Seahawks @ Panthers. Packers @ Vikings. The four teams currently fighting for two wildcard spots in the NFC are facing off. So sit back, crack open an Old Style, and enjoy watching potential playoff opponents beat the hell out of each other.
There are 11 playoff games. My best record against the spread was 7-4 in 2014. This year I will take that record to the woodshed.
Saturday – 3:20 pm CT
Pick: Chiefs -9.
For some reason I’ve been watching a bunch of Titans games lately, mostly to look at Mariota, and something is very clear: the Titans are terrible. Kansas City was 6-2 at home this season and are quietly coming into the postseason on a four-game winning streak. (The Matt Nagy bump?) This profiles as the weekend’s only blowout. Lay the points! 37-16 Chiefs.
Saturday – 7:15 pm CT
Pick: Atlanta +6.5.
I don’t know why I think this but I think there’s a big effort somewhere in this Falcons team. I’m not sure they can win this game on the road because they don’t have a consistent bone in their collective bodies but I still need Jared Goff to win a playoff game before I can get fully on the Ramwagon. 27-21 Rams.
Sunday – 12:05 pm CT
Pick: Bills +9.
I’m just banking on this game being unwatchably low-scoring. 16-9 Jags.
Sunday – 3:40 pm CT
Pick: Saints -7.
These teams played twice this season. Saints won both. Total score: 65-34. If this game were in Carolina I think a Panthers upset would be in-play but I’m having a hard time seeing it in the dome. I’ll be rooting for Chico and the boys but that egg they laid in Week 17 against the Falcons is tough to shake from my mind. 30-17 Saints.
Here’s how Roger Ebert opened his review of Joe Versus the Volcano, the brilliantly odd 1990 film from John Shanley:
Gradually during the opening scenes of “Joe Versus the Volcano,” my heart began to quicken, until finally I realized a wondrous thing: I had not seen this movie before. Most movies, I have seen before. Most movies, you have seen before. Most movies are constructed out of bits and pieces of other movies, like little engines built from cinematic Erector sets. But not “Joe Versus the Volcano.”
I have never seen a football game like Sunday’s Bears/Panthers tilt. Never. Think about what took place.
You could live to be a thousand years old and never see a game like this again. The iconic “They Are Who We Thought They Were” game from 2006 was not this lopsided statistically. Oddly enough, Trubisky’s four completions were matched that night by Rex Grossman’s four interceptions.
Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers was defined by one moment, one play. After Trubisky’s lunge for the end zone was deemed short, John Fox faced fourth-and-a-foot with about a minute remaining in the first half. If the Bears went and scored, they’d lead 21-3 and receive the ball to start the second half. If they went and failed, chances are the Panthers would have run the ball three times, forcing Chicago to burn their timeouts, but still giving the ball back to the Bears with enough time to score.
There was almost no reason NOT to go. John Fox did NOT hesitate. Field goal. 17-3.
On this week’s episode:
The game will be dissected all across the board for weeks. Here are just a few quick thoughts.
Nine games over for the season. Need a 2-1 finish this week to set up an all-or-nothing Super Bowl to reach my coveted a 10 games over for the year.
Patriots -3 over Broncos / Panthers -3 over Cardinals
Two best teams in the league meet in the Super Bowl.
Patriots & Broncos Under 45
I had the final score at 27-17 Patriots. That’s 44. Works for me.
I have no idea what’s going to happen this weekend. Not a single result would surprise me. So I’m going back to picking SOMETHING for these games. I finished the season six over .500. Still have a chance to get to ten over. But I need a strong performance. (For some reason I didn’t include spreads last week but I would have gone 2-2 any way you slice it.)
Here’s what Bill Belichick knows: his offensive line can’t protect Tom Brady from the Chiefs pass rush. And since no coach in history has been better at self-evaluation, he won’t ask them to try. Instead Brady will go to the quick-release pass attack with Edelman Edelman Edelman and neutralize Houston, Hali and company. I think it works. Not sure if Pats are healthy enough to win but they are healthy enough to score.
I am going to be rooting very hard in this game so I’m making an emotional hedge. Would love to lose this one.
Here are the Carolina scores over the last 8 games: 27, 44, 33, 41, 38, 38, 13, 38. I say they play with a chip on their shoulder as the media at-large keeps trying to convince fans the team is overrated. (2015 Panthers remind me an awful lot of the 2006 Bears. Nobody thought that team could make the Super Bowl until their plane landed in Miami.) Bold prediction: Panthers beat them up.
I will not be making a selection in the Broncos/Steelers game as there’s no point. Unless someone can prove to me Roethlisberger will be healthy it’s a sucker’s wager. But without Antonio Brown I’d need a big number to take Pittsburgh.
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Can’t complain about my picks a week ago. Saints flew by their number. Packers never approached theirs. And the Bears / Vikings game was a coin flip. 2-1. Four games over .500 on the season. This week…
One team I think is very good. The other team is the Minnesota Vikings. And if Teddy Bridgewater struggled against the Bears defense, what is he going to do against one of the best defenses in the sport?
No comment. Well one comment. Where are all the people who argued the Packers wouldn’t miss Jordy Nelson? They seem awfully quiet to me. The Packers are consistently credited for having magnificent drafts and an unending basket of talent. But it’s never been true. They have an all world quarterback. But even he misses his best and most reliable weapon.
Season Record: 13-9-2