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Prisco's Picks: Week 18

 
 
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WEEK
18
PETE PRISCO
Senior NFL Columnist
Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and can be seen throughout the week on CBS Sports' NFL shows. When he's not watching game tape you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
MATCHUP SCORE ANALYSIS
Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017
 
Oakland
Raiders
13
Who starts at quarterback for these two teams? Both have major issues -- no matter who starts. Matt McGloin suffered a shoulder injury last week for Oakland, which could lead to Connor Cook making his first NFL start for the Raiders. For the Texans, Tom Savage suffered a concussion last Sunday, which puts his availability in question. It looks like it could mean Brock Osweiler plays. No matter who plays quarterback for these teams, this game will be about the defenses. The Texans are better on defense and that will be the difference in this game. It will be ugly, but the Texans will move on. Itís a shame Derek Carr got hurt or the Raiders could have pushed for so much more.
Result: Houston Texans 27, Oakland Raiders 14
Houston
Texans
20
 
 
Detroit
Lions
17
This is a tough turnaround for the Lions after losing to the Packers and now facing a trip West to a tough spot to play. The Seahawks havenít been as good as in years past, but that defense finished second in the league in points and remains a force. That will put a lot of pressure on Matthew Stafford to make plays in the passing game. The Lions lost 13-10 here in 2015, so they did a nice job on defense. If their front can get after Russell Wilson here, and they havenít been great rushing the passer, they could keep this low scoring. In the end, Wilson will make the plays to pull it out for Seattle. They advance.
Result: Seattle Seahawks 26, Detroit Lions 6
Seattle
Seahawks
21
 
Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017
 
Miami
Dolphins
14
The Dolphins blew out the Steelers in Miami in October behind the running of Jay Ajayi. This is a much different Steelers team and they are at home. They have made big strides on defense since that game, finished 12th in total defense and 10th in scoring defense. A lot of young defenders have improved in a big way. The Dolphins finished 29th in total yards on defense and 18th in scoring. That has to be a good thing for Ben Roethlisberger, LeíVeon Bell and Antonio Brown. I look for those three to all have big games here. The Dolphins, with Matt Moore at quarterback, wonít be able to keep up. Steelers take it.
Result: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Miami Dolphins 12
Pittsburgh
Steelers
27
 
 
New York
Giants
21
This is the game of the week. The Giants have won their last two playoff games at Lambeau Field on their way to winning a Super Bowl. So quarterback Eli Manning knows what it takes to win in this venue against a good team. The Giants, who lost to the Packers earlier this season, have the second-ranked scoring defense in the league, so they will make it tough on a hot Aaron Rodgers. But I think the way Rodgers is playing, he will get his yards and will throw a couple of touchdown passes. The key will be whether Manning can keep up. I think he can for a while, but in the end Rodgers will pull out a close one with a drive to a game-winning field goal in a playoff classic.
Result: Green Bay Packers 38, NY Giants 13
Green Bay
Packers
24
 
 
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