Ahhhh….here we go again….another NFL playoffs….another Dallas Cowboys coulda/shoulda/woulda….but hey it’s been a LONG time since the NFL playoffs were Giant AND Jet free (thank the Gods!)….last time it happened I was still living in Skank Island…anyway, glad to be done with that, and gladder to be watching in I am pretty sure a VERY empty and peaceful bar….LET THE NFL TOURNAMENT BEGIN!!!!
Saturday January 5:
Cincinnati at Houston:
This is truly a tough sell even with both teams being in the playoffs for two years in a row….there is NO ONE that has any confidence in the Texicans right now (maybe not even them), loser of 3 of their last 4….a slipping defense that hasn’t been the same since Brian Cushing was taken out on a block that should be illegal (but remember NFL player safety only counts if your numbers are from 1-19 and you throw the ball 30 times a game…. Or you’re “defenseless” and catching one of the golden boy’s passes) and the D has averaged 27 points allowed in its last 7 games, the offense is slipping (1 TD and 3 picks as well as 12 sacks allowed in the last 4 games), even Arian Foster has been just average over this last month…hell the only thing Houston has going for them is JJ Watt, he’s damn near unstoppable and won this game for them last year by himself….
Cincinnati on the other hand has been on a roll (despite an inexcusable loss to Dallas), the Bengals have won 7 of 8, the running game has come alive (90 yards plus for Green-Ellis in his last 5 full games played….ok it was 89 against Dallas, screw you close enough!), the defense leads the league in sacks and allowing 20 points or less since November….the only worry spot on the Bengals is that Andy Dalton has been very ordinary over the whole season and the only real offensive weapon he has is AJ Green, but he’s been spotty too (only one TD in the last six games…)
So what the hell is gonna happen here??
It won’t be pretty….and we’ll be lucky if one team gets to 20 points in this one, and if they do it’s probably game over….I don’t trust Schwab one bit (remember TJ Yates was the QB last year), and I like the roll the Bengals are on….plus if Houston was worth a rat’s damn they’d have won ONE of those last few games to get a bye…this is a tough sell but it might be a good physical one if you like good line-play….
Game Quality: ** ½
Vikings at Packers:
Third time’s the charm here, as the Packers blew it last week (then again some people and especially NFL Memes will say AP blew it too)…..and because of those things we get to see the same game we just saw last week, only in a different building…it’s amazing with a limited and beat up D, no running game at all and a revolving door of beat-up receivers that the Packers…were 11-5 this year….that’s cause it was the A-Rod show and showing was good! 4300 yards, 32 TD and only 8 Int without a 500, forget a thousand yard back on the team (hell A-Rod was the #2 rusher with his 268 yards in scrambles and tied for the team LEAD with 2 rushing TDs), and even crazier…with all the WR injuries the Packers didn’t even have a thousand yard wideout….the story was the same on defense….Clay Matthews worked through injuries finally and without his 13 sacks this unit was pretty laughable….and also missing Charles Woodson most of the year, however both are back now, and the best thing you can say for the Packers now is this might be the healthiest they’ve been all season since it began….
The Vikings were also a bit of a one-man show this year….knee surgery be DAMNED Adrian Peterson showed the world what a true comeback is (I gave it away didn’t I) and showed how VALUABLE he is to this game (damn I’m giving it away again)….it’s a damn shame mister universe here took a week off against the goddamn Texans (I’m still waiting for my check though bagging $350 was still kinda sweet), the Viking passing game was as horrid as the Packer running game, with Percy Harvin out no receiver on the roster broke 500 yards (though Rudolph did have 9 TDs as people lined 100 in the box for AP), it’s hard to tell with the Vikings that do you not fear Ponder because of his lack of weapons, or do you not fear the Viking passing game because of Ponder? The Viking defense is nothing special either….middle of the pack in points allowed though in the bottom third of yards allowed passing…that’s bad against this team here….Jared Allen can get pressure and two other Vikings had 8+ sacks too….but can they get enough pressure on A-Rod to make it matter?
So what’s gonna happen here?
Lest we forget it’s going to be night time and ball-sticking to your leg kinda cold out there….and that does change everything, I’d feel a LOT better about the Packers if they had a back to hand the ball too…all these precision and timing things seem to go out the window in the nasty weather, but I don’t think Minnesota is good enough to beat Green Bay twice, and even WITH AP going nuts in both games, the Packers won the first and came close in the rematch, plus I don’t like the Viking weapons in the passing game and with Green Bay finally being 100%, we’re gonna see them pull this one out, but damn it could be fun to watch….maybe AP comes up nine yards short for old time’s sake…..
Game Quality: ***
Sunday January 6:
Colts at Baltimore:
The Colts come into this game (and their old home) as the feel-good motivational story of the last two millennia….not only purging Peyton Manning, but getting Lucky in the draft (I know…my bad….) and making an FTL jump from 2 wins to 11 and a playoff appearance….and oh by the way the head coach not only survived the whole cancer thing but came back to coach the last game, much like the Packers the Colts got here on the arm and the brains of Andrew Luck who was not only given the keys to the car but he was allowed to turn and stop it anytime he felt like (I mean the power to audible and change plays which is pretty rare in a first game rookie like he was allowed), 4300 yards and 23 TDs, with only minimal balance at best in the running game (though the Packers would burn all the cheese factories in Wisconsin to get 800 yards of production like Ballard had), the Colts also had three consistent WR’s all season with Reggie Wayne being his typical self and Hilton and Avery doing a solid job of taking turns being the #2 guy in looks and big plays….but despite all that and maybe because they don’t have a legit or a true pounding running back, they only average 22 points a game, hell the Colts were 11-5 and got OUTSCORED….and to make it even stranger, their turnover ratio was -12….their formula was “win close or get killed”….that’s a dangerous way to get into the playoffs….especially when the defense is still not very good and Freeney and Mathis combined for the same 13 sacks Clay Matthews had….this is a team that while impressive, certainly got here by beating up on the crap in the AFC South and the Browns and Chiefs of the world…..
….Now at this point of the season however, the Ravens would do the Ray Lewis dance of joy to beat ANYONE, losers of 4 of 5 (but still managed to blow the Giants out at home, and PS …THANK YOU <3), they like the Packers have yet to field a fully healthy team on the field at all this season…till now…. And the way the Colts will have to throw the ball around to be successful, Ed Reed is bound to grab one or two them as well…and actually as bad and maligned as Flacco’s regular season has been (this was supposed to be the year he jumped up a tier to “elite” and he slipped on the banana peel and ended up being “erratic”) in only 2 of the 9 playoff games he’s been in has he thrown for over 250 yards and amazingly in 5 of them he had less then 150!??!!? His TD to INTs is tied at 8, but in one small thing you can say FOR him, in his last 4 playoff games the ratio is 7:1 so he’s not fraking up as much…yay…Ray Rice hasn’t been all that wonderful either (one 100 yard game in his career and less then 67 in his last 4)….though he should find the sledding easier against a soft and designed to pass rush Colts defense…not to mention I expect the mother of all inspired games out of the Purple Haze this week….
Alright Scott….shut up and pick one would ya?
This is a game of one-up’ed motivational gimmicks…..the Colts come in “Hey our coach kicked cancer’s ass and we’re riding that wave to 11-5 and the playoffs, CMON we’re fired up and ready to go!!”…. oh really??? We got this…. “I’m Ray Lewis and this might be my last game EVER here” ….. Colts “Aw crap…..”….with the motivational crap all evened out, the Colts are still not fully ready and too flawed as a team and as much as I HATE how the Ravens stumble into this game the Colts don’t match-up well with the Ravens and the young team is gonna make one too many mistakes and the Purple Haze gets at least one more Ray Lewis speech out of the old guy before he sells his soul to ESPN…..
Game Quality: **
Seattle at Washington:
Ah, the best game of the week….and the one I need do no research on!! I know these two teams WELL….I’ve been high on Seattle for two months now and that doesn’t stop here….Russell Wilson grows and improves every week (sorry Matt Flynn), Marshawn Lynch is one of the hardest backs to stop in football and the duo of Rice and Golden Tate are as underrated but good as any in the league, Zach Miller is strong underneath and the O-Line is strong and PHYSICAL…..and when you talk physical and in your face…how can you not talk about this Seattle defense? First in points allowed, and up near the top in almost every stat known to man (well except sacks, but they’re not a true pass rush team, which doesn’t matter this week…the Redskins ain’t a passing team)…well coached and good special teams, the Seahawks scream of that “NFC Wild Card team that comes out and bulldozes EVERYONE on it’s way to the Super Bowl….”
….and in their way the hottest team in the NFC, winners of 7 in a row (amazing how the “evaluate the team for next year” speech made them into Superman and Galactus all in one isn’t it? RG III and Alfred Morris lead the league’s best rushing attack, and despite the injuries on D and only 32 sacks, the Skins are 4th in the NFL in interceptions (21) and allow less then a hundred yards per game (possibly because teams almost averaged 300 a game in the air…but whatever), while Seattle is more of a team effort, the Skins do truly live and die with Morris and Griffin (though Cousins was very solid when he was asked to do what he does)
OK, Scott you’re in love with Seattle…will you just get to it??
And yes indeed I am….and indeed I will….like I said, I think the Seahawks are on a fast track to the Super Bowl and a possible rematch with the Packers (which would be epic, because nothing pisses off a Packer fan like saying GOLDEN TATE), I don’t think the Redskins are deep enough and while this college offense crap may work for a while, Seattle has a good ol’College coach that can deal with it and beat them down and beat them down, Seattle is too good and too nasty on both sides and they wear down the Skins and grind out what should be a helluva football game!!!
Game Quality: **** (best game of the week)
I had a LONG day and it’s late and I wanna see a movie tonight if it kills me dammit…plus I want to sit and think more about my end of season awards….I may save them for the NFC and AFC Championship weekend since I want to make that write-up a bit longer….I’m pretty sure of who I am picking for what now anyway….just a matter of typing the damn thing…ENJOY the games!!