to make a decision on Tannehill, who’s dealing with a sprained ACL and MCL. He has been out since December 11.

 

*Odds as of January 4, 2017