TEXAS CHAINSTORE MANAGER, Sat, Jan 7th, 3pm
There is no team I’m more disappointed and underwhelmed with leading in to the 2017 playoffs than the Houston Texans. This sorry ass team had Superbowl aspirations at the beginning of the season. Then the JJ Watt was injury. Has anyone picked up any type of slack on their defense since then? So why are they here? Well, they basically beat out every team in their division, which happens to be the worst division in football. Meanwhile, with three weeks left in the season, Coach Bill O’Brien benched his franchise QB, Brock Osweiler for Tom Savage, a fourth round pick a distant relative of Drake Savage, who I love.
Of course, because the entire world is against Bill O’Brien, Savage got injured immediately, and Brock had to come to the rescue after just having his nuts clipped. Not a good look for O’Brien, the only coach heading in to the playoffs likely to be fired after this season.
Meanwhile, things were cooking on all gangs in Oakland, until golden boy QB, and potential MVP Candidate Derek Carr, was injured, resulting to them going to a backup QB. Same situation, except Carr was the guy, and now Connor Cook will have to take the reigns. This could work out greatly for the Raiders. If by any chance Cook, likely to start the game, destroys the Texans in a playoff game, they will be able to trade him next season to a team desperate for a QB. He’s untouched, barely a rookie, and won’t see any signs of playing before Derek Carr leaves the Raiders a decade from now if he stays on the team. If they trade him and get something back, that’s a win! Sort of like the way Michael Crabtree won this fight against Aqib Talib this week by NOT retaliating. Remember Kids: When someone rips off your gold chain from you neck, kids, fight them at Wrestlemania, or don’t fight them at all.
The Texans are playing at home. They got slaughtered by KC last year in the playoffs. The eb’s and flows of their season will fuel them to right the ship in the 11th hour, and handle their business in Houston.
Hats off to the Raiders, but they are the team of the future in the NFL, not the present.
The Texans suck in several ways, but they get the win, and advance to the next round only to get likely embarrassed by New England, so we can all have a big laugh over that.
SEA, I TOLD YOU!!!, Sat, Jan 7, 7pm
Usually, there’s one trap game on Wild Card weekend. I think this is the one, and I think trap in question is one that would make Hayley Mills proud.
For starters, I don’t think the mojo the Seahawks have carried around all season has been a positive one. They’ve fought each other on the sidelines. They fought their coaches. Players are threatening retirement. I mean, come on. Enough already.
I’m insanely annoyed with Richard Sherman, who put icing on his hate cake by waging war on the media this week, boycotting answering questions from local media leading up to this game. I guess it’s better than threatening a person with his job, like he did several weeks ago.
I will say this: Sherman has really played well this year. So has his team. So at the end of the day, a win does wash away sins. I don’t like the fact that Arizona almost came back and beat them last week when they had their foots on their throats.
Seattle has to know that Atlanta is the golden road to the NFC Championship, not Dallas. So they’re lucky they got their third seed, for now.
Matchup wise, I like Seattle this week. Karmatically, I hate them. They owe the football gods one for that Blair Walsh missed field goal from last year. Blair Walsh lost his job this year, but they way. I like the Lions offense. I don’t like their defense much. I don’t see them going far at all in the playoffs, but I see them winning, or darn sure coming close to winning this game. Stafford has a mistake free game. I look for their kicker Matt Prater to be the MVP of this game. I think ex-Seahawk Golden Tate will bite his team by catching a ball that wasn’t a catch, and Detroit wins this one, setting up what I deemed the Thanksgiving matchup next week against the Dallas Cowboys.
Sea You Next Tuesday, Hawks.
YOU MUST GO NOW, Sunday, Jan 8th, Noon
Ok, I’m not just trying to arbitrarily be a dick with this prediction, but I have not been more sure on the outcome of a playoff game since the Pittsburgh Steelers faced the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round of the 2005 playoffs. I was certain the Colts would win. Pittsburgh won. So there’s that.
I will say this: I don’t like the Steelers at this point of the season compared to how I liked them at the beginning of the season, when they were my Super Bowl pick. This season has exposed Pittsburgh as a team that has a good offense, with a handful of overrated players, and anemic roll players. Antonio Brown is amazing. Probably the best receiver in Football. However, he doesn’t have a Number 2 receiver to take pressure off of him. I was hoping that a player like Darius Hayward-Bey would rise this year in Pitt, sort of like his draftmate Michael Crabtree has this year, but he hasn’t become a force. This has caused me to question Mike Tomlin, a man I now see as a good, but not great, coach. I think the culture in Pittsburgh has officially changed from a championship culture to a playoff culture. I think Pittsburgh should be unbelievably frustrated that they are not sitting home with a first round bye, when it was shaping up for theirs to lose. I think they had an easier road than KC this year, seemed to put in a fraction of the effort.
THAT SAID: they ARE here and ARE healthy, for the first time seemingly ever in the playoffs.
As for their opponent, the Miami Dolphins, I’m extremely excited for them. Likely they will get handled in this game easily. But hats off to a great season. My coach of the year would have to go to Adam Gase, who has changed the culture in Miami to that of a winning one. Their QB Ryan Tannihill is injured, and they have to ride a back up, Matt Moore in. Tannehill has taken snaps this week in practice, but will way more than likely not play.
Statement season for Miami though. They have their Head Coach, Gase. They are the second in line in the AFC East for a long time, which the Jets and Bills in seemingly in complete rebuild modes.
Good for them! Enjoy your first round loss, Miami. At least you made it to the dance.
HELENA BONHAM CARTER vs HELEN CHAPPEL, Sunday, Jan 8, 3pm.
Of course they save this game for last, for dramatic effect.
I continue to like Giants coach Ben McAado, even though I will heavily miss the raw face of Tom Coughlin this weekend in Green Bay. McAdo says his team is taking the fight club philosophy on the Green Bay weather, “We don’t talk about it.”
Honestly, If I were the Giants, I’d be stoked on this game being so cold. Games like these are built for defenses and run games, which is why, even though on the road, I really like the Giants in this game. Control the ball, keep Aaron Rodgers off the field, and you probably can win this game.
I like the swagger of this Giants team way better than the Packers, even at home. The Pack have surged to end the season, winning six straight. Do they have a seventh straight in them? The Giants have to be focused on shutting down Jordie Nelson, and the rest of the offense should fall in line. The Packers are going to see that their team is playing with a pseudo self personality this season. They have Wide Receiver Ty Montgomery at running back for them now. The team is out of context.
I love Eli Manning in the playoffs. I love Eli Manning in cold weather. I love new field goal kicker Robbie Gould in cold weather (a field goal is essentially what I feel this game comes down to). Frankly, I think think the Giants are the only team capable of winning three road games in a row to get to the Superbowl. Their first week I feel will be, ironically, their toughest challenge.