Well after two weeks of the playoffs, are standings are as follows.
Jesse (@rant9space) (3-5)
Jeremy (@Jlippiatt) (1-7)
So well done Jake, you have won the Playoffs, Jerms...you’re fired. I don’t know about both of you, but looking back on my picks, they make absolutely no sense. What was I thinking? I’m an idiot.
Since Jake has a lead that is insurmountable, I am going to let him pick first, and he has a little story to tell.
Each year for the past five or so years, prior to week 1 kicking off, Ryan Flippo and I exchange predictions on the upcoming NFL season. We predict who we think will win the divisions, what their playoff seedings will be and even run through how we think the playoffs and Super Bowl will play out. For the 2013 season we both ended up pretty accurate (our picks are at the bottom of the page for reference). We both predicted the Saints, Packers, Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos, Patriots, Bengals and Chiefs would make the playoffs. I got lucky with the Colts as a wild card and ended up one better this year. Usually, he is more accurate. Flippo predicted this weekend’s AFC matchup and I nailed this weekend’s NFC matchup; both of us even got the location of the games correct. I tell you this not to gloat (okay, I’m bragging a little. We are pretty damn good at this … I WON this year, Flip! HA!), but to tell you that when it comes to the playoffs, I have realized that I am a traditionalist.
I prefer the better teams to win because I think it makes for a better Super Bowl in the end. I like one and two seeds making the Super Bowl over the five or six seeds. The way I see it, teams are built and become who they are over a stretch of 3 years and I like to see the whole ride come to a head against another team that has also been building up for a while. I do not, however, like to see the same teams over and over (and over and over… I’m looking at you, Patriots. Just take a break for a decade, would you?). It should be fairly easy to tell you who, at the beginning of each year, will be good and who will be bad. It’s not hard to predict that a team like the Cleveland Browns, who fires their coach after one season, probably will not make the playoffs this year or next. I also don’t think it’s difficult to tell you that a team like the Chiefs would make it this year because they had an abundance of talent and just needed leadership (enter Smith and Reid). Having said that, I like teams that can run the ball, stop the run and score quickly when needed, given the circumstances of the game. For me, last weekend did not take too much thought to pick. I did not expect to go 4-0 but am happy that I did. This weekend I plan on sticking to my preseason predictions and ride the success of last weekend.
Patriots at Broncos
The “Pats” proved last week that they can be anything they want to be. They can run the ball, or they can throw the ball and then they can muster enough defense to turn the game into what they want it to be. Last weekend I thought the Patriots were better suited to control the clock with the run and limit opportunities for Luck to throw the ball. Obviously, they were and it worked. They will likely try to do the same this weekend, but Manning doesn’t need many opportunities to create success. Last weekend, the Broncos proved that their defense can still show up occasionally and that they can do whatever they want on offense because of that QB. Whereas they did not light up the scoreboard like I thought, they still managed to move the chains and score when they got the chance. I like the Broncos at home this week and I expect more points to be scored due to the excellent playoff weather (high of 58, zero chance of rain). Defensively last weekend, the Patriots only had to stop Fleener and Hilton. They did one of those things. This weekend, there have 5 guys to stop. I respect Belichick but I don’t think they can do it this time: it’s not raining, they’re not in Foxboro and they don’t have enough vertical threats to keep up with the arms race. And again, I’m tired of seeing them in the playoffs and I want my preseason predictions to continue to play out, so, I’ll take Manning over Brady 48-37.
I’d like to be the second to acknowledge that I am awful at picking games and you should put money on the team opposite of my pick. I got nothing last week, I thought I had picked all away teams so I was like, hey, I got one! No, I dodged the right picks like they were good ideas. So awful, oh well Jesse and Sutton can hash it out. I’ll sit back and cry in my bourbon for that disgustingly awful Chargers loss. I mean, we held them to 24, that’s like a win, right?! Right guys?! We had some life there in the 4th quarter, sadly we were dead the other quarters of the game. I was pissed, but oh well its just a game, right? Let’s talk about next SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!
Well well well, the Broncos and the Patriots. So the Chargers fan in me is pissed that we lost to the Broncos and really wants them to get destroyed by the Patriots, because we are all petty little pissants when our teams don’t win. The reality is I want the Broncos to take it all the way to Super Bowl because that means we were beaten by the best, and you can take some solace in that fact. Can the Broncos beat the Patriots, yes they can. I think there is some stat around that Manning never loses twice to the same team in the same year, proven by last Sunday’s game against the Bolts. I think a team that loses always has the upper hand in the next round the play in, in the same season. They know what didn’t work, so they have to try other things. The Broncos defense looked way better than they did later in the season, their run D looked pretty good, and they need that to stop Blount. I want the Broncos to win this one so they can make it to the big game. Mostly because I know if they win the Super Bowl their team will get picked apart and people will bail for more money and they’ll be shit next year. This allows the Chargers to make a playoff run next season, if we can take care of the Chiefs.
Jesse’s hatred wasn’t enough to stop the Patriots. Neck beard couldn’t make it work against them in the 2nd half, it doesn’t help when you give them the ball a few times either. Blount is a damn machine of a man, He’s like a Mack truck on steroid rabies. The Broncos are going to have a hard time containing this guy, he’s a damn beast. The Patriots had a great game, but it was more on the defensive side on the ball with the four interceptions. They also had a clearly amazing run game as well with 234 yards on the ground, most of those from Blount. This is going to be a fun game to watch. Will the Patriots defense be able to stop the Broncos? I really don’t think so, and I doubt they’ll get as many takeaways either. The Patriots defense gets stomped in this one me thinks.
Who wins? Denver Broncos
Why? Manning will slice apart the Patriots defense this go around.
I agree with Jake. I’m a traditionalist, at least in the sense that I want the best teams to be in the Playoffs and I prefer that the better teams make it to the Superbowl. Slight problem with this is that both my Giants and your Packers my friend, would not have won their Superbowls, as they were both wildcard teams. They were certainly not the best teams in the league that year, but they got hot late in the season and played great in the playoffs. So while, in a vacuum, I want the best teams in the playoffs and for the Superbowl, not when my team is involved. I think both of you would agree.
Denver. Denver, Denver, Denver, Denver. Obviously I would pick them because I hate the Patriots, but I also love Peyton Manning. Watching his storyline about how he can’t win the playoffs keep growing, annoys me to no end. Yes he has a losing record in the playoffs, he has also played in 21 PLAYOFF GAMES! He is 10-11, I feel like that is not as bad as people say it is. I have seen some heartbreaking Patriots versus Peyton games, but I think this year, Peyton has the better team. This Broncos team is superior to this Patriots team, in almost every way. The Patriots were able to put together a defense to stop Andrew Luck, but can they stop Peyton and Welker and Thomas and the other Thomas and Decker? If this game becomes a shoot out, can the Patriots stay in it? If the Patriots run the ball and try to kill the clock, can they limit the chances Peyton has to score, maybe? But I not only think so, I don’t believe it. The Patriots can literally suck it. What Belichick is was able to last week was a masterpiece of coaching, don’t think my hate blinds me to his brilliance as a coach. Turning his pass first offense into a power running offense was a work of art. Will it work against the Broncos...maybe. They will have to play it perfectly, and I don’t think they can, I also think this is the most weapons Peyton has ever had, it should be fun to watch.
49ers and Seahawks
After last weekend, I think the 49ers are the best team in the NFL. Did you see they way they manhandled the Panthers? The Seahawks, while handling the Saints offense really did nothing on offense against the Saints barely competent defense. What are they go against the 49ers? Did you notice how as the Panthers were getting more and more desperate, the 49ers kept getting sack after sack? That is what Superbowl winnings team do, reminded of the ‘07 Giants, the team that defeated the 18-0 Patriots. Colin Kaepernick is literally the man. What does he do when it is freezing outside in Lambeau, he tells sleeves to suck it, what does he do when opposing teams blitz, he runs for a first down. As good as the Seahawks defense is, if they stop Kaepernick from throwing, the 49ers can run, if they stop the run the 49ers can pass. As great as Russell Wilson is, he like Tom Brady, does not have enough weapons, he has the Beast and that is it. Also it can’t be said enough, Pete Carroll is a world class douchebag of the first order. I can’t not stand him, and as much as I like Russell Wilson and the fact that they built a great defense in this modern NFL, I just can’t root for him. Sometimes you just like certain players and coaches, and Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick are in that camp, I find them both to be compelling to watch.
I can’t wait for this Stanford vs. USC game. Oops I mean 49ers vs. Seahawks game. I’m afraid it might be awful to watch. I know both quarterbacks are explosive, but their defenses are some of the best in the National Football League, and while I appreciate defenses it can just be difficult to watch 3 and out over 3 and out.
The 49ers were that damn 30% of away teams that win in the divisional games and not my bolts, oh well better luck next year. Also I said that to one of my co workers, he said, “now you are starting to sound like a Raiders fan”, which I kindly replied that I don’t have a rapsheet so I’m not sure how I could be a Raiders fan. The 49ers fans know what I’m talking about, those Raiders fans get so stabby during those bay area battles. I really like the 49ers in this game. They have got to overcome that Seahawks defense that play brutally great. Kaepernick is getting it done with the options he has in Crabtree and Boldin. They can run the ball just as well as they are throwing it. In the Panthers game they were pretty even on yardage in the air and on the ground. The Panthers put up a helluva fight and I look forward to their momentum moving forward into next season.
We know the Seahawks are great, we know they are epic at home. We know their fans are louder than an Arnold Schwarzenegger raping American Bald Eagle. We know they cause nearby richter scales to move. We fucking get it, they are a great team and they are destined for greatness thanks to Cheat Carroll. I want the Seahawks to win, I just really have my doubts in this one.
Who wins? San Francisco 49ers
Why? The 49ers stop beast mode and get one up on the Seahawks defense.
Take Us Home Jake!
As expected in the 49ers game, the Panthers had “penalties, clumsiness and turnovers” due to lack of playoff experience and youth, while Kaepernick’s unpredictable ability to come out on top when a play breaks down proved true. Meanwhile the Saints could not stop Lynch or move the ball against Richard Sherman and that inspiring defense in Seattle, also as predicted. Now we get round 3 of the West Division’s best rivalry to date (west division, not NFC. They have nothing on the Packers/Bears rivalry). The Seahawks have had the 49ers number recently and I expect that to continue. Unlike the Packers or Panthers, the Seahawks are capable of stopping Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore. How? They can tackle and play fundamental football, i.e. keep containment. They are disciplined (not by Pete Carroll, by themselves. Carroll is along for the ride; I don’t know that he offers much as a coach other than to let his players play to their strengths). The weather for this one is typical Seattle, niceish with some rain.
The 49ers are this decade’s Eagles of the last. This is their third NFC championship game in a row with one appearance in the Super Bowl as a loss. They have a scrambling, inconsistent QB with a good running game and top 5 defense. I see them staying good for a few more years but never coming away with a Lombardi … just like those 2000’s Eagles. For this game, the 49ers may have success moving the ball, but I think the Seahawks have an answer for the passing game and Kaepernick’s elusiveness; which is the “Legion of Boom”. What I think this game comes down to is …. The refs. If the refs throw a lot of flags, this game will get loooong and boring because the ‘hawks secondary plays physical and is very handsy. There is a possibility that there could be a penalty on every 49ers offensive play, against Seattle. Under the wrong crew they will give up yards to those penalties and the 49ers would have a strong chance to win. If they get a crew that calls a game Frank Winters style and lets the players play, then the Seahawks definitely win this game because all routes will be disrupted and the big physical secondary will prevent more passes than are completed and they will come away with some turnovers. The NFL to publically said before the Divisional round that referee crews were to call games as they did in the Regular Season, but I didn’t notice many more flags against those Seahawks, did you? Having said that, it appears they are going to continue to stay out of the way and not let the ref crews determine the outcome of games, so, I see the Seahawks winning 23-20 and advancing to the Super Bowl. For the record, profootballtalk.com says that Gene Steratore will be the ref for this game with a top rated crew, so the flags may very well fly and ruin my prediction.
In summary, that’s a Seahawks vs Broncos Super Bowl. I like record-setting offense against what may be one of best of all-time defenses. I say that because given today’s rules that protect Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers and everything else that works against Defenses … for the Seahawks to limit teams as they have all year, they may be one of the best defenses of all time. Like I said, I like it the traditional way with those top seeded teams that play well for 17 weeks as the teams we see in the big game. I also like teams that have been on the rise for years to finally meet up in the Super Bowl. Seahawks / Broncos… let’s do this!