Please disregard half of the times posted before!!! The predictions still remain the same but the times are changed!
(Pacific Standard Times!!)
Another fun and exciting week!! Let's go!!
My Pick: Atlanta over Seattle.
We learned last week to pick the home team but this one goes deeper than that. Thanks to information from NFL.com, I learned that the Seahawks' achilles heel is their secondary, where they allowed a 118.6 passer rating on passes that travel 20+ yards in the air.
Doesn't Atlanta have a really good reciever whose name rhymes with Coolio Bones? Ah yes. Julio Jones can quickly become a nightmare for the Seahawks as he did with other teams. The last thing they want is for that ball to go into his hands but it will happen and Matt Ryan already knows about Seattle's secondary, so he's definitely going to go for it.
Atlanta also has a great run game and Seattle could get them there, but ultimately, the secondary will expose their defense and give it to Atlanta.
My Pick: New England over Houston.
Oh dear. This was too easy to pick but I guess I still need to explain a few things. Okay, first off, Tom Brady hardly ever loses in the playoffs (22-9) and has the most wins for a starter.
Second, the Texans offense is not there yet and will not do well vs. New England's defense. The Texans may have a great defense but having the top ranked defense in the NFL does not mean anything to Brady since he's 3-1 against the best defenses in the playoffs.
If the Texans actually win this, the sports world will erupt. No question there. It would be Houston's biggest win and I would pick them for the Super Bowl if they could beat New England. Everyone loves a good David vs. Goliath story but I'm going to have to go with Goliath right now.
My Pick: Kansas City over Pittsburgh.
Another home team... Here's why I picked this home team also, they are different from when they started off. They always have slower starts but what matters most is how you finish and how you do mid-season, which they executed perfectly. They were blown out 43-14 by the Steelers this season, but they are so much better now!
Ever heard of Tyreek Hill? Well, if you have or haven't, you will hear more about him during the game. Hill is incredibly fast and can return a punt for a TD like it's nobody's business.
Also, the bye week gave Chiefs players time to heal any injuries that would affect their performance. Both LB Justin Houston and WR Spencer Ware are good to go after being able to rest and they are key players for the Chiefs.
The Steelers did not have that time to rest. Ben Roethlisberger left the win against Miami with a walking boot. It does not sound like much of an issue to Coach Tomlin or Roethlisberger, but he did reaggravate a previous foot injury. Could that happen again on Sunday? Who knows.
My Pick: Green Bay over Dallas.
What?! How am I not picking America's team, the Super Bowl favorites?! How could I pick a team that lost its best receiver?!
Well, Aaron Rodgers is on a roll right now and the Cowboys need to worry. Rodgers can find a way to win with just about anyone on the roster because he's reached that level of eliteness (someone else here is like that too... I wonder who...). The Cowboys defense has allowed fewer yards and points, but they have not faced the Aaron Rodgers that we see now (they faced the struggling Rodgers in Week 6).
Also, experience is big. Rodgers has been here many times before. Dak Prescott has not. He has the best O-Line in football, but he will still feel pressure in other ways. It's hard to get your first playoff win and doing so against Aaron Rodgers is even harder.
I feel like it's too good to be true for Dallas to go to the Super Bowl this year and this game could prove me right.. Or Prescott could be the real deal.
I was right about 2 of these matchups! Glad to see Pittsburgh and Houston where I thought they would be. I guess the NFC is crazier than I thought. I also should have not underestimated home field advantage either...
Predictions coming on Thursday!
Found this cool spread in Sports Illustrated on each playoff team. It definitely has some stereotypes in it, but I still find some humor here.
Try and find who to go for and let me know! Maybe I'll reveal who I ended up with if I hear back from some of you!
My Pick: Houston over Oakland.
I just do not know enough about who is actually starting at QB for the Raiders and if Matt McGloin is still hurt, an inexperienced rookie would play his second game. Winning your second career game played and getting your first win in both the playoffs and your NFL career seems like a stretch.
Also, the winner of this game would be the better defense. I've seen the Raiders defense make too many silly mistakes by getting so many penalties. I remember hearing that their offense was the reason why their defense was able to give up so many yards to penalties and that sounds like a very toxic way to win. That was said when Derek Carr was there, but now he's gone and the offense can't save them now...
My Pick: Detroit over Seattle.
It's been since '91 since they last won a playoff game, but if they lose this one, that would be a tragedy. They blew a home game to clinch the NFC North last week, but this is different. They aren't home and that's tough but Seattle does not look good at all.
Seattle lost in Week 16 to Arizona. Arizona?! And they barely won against San Francisco, the second pick in the NFL Draft. They may have been resting for the playoffs or maybe something else is not going right with them.
They definitely could surprise us or the Lions could do what they've been doing in the playoffs since '91, so I'm not really solid on the Lions here but I want good things for them.
My Pick: Pittsburgh over Miami.
Experienced quarterback? Check. Experienced team? Check. Past playoff experience? Check. Home field advantage? Check.
Pittsburgh looks good on paper and will probably do well against Miami, even though Matt Moore is doing well for them, he couldn't beat a good team like New England last week. You need to beat a good team to make it in the playoffs.
My Pick: New York over Green Bay.
Partying aside, New York is a dangerous team in the playoffs. They are tough to take out and always end up sliding their way into the Super Bowl.
The defense looks great and can stop the Packers' offense since the defense for the Packers is not as great. Defense wins championship, right? I mean, look at last year's Broncos, they won with a Manning, a quiet offense, but a great defense. Just saying...
Wild Card Weekend
Saturday, Jan. 7
Sunday, Jan. 8
Saturday, Jan. 14
Sunday, Jan. 15
Step 1 for Tampa Bay making the playoffs is complete...
Now Washington needs to tie New York...
It's over for Tampa and Washington. Due to New York's victory over Washington today, both Detroit and Green Bay clinched their way into the playoffs.
Sorry fans. You were that close.
No Thursday or Monday Night Football this week, just a pure Sunday filled with football.
This our last week with all 32 teams playing for fun, a better seeding, or even a playoff spot. Some teams had the best year in a long time while others fell short of expectations. Like I said last year, it will get better for your team. There may be obstacles but without those, getting to the main goal would not feel as good.
Browns fans, do not feel ashamed. You can get the first pick overall and select someone who can help your team in the future. Be very smart and support whomever they pick. This team will take time but they can be good someday. Ask the Cavs and Indians.
Chargers fans, a move to LA may be what you need. A new coach also helps a lot too. Listen to the Rams and remember that a move takes time when you struggled in your previous home. Be patient, fans (talking to both Chargers and Rams here).
Games to Watch:
Carolina at Tampa Bay:
Tampa needs to win (among many other things, check previous post) to make it to the playoffs. This could be Tampa's last game or it could be one of the steps to make it to the postseason. Carolina is not playing for anything but they do like to hurt teams' seasons (ask Washington, the other team in the hunt).
Baltimore at Cincinnati:
Like him or not, this is probably Steve Smith Sr.'s last career game. Smith is a great receiver and has remained so for 16 years. He is likely to be in the Hall of Fame, so this is going to be a big send off in football.
New England at Miami:
New England has home field advantage on the line here while Miami has fifth or sixth seed. Watching these two teams is always fun and we could see this again in the playoffs... or not.
Games to Watch:
New York Giants at Washington:
This game is probably the second most important in terms of the NFC playoffs and all that drama. This could be Washington's last game or it could be something more. Washington is hoping for Kirk Cousins to return at QB but this game could change his mind if it goes wrong (remember when some thought Osweiler would stay in Denver?). It also will feature Josh Norman vs. Odell Beckham Jr., one of the NFL's most famous rivalries. Sit back and watch what happens as Washington tries to make a case for the playoffs.
Green Bay at Detroit:
Last game of the regular season!! It could have not been planned more perfectly that the winner of the NFC North would be decided this way! Winner gets the better seed while loser gets a lower seed or risks losing their spot altogether. Will Rodgers continue to win? Will the Stafford that faced Dallas last Monday come back? Or will he improve? Find out on the season finalé of Sunday Night Football!
Two teams remain in the hunt still! Let's go!!
Q: How can Washington make the wild card?
A: Washington needs to win against the Giants and Green Bay and Detroit CANNOT tie in their game against each other.
Another way would be that Washington ties New York, Green Bay loses, and Tampa Bay loses or ties to Carolina.
Q: How can Tampa Bay make the wild card?
A: This one is much more complicated but stranger things have happened. Tampa Bay needs to win against Carolina, Washington needs to tie New York, Green Bay needs to lose, and Tennessee, Indianapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco need to win their games for Tampa to clinch the strength of victory tiebreaker.
Q: What is the strength of victory tiebreaker?
A: The strength of victory refers to the combined winning percentage of the teams that one team has beaten.
Q: How can the Packers clinch a spot?
A: Just win baby.
If they do NOT win, then they need Washington to lose, OR Washington ties, Tampa wins, and Green Bay clinches the strength of victory over Tampa.
Q: How about the Lions?
A: Beat the Packers!!
If they cannot do that, then tie them and Washington needs to tie or lose or else you cannot go to the playoffs!!! No pressure!
Everyone here made the playoffs but the seeding is what needs to be determined on Sunday.
NE: Win and get home field the entire playoffs OR Oakland loses and they get home field.
OAK: Get division title if they win or Kansas City loses. Need to win and have New England lose of they want home field advantage.
KC: Win and an Oakland loss gives them the division.
MIA: Gets fifth seed if they win and KC loses.