Wait, it’s the playoffs already?
Believe, me when I say that I’m not trying to be funny or heap on to the already large pile of grief that the NFL has received for not being as compelling as in previous years. I’m being serious.
I haven’t paid attention to the NFL since Week 8.
Now you may be thinking, “Hang on Tyson. The Astros won the World Series on November 1st. Wouldn’t that mean Week 8 is when you actually should start caring about the NFL?”
Yes, however the day after the Astros won the World Series, the best quarterback in Houston Texans history (yes…the best), Deshaun Watson, went down with a torn ACL in a non-contact incident at the seemingly-cursed Texans Practice Facility.
On a positive note, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in about a month.
The NFL has been weird this year. Marred by controversy as well as some weirdly dark political overtones, football for me has not been the escape it used to be. What once was an arena marked by incredible athleticism and competitive balance, has become one known more for the danger it poses to the athlete and inconsistent play across the board.
Still the playoffs must go on and perhaps, there is redemption in the wings.
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
Who are these teams? No really.
The Chiefs: At the start of the season, Alex Smith was getting legitimate MVP buzz and Kareem Hunt had the look of a sure-fire Rookie of the Year after Deshaun Watson went down. Now, Patrick Mahomes is in the conversation at quarterback, Hunt has the look and feel of an NFL rookie again, and Andy Reid is busting into news conferences dressed as Santa.
The Titans: I can’t name a single skill position player except for Marcus Mariota. Wait I just looked it up, Derrick Henry is on this team!? This would be a really good College Football Playoff Team.
I have no other recourse than to trust the more experienced coach with time to prepare.
Pick: Chiefs -8.5
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams
The team everyone is counting out (Falcons) against the feel-good team of the year (Rams).
The seasoned and battle tested team (Falcons) against the raw and upstart fresh face (Rams)
The team that blew a 25 point lead in a Super Bowl (Falcons) against the…I actually have nothing here. That was pretty bad, Falcons.
If clicking on all cylinders, this could be an offensive display for the ages should both of these are potentially high powered offenses operate at peak performance levels. If one thing is off though for either team, or one key player gets slap happy and nervous, this could turn into a rock fight.
I’m going to hope for peak performance.
Pick: Atlanta +6.5
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars
This just keeps getting weirder.
The last time the Bills were in the playoffs was the Music City Miracle.
The last time the Jaguars were in the playoffs was 2008 when they beat Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers with David Garrard at quarterback.
I’m telling you. If the internet didn’t exist, no one would believe that last sentence.
That said, I have nothing but a somewhat educated guess on what will happen in this game. Better yet…here’s what I know will not happened.
Neither Tyrod Taylor nor Blake Bortles will have a marquee performance.
The vaunted Jacksonville defense will not be vaunted and will probably give up a ton of big plays.
Lesean McCoy may or may not play but either way, he will be ineffective.
Here’s what will probably happen:
Some big call or huge turnover will swing the game. And don’t think I’m not pulling for the Bills and Titans just so we can have a rematch.
Pick: Bills +8
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
Whew. Finally, some teams I recognize.
Wait, what do you mean the Saints are a power running team now?
(Throws this entire post in the trashcan)
Pick: New Orleans Saints -6.5