The Huddle: NFL Playoff Preview

Our panel previews the playoffs this week, all the way to the Super Bowl!

The NFL Playoffs are upon us and Place to Be Nation has it covered! Our gang from The Huddle has gathered once again to check in with previews and predictions for the road to Super Bowl LI.

First, a rundown of the scheduling, and then, let’s get inside The Huddle!

NFL Playoffs:

Saturday, Jan. 7: Oakland at Houston & Detroit at Seattle

Sunday, Jan. 8: Miami at Pittsburgh & NY Giants at Green Bay

Saturday, Jan. 14: Seattle/Green Bay/NY Giants at Atlanta & Houston/Oakland/Miami at New England

Sunday, Jan. 15: Pittsburgh/Houston/Oakland at Kansas City & Green Bay/Detroit/NY Giants at Dallas

Sunday, Jan. 22: NFC & AFC Championships games

Sunday, Feb. 5: Super Bowl LI (51) in Houston, Texas.

The 51st Super Bowl hits Houston for 2017.

J Arsenio D’Amato:

Round 1: Oakland over Houston, Seattle over Detroit, Pittsburgh over Miami and Green Bay over NYG.

Round 2: Pittsburgh over KC, New England over Oakland, Atlanta over Seattle and Dallas over Green Bay.

Championship Games: Atlanta over Dallas and New England over Pittsburgh.

Super Bowl: Atlanta over New England.

Brian Bayless:

Round 1: Houston d Oakland, Pittsburgh d Miami, Seattle d Detroit, Green Bay d New York.

Round 2: New England d Houston, Kansas City d Pittsburgh, Seattle d Atlanta, Dallas d Green Bay.

Conference Championship: New England d. Kansas City and Dallas d Seattle.

Super Bowl: New England d Dallas.

JT Rozzero:

Round One: Houston d. Oakland; Seattle d. Detroit; Pitt d. Miami; NYG d. Green Bay.

Round Two: Seattle d. Atlanta; NYG d. Dallas; NE d. Houston; Pitt d. KC.

Round Three: Seattle d. NYG; NE d. Pitt.

Super Bowl: Seattle d. NE

Roger Morrissette:

Round 1: Oak over Hou, GB over NYG, Pit over Miami, Sea over Det.

Round 2: NE over Oak, ATL over Sea, Pit over KC, Dal over GB.

Round 3: Dal over Atl, NE over Pit.

Super Bowl: NE over Dal

I really like Atlanta not having to play outside the rest of the way, but think Dallas’s running game will be too much for them. If the Packers/Giants beat the Cowboys, I think Atlanta whacks either of them at home and would provide the sternest test for the Patriots.

The 14-2 New England Patriots, along with stalwart Tom Brady, are a unanimous pick by our guys to appear in the Big Game.

JT Rozzero:

I think Dallas is ripe for an upset.. most likely out of the top four seeds I think. Although I can see Pitt beating KC.

Does any AFC team have a shot at the Pats?

Roger Morrissette:

Anything can happen but I don’t see any of these teams going into NE and winning. On paper Pit is the best candidate, but the Patriots have really owned them in the Brady era. That also assumes that Pitt gets through KC’s pass rush with Ben unscathed.

JT Rozzero:

Houston v Oakland has the lowest playoff over/under in forever. Do you see either team breaking 14 points?

Roger Morrissette:

I think [the Cowboys’] ability to run the ball and control the clock makes them a pretty safe bet to get to the Super Bowl. The Giants have the best chance to beat [Dallas] because of their D and the regular season results but I have trouble seeing them winning in Lambeau with Rodgers this hot.

I think [Houston against Oakland] will be sloppy but blow away the total… the Raiders’ D is pretty weak and I think Cook will be able to move the ball. The Raiders are loaded at the skill positions and he was able to get a little bit done against Denver’s D, which is much better than the Texans’ [defense].

I could see each quarterback with two touchdowns and multiple picks/fumbles.

JT Rozzero:

Maybe [the Texans] can trade for Cook after the game if they win.

Does Bill O’Brien get fired if they lose?

Sounds like Jim Caldwell is back either way.

Roger Morrissette:

I don’t think they’ll axe O’Brien considering they won the division and Osweiler wasn’t his call.

[Brock is] really the sole reason they aren’t 11-5.

JT Rozzero:

They could shit-can him because he doesn’t want Os. He is a good coach and would be hired immediately.

Roger Morrissette:

Completely agree that he is above average. Osweiler was so bad that I don’t think they can go into next year with him as the starter. He has pretty much proven his ceiling is the 25th-best starter in the league.

JT Rozzero:

What a disaster that contract is. Big time mess.

While Brock Osweiler did manage a 9-7 record for the AFC South champ Texans, he still disappointed this year.

Roger Morrissette:

If the Bills move on from Taylor that would be a perfect landing spot for him on a short-term, prove-yourself-type of deal.

JT Rozzero:

I think Houston would be in play for Romo too. [A]nd Denver.

Roger Morrissette:

I think he ends up in Denver. Makes too much sense with their aging roster.

I predict Taylor to Houston, Romo to Denver, and Bortles to the Jets after the Jags hire Josh McDaniels and trade for Jimmy G.

JT Rozzero:

As a Jets fan, I would be down with Bortles if they brought in Mike McCoy or Norv [Turner] as offensive coordinator.

Roger Morrissette:

I think it makes all sorts of sense. Of the three jobs he is interviewing for, the Jags have far and away the most talent. I think you have to assume he takes Jimmy with him (which probably rules out the Rams). Bortles could benefit from the change of scenery.

JT Rozzero:

Unless he doesn’t really believe in Jimmy and knows the truth… he benefited from the BB system.

Roger Morrissette:

I would say the same thing about Rivers and the Chargers but they seem intent on keeping Whisenhunt around as OC and hiring a defensive coach.

Matt Ryan hopes to lead a strong Atlanta offense to the Falcons’ first Super Bowl appearance since 1999.

JT Rozzero:

Rex!

Roger Morrissette:

Even if he doesn’t fully buy in on Jimmy, I think he takes him and tries to install the same system he’s been successful in versus trying to resurrect Bortles.

Rex is going to TV.

I think the most interesting game of the weekend is Green Bay/NY Giants. The Packers’ secondary is beyond banged up and the way Rodgers is playing, Eli is going to have to put up points. Given what I’ve seen from him so far, I don’t think he has the necessary performance in him. However, he has that playoff history of success.

How do you guys think it plays out?

Davante Adams and the Packers hope to have quite a few celebrations over the next month.

J Arsenio D’Amato:

Aaron Rodgers is going to be too much for the Giants to handle. Eli is already the only visiting QB to win two games in Lambeau; asking for a third is a little too much.

JT Rozzero:

My head says Green Bay, but these fucking Giants teams play with irrational confidence and it wouldn’t [surprise] me if they go on a run.

Best chance for an upset this weekend?

Brian Bayless:

Detroit, but it’s slim. Still not sold on Seattle’s O-Line.

Chad Campbell:

Detroit.*

*Note: This editor nearly sent Frank Drebin on a no-stone-unturned search for the illustrious Mr. Campbell. The above posting may or may not be from “Primetime” Brian Lee.

JT Rozzero:

There always seems to be at least one. Will be interesting if that holds up, even though they all seem very unlikely.

I think the Giants have the best chance.

Roger Morrissette:

I’ll say Oakland as best chance for an upset followed by the G-Men. I’m not sure that Conor Cook is the worst starter in that game and the Raiders have some big play guys on both sides of the ball. I don’t see any way the Lions or Dolphins pull it off.

How will our predictions fare? Will there be any major upsets throughout January? Which two teams wind up facing off in Houston?

So many questions, and only one way to answer them all. Enjoy the playoffs, Nation!

Author: Joel Barnhart

A big-time baseball nerd, Joel is currently teaching English as a Second Language in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to his MLB passion, he enjoys good whiskey, good music, good movies, and good friends. He is currently engaged in an ongoing 12-year online debate over the merits of bubble wrap.