After enduring 17 weeks of mediocrity, the real stuff is finally upon us. Saturday afternoon, the NFL Playoffs commence with Wild Card Weekend. Despite the large “spreads” in each of the 4 impending games, expect entertaining, competitive football. And if all 4 games turn into blowouts, it beats the hell out of shoveling snow….
Tennessee Titans (5) @ Kansas City Chiefs (4) – 4:20 P.M. EST on ESPN
The Kansas City Chiefs’ season started on as high of a note as possible. They beat up the defending Super Bowl Champion, New England Patriots (42-27), in Foxborough, sending a message to the rest of the league. They started the season 5-0, and climbed to the top of the NFL Power Rankings. And then, the wheels started to fall off. They lost 6 of their next 7, including a loss to my wretched New York Jets. And then, the Chiefs flipped another switch, winning their final 4 games. You figure it out….
All you need to know about the Tennessee Titans is Marcus Mariota threw more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (13) this season. Also, Demarco Murray has been ruled out for this game. While the Chiefs aren’t a blow-you-out kind of offense, this is the 1 game that may get out of hand this weekend.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Titans 20
Atlanta Falcons (6) @ Los Angeles Rams (3) – 8:15 P.M. EST on NBC
If going out in -2° is your thing, enjoy!! For the rest of the normal people out there, Saturday Night Football will keep you warm. Expect a high scoring affair between the ‘new look’ Rams and the defending NFC Champion, Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have had a weird season. Some call it a Super Bowl Hangover. I call it regression to the mean. At no point throughout this season did I think the Falcons were a good team. Matt Ryan certainly didn’t play anywhere near his 2016 MVP level, and their backfield was littered with injuries all season.
We all saw what the Rams are capable of when they walloped the Seahawks 42-7 (Week 15). I don’t anticipate a whooping of those proportions, however, I do think they win handily. Todd Gurley will prove why he SHOULD be this season’s MVP.
Prediction: Rams 34, Falcons 27
To Sunday we go….
Buffalo Bills (6) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3) – 1:05 P.M. EST on CBS
The Buffalo Bills are hoping to continue their celebration from Week 17. After not having made the playoffs since 1999, advancing to the Divisional Round, aka the get routed by the Patriots round, would be the overachievement of the century. With Lesean McCoy’s health in question, I see little chance of that happening.
The only way the Bills win this game is if Blake Bortles throws 3 interceptions and Lesean McCoy hits 100 yards rushing. Yes, Bortles is a walking interception, but I think the combination of the Jaguars’ defense and Leonard Fournette will ultimately be too much for the Bills too handle.
Prediction: Jaguars 23, Bills 17
Carolina Panthers (5) @ New Orleans Saints (4) – 4:40 P.M. EST on FOX
3rd time’s the charm?? The Carolina Panthers certainly hope so. The New Orleans Saints swept the season series with the Panthers. Yes, Cam Newton’s ceiling is WAY higher than most, but this isn’t his year. His own team traded away his top receiver (Kelvin Benjamin). Greg Olsen hasn’t been right all year. And their usually strong secondary, isn’t what it used to be.
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Saints aren’t what they used to be either — in a good way. The Saints actually have a defense worth writing home about. I guess firing Rob Ryan was a good idea. WHO KNEW?! They have the best rushing attack in the NFL. And Drew Brees is still, well, Drew Brees.
Prediction: Saints 30, Panthers 24
Who do you think will win this weekend?? Post your predictions in the comment section below.
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