Posts Tagged ‘Divisional Round Week’

Overall: 160-100
Last Week: 3-1

Chiefs @ Patriots

Fuck Tom Brady. The Chiefs predictably pounded the Texans last week. But that’s where the improbable Alex Smith run ends. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see the Patriots choke a home playoff game away. I sincerely doubt the probability of that happening against Alex Smith’s Kansas City Chiefs as coached by Andy Reid. Since Jamaal Charles’ injury, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware have been running the ball. With Jeremy Maclin very likely out for this game, all Belicheat has to do is take Travis Kelce away in order to stifle Kansas City’s offense. Unless Alex Smith plays out of his mind, the Patriots will post too many points for the Chiefs to catch up to by kicking field goals.

Win: New England Patriots

Packers @ Cardinals

In terms of pure entertainment value, Green Bay against Arizona might be the sneaky best matchup of the week. The Packers are not a good football team. Green Bay wins and loses on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers. Their offensive line hasn’t given Rodgers enough room to operate, but the Packers looked vastly improved last week. I would not be shocked to see Aaron Rodgers create havoc for Arizona’s defense—particularly if Rodgers uses his legs to breathe new life into broken plays. The Cardinals are a good football team. But like all things Arizona, they are rather unspectacular. Bruce Arians will put the Cardinals in the best position to win, but I just don’t know if Arizona can survive if Green Bay bottles up David Johnson on the ground. A shootout favors Arizona with their penchant for big plays, but the Packers could pull off a mighty upset with another dominating running attack. The Cardinals (especially their annoying bandwagon fans) are still riding high after recently wiping the floor with Green Bay, but Arizona should be on red alert with Rodgers lurking.

Win: Arizona Cardinals

Seahawks @ Panthers

Fuck the 12th Man. Hipster Michael Myers did it again. After being left for dead yet again, Seattle rose from their grave and continued their crazed murderous streak. The Seahawks had no business winning that fucking game. This team is so fucking insufferable. It’s torturous listening to Russell Wilson give generic athlete speak and credit God for all things good. He’s a soulless pod person. Since Seattle doesn’t deserve to be in this game, the Seahawks will continue personifying Michael Myers by stabbing Cam Newton in the chest on their way to claiming a victory in Carolina. You know it is happening. Collectively, everyone outside of the Pacific Northwest hates this boring team too much for them to not unjustly advance to another round. If the world is as cruel and unforgiving as I fear, we’re headed straight for a Super Bowl rematch.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

Steelers @ Broncos

Grimace

If the Broncos beat the Steelers this week, Denver owes bounty hunter Vontaze Burfict his dues for taking out Le’Veon Bell ($10,000) and Antonio Brown ($8,000) and maiming Rapistberger ($2,000). We all deserve one last Brady-Manning battle before Peyton sets off in the sunset. Let’s hope that Week 17 wasn’t an aberration because it would be a shame to see Manning’s health break down yet again. Denver shouldn’t be sleeping on the Steelers. Rapistberger has a long history of over-exaggerating injuries to build himself up to hero status so don’t be shocked to see that happen again. If Pittsburgh is going to win, they need Big Ben to turn back the clock. The Broncos defense is susceptible to being passed on, but I don’t believe the Steelers will be able to put away Denver without their full complement of weapons. However, Mike Tomlin will surely pull out all the stops in a desperate attempt to upset Denver so all trick plays and onside kicks are on the table. I wouldn’t trust Gary Kubiak with anything mildly important, which scares the shit out of me when watching the final moments of any close Broncos game. We don’t know the true health of either QB so this could be a complete toss-up.

Win: Denver Broncos

Overall: 167-93
Last Week: 4-0

Ravens @ Patriots

Gronk

Tom Brady hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 2004. Since his last Super Bowl title, Tom Brady is 9-8 in the playoffs while making the postseason in 8 years. Yet no one speaks a word about his recent stretch of futility. It’s sacrilegious. Everyone wants to tout the success of Brady during those 3 Super Bowl runs when the New England Patriots had one of the most dominant defenses in all of football with a stacked team and arguably the greatest strategic head coach. Nope, it’s all Tom Terrific.

If any franchise has been kryptonite for Tom Brady, it’s the Baltimore Ravens. Everyone and their mother are playing up the hype of Baltimore’s recent matchups against New England. What’s the missing piece that no one wants to bring up? Rob fucking Gronkowski. The Patriots won the one time The Gronk was healthy and played against the Ravens. Rob Gronkowski is the most physically imposing, dominant TE that I’ve ever seen play the position. He’s a man-child, but he towers over everyone. Gronkowski literally hurls defenders into cameras when he’s asked to block. He can catch any throw within a radius of 10 feet from his body.

Rob Gronkowski is the MVP of 2014. And if he stays healthy, he’ll be the MVP of the 2015 postseason. No one has an answer for him. If you double-team the TE, everything else opens up—the underneath routes, intermediate passing lanes, and the seam are all there for huge plays. While Baltimore has had success covering TEs this season, John Harbaugh is just as crazy as Jim Harbaugh if he thinks Will Hill can cover Gronk. Expect a huge impact from Rob Gronkowski, which will be the difference-maker in this game.

Good luck to any man who dares to get in that monster’s way.

Win: New England Patriots, 35-27

Panthers @ Seahawks

The Carolina Panthers are the one team that the Seattle Seahawks did not want to see in this Divisional Round. For whatever reason, Carolina is able to make these games ugly and slug it out with Seattle. I was all set to ride the Panthers to an upset this week, but then the news broke that Carolina would be without DT Star Lotulelei. Without their biggest presence in the middle, the Panthers will be very susceptible to Marshawn Lynch gashing them for gigantic, spirit-crushing runs. As long as Russell Wilson can convert on 3rd Down, the Seahawks shouldn’t have much of an issue with Cam Newton and Carolina today. If the Panthers can take out either Marshawn Lynch or Russell Wilson with an injury, then Carolina has an opportunity to stifle Seattle’s offensive attack and win on the strength of their defense. There’s not enough talent on offense for the Panthers to pull out a victory if their defense isn’t dominant.

Win: Seattle Seahawks, 24-17

Cowboys @ Packers

If anyone has ever had a calf cramp, you know it is debilitating. Now imagine straining your calf with tiny little tears in the muscle, and you are a professional athlete that excels based on your athletic ability. Mobility is what makes Aaron Rodgers special. He’s still elite when passing in the pocket, but turning a negative play into a positive by breaking a run and moving the chains by throwing on the run are those uber-elite traits that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning don’t possess. A QB that can harness that power is unstoppable. But no one has done it just yet. Can Aaron Rodgers perform at 75% of that level?

I’m concerned Rodgers will pop his calf if he tries to run. Even if he doesn’t attempt to escape out of pure instinct, there’s a high probability of re-injury if the offensive line can’t protect him. Despite all of the questions and uncertainty, I have faith that Green Bay can run the ball down Dallas’ throat with Eddie Lacy. Whether Mike McCarthy has the commitment to run is a different story. Although I like Tony Romo, this game feels like the Monday morning sports radio hot topic will undeservedly be Romo in big moments. Tony Romo is capable of winning this game. I’m just not counting on it. Chalk all the way.

Win: Green Bay Packers, 27-24

Colts @ Broncos

Since 2004, Peyton Manning is 8-7 in the playoffs with a Super Bowl title (more recently than Tom Brady) while making the postseason in 8 years. But no, he wilts under pressure. Let’s not take into account his consistently lackluster defenses and all-around supporting casts. It’s ridiculous that Manning wears that L for the 2012 playoff loss when Rahim “Daydream” Moore screwed up his one job as a safety and Baltimore streaked on to win the Super Bowl they didn’t deserve. It’s just easier to continue the agreed-upon narrative that Peyton Manning isn’t good in the playoffs.

In the last few weeks of the season, Peyton Manning was obviously crippled by a thigh injury that sapped even more authority from his throws. Call them wounded ducks if you want. Those wounded ducks go for touchdowns. As long as the Denver offensive line can pick up blitzes and protect Peyton, Manning will be able to throw against Indianapolis with success. But still expect C.J. Anderson to run the ball all over the Colts. A punishing running game is the best weapon for the Broncos right now.

The two biggest differences between the Patriots and Broncos this season are New England’s defense and Rob Gronkowski. Denver’s defense is not up to the same level as New England. The Patriots play together as a unit swarming to the ball and have Darrelle Revis to shut down receivers. Like the old Colts with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, the Broncos can play extremely well with a 10-point lead by rushing the passer with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. But there are still issues with safeties in coverage and Denver has an underwhelming LB group that can’t stay healthy. And imagine if Peyton Manning had a Gronk. Even when he’s fully healthy, former basketball player Julius Thomas is barely 1/3 of the TE that Rob Gronkowski is for New England. Not only is Julius Thomas not healthy, but Demaryius Thomas might also not be healthy for tomorrow’s game. With whatever MASH unit takes the field on Sunday, I expect Peyton Manning to defeat his old team and their new stud QB. Andrew Luck will have his moments this Sunday and in the future. But this is still Peyton Manning’s time. He is a leader of men.

Peyton Manning is Greg Maddux and Tom Brady is John Smoltz.
Even now, I’ll still take Greg Maddux and his surgical precision.

Win: Denver Broncos, 33-24

Last Week: 2-2
Overall: 162-95-1

Saints @ Seahawks

Each week, I listen to sports talk radio driving to work, while at work, and driving home from work. While everyone seems to think New Orleans did something magical last week, the Saints went on the road to upset a mediocre Eagles team that barely beat Kyle Orton to make the playoffs. No one is giving the Saints a snowball’s chance in hell to win in Seattle. This playoff match-up figures to be closer than the previous game, but the windy/rainy conditions will limit offensive output and a defensive struggle favors the Seahawks. Toying with the return and potential of Percy Harvin, Seattle will feature the run and possibly even a few play action boots while mixing in only a handful of touches for Harvin. Don’t expect an upset from New Orleans, but temper expectations for Seattle because they’ll struggle to post monster offensive numbers against either San Francisco or Carolina in the next round.

Win: Seattle Seahawks, 23-16

Colts @ Patriots

While the final score wasn’t the same, I predicted last week’s surge from Kansas City in the first half and the resulting Andrew Luck comeback to pad his young resume. Although I’d love to see Luck pull another horseshoe out of his ass this week, Indianapolis just does not match up well with New England. Regardless of injuries, the Patriots can blanket T.Y. Hilton with Aqib Talib to stifle the passing game and the Colts will struggle to run consistently—though Donald Brown might be able to gain 4.0 per carry without Vince Wilfork taking up real estate. I’m anticipating a run-heavy approach from New England given another windy/rainy afternoon, which will coax another comeback attempt from Luck. Ultimately, the Colts are still rebuilding with way too many holes on offense and defense to hang with the likes of the Patriots or Broncos unless they receive a handful of breaks and Luck strikes.

Win: New England Patriots, 44-35

49ers @ Panthers

Although this could be a close outcome, the 49ers-Panthers match-up may also end up being the most brutal and unwatchable game of the playoffs—rivaling last week’s Chargers-Bengals encounter. San Francisco is scorching hot heading into this game, but the 49ers were upset by Carolina earlier this season. However, San Francisco now has Michael Crabtree to add another passing threat while Carolina will have to relegate Steve Smith to a decoy role due to injuries. I predict I’ll fall asleep on the couch watching this boring game waiting for the real action to happen later on with Peyton Manning in prime time. Unless Cam Newton kicks it into Superman gear, the Panthers will struggle to score touchdowns.

Win: San Francisco 49ers, 16-12

Chargers @ Broncos

Rivers

I hate Philip Rivers’ stupid face. And he’ll always be a jackass who jaws at opposing fans like a child on a temper tantrum. Still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t somewhat scared by the chance that San Diego will catch a lucky break with a Denver turnover on special teams. Plus, the Broncos defense has been merely average most of the year, and they’ll be without both Derek Wolfe and Von Miller. Fortunately, I expect John Fox to wisely feature the run with Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball with Peyton Manning surgically dissecting the San Diego defense when necessary. Just stay away from Eric Weddle because he’s the one true playmaker for the Chargers. Even though this could turn into a battle of each team’s RBs, I expect this match-up to post the second most points this week—since New England could rather easily go even as high as 50 on the Indianapolis defense. Ultimately, I think the year ends with the best 4 teams duking it out with the Patriots against the Broncos and 49ers against the Seahawks.

Win: Denver Broncos, 34-27