Two of the most surprising teams in the NFL Playoffs are the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans. Both won their divisions, the two worst in the NFL. Both are number four seeds. Both are going home after this weekend.
Why the pessimism? When it comes to the Redskins, just look at the teams they’ve beaten in order to get to the playoffs for the first time since 2012, with four in a row to clinch the division title: Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. They don’t have a single win this season over a team with a winning record, let alone someone who made the playoffs. Their best win came against the 8-8 Buffalo Bills. Kirk Cousins has certainly made strides towards becoming something more than an interception machine, and not turning the ball over has often been the difference between winning and losing for Washington. But whenever they’ve faced good teams, they’ve lost.
The Texans aren’t that different, also finishing with a 9-7 record in a division filled with losing. The Texans head into the playoffs with Brian Hoyer at quarterback, although Brandon Weeden was the one who got them in there while the Indianapolis Colts fell apart while trying to find someone to replace Andrew Luck. They do have a win over one playoff team (Cincinnati Bengals) and another team with a winning record (New York Jets). But I find it hard to believe that with the offense they have, they’re going to be able to get anywhere in this postseason, even if J.J. Watt continues to be the most incredible defensive player on the planet.
The Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game in over 20 years. The Green Bay Packers are in awful form, and have to play on the road. But while momentum is often an important part of surprising playoff runs, there’s just too much evidence against the Redskins, an inconsistent offensive team and bad defensive outfit, and the Texans, who have a very suspect running game and a defense that’s very good, but can’t make up for whatever mistakes their quarterbacks are going to make.