I’m back in Toronto, just in time to give you all my predictions for this weekend’s NFL post-season action!
This game is remarkable for spotlighting two of the most unremarkable teams to make this year’s playoffs. Sure, the Chiefs were great – for about five weeks at the beginning of the season, but like an underachieving remedial school slacker, they were terrible for a long stretch mid-season, then turned it on late to eke out a post-season appearance. They have a formidable running back in Kareem Hunt and one of the league’s better offensive lines but a Jekyll and Hyde passing attack and a suspect defense. Their opponents, the Tennessee Titans, made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth and while they boast some impressive weapons as well, they have suffered from the absence of star quarterback Marcus Mariota. Yes, yes, I know that, technically, he has been starting.
Chiefs on account of them being well-rested given that they’ve only shown up to play half the season.
Chiefs 27 Titans 14
Honestly, after last season’s epic Super Bowl meltdown, the Falcons should have done the honorable thing and just packed it in, dissolved the organization, and given up their position in the NFC South to younger, less embarrassing blood. Sure, their run game is solid and quarterback Matt Ryan can work the occasional miracle, but what ever happened to Julio Jones? The Rams, on the other hand, are a high-powered offense lead by Todd Gurley who single-handedly won 90% of this year’s fantasy football championships for his owners. Critics are quick to point to quarterback Jared Goff’s post-season inexperience and, while that’s true, so what? He powered them to an 11-5 regular season record. [Erratum: In an earlier version of this article, I referred to the Rams starting QB as Case Keenum who is, in fact, the Vikings’ starting QB although, to be honest, I’m not fully convinced they’re not the same guy].
The Rams are the far better team. Also, someone, please, put the Falcons out of my misery.
Rams 34 Falcons 13
As the best team in the AFC East not the Patriots, I want to root for the Bills. They have an exciting young quarterback in Tyrod Taylor and a terrific running back in LeSean McCoy, but that late season trade for Kelvin Benjamin hasn’t exactly panned out and Tyrod’s favorite receiver, tight end Charles Clay, just hasn’t been the same since that mid-season knee injury. The Jaguars lead by their fearsome defense while quarterback Blake Bortles, long the punchline of many a joke during the regular season, has suddenly turned it on. He is on fire!
Sacksonville is going to make Tyrod Taylor look like Nate Peterman.
Jaguars 40 Bills 3
This game has the distinction of being the sole wildcard match-up with two really good teams. On the one hand, you have the Saints and their two-headed offensive beast in Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, cool-under-pressure quarterback Drew Bees, and an under-appreciated defense. On the other hand, you have a Panthers aerial attack that is nigh unstoppable when quarterback Cam Newton is in a groove. That’s “when” he’s in a groove.
Some could argue that the Saints have looked less than impressive of late, just doing enough to win – and not exactly succeeding half the time. Still, they’re playing at home, the Panthers D has looked suspect, and, really, I have to go river boat over showboat every time.
Saints 37 Panthers 21
7 thoughts on “January 5, 2018: Your NFL Wildcard Weekend Preview and Predictions!”
Can’t believe another season of college football ends this weekend. That sure went fast.
I think the Cowboys will win it all.
That’s some kind of sports thing you’re talking about, right? 😉
Storm update – here in coastal NB, we had about 20cm, but then it turned into heavy rain most of the night and we only had the winds at the very end of the storm. However, the temps dropped quickly when the rain was done, leaving everything icy. Including my driveway. Ugh.
Oh, there’s an extreme cold warning again! Yay!
Here in Melbourne, Australia we’re looking at a daytime temperature of 42°C (107°F)! No air-conditioning where I’m living so if it gets unbearable I might have to go down to the beach for a swim. Luckily the beach is only a few minutes walk away. My weather sensor is reporting 39.2°C at the moment (1:30pm).
I think I would have to just go lie in the water until it got dark!
Do you actually go to sleep or was DM’s Android based on you? Between writing, pitching, reading, eating, and business trips as well as your home life, how do you have time to keep up with all the teams?
Land war in Asia, Chiefs winning at home in the playoffs.