I went 4-0 in my Wild Card Weekend Predictions. I went against the grain and did some outside the box thinking. It was the first time in the history of the NFL that all 4 road teams won. There will be a ton of movie quotes in this article… so I can’t just pick 1 theme.
Kansas City Chiefs 30…Houston Texans 0:
Houston we have a problem. You can take Bryan Hoyer of the Browns but you can’t take the Browns out of Bryan Hoyer. In one of the ugliest performances in the history of playoff football, Hoyer was 15 of 34 for 136 yards, 0 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. This was the quarterback that Johnny Manziel couldn’t beat out in Cleveland? Houston’s all-world defensive lineman J.J. Watt will undergo groin surgery. Apparently he has been struggling with groin issues for the past 6 weeks. If that is the case, why were the Texans using Watt to run the ball on the goal line. You are telling me, that a defensive player who is about 70% is a better option at running the ball than your running backs? Horrible play calling, horrible display of football by the Texans. Unless they get a competent quarterback they won’t be a factor in a division that will have a healthy Andrew Luck and an up and coming star in Marcus Mariota next year.
Pittsburgh Steelers 18… Cincinnati Bengals 16:
How to blow a game in 3 easy steps. What if I told you… an unproven, young quarterback, would lead his team to 3 fourth quarter scores in a playoff game, it is like a movie right? (Add in the fact that the Bengals had the ball… with the lead… with under three minutes left to play) You would say Cincinnati wins the game and it is a story book ending. Stop at a Whammie!
The Bengals fumbled the ball and committed several egregious unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and lost the game 18-16. Antonio Brown left the game after a brutal hit. (Brown was knocked out in the air). Bengal’s defensive back Adam Jones said, “I know Brown was faking.” My rebuttal… How does one fake a concussion? Marvin Lewis is now 0-7 in the playoffs. How does he still have a job after this latest debacle?
Seattle Seahawks 10… Minnesota Vikings 9
Laces Out Dan: “It was all that Dan Marino’s fault, everyone knows that. If he had held the ball, laces out, like he was supposed to, Ray would never have missed that kick” (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective 1994).
This game was a “Snooze Fest” untill the 4th quarter. Both teams couldn’t move the ball and couldn’t establish anything on offense. It was one of the coldest games in the history of the NFL. With time running out, Vikings kicker Blair Walsh (Who made three FG’s during the game) missed a 27 yarder with 22 seconds left to play. Walsh hooked it left and he has now missed 3 Game winning FG’s since 2012. That is the most of any kicker. A lot of people on social media were saying that Seattle is just lucky. No, they are good. You know who isn’t lucky, the Jets, Browns, Raiders and any team Rex Ryan coaches. You know why they aren’t lucky? They don’t make the playoffs. The Seahawks went to back-to-back Super Bowls for a reason, they are talented and well coached. Running back Adrian Peterson fumbled the ball and had 23 carries for 45 yards. When the Vikings needed Peterson the most, he came up short.
Green Bay Packers 35… Washington Redskins 18
The truth always comes out in the end: No disrespect to the Redskins or their fans but they did not beat a team that had a winning record all season long. The good news is they may have found their quarterback in Kirk Cousins. The former Michigan State Spartan passed for 4,166 yards and had 29 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. Cousins completed 75% of his passes at home this season.
Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots:
The Chiefs have been on a historic run. They have won 11 straight games and have dominated their opponents. During these 11 games, KC has outscored their opponents 281-138. (They are averaging 25.5 points per game and giving up on 12.5 points during this stretch). WR, Jeremy Maclin is dealing with a high ankle sprained and will probably be limited. QB, Alex Smith has been efficient but continues to be a “Game Manger”
From 2009-2013, the Patriots had a December record of 43-5. That is not the case this year, New England has lost 4 out of their last 6 games. The good news Tom Brady should have his offense healthy for the first time in 6 weeks. Wide Recievers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman should pose as a triple threat with TE Rob Gronkowski. Last year in the playoffs, Brady completed 68% of his passes and had 10 touchdowns 4 interceptions. It won’t sell any papers or make headlines but NE getting their offensive Tackle back, Sebastian Vollmer, is huge for them.
The Chiefs have one of the best defenses in the NFL and Brady will be tested. But, can Smith make enough plays and score over 20 points on the road in a hostile environment? No way, Brady will do what he has to and beat the Chiefs at home. New England 27 Chiefs 17
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals:
The Packers started off slow in their playoff game against the Washington Redskins. Head Coach Mike McCarthy made a great in-game adjustment. Green Bay’s offense was sluggish and he went to a hurry up offense. This wore out the Redskins in the 2nd half. GB outscored WASH. 35-13 after the first quarter. I also liked how he got WR Randall Cobb more involved. He put Cobb in the backfield and he had 5 carries for 24 yards. It was a nice wrinkle to the game plan. The Packers rushed for 141 yards, they will have to continue this against the Cardinals to open up their passing game.
Arizona finished the season 13-3. In my pre-season article I wrote that the Buffalo Bills, the Cincinnati Bengals and Cardinals have the most talented rosters in the NFL. Rex Ryan missed the playoffs for the 5th straight year as a head coach and Marvin Lewis is now 0-7 in the post-season. The Cardinals don’t have this problem, Bruce Arians is proving to be an elite coach. In three years he has compiled a record of 10-6, 11-5 and 13-3. Quarterback Carson Palmer has been revitalized under Arians. Palmer was ranked in the top 10 in almost every category. He threw for 4,471 yards, 35 touchdowns,11 interceptions and had a QBR of 104.6. WR Larry Fitzgerald and Josh Brown combined for over 2,200 yards and 16 touchdowns. Their “3rd WR, Michael Floyd, had over 800 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. When they aren’t throwing the ball all over the field the Cardinals found themselves a great running back. Because of injuries, David Johnson started 5 games, he has over 581 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns. This Arizona team has no big weaknesses. The question here is did the Packers find something last week and have they solved their season long issues? I don’t like the fact that the Packers played Sunday night and now they are playing Saturday night. Horrible job by the NFL! Every team in the playoffs should get a full week of preparation. These two teams met on December 27th and the Cardinals won 38-8. In that game, AZ had a season high, 9 sacks.
The Packers were outplayed and outcoached. AZ will come into this game over confident. Seattle did the same thing, after defeating the Vikings 38-7 they barely got by them last week in the playoffs 10-9. The Packers are my second favorite team and if they can keep this game close they can pull the upset in the 4th quarter. My heart tells me Packers, my mind tells me something different. To quote pop star Selena Gomez, “The heart wants what it wants.”
Aaron Rodgers is the reigning MVP for a reason…. If he plays his best game… I like the Packers in a colossal upset 31-27.
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina:
I can’t look at Seattle’s game last week (in minus 20 degree weather) against the Minnesota Vikings as the norm. They survived (10-9) and advanced to the next round. These two teams are mirror images of each other. Both rely on defense, elite corners and their quarterback to make plays. Most likely, Cam Newton will be the MVP of the NFL. He has led his team to a 15-1 record and had 45 total touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. If Newton doesn’t win the MVP it should go to Russell Wilson. The former Wisconsin Badger is the only quarterback in the history of the NFL to throw for over 4,000 yards, rush for over 500 yards and have 30 or more touchdowns. He also completed 68.1% of his passes this year, compared to Newton’s 59.8%.
I can break down both defenses but to save time I will just tell you what you need to know. Both teams are fast, physical and impose their will. They both have elite CB (Seattle Richard Sherman and Carolina Josh Norman). The Panthers have one of the best linebackers in the NFL in Luke Kuechly. I don’t know if Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch will play but this is Wilson’s team now. This game is a toss-up, but I like the two time NFC Champions to find a way to win. Until Seattle loses a playoff game I will keep believing in them. I like the Seahawks 23-20.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
This two teams met in Denver on December 30th. The Steelers won the game 34-27. QB Ben Roethlisberger threw 55 times for 380 yards and 3 touchdown passes. WR Antonio Brown caught 16 passes for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. Roethlisberger was a guest on 93.7 The Fan and said that he did tear ligaments in his shoulder. Roethlisberger also has a sprained AC joint to show for the hit he took from Vontze Burfict last Saturday night. Roethlisberger left the game after the hit, but returned for the game-winning drive. Brown left the game with a concussion and is not sure if he will play this weekend. Even if “Big Ben” plays I don’t know how effective he will be because of his injuries. This is a perfect scenario for Denver. Playing a team that may not be able to score. It looks like Peyton Manning will start at QB for the Broncos. I don’t agree with this move at all. Manning is coming off an injury and his worst season as a pro. In 9 games he had 9 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. In his last start, (November 15th against the Kansas City Chiefs) Manning was 5 for 20 for 35 yards and threw 4 interceptions. If Roethlisberger and Brown are healthy I like the Steelers to win this game 27-20…. If not you will have to take the Broncos 17-13 in an ugly game.
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