The Chiefs are looking like the only favorite I plan on giving points with this week. The Texans played well in the 2nd half of the year but were still an Andrew Luck non-injury away from watching these games at home with a liter of Dr. Pepper and bag of Mike and Ike’s like me this weekend. They started the year 1-4 and went 8-3 in the last 11 games. But those 8 wins were against Jacksonville, Tennessee, Cincinnati, New York Jets, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Tennessee, and Jacksonville. Other than that Cincy win (which was a 10-6 atrocity of a contest) none of those wins are overly impressive to me. I have a feeling once the quality of competition raises and the lights shine a little brighter in the playoffs, Houston falters a bit. Now granted, they are playing this game at like 3 PM so they may not even have the lights on yet but they metaphor still holds.
And you could probably flip my argument and say most of the same things about Kansas City. They started the year really slow (1-5), played well in the 2nd half of the year (11-0), and defeated weak competition during their run (last six wins: Bills, Raiders, Chargers, Ravens, Browns, and Raiders). But I’m a believer in Alex Smith. I don’t think he’s winning the Super Bowl but I definitely think he’s winning this week. And he’s winning by more than 3 ½ points.
Chiefs 30, Houston 17
The only thing more guaranteed than the locks I give out during the year is that when the NFL playoffs start the media is going to anoint at least one team the “Team That Nobody Wants to Play in the Playoffs”. Apparently the Pittsburgh Steelers are that team this year (I think you could say the same thing about the Seahawks in the NFC but since the Steelers had to slide their way into the playoff picture in Week 17 the sentiment for them has been stronger). Guys, I hate to break this too you but I question the validity of this title. I’m guessing no one actually conducted this poll. I doubt any survey was actually sent to Bill Belichick, Russell Wilson, or AJ Green and they responded that they were scared of the Steelers and do not want to play them.
You know who I wouldn’t want to play? A 1 or a 2 seed at their place. That’s why those teams get a bye first round. I’m not scared or worried about a wild-card team coming to my stadium; and neither are the Cincinnati Bengals. What the Bengals need to be concerned about is their QB situation. All indications are that Andy Dalton will not be playing and Cincinnati will have to go with AJ McCarron at quarterback on Saturday. That’s not ideal. But I still think the Bengals have enough talent and are good enough to win at home with McCarron taking snaps. I won’t have much faith in him or the Bengals travelling on the road next week but I believe in them more than I believe in the Pittsburgh hype.
Bengals 20, Pittsburgh 17
Guys, I’m going 4-0 this week. Mark it down and Lock it up. BUT, if you don’t have as much confidence in me as I do and you only think I’m going 3-1 then this may be the game you want to go against me. If you’re dumb enough to think I’m only going 2-2 or 1-3 then you probably aren’t sophisticated enough to still be reading this far into this blog post anyways so I’m not worrying about you. That group of people probably stopped reading somewhere in the middle of that KC/Houston breakdown, which means they are going to miss my Lock of the Week later in the post.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love me a good wrestling analogy. So this game seems to me a lot like a hypothetical Sheamus vs. Tyler Breeze matchup. Sheamus (Seattle) is the big, tough former champion who has the pedigree and theoretically should dominate the match. But Tyler Breeze (Minnesota) is the young, upstart guy who just needs his chance to shine and prove the doubter wrong. And maybe, JUST MAYBE, the playoffs are that chance. Or maybe Breeze is still a year away from making the leap and this matchup is too big for him at this time.
Let’s ring the bell and see how that Sheamus v. Breeze (Seattle v. Minnesota) match plays out in my mind:
- Sheamus takes control of the match early (Seattle forces Minnesota to punt most of the first quarter and puts a couple points on the board)
- Breeze makes a spirited rally in the middle of the match to give the fans hope. FYI, wrestling fans love Prince Pretty. (Either the Vikings D gets a score somehow or Teddy Bridgewater completes a long, lucky touchdown towards the end of the 1st half or start of the 2nd to get back into the game)
- Breeze uses that momentum to gain the advantage and put Sheamus on the proverbial, not literal, ropes. (Adrian Peterson gets a rushing touchdown to put the Vikings in the lead as they go into the 4th quarter)
- Late in the match, Sheamus has Tyler Breeze down on the mat and is signally for the Brogue Kick. Sheamus goes for it, Breeze ducks out of the way and…… (Seattle regains the lead going late into the 4th quarter…)
I’ll leave the ending of the match up to you and how you feel about these two teams. I could see Breeze ducking the Brogue Kick, turning around and catching Sheamus with the Beauty Shot, and picking up the upset win. I could also see Breeze ducking the Brogue Kick, only to get distracted by Rusev or someone else in the League of Nations and turn around and get caught with another Brogue Kick.
Moral of the analogy, I see this match (game) being really close and coming down to the last seconds. So if you are going to give me points in the actual football game between these two teams I’m going to take them.
Seattle 24, Minnesota 23
I tried to get cute and fancy with the last matchup by using a sweet wrestling analogy but let me be blunt with this one: The Packers are not good. I thought I was going to have to give some points here to pick Washington but apparently that’s not the case. Give me Washington here. Next year when I blog about my weekly picks in the SuperContest I’ll post a ‘Best Bet’ or ‘Lock of the Week’ or something of that nature. If I were doing that for these playoff picks, this would be the Lock. The Packers are bad.
And I get that one team has Aaron Rodgers and the other team doesn’t. I don’t care, give me Kirk Cousins. If only having a great quarterback was all you needed in the NFL the Packers would have wrapped up the NFC North weeks ago. Instead, they blew it and let Minnesota end up as division champs. Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, and Teddy Bridgewater all beat Aaron Rodgers this year and none of their teams are as good as this Redskins team. Plus, don’t forget this important piece of information about Kirk Cousins in big games: He’s a lucky motherfucker. Evidence:
Redskins 31, Packers 17