My regular season ended strongly with a much better record than I expected, especially after the first few weeks of the season. But the playoffs are here, and we actually get to see “bad teams” playing in postseason.
Personally, I am excited when bad teams make the playoffs because everyone overlooks them and the potential for a crazy Cinderella run. I am ecstatic for Buffalo and hope they have something going here – I am actually old enough to remember the Music City Miracle.
That being said, I really don’t care for Tennessee to be in the postseason – that team is boring, bad, and poorly coached.
Here we go!
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5)
Giving the Chiefs the early Saturday playoff game is an insult to their status as AFC West champion and also a testament to how far they fell from their incredible start to the season. The Chiefs seemed to have figured out their formula again after Andy Reid turned over play-calling to Matt Nagy.
The one chance the Titans have in this game is if the Tennessee run game keeps the Kansas City offense off the field. If the Chiefs can’t stop the downhill running of Derrick Henry, Marcus Mariota, and possibly Demarco Murray, it could be a long day and a long offseason for the Chiefs faithful. Matt Nagy and Dave Toub have also been asked to interview for head coaching vacancies so there are definitely more distractions on the Kansas City side of this.
Pick: Kansas City (-8.5)
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (-6.5)
I’m torn on this game. The Rams are clearly the better team, but as everyone has struggled with all season, the memories of the Falcons’ playoff run from last year is still fresh. The Falcons defense is fast — much faster than any defense the Rams have played all year — and could keep Todd Gurley in check, forcing the Rams to win on the arm of Jared Goff.
The problem here is that the Rams defense can shutdown the Falcons’ offense pretty easily. Atlanta’s offensive tendencies seem to be predictable and given that Falcons’ offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is going up against Rams’ defensive coordinator Wade Phillips here, this one could be over soon. All that being considered, Rams by a touchdown.
Pick: Los Angeles (-6.5)
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.5)
Once again, let’s hear it for Sean McDermott, who in his first year, gutted his roster of all its talent, literally gave a game away by starting Nathan Peterman against the Los Angeles Chargers, and still beat out the Baltimore Ravens and the Chargers for the final AFC playoff spot because of some tiddlywinks tiebreaker scenario for the franchise’s first postseason appearance since the 1999-2000 season.
The Bills are in a great position going forward, being loaded with draft picks, but for this game alone, they do not have the firepower to beat the Jaguars. Tyrod Taylor throws a nice deep ball, but that is not going to fly against Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. The Jaguars’ defense is going to make Tyrod run for his life early and often and if LeSean McCoy is injured, it’s going to be a rough road for the Bills. Why did I take the Bills though? The momentum of last week will lead the Bills to take an early lead against Jacksonville and that will be good enough for the cover.
The Jaguars are fun to watch and a really dynamic team. Blake Bortles is not that bad… and I can’t believe I just said that.
Pick: Buffalo (+8.5)
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-6.5)
The Saints pummeled the Panthers twice in the regular season and as expected, are 6.5-point favorites. New Orleans seems to be the new chic-pick to make the Super Bowl from the NFC, with people remembering that Case Keenum is playing quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. Drew Brees has thrown for 23 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, while Keenum has thrown for 22 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Brees has a higher quarterback rating of five points at 103.9 than Keenum.
But this isn’t about the Vikings. This is about how Drew Brees has not been that good this year (other than the last four minutes of the game against the Washington Redskins… FML) – maybe because Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have carried the load… or maybe it is because Brees is in his 16th season and since he’s not on the TB12 diet; regardless, father time has slowed him down as well.
It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season, especially one that has the same record as you and a quarterback who was in a Super Bowl as recently as two seasons ago and a pretty solid defense. Take Carolina and rest easy.
Pick: Carolina (+6.5)