Friday, January 15, 2021

NFL Divisional Playoff preview

The NFL playoffs have reached the divisional round. Four quality matchups over two days.


Baltimore @ Buffalo (Saturday, NBC): There was a headline earlier this week that said that Ravens QB Lamar Jackson was worried about a weekend snowstorm in Buffalo. Please. Last I checked, the storm warning the National Weather Service is advertising is for Essex County and in Vermont. I don't think Essex County is near Buffalo.

That said, Jackson & his counterpart, Buffalo's Josh Allen, will air it out. They will run. This will be a track meet, quarterbacks included. This will be a fun game to watch.

Buffalo gets receiver Cole Beasley back, which will be a plus. This will be tight. For once, the oddsmakers got it right.

The pick: Buffalo.

Cleveland @ Kansas City (Sunday, CBS): To show how stupid those same oddsmakers are, they installed the defending Super Bowl champs as a 10 point home favorite, ignoring the fact that the Browns dropped 72 points on Pittsburgh the last two weeks.

Speaking of stupid, that brings us to ESPN bloviator Stephen A. Smith. On today's episode of First Take, Smith got taken to school by Max Kellerman and Ryan Clark. And, oh, by the way, Clark used to play for the Steelers. The last time Smith threw a football was probably in gym class. A lifetime ago.

Once again, when it comes to football, Smith is dumber than a bag of hammers.

The Browns are hot right now. "Screamin' A." thinks the Chiefs have learned from their comeback wins last post-season, en route to the Super Bowl. Maybe they have, but the Browns are motivated to prove they're not a doormat anymore. They will hang with the Chiefs up until the 4th quarter.

Pick: Kansas City. By a field goal.


Los Angeles @ Green Bay (Saturday, Fox): Had this game been played a decade ago, ESPN's Chris Berman would dust off his John Fascenda impersonation to discuss the legendary "frozen tundra" of Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers proved his critics wrong. They wrote him off too soon, and he puts up impressive numbers. Jared Goff gets his starting job back at QB for the Rams after John Wolford went down with a concussion last week. This will make great theatre.

Pick: Green Bay.

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (Sunday, Fox): Round 3 between 40-somethings Drew Brees (who turns 42 today) and Tom Brady. Brees & the Saints swept the regular season series, and they're back where they started the season, in New Orleans. Up until this season, a Brady-led team had never been swept by a divisional opponent. Could the 3rd time be the charm? Brady's sole remaining motivation is to show he can win the big one away from the umbrella of his former coach, Bill Belichick, who'll be watching at home. Brady's had the last laugh this season on Belichick, and I think he finally gets one on Brees, too. That would set up the NFC title game as something Berman often referred to when the Bucs & Packers were in the same division back in the day. The Bay of Pigs.

Pick: Tampa Bay.

Of course, I could be wrong.

No comments: