Last week’s Record: Tom 11-5, Jesse 11-5
FINAL REGULAR SEASON RECORD: Tom 156-99-1, Jesse 152-103-1
THUD NFL PLAYOFF PICKS WEEK ONE: MORTAL KOMBAT
Kansas City at Indianapolis
For starters, let me just say that after the abrupt firing of Rob Chudzinski, and the rumors that Cleveland is pursuing the horrible Josh McDaniels, I can no longer root for the Browns. Jim Haslam and Joe Banner are the Wonder Twins of Suck, and I refuse to care about them anymore. The Titans are in my backyard anyway, so I may as well shift my full allegiance to Tennessee. How sad is it that I have to turn to MIKE MUNCHAK in order to get inspired? Football is dumb.
As for the game, I’ve thought the Chiefs have had “first round playoff loss” as their destiny since their opening winning streak. They’re an above-average team with an above-average coach; with their easy schedule, they should have gotten to 11 wins. I don’t think they’ll get 12, however. The Colts have been steadily improving, while the Chiefs have been downright average over the last month.
Tom: I’ll get this out of the way first–the Steelers needed a win by KC to make the playoffs…which was completely unexpected after starting 2-6. Ryan Succop missed a kick at the end of the game, so it went to OT, where KC (who started their backups) lost. There was a strange play on a fake punt in OT where it appeared that the Chiefs took the ball and returned it for a TD, but it was called back on “forward progress was stopped”. The Chargers eventually went on to kick a FG and won the game after KC could not score. The NFL this week announced that they missed a penalty on the original FG that would have given KC a 2nd chance to kick to end the game, and send Pittsburgh to the playoffs. Honestly, I’m kind of glad they missed the playoffs–finishing 6-2 and winning their final game I believe leaves a better taste in my mouth than losing in the playoffs.
Ok, now on to this game–Indy took no prisoners in dismantling the Jaguars last week, perhaps in an attempt to ride on a high into the playoffs. Conversely, Kansas City had nothing to gain by winning or losing the game vs. the Chargers, so they started backups. And still almost beat San Diego’s starters. In San Diego. Jeez. Now the starters get to travel to Indianapolis and take on the Colts, making their 2nd consecutive playoff appearance. The Colts are a huge feelgood story, maybe not as much as last year, and the Chiefs, who were terrible last year, are the “worst to first” (Ok, second, but that doesn’t rhyme) team in the AFC this year as there always seems to be at least one. Andy Reid was famous for getting the Eagle to playoffs consistently, but usually couldn’t get much further than that. I believe in Andrew Luck more than Alex Smith, and KC’s defense is nowhere what it was earlier in the season. Plus, after winning their first 9 games, the Chiefs went 2-5, losing all 5 games to 3 (played Broncos and Chargers twice) playoff teams.
New Orleans at Philadelphia
Tom: And now the NFC’s “Worst to First” team…the Eagles. After a closer than most people thought win over Dallas in the “Win and you’re in” game, where Kyle Orton went full Romo at the end of the game, Philly now gets to host the Saints. New Orleans is not good on the road this year (3-5), and historically the past few years in the playoffs, they also have not been good on the road. The defense is improved overall under former Cowboys DC Rob Ryan, and Drew Brees is still Drew Brees. This game has all the makings of a shoot-out. Both defenses are improved, but have shown weaknesses throughout the season too. I really want to go with the Saints, but for the above mentioned road woes, plus it’s gonna be cold in Philly and the Iggles have the running game to handle that. But Philadelphia has the last ranked passing defense while the Saints are 2nd in the NFL in passing offense…and that worries me.
Jesse: I’m guessing the over/under for this game will be in the low billions, with New Orleans throwing bombs and Philly running all over the Saints defense while Ryan makes dumb faces on the sidelines. (It looks like Chip Kelly’s “gimmick” offense works just fine, thank you.) If the game were in New Orleans, I would pick the Saints. It’s not, so . . .
San Diego at Cincinnati
Jesse: The Bengals have looked lousy in the playoffs the last couple of years, both times playing a Houston team that was much more talented. (How things change.) However, I think the Bengals are much, MUCH better than San Diego, who needed luck and some light sorcery to stumble into the playoffs. Outside of Eric Weddle, San Diego’s defense is crummy, and will make Andy Dalton look like a ginger dynamo. Look for Philip Rivers to make all kinds of weird faces during this game.
Tom: I don’t know if I can say much here–the Chargers had to go to OT to beat the Chiefs’ backups. Cincy took Baltimore to the woodshed to solidify their AFC North title. Unless something drastic happens to the Bengals defense, I see them moving on without much difficulty. But if Andy Dalton starts throwing picks the way he did last week, that could end the Bengals playoff run to one and done.
San Francisco at Green Bay
Tom: Somehow, some way, the Packers have made the playoffs with a record barely over .500. And the 12-win 49ers have to actually travel to Green Bay to play them. How will the California boys do in the frozen tundra? Well, all 4 of San Fran’s losses are to playoff teams, and they played Green Bay the first game of the season in San Fran and held on to win. I think it’s easier to see a team as a team of “destiny” after the fact. Yeah, the Packers had to have some things happen to get them to the playoffs, and those things did happen. The Steelers also needed a lot more help and were a missed field goal by Kansas City from making it. Would that be “destiny”? Nah, I don’t think so. We all know how good the 49ers defense is, but what worries me is the elements in Wisconsin, plus their 30th ranked passing game. Luckily they have a good rushing game to fall back on, and Green Bay’s defense is in the bottom 3rd for both passing and rushing. I can’t feel good about picking the Packers to advance in the playoffs until they actually win a game. If they win here…then it gets interesting.
Jesse: I’m a destiny guy. Some teams just have luck on their side, and it shines through at the most opportune times. Think of David Tyree’s miracle catch, or Aaron Rodgers’ amazing 4th and 8 touchdown pass at the end of last week’s game against Chicago. My brain tells me that the 49ers are too talented, and peaking at the right time, and should be able to dominate the Packers regardless of where they play. My gut tells me that Green Bay will pull off the upset. It’s destiny, people.