It's been a wild year in the NFL, wilder than normal. These playoff matchups pretty much sum up everything, because the world is being deprived of the chance to bet against Brock Osweiler.

Well, not technically, because Osweiler is starting. But if you want to bet against Osweiler, you have to bet on Raiders rookie Connor Cook, who somehow is starting a playoff game, the first start of his career, making him the first quarterback to make his first start in a postseason game.

Think about how bananas this process in Houston has been. They gave Osweiler $35 million guaranteed on a $72 million deal, benched him in favor of Tom Savage, clearly found Savage a better option, only to get him injured on a quarterback sneak that resulted in Osweiler being thrust back into the lineup.

If the big-ticket pickup turned benchwarmer turned postseason starter plays well, it might actually be a pretty decent summation of the regular season, which started horribly but came on strong to set up some awesome playoff matchups. Say what you want about the Raiders and Texans, but it's beautiful in a horrifying way.

As for picks, a 9-7 final week left me at 127-118-11 on the season, good for second-best among our CBS experts. At only nine picks behind Dave Richard, it's totally possible to catch him if Dave picks the opposite of everything I take and I don't miss any for the entire postseason.

If Brock Osweiler and Connor Cook can start a playoff game against each other, anything is possible.

Onto the picks, and don't forget to check out all our Expert Picks right here.

Note: Numbers indicate conference playoff seeding.


No. 5 Oakland (12-4) at No. 4 Houston (9-7)

TV: 4:35 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: Texans -4

Seriously, the opportunity to bet against Osweiler was out there for months. It would have been a lock to take the AFC No. 5 seed if Houston were the No. 4 seed after winning the AFC South. Then Savage happened. Then Derek Carr happened, and the Raiders haven't been the same.

Three factors have me leaning Houston here.

  1. The Raiders haven't been the same! They went up against the Broncos in Week 17 with a first-round bye on the line and had nothing in the tank. Maybe Cook is an upgrade over Matt McGloin, but what does that really say?
  2. The Texans have a really good defense. Jadeveon Clowney's been fantastic and Houston's pass rushers, even without J.J. Watt, should be able to get through the stout Raiders offensive line. At the very least, they are going to stack the box and dare Cook to beat them in the passing game.
  3. The Raiders can't do the same thing by stacking the box. Lamar Miller's been resting for two weeks and getting healthy, which means the Texans can ride him as far as possible in the playoffs (read: a bad loss in Foxborough to the Patriots next week).

The line is Texans -4 after moving up from Texans -3.5. I think the time to jump on it is now before it moves closer to a touchdown. Houston nearly beat Oakland in the regular season when Carr was healthy. They can take care of business here.

The Pick: Texans 21, Raiders 14

No. 6 Detroit (9-7) at No. 3 Seattle (10-5-1)

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC)
Line: Seahawks -8

For the first time in a long time, the Seahawks look like a vulnerable team. Because of injuries ( Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Tyler Lockett to name a few), roster moves (Christine Michael) and construction (the offensive line is the least expensive in the NFL), they just aren't as good on either side of the ball as they have been in the past.

Yet they couldn't ask for a better matchup. Last Sunday night's Packers-Lions went very well for Seattle, with Green Bay winning and the Lions winding up with the No. 6 seed.

Detroit's weaknesses: Running the ball and rushing the passer.

Detroit's strengths: Keeping games close and pulling rabbits out of hats in the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately for the Lions, these things don't pair well with a road game at Seattle. The crowd will be loud and it will not be easy for Detroit to exploit the Seahawks' weak offensive line. They have the 32nd-ranked defense in DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, and the 23rd-ranked rush defense. Detroit allowed 106.3 rushing yards per game (18th overall) and 4.4 yards per rush (20th).

Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham can build a lead by exploiting the secondary and then Thomas Rawls can rip off some runs to salt this thing away. Matthew Stafford might be forced to throw the ball 50 times, which is not the recipe for success while nursing a bad hand in the outdoors with a rowdy crowd wreaking havoc.

The Pick: Seahawks 31, Lions 14


No. 6 Miami (10-6) at No. 3 Pittsburgh (11-5)

TV: 1:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Steelers -10

If you're picking four playoff games, you better pick at least one underdog, right? It's impossible to pick the Dolphins to win outright, even though they beat the Steelers 30-15 on Oct. 16. However, 10 points is a ton.

Let's address the quarterback factor for each club.

Matt Moore is scheduled to start in place of injured Ryan Tannehill, even though Tannehill is trying to get ready to go. But Moore isn not a huge dropoff. In fact, Miami probably has one of the league's better backup situations.

On the other hand, if you're the Dolphins, the opposing quarterback represents a large concern. Ben Roethlisberger's home and road splits are incredibly pronounced this season:

Comp/Att (%) Yards Yards/Att TD/INT
Home 160/226 (70.8) 1,915 8.5 20/5
Road 168/283 (59.3) 1,904 6.7 9/8

He played six games at home and eight on the road, yet still managed more yards, more than twice as many touchdowns and fewer interceptions in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers also have Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, which is a terrifying prospect for the Dolphins. Pittsburgh's defense is better too.

The only logic here is that 10 points is too many for a quality Dolphins team that can run the ball, play a little defense and possibly turn this into a slugfest.

The Pick: Steelers 21, Dolphins 14

No. 5 N.Y. Giants (11-5) at No. 4 Green Bay (10-6)

TV: 4:40 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Packers -5

There's some major history here for the Giants. In both of their Super Bowl runs with Eli Manning at the helm, the Giants had to travel to Green Bay for playoff games. In 2007, Manning upended Brett Favre and Green Bay in overtime, 23-20. It wasn't Eli's finest game; he went 21 of 40 for 251 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. It was a much different story the second time around (2011) when Manning rolled against Aaron Rodgers, going 21 of 33 for 330 yards, three touchdowns and one pick in a 37-20 victory that snuffed out Green Bay's 15-1 season.

Plenty of people will pick the Giants because of that history, and it's quite possible this is the weekend's best game. Rodgers is playing at an elite level, and the return of Jordy Nelson -- he clearly wasn't himself to start the season coming off an injury -- and the emergence of Davante Adams have made this offense a different animal.

Rodgers is very much in the MVP conversation and this team is on an incredible roll (six straight wins), unlike either of the previous Green Bay teams in this spot.

Now it's the Packers who are peaking at the right time. Betting against Rodgers right now is dangerous. While New York's defense has been even better than advertised, this turns into shootout with Green Bay coming out ahead.

The Pick: Packers 31, Giants 24