Welcome to the divisional round of the 2015 NFL playoffs! Again for kicks and giggles, the staff is putting up their predictions. Can Monty continue to dominate and show MHR his great powers of prediction? Will Ian St. Clair find a way to get back in the game?
Thoughts and musings
Last week was quite the ride with a whole slew of away teams winning. Now that the trash has been taken out, we'll get to see what teams have got the goods and what teams will be weighed, measured, and found wanting. KC is going to take their big time hubris into New England and get sat down as for the first time in a long time they will be playing from behind and not know what to do. Denver of course is going to win at home because Broncos. Seattle is going to create all kinds of havok for a very good Carolina team. Arizona's defense is going to shut down Green Bay and get them headed toward a Super Bowl.
These are my 5 year old son's picks. He was 4 for 4 last week so I thought I would go with his gut over my emotions. I actually would love to see the Broncos-Chiefs and Seahawks-Packers duke it out for a trip to the Super Bowl. But really all of the variables will be fun to watch - as long as the Broncos are playing of course. I think three teams winning on the road is unlikely, but a lot of what happened during Wild Card weekend also falls in that category.
I'm going with the home team sweep this time. I was floored that all four road teams won last week, which was something that had never happened before. Even worse, both of my correct picks barely eeked out a win, while my two other picks were blowout losses. I could have been Ian St. Clair last week! The four home teams this week are the upper crust of the NFL and though I expect maybe one to lose, certainly not all four will lose. Yes, I'm playing it safe.
Panthers gonna whoop Seattle's ass. Barely less than KC whipped the Texans. Seattle's D is alright, but they're playing the most dangerous QB this season. Good luck stopping Cam, whereas that Carolina defense is underrated. They'll keep Wilson's trickery to a minimum.
Cardinals over Green Bay. This is a repeat of a few weeks ago when the Cards steamrolled them. The Packers have no shot at keeping the score even semi respectful.
Like last year, everyone is writing the Patriots off. Like last year, everyone will be wrong. Right when you think the most cheating franchise in American sports history is down, they find a new wrinkle in the law to slime their way to victory. What I'm saying is that as much as I'd love to see "Troll Fest 2016" between MHR and AP, winner goes to the Super Bowl, I just don't see it happening. Sleep on the Patriots all you want, but I believe only one team can beat them when it counts, and it isn't KC, it's Denver!
Manning is Denver's healthiest QB, and that's a good thing. Heck, he might even have the strongest arm on Sunday to boot. Our defense NEEDS their revenge. Our offense can't wait to show Pittsburgh what a fresh Peyton Manning looks like, and the Steelers' defense won't be able to keep up. Ben with a dinged up shoulder is still dangerous, but our defense is more dangerous. AB might be the best wide receiver in the NFL, but we have our thumpers back to support the #noflyzone . Basically, Denver will have this game sewn up by halftime. Except that this time they're in Our House, where our team doesn't lose! Not now, not next week, not on Elway's watch! Broncos by 20+ , Bring on the Patriots!
If Blair Walsh makes that last field goal, I would be winning this competition! That is the story of the Seahawks, always. All I can do is hope that this week that trend ends, and the Panthers can convincingly beat them without the refs, or the weather, or some stupid dumb luck catch screwing them over. Carolina comes out on top the same way Cardinals beat the Packers in week 16; which is why the Packers will struggle to overcome the same problems. On the other hand, the Broncos will overcome their struggles from week 15 against the Steelers, especially with significant injuries to their QB, RB1, and WR1 and a Broncos full-strength secondary. Finally, although it was last year, the Patriots will seek revenge for that Monday night embarrassment in 2014. The Chiefs haven't played an elite offense in their 10 game win-streak, and the Patriots are getting a fresh Edelman back this week.
The Broncos take care of business against the Steelers; meanwhile, the Chiefs upset the Patriots and continue their red hot ways, setting the stage for a massive AFC West showdown for the right to play in the Super Bowl. On the other side of the League, the Cardinals handle the Packers, who haven't done well against any decent defense since the middle of the year. And the Seahawks show the benefit of a tough schedule when they take out the paper Tigers, err, Panthers.
The first one is obviously the team I want but also believe will win; the next three are the teams I don't want but believe will win instead. Broncos at home with a bad taste still from last year's early playoff exit will get it done against the Steelers whether the Steelers are 100 percent or not - it's all about that D.
As much as I dislike the Patriots, I'd prefer a Broncos-Pats AFCCG but think Tom Brady will be in for a bit of surprise with the Chiefs defense, and KC will pull off the upset. Though I don't care much about either NFC game, I always like the idea of a Broncos-Packers Super Bowl rematch and would prefer them to win but think the Cardinals will just be too much for the Pack. And finally (sorry Kelly, I hate the Seahawks too), the Seahawks will bring the Panthers and their fans back to reality (which at least has the benefit of a revenge-filled Broncos-Seahawks rematch three weeks later. And then, Kelly, you can do some serious "Vonning" all year long in Seattle!)
Ian St. Clair
The biggest factor for Denver in the divisional round of the playoffs is the bye ... and a coaching staff who won't quit. The Broncos defense is as healthy as it has been all season, and, even more important, Peyton Manning is as healthy as he's been in a long time. If Denver does its job, it wins. The makeshift New England offensive line will come back to haunt Tom Brady and his offense. It won't matter if Brady has all of his weapons back when he doesn't have time to think because of that Kansas City Pass rush. Andy Reid and Alex Smith will not take any risks on offense, especially if Jeremy Maclin is out. Can "Fake Ass Gronk" best the real thing? Seattle is Carolina's kryptonite, in the playoffs and when the teams meet in Charlotte. As we saw last week, experience matters in the playoffs and the Seahawks have that in droves over the Panthers. Plus, as Kelly said, Seattle ALWAYS finds a way. Green Bay's offense found life ... for a week. Arizona's defense will once again make Aaron Rodgers' day long and rough. Add the most balanced offense left in the playoffs and this has the potential to be the most lopsided game of the weekend.
It's been recounted that occasionally when lining up against Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White as the quarterback would relay his cadence White full of fury and anticipation would say aloud, "Here comes Jesus."
Then he'd sack the quarterback.
That's what I feel about this weekend, a few Icarian teams are about to find out what happens when you play actual teams. The Chiefs, Steelers, Panthers and Packers have skirted by with favorable match-ups against back-up quarterbacks and weak schedules, but 6 of these 8 teams have been in at least one Super Bowl in the last 4 years and it's about to show who is in whose rodeo. In the meantime it will make for one hell of a Championship Sunday.
|MHR Staffer||KC at NE||PIT at DEN||SEA at CAR||GB at AZ|
|Ian St. Clair|
You make the pick
Let's hear it, Broncos Country! Who you got for this round? Who has their finger on the pulse of the NFL instead of up their nose? Drop that noise down below and link it next week for bragging rights!