Bing & Cortana NFL Picks – Wild Card Playoff Recaps
Texans 27, Raiders 14
It was evident after a series that Oakland quarterback Connor Cook was in for a long day. On the other sideline, it was clear that the Texans did the right thing in spending $72 million on quarterback Brock Osweiler. While Cook struggled, Osweiler completed 14-of-25 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown in leading Houston to a 27-14 win over Oakland in the Wild Card playoffs on Saturday. Osweiler did not throw an interception and was not sacked. The Raiders running game surely helped by generating 123 yards on the day.
Houston’s defense was all over Cook sacking him three times and forcing three interceptions. The former Michigan State quarterback suffered through a miserable 18-for-45 performance. Cook threw for just 161 yards, but did throw a touchdown to Andre Holmes. The Texans held Oakland to just 64 yards rushing. Leading rusher Latavius Murray gained just 39 yards on 12 carries. Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus recorded two sacks and DE Jadaveon Clowney harassed Cook all day and even recorded an athletic interception in the first quarter. With the victory, the Texans will travel to New England to face the top-seeded Patriots on Saturday night. Cortana and Bing picked Raiders to win this match with 53% chance but Texans were against it – Pick incorrect!
Seahawks 26, Lions 6
The Pete Carroll formula was once again on display in Seattle as the Seahawks dominated the Detroit Lions in Saturday’s NFC Wild Card playoff. Seattle won 26-6 by running all over the Detroit defense and limiting Lions QB Matthew Stafford and the Detroit offense to just 231 total yards. Seattle running back Thomas Rawls ran 27 times for 161 yards and a touchdown as the Seahawks outgained Detroit 177-49 on the ground.
Seattle QB Russell Wilson was extremely efficient completing 23-of-32 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns. The Seahawks offense managed to keep the ball for almost 37 minutes and the defense completely shut down what limited running game Detroit had. Zach Zenner managed just 34 yards to lead the Lions. Seattle managed to sack Stafford three times with former Lion LB Cliff Avril recording two of them. Detroit once again exits the playoffs early while the Seahawks will travel to Atlanta to face the NFL’s best offense next Saturday. Cortana picked Seahawks to win with 73% chance which usually means pretty good probability of happening and was not disappointed – Pick Correct!
Steelers 30, Dolphins 12
The Miami Dolphins just did not have an answer for Pittsburgh’s trio of superstars – QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown, and RB Le’Veon Bell. Roethlisberger and Brown hooked up for two first quarter touchdowns that set the tone for the remainder of the day. The Dolphins were never in the game from the start and found the going tough without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill who injured a knee late in the season.
Bell repeatedly pounded the NFL’s 30th-ranked run defense. The NFL’s fifth-leading rusher ran for 167 yards on 29 carries and scored two touchdowns of his own. Roethlisberger was 13-of-18 for 197 yards and the two scoring tosses to Brown. His day would have been nearly flawless had he not thrown to virtually meaningless interceptions.
Miami started backup Matt Moore at quarterback and he was hassled all day by the Steelers defense. Moore was sacked five times. In the Dolphins previous meeting with Pittsburgh, running back Jay Ajayi had run all over the Steelers’ defense. This time, Ajayi managed just 33 yards on 16 carries. As a team, the Dolphins gained just 52 yards on the ground. Next up for Pittsburgh will be second-seeded Kansas City. The Chiefs and Steelers will play next Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Cortana and Bing predicted Steelers to win with 69% chance – Pick Correct!
Packers 38, Giants 13
After a sluggish first half offensively, the Green Bay Packers took advantage of the momentum created by QB Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary touchdown pass that ended the first half to beat the New York Giants 38-13 in Sunday’s NFC Wild Card playoff. Rodgers tossed up a prayer on the final play of the first half that was caught in the back of the end zone by Randall Cobb. The touchdown gave Green Bay a 14-6 halftime lead.
After giving the Giants a touchdown on a 41-yard pass from Eli Manning to Tavarres King, the Packers unleashed the offense that has helped them win their last seven straight games. Cobb would finish with three touchdown catches. Davante Adams caught eight passes for 125 yards and a score. Rodgers was outstanding in the second half and ended the day 25-for-40 for 362 yards and four touchdowns. The stout Giants defense just could not stop the Packers.
The Giants had trouble running the football gaining just 70 yards and a beat up Packers secondary covered well limiting Giants star WR Odell Beckham Jr. to just four catches and 28 yards. Green Bay moves on to face Dallas, a team they lost to 30-16 earlier in the season. The two teams will play the late game next Sunday. Bing and Cortana predicted Packers to win with 69% chance – Pick Correct!
3 – 4 on the weekend and 165 – 95 on the season puts Bing and Cortana’s NFL picks on 63.4% accuracy mark (compared to 62.5% last year and 66.7% in January 2015).