The regular season is over. Fantasy football is done and you’ve got 8 months to think about what you shoulda, woulda, coulda done differently to have won your league. Or you’re celebrating with all the money the rest of us chumps donated to you – enjoy it you bastard. But don’t fret my friends, football isn’t over yet…the postseason begins this weekend. That means the dream of a trip to Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, CA gets underway for 8 teams this Saturday and Sunday. So who’s dreams will be quickly dashed? And who will advance to the divisional round to keep the journey going? Let’s just take a look, shall we…
Saturday 1/9/2016 @4:20PM Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at Houston Texans (9-7) Line: KC -3.0
The fact that this is a playoff matchup is just insane. The Chiefs started the season 1-5 AND lost Jamaal Charles for the season. Everyone wrote them off and it looked like they were staring at a top 5 pick in the draft. Then out of nowhere they rattled off 10 straight wins and they go into the playoffs with more momentum than any team in the NFL. On the other side, the Texans started 2-4…lost Arian Foster for the season, and had a QB carousel all season that led to them starting Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, then Brian Hoyer again, then TJ Yates when Hoyer got injured, then Brandon Weeden when Yates got hurt, and now they’re finally back to Hoyer again. I still don’t really understand how they did it – other than the fact their division was an utter joke this season – but they got into the dance.
So in terms of the actual matchup, I view this one as pretty simple. The Texans are 0-6 this season when their defense does not record an interception (9-1 when they do). The Chiefs are one of the best teams in the NFL at protecting the football, with a plus 16 turnover margin during their 10 game winning streak. So the outcome of this game is simple: if the Texans defense can force some turnovers, they’ll win the game. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. Andy Reid will call an extremely conservative game because he’s got a defense that will be capable of suffocating Brian Hoyer & Co. so he has no need to be aggressive on the offensive side of the ball. They can run the ball, dink and dunk, and manage the game (which is what Alex Smith does best). Plus, how can they lose with this guy calling the shots…
Official Prediction: Chiefs win 24-13
Saturday 1/9/2016 @8:15PM Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) Line: PIT -3.0
Something’s gotta give here…the Steelers have lost their last 3 playoff games, but meanwhile the Bengals have lost each of their last 4 wildcard playoff games. Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis is actually 0-6 all-time as a head coach in the postseason, so conventional wisdom points to the Steelers having the edge in this game despite being on the road.
But The Office Sports Guy is anything but a conventional guy…nah I’m just kidding. The Steelers are winning this game. They’re arguably the scariest team in the AFC. Big Ben is surrounded by the best receiving corps in the NFL with Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton. DeAngelo Williams might not play, but that doesn’t even matter. If Omar Epps knows what’s good for him he’ll tell Todd Haley to put Ben in the shotgun all game and let him chuck it all over the field.
On the other side of the ball, AJ McCarron has actually been pretty solid since Big Red hurt his thumb and he’s got plenty of talent surrounding him as well (Tyler Eifert, AJ Green, Jeremy Hill, Gio Bernard and Marvin Jones). But his lack of experience leads me to a gut feeling that he’ll make one or two crucial mistakes in this game that’ll result in big plays for the Steelers defense. It’s ironic that going into this season the conversation was all about how Andy Dalton folded every year in the playoffs, and now that he’s hurt everyone in the media is talking about how complete a football team the Bengals would be if they just had their starting QB. Conveniently ignoring the fact that their starting QB turns into a toddler and soils himself every time he plays in a big game. The Bengals are probably better off with AJ, but it won’t matter.
Official prediction: Steelers win 27-17
Sunday 1/10/2016 @1:05PM Seattle Seahawks (10-6) at Minnesota Vikings (11-5) Line: SEA -5.0
My massive man crush for Adrian Peterson has been well-documented. I love that man and think he’s probably a cyborg and not a man at all (but man can he do amazing things with a football in his hands). But he can’t do it himself, especially not against this defense.
Temperatures at kick-off are expected to be around 0 to 3 degrees. So everyone in attendance better drink themselves one hell of a coat during the pregame tailgate because the only thing that makes watching your favorite team lose in the playoffs worse is….freezing your ass off while you do it (and paying lots of money to do it too). Some people have been asking if the cold weather will be an equalizer and help the Vikings out? I don’t think anything could help the Vikings win this game short of the Seahawks plane getting grounded in Seattle and them not making kickoff. Russell has played at an MVP level for the last 8 weeks and they’re getting back Beast Mode for this game. Plus, their defense is finally playing with the swagger that has led them to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. Coming off an impressive win in Arizona, the Hawks are the team to beat in the NFC in my opinion (no disrespect to Cam and the Panthers). Also helps that they already went to Minnesota and embarrassed the Vikings 38-7 just over a month ago.
Official prediction: Seahawks win 30-13
Sunday 1/10/2016 @4:40PM Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Washington Redskins (9-7) Line: GB -1.0
The last matchup of the wildcard round is the weirdest one in my opinion. Neither team really passes the “eye test” for me. I still can’t believe that the Redskins, led by Kirk Cousins, are a threat in the NFC. And I definitely can’t believe how bad the Packers offense has been this season. So which one do I finally buy into?
The Packers have obviously missed Jordy Nelson this season, and their opponents quickly realized that nobody else on that team has the ability to separate and get open. So A-Rod and his receivers are facing tight bump-and-run coverage all game because they don’t have to worry about old man James Jones or slow as molasses Davante Adams beating them over the top for a big play. Hell, the only person who makes the Packers receivers look quick is their running back….fat ass Eddie Lacy. Add in a miserable offensive line that almost makes the Patriots o-line look respectable, and the Packers are a giant clusterfuck right now. Aaron Rodgers is a great player, but he’s finally looked human this season and I think that continues on Sunday.
It makes me feel wrong and dirty to say this, but the Redskins are playing better football right now. And they’re a good home team (6-2 this season). Jordan Reed has been unstoppable of late (and he single-handedly beat me in my fantasy finals…thanks asshole) and their receiving corps is quietly making big plays for captain Kirk. Isn’t it ironic that early on this season Redskins fans felt like this…
And now they’re like…
Official prediction: Redskins win 28-24