What makes both College and Professional Football great is their short seasons. Every game matters. In the NFL at least you don’t have to win every game to make it to the Superbowl, which, personally is why I think it is better than College, but I digress.
The NFL playoffs are upon us. The Rant9.com staff all have an NFL team we root for (for me it is the New York Giants, so at least I can be objective this year) so it is time for us to predict the first round of the playoffs. Join me, Jerms and Sutton as we predict the future!
Game 1: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts, 4:35 EST
RED TEAM VERSUS BLUE TEAM!
I find it interesting that both teams are 11-5 and both Quarterbacks threw 23 TD passes. The Chiefs played in a harder division and were very close to winning their division. The Chiefs had one of the best turnarounds the NFL has seen for awhile after getting a new coach and a new Quarterback. Personally, I am happy for Alex Smith, you have to feel good for a guy who should not have been picked number 1 in the draft and then had to deal with multiple coaches and offensive coordinators, getting a second chance to show what he is, a game manager.
The Colts were not supposed to be doing this well so early. Andrew Luck is a fantastic QB and somehow the Colts D with Robert Mathis has been doing a decent job of keeping the Colts in games.
I don’t think the Colts offense has enough weapons to really challenge the Chiefs D, they have not done well offensively since Reggie Wayne was injured, and the Chiefs, which whatever their record has been the past few years, have been drafting some great defensive players. I am saying Kansas City, 28-21. But let’s turn it over to some fellow Rant9ers who watch much more football than me.
Go Bolts! Wait, wrong section. However, go AFC West! I'm going division all the way. We have three AFC west teams in the playoffs and I'm happy to see that. I'm impressed with the Chiefs, it's been awhile since we've seen a team be so awful then so amazing with so few personnel changes (49ers, 6-10 in 2010, 13-3 in 2011). I'm really happy fat Post-Philly Andy gets to show that he's still worth a damn even if he couldn't get rid of his hard-on to start Vick.
What is the Chiefs winning potion? Simple, some really good players. We know the Chiefs have depth and we know they have healthy weapons at their disposal on offense. They can throw the ball and run it and do both well. Charles can make anything happen with the ball. Their defense has depth and they can make great plays when needed. Sacks, fumble recoveries, and pick 6's are the main ingredients in their spicy run to the playoffs and its fun to watch as long as it isn't your team they are playing. This second hand team has shocked all of ESPN week in and week out, then again ESPN loves to be surprised. As a Chargers fan I won't be mentioning last weeks Ref issues, I will ignore that and later thank the Refs for their situational blindness.
Colts, oh Colts. You know, the post Manning era really hasn't been as bad as I had expected. It's been a great run this year and with some more of that neck beard magic they might have a chance. But they'll need a lot of that, and I'm not sure if it has run out or not. They don't have the weapons KC does and they don't have the defense KC does, so I'm not sure how this will pan out for them. I haven't watched them play much, but I know they can be stopped and forced off the field. It was cool of you to make it Colts, but the LUCK stops here! NAILED IT!
Who wins? Kansas City Chefs
Why? Number of weapons on both sides of the ball for the Chiefs and I'm an AFC West homer.
Chief and Colts. At the beginning of this season, I thought Alex Smith and Andy Reid were a perfect fit for the Kansas City Chiefs. It always seems to go well for a talented roster to gain a creative head coach, add to that an expert game-manager like Smith and I figured they were good for 9 wins. I picked them for a Wild Card team, which turned out to be accurate. However, I had no idea that they would be this good and win 11 games. They’ve been bad for so long, I’m happy for them.
The Colts are what they are. They are a team that is well coached and has a talented and developing young QB who appears to be a good leader as well. Their defense is completely different than the Colts we are used to. Gone are the speed-focused days that was designed to play from a Peyton Manning points lead. Now they have the make-up of a more traditional playoff defense. Unfortunately, they are horribly inconsistent. They were blown out this season by the Rams and the Cardinals yet beat the Broncos, Chiefs and Seahawks. This makes me believe that they can get extremely motivated for “big games” while let themselves down in games they should win.
My prediction: Honestly, I like the Chiefs, but I just do not see them winning this one. I see the well-trained fans of Indianapolis with a motivated team whose second year QB has playoff experience, winning a close one against a Chiefs team who are just happy to be there. The Chiefs have enormous talent across their entire roster, but they are very beatable and on the road and lost to the Colts already (yes, the Chiefs are 6-2 on the road, but those wins are against the Gabbert-led Jags, Pryor-led Raiders, Vick’s Eagles (and Andy’s old team), Fitzpatrick’s Titans, Tuel’s Bills, and the game where RGIII was benched for good in D.C. … think about that!) Also, this Chiefs D has allowed an enormous amount of points per game vs playoff teams (169 of thier 305 allowed: 55% in only 6 games. They went 1-5 in those games losing to Denver twice, San Diego twice and the Colts in Arrowhead 23-7); and also their yards per game defense ranked 24th for the season. I see this as a 38-31 Colts win, but I would be happy if I were wrong.
New Orleans Saints vs.
Philadelphia Eagles, 8:10 EST
Oh man. This game should be amazing. Two fantastic offenses, two barely decent defenses. I am so in. I am still in shock that Nick Foles is somehow a good QB, I am still pissed I did not pick him up in Fantasy. Drew Brees and the Saints offense has been great for years now, but they have not done well on the road this year. On that alone, I have to go with the Eagles. Also, does it not make everyone happy that the Cowboys fired Rob Ryan and he helped turn the Saints D around? I know Jerms and Sutton will have more to say and hopefully have some actually information to share, but I have a feeling this game is going to fun to watch and high scoring.
Eagles 45-Saints 31
Saints and Eagles, I hope your dicks are ready America because there is no stopping this high scoring dick jerking thrill ride of a game. Foles is the Quarterback we didn't know had this amazing ability and with him starting they are 9-1, not too shabby. So much better than the constant return of the last dog fighter. The Saints have been having a good season as well, they got their coach back and everyone is playing at a high level, unless it is away from home... I love Brees and Jimmy Graham for fantasy football reasons and get pissed at them for the same reasons.
The Saints will come marching in, but I'm pretty sure they'll be whimpering off the field in this one. How did they get here? Well they've got one helluva an offense even on a bad day with Brees makes plays happen and getting key players the ball. He keeps his shit together and typically makes solid calls and works the defense like a finger puppet. But, BUT, not always. Their defense can make stops, they are the 4th ranked defense in the NFL. They typically don’t allow for a lot of scoring so it always keeps their offense in the game. Their offense is what makes this team good and I’m not sure if the Saints defense can handle the CHIP KELLY OFFENSE, that's why this is going to be a shootout.
Eagles will play a game of throw the ball down the field to some impressive receivers, some of them a little more redneck than others. Its impressive how much better this team got without Vick. Lots of great options in the CHIP KELLY OFFENSE, whatever the hell that means. You know, I'm tired of hearing that, its similar to the ANDY REID OFFENSE except no dog fighters slinging the ball around. The Eagles have an amount of defense, but I'm not super impressed. Either way its going to be one fuck of a game so tune in and get your dick ready.
Who wins? Philadelphia Eagles
Why? The Saints are not playing at home and I'm not convinced their defense can stop the Eagles.
I think disclosure is required before I begin explaining my thoughts on this one. I am a Packers fan who lives in Charlotte and attended the Fail-Mary game in Seattle last season. If the Saints win this one and the Packers finally figure out the 49ers and win, then the Packers come to Charlotte next week and do not have to go back to that blatant-back-to-back-penalty-no-call logic-defying-hell-hole of Seattle where you lose a game even though you clearly won it. So, having said that.
Saints win this one.
The only teams to allow more yards per game this year than the Eagles are the: Bears, Vikings and Cowboys… and I’m pretty sure the Cowboys stopped playing defense for the rest of the season beginning at halftime of the Packers game. So I’m saying the Eagles are the 3rd worst in yards allowed. That should not come into play, though, because you have a hapless offense coming to town, right? No, you don’t. You have the cyborg-arm Brees-led Saints offense who has their riverboat gambling head coach play caller coming to town with a point to make. Also, they have the underestimated Ryan brother as D-coordinator with a chip on his shoulder. This whole team is pissed about last season and the Eagles will be the team they take it out on. Chip Kelly’s offense will not keep up with Brees and the Saints and I’m expecting Rob Ryan to have some nasty play calls up his sleeve for Foles and Chip (Saints rank 4th best in YPG allowed, in case you were wondering).
Both offences are top 5, so it’ll come down to Defense and Special Teams. No one wants me to break down Special Teams, so I won’t. Other than to say that the Saints brought in a fresh leg outdoor kicker just in time for this playoff run.
I say 41-24 Saints win. Look for Jimmy Graham to have a great day.
San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1:05 EST
While I can’t wait to hear what Jerms thinks about this game, I honestly don’t know how to judge these two teams. The Chargers literally had a 5% chance to make the playoffs a month ago, but here they are. The Bengals seem to rise and fall depending on their competition. The Chargers who have beaten some of the best teams in the league have also lost to some of the worst teams in the league, while the Bengals lose games they should win and never seem to raise to their level of talent, also their QB is ginger.
I am going to say the good Chargers show up and embarrass the Bengals.
Chargers 31-Bengals 14
GO BOLTS! YES! We fucking made it somehow! (the refs in that last game, yes I know that is how.) You know what, I don't think it matters. The Chiefs had nothing to gain or lose by winning or losing that game so it isn't a HUGE deal. But yes, please complain about how things are unfair and the refs suck, I'm still busy doing the happy dance because we are in the playoffs. This game comes down to which Bengals show up and which Chargers show up.
I'm saving the Bolts for last on this one. Last week the Bengals were one of my favorite teams, as I needed them to take down “elite” quarterback Joe Flacco, this week I hope they continue their streak of losing in the first round of the playoffs. I watched HBO Hard Knocks this season and thought, man this team looks like they've really got their shit together. They've got some great players on offense and defense, I’m thinking they'll do well this year. Now all I can think of is how much I hope their top two tight ends remain out again this week. The Bengals can get it done on both sides of the ball and thats what makes teams Super Bowl contenders. Good luck Ginger QB and crew, please lose.
I'm not sure if anyone watched the Chargers vs. Chiefs game, it was a great game at the end, but up and down for the Chargers during. We seem to love to do a few three and outs in a row randomly throughout the game and I have no idea why, MOVE THE GODDAMN BALL. It has been another agonizing season of losing to shit ass teams like the Texans and then telling the Broncos, no more horse shit, we win. We win games when Rivers makes long sustaining drives that lead to touchdowns. We keep the defense happy and rested when we do this and they can focus on stopping the other team quickly and effectively. We need to do this again, take away their weapons and make long sustaining drives, that's why it'll be a low scoring game.
Who wins? San Diego SUPER CHARGERS
Why? We played them recently, we know what they do and what they don't do and we can capitalize on this knowledge. Also, Bengals don’t do 2 rounds of playoffs, just the one.
Jerms said it already: which Bengals team shows up and which Chargers team shows up? These teams played each other already this year, and the Bengals came out on top 17-10 in San Diego, but I can’t draw anything from that because these two are so inconsistent. Frankly, this one is a coin-flip. The Bengals and Chargers have both destroyed people at points this year, yet they both have been embarrassed all the same. Whoever wins this will lose the following week unless they go on a Raven-like run where a slightly above average team wins the big game. I’ll pick the team who is 8-0 at home for this say the Bengals win 27-9. Also, I hate watching Rivers throw the ball. He throws if from his chest in more of a pushing motion that defies physics because he seems to be powerful and accurate that way. Have you ever watched the non-athletically inclined friend/cousin/neighbor throw a football? It’s embarrassing and awkward but he somehow manages to get it to you so you don’t say anything and keep playing catch with him? Watching Rivers play is like that. It’s also very much like this:
San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers, 4:40 EST
Oh man. I know Sutton will remember this game from year. It was amazing and depressing at the same time. As much as I love running QBs (especially in Madden) I would be a Green Bay Packers fan if I was not a Giants fan. They are great organization to root for, I mean they are owned by the city, how awesome is that? The 49ers, having to play in what is probably the hardest division in the NFL, have a good offense that has been getting injured players back in the past few weeks, and a pretty decent defense. The Packers just got Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb back, but their defense has been pretty terrible this year. I know Kapernick has not had the season that was predicated before the year began, but he has a strong arm, and fast legs, and won most of the games this year with no WRs to speak of. The Packers, getting Rodgers back in time to ruin the Chicago Bears season, are primed for a good playoffs, starting with a game at home. The reason why I can't pick the Packers is their coach, I just don't have faith in him, he just seems to lose these types of games, and Jim Harbaugh, who I love, is a fantastic coach. So the question becomes who will take advantage of the matchups and who can change their gameplan on the fly if the game is not going well? I think we know the answer to that question, and I feel like the 49ers will again dominate the Packers, but the Packers will keep it close.
Final Score: 49ers 31-Packers 28
What a familiar game! This matchup took place earlier this season and in the postseason last year, with losses being handed to the Packers in both, but how does it end this round? What a wonderful question. These are two really good teams when all members are healthy. Kaepernick can make things happen with his sling shot arm and robot legs and Rodgers might be the clutchest QB in the league. Its raw youthful talent versus a hyper cooled number destroying super computer. The Green Bay defense is very beatable though considering the losses we've seen this season.
The 49ers have an amazing division with so much talent. Three of the four teams with 10 wins or more, that’s a difficult division for sure, but a beatable one. With only 4 losses, the 49ers fall 2nd in the NFC West, but good enough for a wildcard spot. They’ve only lost to some of the best teams in the NFL, all of whom are in the playoffs. We know they play at a high caliber on offense and defense. Kaepernick can fire laser balls and run like a zombie on bath salts, this guy is legit. Their defense is the 5th overall and not as great as the Saints defense, but I just feel like they’ve done a better job. Oh well, winning is winning and the Niners are damn good at it.
So the Packers get Aaron back and its like a holiday miracle. He wins the game and the playoff spot all while giving the Bears the nudge out. What a great ending to a season that can best be described as meh. At the beginning of the season, I thought the Packers were a fully developed team unit, like the ones that won the Super Bowl a few years ago, yeah I was wrong. Rodgers goes down and so does that team, man what a shit fest during mid season, thank God Lombardi Rodgers came back for that last game. Weeks 9-13 were just terrible losses and a damn tie, crazy!
Who wins? Green Bay Packers
Why? Rodgers isn’t done yet, he wants to play more football this season. He’s fresh, ready, and he’s looking to score some 49er gold!
The Packers are hosting a playoff game and are having trouble selling all the Tickets? What is this the Twilight Zone? or Sliders? (Editor's note: Sadly it is not Sliders, they have not FOUND THE GATEWAY!!) They’ve packed the house for 300+ games straight. Wisconsoners need to get it in gear and buy those seats and defend the sanctity of Lambeau Field.
They will. They will.
Okay so the 49ers are coming to Green Bay. They have not had trouble winning against the Packers, having beaten them already Week One and obviously who could forget the million rushing yards Kaepernick racked up in last year’s playoff game in SF, which was a 45-31 Niners win. The Packers spent several draft picks in 2013 getting long and fast linemen to rundown the read option QB’s that gave them so much trouble last year. Then, 2013 hits and they focus so much on stopping the read option that they completely forget to cover the middle of the field all year long. Tight-ends and Slot Receivers made themselves millions of dollars this year against the Packers. The only teams that allowed more fantasy points to WR’s and TE’s this year were the Vikings and Eagles. Take if from a guy that watched every down, the majority of those points came from the middle of the field. A.J. Hawk is the only consistent player for Green Bay and he cannot cover everyone. The outside linebackers are out of position seemingly on every play. Also, this team cannot tackle, and they allow almost 8 yards per play.
On a brighter note, it will be freezing cold in Green Bay on Sunday. Last year, the 49ers were at home. They’ve beat the Packers earlier this year in Green Bay, yes, but that was in September. This will be January. In Wisconsin. Have you ever tried to breathe in that frozen air for 4 hours with California lungs? Good luck! I see the 49ers coming out strong and looking like they will dominate only to wimp out and get rocked by the weather and a physical running attack in the second half. The Packers running game has been amazing the second half of the season. I think I heard Fox Sports tell me that Eddie Lacy is the #3 running back in the NFL since week 8. Now you have Rodgers back with a fresh arm and Cobb with a new leg, Jordy Nelson is catching balls like Calvin Johnson and the offensive line is coming off of three 4th down conversion confidence boosters in Chicago. The 49ers haven’t seen these Packers and definately have not experienced this environment. They may just get their asses kicked. I’ll say this goes to the Packers and they win
Join us next week when we will discuss how wrong we were as well as discuss the next slate of games.