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01-07-2019 08:47 AM
This is typically one of the more entertaining rounds of the playoffs. You have teams that survived the wild card round coming into play teams that have had a bye week. Some teams come off the bye, healthy, refreshed and ready to play. Other teams come off the bye looking a bit lost, sluggish, and needing a quarter or two to get back into rhythm.
We start out with the Colts at the Chiefs. This is a huge test for the Colts. Andy Reid typically has his teams playing well after a bye. That home field in KC is a big advantage. The crowd will be wild and loud. The only real edge for the Colts is playoff experience. Patrick Mahomes is playing in his first playoff game and the Chief's recent record in the playoffs is pretty bad. He'll be feeling some pressure. If the Colts can get ahead early, that pressure on the Chiefs will mount. The Colts can't drift through the second half though. They've got to be on their game the whole game to win this one. Mahomes is part quarterback, part magician. He'll make plays in this game. I'm picking the Chiefs in this one. The Colts really need the Chiefs to crack under pressure to get the win. The good news is the Chiefs weren't playing as well down the stretch as they were earlier. They might have peaked too soon, but you can't count them out.
The Cowboys go to the Rams for the second game on Saturday. This will essentially be a home game for the Cowboys, just in a different stadium. No matter how well the Rams play, they just can't develop a rabid fanbase in LA. Visiting teams' fans still outnumber Rams fans in nearly every game and with the Cowboys training camp in nearby Oxnard, they have a built-in fanbase. The Dallas defense is playing very well right now, but that Ram defense will have Dak Prescott on the run. The Rams need Goff to step up and play well. They need to trust him to win the game for them and not take the ball out of his hands. The Cowboys are beatable, but the Rams need to score points to win. Seattle didn't trust Russell Wilson to win the game for some reason. The Rams need to learn that lesson and let Goff throw the ball on early downs. I'm taking the Rams, but a Cowboy win wouldn't surprise me. This is Goff's first big playoff game and who knows how he'll react.
The Chargers go to the Patriots. I've got a bad feeling about this one. The Patriots almost always get the bye and have lots of experience in the playoffs. The Chargers haven't played in bad weather much this year and the early, early forecast is for snow in New England next Sunday. An experienced, playoff veteran team, playing at home in bad weather, against a Southern California team that relies a lot on throwing the ball down the field is not a good matchup for the Chargers. I'll take the Patriots in this one. The Chargers could shock them, the Patriots aren't as good as they've been, but I still think they're good enough to get this win at home in iffy weather.
The Eagles go to New Orleans. This is becoming something of a rivalry. The Saints were convinced last year that they'd have won the Super Bowl if not for the Miracle in Minnesota where the Vikings stole the win in their playoff matchup. When the two teams met earlier this year the Saints pasted the Eagles 48-7. (Largely because the Eagles were in the middle of replacing nearly their whole secondary with guys off the street who didn't know one another or understand the positions they were playing just yet.) There was lots of talk from the Saints that the Eagles were lucky the Vikings knocked them out of the playoffs or they'd be the Super Bowl champs. I think the Eagles' players, epsecially the defense, really wanted this rematch. This could be a case of "be careful what you wish for" though. The Saints are a dangerous team. The Saints sat many of their starters in the season finale and then had the bye, so it's been three weeks since some of them have actually played in a game. They should be rested and healthy, but will they be game ready? The Saints will have a loud and rabid home crowd cheering them on. The Eagles will come in riding some momentum and wanting revenge. The Saints seemed to peak earlier in the season then drift into the playoffs. The Eagles fought their way in, winning four of their last five. So, who will win? If I was betting real world money, I'd take the Saints. Drew Brees won't let the Saints get too relaxed in preparing for this game. They just need to be sure the Eagles don't stay close. They don't want the ball in Nick Foles' hands with the game on the line. Multiple Eagles really wanted to face New Orleans. Malcolm Jenkins, the safety and former Saint, and our new little kick returner/running back Boston Scott (signed from the Saints practice squad a month or so ago) both really want to show the Saints what they're missing. It should be a good game, I'm just not wildly optimistic about the Eagle's chances in this one. Still, you never know. I'll be pulling for the Eagles, but this may be the biggest test of the entire playoffs. Playing the Saints in the Super Dome, is never easy. With a fairly healthy and rested Saints team led by Drew Brees, it's never easy. This Eagles team has momentum though. It'll be a fun game to watch.
01-07-2019 09:22 AM
The divisional game will be a test for the Colts. They've proved that they can stop the running game, but have never played Mahomes. Kelce is a concern; he and Mahomes seem to have a special connection. Mahomes doesn't seem to get rattled when under pressure. The Colts can't let up even if they have a lead.
KC defense isn't very good, and the O-line has protected Luck. They can't make mistakes which give KC an advantage. Maybe Andy Reid will mismanage the clock as he's done in the past.
I like both Foles and Brees, so I don't have a favorite in that game. Some Saints fans would have preferred playing Dallas over Philly because of Foles. The team seems to rally around Foles when he's playing and he somehow manages to have things go his way. Someone commented that it's Saints voodoo vs Foles magic.
SPURT, get the message to Jared Goff and Sean McVay about beating the Cowboys.
I don't like the weather forecast for NE. Maybe with luck the Chargers can pull off an upset. The Colts already have their Luck.. (OK, that was lame.)
01-07-2019 09:54 AM
Something to look for in the chiefs colts game. The colts ran for 200 yards against the best run defense in the league. KC is 31st in defending the run. If the colts can run that good it could be a long day for the chiefs. It will use clock and keep Mahomes off the field.
01-07-2019 10:18 AM
I am taking the Chiefs over the Colts-Andy Reid's experience along with PM and TK.
Add to that the home field, Chiefs win easily
Rams will beat Cowboys-This could be a high scoring game, and all opponents have home field advantage in LA (in any sport), Rams D line will be the diff
I am still feeling Phillip Rivers for the SB, so I am going Chargers over Patriots. Rivers said after yesterday's win, "we will just fly home, fly back east again and win another 10am start" I agree
Brees will face Rivers in the SB, according to me, so I have to go Saints over Eagles (and you are welcome, @gardenman for my guy G Tate III)
Good Luck to all teams!!
01-07-2019 10:57 AM
It'll be interesting to see if the Eagles resign Golden Tate this offseason or not. He'll be a sought after free agent, but he seems pretty happy playing in Philly. He's spent a lot of time interacting with the Philly fans and is fitting in nicely. If it's just about money, he'll likely end up elsewhere, but if it's about the whole, overall experience, he might just end up signing on with Philly.
Lots of former Eagles advise current Eagles to stay in Philly. Once they're on other teams they realize what they left behind. Many find their careers ending shortly after leaving Philly also, so there's that. Many of the guys who left the Eagles last year (Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, LeGarrette Blount, etc.) are sitting at home watching the playoffs instead of playing in them. Missing the playoffs hurts those guys. Being on unsettled teams with uncertainty at QB and shaky coaching staffs makes them aware that making the playoffs in the near future is unlikely.
Does a guy like Golden Tate re-up with the Eagles or move on? It'll be interesting to see. I think some guys (Brandon Graham for example) want to stay with the Eagles and may even take less money than they could get elsewhere. Will Golden Tate be one of those guys? I don't know, but he's having fun now and his former teammates on the Lions aren't, so maybe. We'll find out come February and March. I could see Golden Tate being sought after by Bill Belichick and the Patriots. He fits their small, sneaky fast, receiver profile they like for their slot guys.
Would he go to a losing franchise? I don't know. Winning becomes kind of addictive once you've experienced it and giving up that addiction is challenging. Philly's a nice stable place to play with a good coaching situation, stable quarterbacks by the score, smallish egos, and a die-hard fanbase. There aren't a lot of places like that in the NFL these days.
01-07-2019 01:41 PM
@gardenman you are pulling for the Eagles. Are you actually picking them to win? My picks are identical to yours except I'm choosing New Orleans.
01-07-2019 05:04 PM
01-07-2019 05:07 PM - edited 01-07-2019 05:18 PM
I got 3 out of 4 right on Wild Card Games ---
OK lets go to the next Playoff round:
Colts vs Chiefs --- I think the Colts are the hot team right now. They are playing well on both sides of the ball and of course they have Adam Vinateri...the legendary place kicker. The Chiefs have "the wonder" kid. But the Chiefs have a problem with defense. Arrowhead is a tough place for opponents to play. Mahomes might make mistakes this being a playoff game. I'm going with the hot team and the team with Luck, Andrew Luck that is....I'm taking the Colts for the win!
Cowboys vs Rams----Zeke and the Cowboys o-lines and defense are their keys to victory...The Rams need to stop Zeke and put the game on Dak's back for the Rams to get the win! The Ram's D and all those high paid free agents need to step up their game .....the Rams need to use a balanced attack with their QB Goff and their RB Gurley. Im going with the Rams for the victory.....
Chargers vs Patriots---What's that song---"the old gray mare aint what she used to be". This may apply to the Patriots, but they are a very dangerous team.....you give Tom Brady and Gronk time off to rest up, and Beli time to put together a game plan and scheme and the Chargers are in for a dog fight. The Chargers have fiesty Philip Rivers, and the Pat's D isn't as formidable as the Ravens, but the Pats have the G.O.A.T.....This should be an interesting game, and I know all signs point to the Pats----did I also mention they are playing at home, but Im going with the upset and the Chargers !
Eagles vs Saints----When Nick Foles is the QB, things just seem to go the right way for the Eagles. Foles has decent weapons--Tate, Ajayi, Jeffrey, Ertz etc. Jenkins and Cox are tough on the D line and will put the pressure on. The Saints have Brees, and an improved running game. Saints WR Thomas named All-Pro, and 4 Saints players were selected as second-team All-Pros: QB Drew Brees, DE Cameron Jordan and OTs Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk. The question is will the Saint's D show up. The Saints have a big advantage playing in the Super Dome. I bet there are a few people in the Eagle circles hoping Foles's luck runs out because if Foles wins another game it might cause chaos in the Eagles's QB future and cause them to maybe re-think their QB plans.... But no worries Eagle fans, I'm going with the Saints!
Good Luck Everyone!
01-07-2019 05:22 PM - edited 01-07-2019 07:54 PM
My brother's team is the Rams (has been for a long time since back when Kurt Warner played there). So Im asking him to put the pressure on the Rams to beat the Cowboys
01-07-2019 06:24 PM
Interesting. The Packers are hiring Matt LaFleur as their new head coach. He was the Titan's offensive coordinator and has never been a head coach at any level. He's mostly worked with quarterbacks through his career, so he has that going for him. He'll need to hire a really good defensive coordinator. He's a young guy, just four years older than Aaron Rodgers. I didn't see many Titans games this year, but I don't remember their offense being all that special. The good news is being the first team to hire a guy gives him the pick of assistants.
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