The 2017 NFL playoffs kick off with the San Francisco 49ers Bay Area rivals making the long-awaited return to the postseason. The Oakland Raiders travel on the road to open the playoffs against the Houston Texans. The game kicks off at 1:35 p.m. PT on ESPN, with Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden in the announcer booth, and Lisa Salters on the sideline.
It has been a roller-coaster couple of weeks for the Raiders. Less than a month ago, they were rolling along with a strong chance at the No. 2 seed, and considered a favorite to make some noise. Then, Derek Carr broke his leg and things have gone south. Matt McGloin took over for Carr, but then he too got hurt, and rookie Connor Cook came on in his place. The Raiders will look to advance in the playoffs with Cook at the helm.
The Texans won the AFC South for the second straight year, but they have a lot of questions themselves. Their defense remains stout, but they have had problems at the quarterback position. They signed Brock Osweiler to a big contract, only to bench him recently for Tom Savage. However, Savage suffered a concussion, and now Osweiler is back starting.
The Texans are a 3.5-point favorite, with the public backing Houston. It makes sense given the quarterback situation in Oakland. Of course, backing Osweiler is not exactly a fun situation. The Texans defense should be enough to win the day, but I just have a hunch Connor Cook shows up and the Raiders spring the upset.
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
When: 1:35 p.m. PT
Announcers: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
Radio: Raiders Radio Network | Texans Radio Network
Online Streaming: WatchESPN
Odds: Texans -3.5
Raiders blog: Silver & Black Pride
Texans blog: Battle Red Blog