NFL Wild Card weekend isn’t a great slate of football, with one of the worst QB matchups in postseason history (Raiders/Texans), a double digit spread (Dolphins/Steelers), a team nobody is giving a chance (Lions/Seahawks) and then the best game, Giants at Packers.
It got me thinking: Who is under the most pressure this weekend? After batting the question around with the TBL staff, here’s my list:
Mike Tomlin. The Steelers coach has one playoff win in the last five years. It came against AJ McCarron. Now, he faces the immortal Matt Moore. At home. As a double digit favorite. And Pittsburgh’s Big 3 are healthy. There are no excuses. Terry Bradshaw will be watching this one intently. You have to wonder how many Steelers fans agree with his thoughts on Tomlin not being a great coach. With a loss, it’ll certainly make for an interesting offseason in Pittsburgh.
Odell Beckham Jr. He’s been an emotional wreck at times this season, he’s certainly been a distraction at times on the sideline, and to celebrate his first trip to the playoffs, he decided to take his fellow receivers to Miami to party with troublemakers Justin Bieber and Johnny Manziel. The defense has carried the Giants all year, and if the offense lays an egg (like back in October in Lambeau), Odell’s South Beach sojourn is going to be blamed.
Eli Manning. Two Giants? Consider this about Eli Manning: He hasn’t been to the playoffs in four years, and in non-Super Bowl runs, he’s 0-3 with 2 TDs and 6 INTs. He just turned 36, and his legacy is two Super Bowl triumphs over Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, but are we certain he’s a Hall of Famer? (I’m 80-20 he’s in.) Does he need a win here to bolster his candidacy? Fortunately, he’s always played nice with the media, unlike Terrell Owens, so it may not matter.
Aaron Rodgers. When you say you’re going to run the table, are you talking about the regular season, or the entire season? Two things can be true: Aaron Rodgers wasn’t his usual self for the first half of the season. Green Bay started 4-6 for a variety of reasons, but Rodgers was certainly one of them. Then he got incredibly hot and Green Bay has won six straight and Rodgers is an MVP candidate. How much shine would a home loss (again) to Eli Manning in the postseason take off what Rodgers accomplished this year?
Bill O'Brien. A clear drop-off from the top four names on this list, but O’Brien could be fired with a playoff loss at home to Raiders rookie Connor Cook, and at minimum will have a very hot seat after two mediocre seasons that resulted in home losses in the wildcard round. O’Brien famously signed Brock Osweiler to a $72 million deal without meeting him, then Osweiller was a disaster and ended up getting benched.