One of my favorite movies growing up was Vision Quest, released in 1985. It is a story about a high school wrestler (Matthew Modine) trying to win a state championship. There is a scene where his work manager, Elmo, is getting dressed. He is talking to the Matthew before his state championship match and says…” I was in the room here one day… watchin’ the Mexican channel on TV. I don’t know nothin’ about Pele. I’m watchin’ what this guy can do with a ball and his feet. Next thing I know, he jumps in the air and flips into a somersault and kicks the ball in – upside down and backwards… the goddamn goalie never knew what the f#ck hit him. Pele gets excited and he rips off his jersey and starts running around the stadium waving it around his head. Everybody’s screaming in Spanish. I’m here, sitting alone in my room, and I start crying. That’s right, I start crying. Because another human being, a species that I happen to belong to, could kick a ball, and lift himself, and the rest of us sad-assed human beings, up to a better place to be, if only for a minute… let me tell ya, kid – it was pretty goddamned glorious. It ain’t the six minutes… it’s what happens in that six minutes.
This is how I feel about the NFL playoffs. It helps us to escape the world and make it a better place, even if it is only for a few hours. Below is my NFC Wild Card Preview and Prediction.
Detroit Lions (9-7, 2nd in the NFC North) At Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1, 1st in the NFC West) Saturday, Jan 7th.8:15 pm.
The Lions hosted the Green Bay Packers on Sunday for the NFC North title. They lost to GB 31-24. The score was not indicative of the game. The Packers dominated. Detroit will fly to Washington to play Seattle. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has had a good season. He has thrown for 4,327 yards and had a respectable 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Lions may have found something in running back Zach Zenner. The second-year player out of South Dakota State has proven to be a dual-threat out of the backfield. Over the past two weeks, Zenner is averaging over 100 yards combined from scrimmage. WR, Golden Tate had 91 receptions for 1,077 yards and 4 touchdown receptions.
The Seahawks have been hot and cold all season long. They were fortunate enough to play in a horrible division. The NFC West was as follows:
Quarterback Russell Wilson had a down year by his standards. He threw for over 4,000 yards but only had 21 passing touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Christine Michael led the team in rushing with 469 yards but he is now in a Green Bay Packers uniform. Thomas Rawls is the featured back by he is averaging only 3.2 yards per carry. WR and TE Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham combined for 159 receptions and 13 touchdowns.
Prediction: In order for Detroit to win this game Tate must have a big game matched up against DB, Richard Sherman. Wilson rushed for a career-low 259 yards on the season. If Seattle wants to win, Wilson has to rush for over 50 yards and throw for at least 250. Pete Carroll is a far superior coach than Jim Caldwell. Seattle doesn’t lose this game at home.
Seahawks 23 Detroit 13
New York Giants (11-5, 2nd in the NFC East) At Green Bay Packers (10-6, 1st in the NFC North) Sunday, Jan. 8th 4:40 pm
The Giants spent over $200 million on their defense this off-season. Their investment has paid off for them. Over the last four games, New York has given up 7, 6,24 and 10 points. Their defense has been the strong point of this team. Eli Manning and the offense has been less than spectacular. They are ranked 25th in total yards (330 per game) 17th in passing yards (242.2 per game) and 29th in rushing (88.3 per game). Odell Beckham Jr. should have over 100 receiving yards this weekend and New York may have found a featured running back in rookie Paul Perkins. Against the Redskins he carried the ball 21 times for over 100 yards.
The Packers started the season 4-6 when quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, “ I think we can run the table.” There was no panic in Rodgers. Over the past 7 games, Rodgers has not had one interception and GB hasn’t turned the ball over in 4 games. The former California Bears quarterback led the NFL in touchdowns with 40, through for over 4,400 yards, had 7 interceptions and a rating of 104.2. Rodgers should win the MVP of the league and WR, Jordy Nelson should win comeback player of the year. After sitting out all last season with an injury, Nelson had 97 receptions for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdown passes. Davante Adams had 12 touchdown receptions and would be a number one option on almost every team in the NFL. Ty Montgomery has proven to be a perfect fit as a running back and wide receiver. When the Packers had their 4 games losing streak they gave up 38.3 points per game. During their 6-game win streak, they have given up just over 19 points per game. It should be noted that in three of those four games, they were without 6x all-pro linebacker, Clay Matthews.
Prediction: The Giants and Eli have had success over the years playing at Lambeau Field but this Packers team is peaking at the right time. The only way the Giants win this game is to keep Rodgers out of the end zone and making this a low scoring game. I don’t see that happening.
Packers win 30-17.
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