New Year has come and gone, and with the beginning of a new year comes NFL playoff Football. The playoff Wild Card weekend kicks off this Saturday with an underwhelming match between AFC South champions the Houston Texans (9-7) versus the Oakland Raiders (12-4).

Key Injuries

Neither one of these teams are at full strength, as the Raiders are missing their MVP-caliber quarterback, Derek Carr, out for the rest of the season with a leg fracture. The Texans, on the other hand, are missing star defensive end J.J. Watt, who has been out the whole season due to injury. Casual fans who may have watched any of the Texans' regular season games probably are under the impression that the team is missing a quarterback too.

This isn’t the case, but the legacy of ineptness playing at the quarterback position since the franchise began was just carried on by the horrific play of the 72-million dollar man, Brock Osweiler.

The overpaid former back-up quarterback for the Denver Broncos was benched and replaced with former University of Houston quarterback, Tom Savage, at the tail-end of the season, and Savage managed to be not quite as terrible as Osweiler. This past Sunday while playing against the Tennessee Titans though, Savage was carted off the field due to concussion, and probably won’t be clear to play on Saturday, giving the nod to start for Osweiler.

Defensive affair

Considering both teams are without offensive weapons, the first match-up of the NFL Wild Card weekend looks to be a defensive tug of war and low scoring affair.

There should be no shortage of physical play as Raiders’ defensive stars Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin salivate over the chance to harass and disrupt the easily shaken Osweiler. On the other side of the ball, Texans' defensive standouts Jadaveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus look to make third string quarterback Connor Cook’s first start his last.

The regular season match-up between these two teams was an entertaining enough affair that ended up with a win in the Raiders column after four quarters of tough football. Look for the playoff match-up between these two teams to end in a similar fashion, with the Raiders winning in the trenches, and through the run game to edge out the Texans' lackluster offense.

Prediction: 13-3, Raiders.

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