In the past, we have always had a really good and completely factual reason for not having a video. The same can’t be said about this week. The best I can give you is that none of us have camera-ready bodies after the holiday season. (Whether we did beforehand is highly debatable.) You didn’t come here for some epic story on why there’s no video, though, you came for the picks … Right?
We posted a 21-13-1 record in the regular season, but aren’t ready to put our football genius to rest just yet. Home teams/favorites swept Wild Card Weekend. Have the tables been turned on them in the Divisional Round?
Game 1: Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Go ahead and call me Lucy because I clearly have some “splainin to do.” The picture on the left represents agoraphobia, which is often linked to the fear of leaving home. This man clearly is not comfortable with venturing out of his house, and neither are the Seahawks. Russell Wilson is 22-17-1 on the road in the regular season, and 3-3 away from C-Link in the playoffs; by comparison, he’s a career 39-6 at home, including 5-0 during the playoffs.
On the right, you have the king of sacks, also known as Vic Beasley of the Atlanta Falcons, who accrued an NFL-high 15.5 in 2016. This could be quite problematic for the homesick Seahawks, who allowed 42 sacks this season (sixth-most), and let Ziggy Ansah to match his season total (2) in the Wild Card Round.
The Week 6 matchup between these two teams in Seattle was the only time Atlanta committed multiple turnovers in a game all season. It also featured a missed pass interference call on Julio Jones late in the game, and Seattle still barely won. Atlanta will jump out to an early lead and force Seattle to abandon the run. In what will likely turn into a shootout, we’ll side with the league’s highest scoring offense.
Game 2: Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Ten dollars … That’s about how much of his $72 million contract Brock Osweiler has earned thus far. Don’t get carried away with the 90.1 passer rating he recorded in his first career playoff start. He was playing a Raiders defense that has been awful all season, and a newly horrible, Derek Carr-less Oakland offense. Houston’s defense won that game, but they aren’t going to be able to carry him through the Divisional Round.
How does surf-and-turf represent the Patriots? Well, the premier dish contains the best of both worlds, just like the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick’s squad allowed the fewest points in the league and scored the third-most. Had Tom Brady not been absent for the first four games, the offensive stats would be even better.
When these two squared off in Week 3, rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett made his first career start on a short week. The Pats still hammered the Texans 27-0; Osweiler’s passer rating in that game was 60.6. We don’t expect much to change for Houston, but with Tom Brady under center, who is 15-3 at home in the playoffs, the Pats will put a few more points on the board.
Game 3: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
Yep, that’s a boy in a bubble. How does it apply to the Steelers? Just insert any of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, or Antonio Brown for the boy in the bubble, and Mike Tomlin as the individual with the leash in hand. Last week was the first time all three of the Killer Bs took the field for a playoff game, and it was close to being the last time, for this season at least. Not because Pittsburgh was in danger of losing, but due to Big Ben re-aggravating his ankle injury late in the game. While the Steelers field general will be able to suit-up this week, you can bet Tomlin is considering the whole bubble idea for the offseason.
You know that hit song “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang? It’s likely what Kansas City blasted in the locker room after winning the AFC West for the first time since 2010. The Chiefs, who played second fiddle to the Broncos for the last three years in spite of winning a combined 31 games in that time, now get the big advantage of playing at Arrowhead, one of the loudest stadiums in the league. Perhaps more importantly, they avoid facing Big Ben in Pittsburgh, where he’s much more effective. Trust me, there’s a party goin’ on right here.
When these two met in Week 4 in Steeltown, the Steelers laid a 43-14 beating on the Chiefs. Le’Veon Bell totaled 178 yards from scrimmage in his first game back from suspension, and things weren’t looking great for the 2-2 Chiefs. Not much has changed from Bell, who is averaging 180.7 yards from scrimmage over his last seven games, but Kansas City used its Week 5 bye to turn the season around.
Wait, did I just mention bye weeks and an Andy Reid team? Reid is now 19-2 when coming off the bye week, which includes a 3-0 record after a Wild Card Weekend spent on his couch, likely eating thousands of calories. Given the extra time, Reid will devise a way to slow Bell, and a slightly-hobbled Ben won’t be able to shoulder the load.
Game 4: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
I’m sure you’re wondering what that thing is on the left. After extensive research, I can now tell you it is a white dwarf star at the heart of the Red Spider Nebula … and it burns at some really high temperature with a K at the end instead of an F. (Science!) It’s apparently the hottest thing in the universe, so I’m using it to represent Aaron Rodgers, who has thrown 22 touchdowns without an interception in his last eight games, posting a 120.7 passer rating in that time.
On the right, you have the Rugrats (a.k.a. the Cowboys), who will look to cool off that fiery star with some young stars of their own. Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have wowed the league with their performances this year, and helped lead Dallas to an NFC-best 13-3 record. Unfortunately, rookie quarterbacks haven’t fared well in the playoffs, posting an 11-20 record.
In the first installment between these two, back in Week 6, Dallas rushed for 191 on Green Bay’s then-top-ranked rush defense and came away with a 30-16 win. But that wasn’t the same white dwarf … I mean Aaron Rodgers. Number 12 is going to turn this into a shootout, and we don’t believe the kids are ready to face the bright lights of the playoffs just yet. Take the Packers in our upset of the week.