Friday, January 15, 2016

(Unexpected) NFL Playoff Picks

* Arizona over Green Bay
Well, here’s a post I didn’t plan on writing.  As I said last week, I’d predict the rounds of the NFL playoffs as long as the Packers were involved, fully expecting them to lose to Washington.  Instead, Green Bay played its best overall game in months, laying the smack down on Washington and advancing to Arizona.  Even the first quarter and half was the same stultifying Packers offense we’ve become sadly used to in recent weeks until they seemed to just flip a switch and suddenly looked like the smoothly-run offense of old.  I’m not complaining at all, I’m just surprised.

Well, maybe complaining a *bit* since a first-round exit might’ve gotten Mike McCarthy closer to fired, but c’est la vie.  I’m certainly not expecting another upset this week.  Whereas Washington was a pretty flawed team, the Cardinals have been destroying teams all season, including the Packers themselves in Week 16.  A rested, prepared Arizona club should have little trouble dispatching the Packers, and right now, the Cards are my pick to take the Super Bowl.

* Carolina over Seattle
That’s right, I’m continuing to disrespect the Panthers by already having Arizona take the NFC, so tough break, 15-1 team.  At least I’m giving Carolina the duke over Seattle when seemingly everyone is expecting the Panthers to fold.  It seems a little too simple to just assume the Seahawks have gone into kill-mode and will roll through the Panthers, especially since it’ll be Seattle’s third road game in as many weeks, they played in Arctic conditions last week in Minnesota, and (not to be ignored) they barely won that game.  I’m not ready to crown the Seahawks just yet, especially when Carolina has been so good all year.

* New England over Kansas City

Man, part of me reaaaaalllly wants me to take the Chiefs here.  When you have a random Team A who’s won 11 straight games facing a Team B who’s been decimated by injuries, I think most would take the former…but here, Team A is coached by Andy Reid and Team B is the dynasty of the 21st century.  I feel like New England’s defense might keep KC enough in check that it won’t completely matter that Gronkowski, Edelman, literally every offensive lineman and even Brady himself are all some degree of banged up.  Then again, predicting something like a 14-10 game is also difficult since if it’s low-scoring, the Chiefs could just as easily come out on top.  Arghhhhh

* Denver over Pittsburgh

I’m chickening out and just taking the home teams in every matchup, looks like.  Boo to me for my lack of intestinal fortitude.  I would’ve certainly considered Pittsburgh had a) Antonio Brown been playing or b) if Roethlisberger wasn’t the walking wounded.  Even if it comes down to a Manning vs. Roethlisberger battle of who’s in worse shape, I’ll take Osweiler over Landry Jones in a battle of the backups if it comes to that.

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