The Raiders lost Derek Carr to a broken leg in Week 16, and his replacement, Matt McGloin, went down in Week 17 with a shoulder injury. Fourth-round rookie Connor Cook was forced into his first NFL action with the Raiders looking to wrap up the No. 2 seed. Unfortunately for them, they got demolished by the Broncos 24-6 in the season finale and have tumbled down to the No. 5 seed.
Oakland will travel to No. 4 seed Houston for Saturday’s Wild Card matchup. McGloin isn’t expected to be ready on a short week, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that Cook is expected to get the start for the Raiders. He completed 14-of-21 passes in Week 17, throwing for 150 yards, one touchdown, and one pick. This sets up one of the worst quarterback matchups in recent playoffs memory. Opposite Cook will be Brock Osweiler after coach Bill O’Brien announced him as the starter on Tuesday. Tom Savage, who recently replaced Osweiler as the starter, is in the concussion protocol.
Look for both offenses to try and pound the ball on the ground with each defense loading the box and daring the quarterbacks to beat them. As our own Evan Silva noted on Twitter on Tuesday, the 36.5-point total for this game is the lowest for a playoff matchup since Tim Tebow was the Broncos’ quarterback in 2011. The running backs look like the only trustworthy fantasy plays in this game. However, Amari Cooper did say he plans to “demand the ball” this week. Cooper hasn’t topped 60 yards receiving in seven of the past eight games and has just four 100-yard outings. He had none after the Week 10 bye. Cooper wouldn’t be a bad tournament play in DFS this weekend.
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In Other News…
The Ravens cut future Hall of Fame KR Devin Hester last month. He spent the final few weeks of the season on the street. But of Tuesday, the Seahawks signed Hester for a playoff run. At 34, he’s lost his juice, but Seattle needs a return man after losing Tyler Lockett to a broken leg in Week 16.
Tuesday brought another round of news regarding coaching changes and searches. As of Tuesday evening, the Rams have been linked to the most candidates (12) among the six teams with vacancies. They don’t appear close to making a decision. According to FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez, the Broncos’ job is Dolphins DC Vance Joseph’s “to lose.” Denver tried to hire him as their DC back in 2014. He played his college ball at Colorado. Bills OC Anthony Lynn will interview with the 49ers on Wednesday. He’s also been linked to the Rams and Bills. Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan will hold interviews with the Rams, Jaguars, 49ers, and Broncos over the course of Friday and Saturday. In New York, Jets OC Chan Gailey retired and several defensive assistants were fired Tuesday.
After wrapping up his age-30 season, Pierre Garcon is set to become a free agent in March. ESPN Redskins reporter John Keim believes there’s a “solid chance” Garcon isn’t back in D.C. He’s expected to command at least $8 million annually, and DeSean Jackson is also a free agent. The Redskins used a first-round pick on Josh Doctson last May, but he missed most of the season with Achilles’ and foot issues. Jamison Crowder showed flashes of big-time playmaking ability at times this season before fizzling out after Thanksgiving. Doctson and Crowder’s arrows are pointing up.
Quarterback & Running Back Quick Slants
Derek Carr admitted he didn’t just dislocate his pinkie finger in Week 12, but also broke it. He should be over the finger and broken leg well in time for training camp. … Lamar Miller (ankle) said he feels “fresh” heading into the playoffs. He should get at least 20 carries Saturday against the Raiders. … The Bears signed former Titans draft pick RB David Cobb to a reserve/future contract. … The Seahawks are hoping C.J. Prosise (shoulder) can return for a potential Divisional Round game. … Coach Mike Zimmer said Sam Bradford has earned the right to be the Week 1 starter in 2017. … Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes has declared for the 2017 draft. … Coming off a ridiculously-bad rookie season, Jared Goff said he has hope for the future and a quick turnaround. … Trevor Siemian will have “minor” surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder this week.
Wide Receiver & Tight End Quick Slants
Ladarius Green remains in the league’s concussion protocol, but coach Mike Tomlin said Green has a chance to play in the Wild Card round against the Dolphins. … The Redskins have reportedly already discussed a new contract with impending free agent Vernon Davis. … Coach John Harbaugh wants Breshad Perriman to develop into a true No. 1 receiver. … Free-agent-to-be Terrelle Pryor has informed his agents that he’d like to remain with the Browns. … Scheduled to be a free agent in March, Kendall Wright said he now feels “free.” He’s not going to re-sign with the Titans.
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