The NFL playoffs start Saturday with the Texans hosting the Raiders in a matchup of two teams reeling thanks to the tumult surrounding their quarterbacks in the first of two AFC matchups in the NFL playoffs’ Wild Card round. For those looking for how to stream the game, it will be on ESPN, so that means it will be available live on the Watch ESPN app and WatchESPN.com.
As for the odds, this game is a virtual toss-up, with the Texans (-3.5) getting the standard home team odds bump, which means even Vegas isn’t sure with this one, despite the Raiders already beating the Texans 27-20 in Mexico City earlier this season.
If the NFL is a quarterback league, then this is the least NFL game of the weekend. The QB situation will feature Connor Cook making the first start of his career after both Derek Carr and Matt McGloin went down with injuries. The Texans turn back to their $72,000,000 blunder, Brock Osweiler after backup Tom Savage was ruled out as he remains in the league’s concussion protocol. Unfortunately for the Raiders and the Texans, this is a quarterback-driven league, so each team will only go as far as their QBs will take them. While both teams are likely to turn to the ground game to mitigate their quarterbacks’ exposure, it is likely that the quarterback who performs better will move on to the next round.
Also of note is the Texans’ Jadeveon Clowney and the Raiders’ Khalil Mack. While Clowney went first overall in the 2014 NFL draft and has had an inconsistent career (to put it lightly). In virtually every redraft of the 2014 selections, the Texans take either Mack or the Raiders’ real quarterback, Derek Carr. We will get to see two of the better young front-seven defenders go up against hapless quarterbacks on Saturday.
Finally, this game involves two coaches headed in separate directions. Jack Del Rio has overtaken “Riverboat” Ron Rivera for the gamblingest (if that’s a word) coach in the NFL, a reputation that started with him going for two against the Saints despite ESPN crunching the numbers that it was a bad call, then telling us:
Good thing ESPN isn't coaching the Raiders https://t.co/X6tB1YlZ4d
— Jack Del Rio (@coachdelrio) September 11, 2016
He takes on Bill O’Brien whose 2015 campaign started with him telling us that Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett are great QBs on Hard Knocks and ended with Ryan Mallett on Ravens and Brian Hoyer getting his teeth kicked in in the playoffs. His 2016 didn’t go much better, as it started with him telling us that Brock Osweiler “checked all the boxes” for quarterback evaluation and it will likely end with him begrudgingly turning back to the busted free agent acquisition. Rumors are that if B.O.B. doesn’t win this one, he’s out, and it looks like the Texans have a stack of questions with no answers.
The Raiders and Texans are destined to be the worst playoff game this year; a game so bad that ESPN will lose nearly an entire Brock Osweiler guaranteed contract airing it. God bless you if you’re looking forward to this one.