I may have gone 2-2 picking winners last week but I just wanna say for the record I was 2-0 picking AFC playoff games and 0-2 picking NFC playoff games. In a way it makes perfect sense, I'm an AFC guy through and through. That's MY conference, I know it well. I've watched the Patriots dominate the AFC since I was in 4th grade as come Sunday they'll be playing in their 7th straight AFC Championship Game and 12th since 2001. IMO without bias it is the most impressive run by any team in the history of pro sports. Nearly two full decades of domination where most teams' windows are 5 years max the Patriots have stretched that like silly putty.
Hand up I was actually more confident in the Jaguars beating Pittsburgh than I was in the Pats beating Tennessee. Granted I should've believed in my guys more, but I've already discussed my coping mechanisms.
I don't get why everybody was so shocked the Jags won, they blew out the Steelers in Pittsburgh back in week 5. Plus the Steelers are run by an idiot, and they've lost a bunch of playoff games they were favored in during the Tomlin era. They're the anti-Patriots, instead of going one week at a time like winners do they found a way to have a trap game in the playoffs by discounting Jacksonville. I knew they'd overlook the Jaguars because it's easy to do since they're the Jaguars, and they're obsessed with the Patriots.
Case and point:
Now they're at home.
Not to make excuses but both of my NFC picks were right on the doorstep and should've won. But it's okay, they didn't, I didn't have money on the games so I really am okay with that. Plus it plays in the Pats favor (Should they beat Jacksonville because unlike Mike Tomlin I respect how good they are) as Matt Ryan and Drew Brees are out and Nick Foles and Case Keenum are still alive.
If the Falcons had any structure, or competent coaching they would've beaten the Eagles, but it's my own fault for believing in the Falcons, a team that was winning the Super Bowl by a whopping 25 points and ended up losing. They're a loser franchise, with a losing culture that will never win a Super Bowl! Their play calling inside the ten yard line on that final series was poor at best!
"Hey it's only 4th and season. Let's run a slow developing roll-out that eliminates half the field and only has one receiving option"
As horrible as that play call was, Julio did have a chance to make a play but given the circumstances when you need one play to stay alive that's what you come up with? SHEEEEEEEEEEEEESHHH!
Then of course we had the Minneapolis Miracle where much like a broken levee, Marcus Williams failed at the worst possible time for New Orleans whiffing on Stefon Diggs allowing him to run free all the way to Philadelphia for a berth in the NFC title game. Had Sean Payton spent a little less time trolling and little bit more coaching in the final moments
Then maybe this doesn't happen.
So now we're here. Jacksonville at New England and Minnesota at Philadelphia with the right to represent their conference at the Super Bowl February 4th. Let's dive in.
AFC Championship Game:
(3) 12-6 Jacksonville Jaguars @ (1) 14-3 New England Patriots
Sunday January 21st Gillette Stadium 3:05 PM CBS
This match up is so intriguing to me the league's best defense against the probable league MVP in Tom Brady. Jacksonville finished the season 2nd in total defense. The Pats were 1st in total offense. Everybody who tries to talk like they know football will say basically something like this:
"The Jags have the perfect formula to beat New England, great defense and dominate running game."
"They can control time of possession. Keep Brady off the field."
"The way to beat Brady is to hit him"
Well color me shocked!
You're telling me you should try to hit the other team's QB? No way?! Should you try to outscore the opponent too?
Anybody who knows anything about football can say that, you're not exactly Vince Lombardi coming up with that game plan.
However........ that's exactly what'll need to happen for Jacksonville to beat New England!!! I personally think this game will be all about the start. I wouldn't be shocked if the Patriots won the toss and chose to take the ball to start the game unlike there usual deferment til the second half. Try to score early and force Jacksonville to keep up. I think we'll know after a quarter or so if this game will be bloodbath or not.
While I do think the Jags have a decent chance to pull off the upset, it'll have to be done by keeping the game close early. Follow a similar formula to how they beat Pittsburgh. Start hot, and be able to dictate the tempo of the game. The Jags are not built to come from behind, if it's 17-0 Patriots after the 1st quarter I don't see a way Jacksonville can win this game. They're built on running the ball with Fournette and if it's 24-6 in the 3rd quarter idk how much you can be relying on the run game.
We all know the same old cliches about the Patriots taking away your best asset, they try to make you play left handed (which for 11% of the population is preferred). Last week they didn't allow a run longer than 4 yards but Derrick Henry. Expect the Pats to try to neutralize Leonard Fournette and make Bortles beat them. That is much easier said than done. Fournette is a beast, rushed for over 1000 yards in only 13 games this season. So far in the playoffs he's had 166 yards and 3 touchdowns. Luckily for New England he got a little banged up against Pittsburgh. However Tom Brady is also battling a hand injury sustained in practice this week.
If the Patriots can get off to a hot start early and force Jacksonville to rely on Blake Bortles it's going to be a long day for Jacksonville. I love the guy, but historically he's a turnover machine.
He hasn't turned the ball over yet in the postseason, which could mean he's due. It's been a long time since Bortles coughed it up, I'm sure he's feeling very weird and uneasy about it, as most people tend to do in new situations. If the Pats can force Bortles to be pre-2017 Bortles they're in great shape. They've done pretty well historically under Belichick when winning the turnover battle in the playoffs.
While everybody is talking about how great Jacksonville's defense is, they did give up 42 points to the Steelers last week. We can even call it 35 if you since the last TD was scored in garbage time, but on two 4th downs they allowed the Steelers to score basically miracle touchdowns to stay in the game. Against old friend Jimmy G in week 16 they gave up 44 points. They've had their share of stinkers this year. They're a good defense but they're not the 85 Bears or 2000 Ravens.
There are just so many things that need to break the Jags way for them to win this game. Now if Brady is seriously hurt, or gets banged up in this game obviously everything changes but as long as he's even like 50% I love the Pats chances. I do think the Jaguars have a decent chance to pull off the upset, because of their potential to control the pace of the game but between the game being in Foxboro and the ration one-dimensional offense the Jags have I do expect the Patriots to win. We'll know rather early whether or not this game will be competitive for the full 60 minutes. If the Pats get the chance, they're going to run up the score after what Jalen Ramsey said after the Jags beat Pittsburgh.
Jaguars had a great year, and have been an awesome story this season going from a 3 win team to the AFC Championship Game, but it ends this week.
NFC Championship Game:
(2) 14-3 Minnesota Vikings vs. (1) 14-3 Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday January 21st Lincoln Financial Field 6:40 FOX
In the most surprising 1 vs. 2 seed conference title game in recent memory and possibly ever we have the miracle Minnesota Vikings heading to the city of brotherly love to take on the Eagles. Both teams went 13-3 with Philly holding the tie breaker over record vs. common opponents so they get to play at home. My rooting interest in this game heavily lies with what the Patriots do against the Jaguars. I'd rather play the Eagles cause I think it's a better match up, but if somehow they lose to Jacksonville I'll be rooting for Minnesota hard.
Both teams proved the critics (and me) wrong by winning home playoff games last week in rather dramatic fashion. While the Minneapolis Miracle which will live forever in NFL lore has taken center stage, the Eagles did have a goal line stand to beat the defending NFC Champs. After the Falcons converted on a 4th down conversion earlier in that drive I thought it was game over but Philly held on.
The Eagles open up as home dogs but seem to be taking quite the liking to that.
This game to me is a total crap shoot as it's still two back up QBs facing two of the league's best defenses. In a battle of just doing enough to let your defense win the game for you I honestly don't know what to expect. It's kind of a cop out but honestly, I could very easily see either team winning. I expect an ugly grind it out defensive struggle where the QBs aren't asked to do too much. I just hope for entertainment purposes it's a close game.
Again, obviously I'm rooting for the Patriots to win it is all, but as a football fan either of these teams winning would be an incredible story. You have the potential of the Vikings lead by journeyman Case Keenum being the first ever team to play in a home Super Bowl trying to win their first Super Bowl. Then there's the Eagles who for the first 10 or so weeks of the season looked like clear cut Super Bowl favorites with a quarterback in Carson Wentz who seemed like he was in line for league MVP. Then Wentz goes down against the Rams with a torn ACL and immediately everybody (including me) writes them off. Seriously I gave them no chance going into the playoffs
Yet much like the 2016 Green Day song "Still Breathing" the Eagles are still alive aka still breathing, and just like the Vikings they too are trying to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
As a fan of narratives it does seem like it's the Vikings year, but tbh that just makes me think they're gonna find a way to lose even more. I'm going with the trend until it proves me wrong, and the trend from 50 years has been that the Vikings lose in the playoffs in the most heartbreaking ways. They went from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs last week and now are one win away from being the first ever true home Super Bowl team. It would be sooooo fitting for them to lose this game. It just makes all the sense in the world that they'll somehow lose this game. Just knowing they're just a win over Nick Foles away from hosting the Super Bowl. It would be all-time Vikings to lose this game.
The Eagles are playing at home and are as of now 3 point underdogs. This historically plays to Philly's favor as they're undefeated at home as an underdog in the playoffs. The Eagles are also quite accustom to playoff misery. You'll notice no Super Bowl banners waving at the Linc on Sunday. In a way it's like an the old immovable object vs unstoppable force theory of historically snake-bitten franchises. One of these teams has to win and make it to the Super Bowl. Crazy I know. My heart says Vikings but my head says Eagles. I think the X factor in this game is old friend LeGarrette Blount who has lost carries to Jay Ajayi but has a knack for big playoff performances. I think the Eagles will need to rely on the run because I just don't see Nick Foles having a ton of success vs. that Minnesota secondary. As I type I still haven't come to a clear cut decision, but fuck it I am picking the Vikings. If they're ever going to do it, this is the year. No road team has won a conference championship game since the 2012 season and I think that changes here. I'm totally getting sucked into the trap picking but that's okay I'm basically just saying this to myself since nobody reads DOL anymore (prove me wrong!)
Song: My Sweet Lord
Artist: George Harrison
Album: All Things Must Pass
So I've been trying to not get my hopes up with the Patriots this year for a variety of reasons. Mainly because deep down I don't think their defense is good enough to win a Super Bowl. Losing Hightower, Branch and even Shea McClellin hurt a ton, plus their pass rush (apart from last week where this happened) has been atrocious.
From my experience with both sports and girls I've realized it's a lottttt easier to deal with heartbreak when you lower your expectations. Don't assume anything. There's a reason I convinced myself the Titans had a legit chance last week, because had I gone in thinking there's no way on earth the Patriots lose, like most people did and then somehow they did, it would crush me. I've done this before many times and after the 2012 AFC Championship Game I finally learned my lesson. So I don't do it anymore. Don't assume you're going to win, or be happy, cause you probably won't be. Sure it's kind of a loser mentality, and as I type this and think about where I am in life maybe it's not the best approach, but it does make heartache a lot easier to handle!
However the cards have fallen quite favorably for the Pats this year. It's pretty remarkable when you sit down and think about it. Aaron Rodgers, out for the year. Essentially the whole Legion of Boom goes down, Seattle Seahawks implode and don't even make the playoffs. Zeke Elliott gets suspended and Cowboys have a down year. David Johnson (remember him?) goes down week one and the Cardinals underachieve. Andy Dalton has a miracle in week 17 knocking out the Patriot killing Ravens and Joe Flacco which gives the final playoff spot to the Buffalo Bills who were about as big of a threat to win the Super Bowl as Lil Pump is to win a Grammy for Album of the Year. Carson Wentz torn his ACL, Mike Tomlin continues to be a fucking idiot. The Saints decide to not play defense against a Hail Mary. You could even make the argument that DeShaun Watson tearing his ACL gave the Patriots an easier road as he lit them up in week 3.
Instead what lies ahead for New England in potential QB opponents is Blake Bortles (God love him) who at times looks like he's playing football for the first time and two guys who went into 2017 as back-ups.
With the conference championship games a few days away the road to Lombardi #6 seems easier than ever for the Patriots. The Tom Brady needs to outscore Blake Bortles then either Case Keenum or Nick Foles to win a Super Bowl. The road doesn't get much easier than that from a opposing quarterback standpoint. Given the state of the Patriots defense, it makes the task a whole lot easier. This may be one of the worst combinations of starting QBs in a conference championship weekend in NFL history.
(Delhomme, Hasselbeck, Plummer and Big Ben was the 2005 season but the point still remains)
Sure it's not exactly that simple, as it's a team game, anything can happen, blah, blah, blah.
Talk about a great draw.
Marcus Mariota, Blake Bortles, then a QB who went into 2017 as a back-up. It's not exactly Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees.
Now part of me hates saying games are QB vs QB because in many ways that's not the case. It's a team game, it's QB vs defense, Which is why I always say Eli Manning didn't beat Tom Brady in two Super Bowls....their defensive line did. The three other teams still alive all have good to great defenses, at least statistically (Jags did give up 42 points last week). Vikings, Jags, and Eagles are 1st, 2nd and 4th respectively in points allowed this season. Despite that I can't help but look down the road at why lies ahead for the Pats.
Which poses the question: How big of a disappointment would it be for this Patriots team to not win the Super Bowl given the road ahead?
Now I know nobody outside of New England is going to cry over things not going the Patriots way and I totally understand that, buuuuuuttttt there is no denying despite the massive amount of success the Patriots have had during this run, there has also been some massive disappointments. Even with the countless Super Bowls and making the AFC Championship Game in what feels like every year since the turn of the millennium this team has had it's fair share of letdowns and heart breaking moments. A week after winning Super Bowl XXXIX Tedy Bruschi had a stroke, they blew a 21-3 lead in the 2006 AFC Championship game, 18-1, Brady tearing his ACL week one 2008, being 14-2 and clear cut SB favorites and losing a home playoff game to the fucking Jets, losing another Super Bowl to the Giants, a team that only had 9 wins in the regular season, losing a star tight end because he wants to be a serial killer. I'm just saying there's been dark days too. It's easier to deal with now as time has passed and the universe has sorted of evened things out with the way they've won their last two Super Bowls. But the Patriots are no strangers to laying an egg in big games. Plus let's not forget that whole decade long Super Bowl drought thing.
Although the "drama" from ESPN hit piece from a few weeks ago has kind of died down take into account the changes coming next year. The Pats are going to be losing both coordinators this off season, and Tom Brady will be a year older next season. I'm just saying this run has to end at some point. While I don't believe the Patriots are all of a sudden going to be a 6 win team in 2018, you have to look at the opportunity that lies ahead. Failing to capitalize here (considering absolute best case scenario the Tom Brady window is open a few more years) would be devastating. You're never going to get an easy road to a Super Bowl. I don't think that's a stretch to say. Given the flaws of this defense I'd say they're rather lucky to have gotten this draw. I don't know if they'd be able to keep an Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees in check, but luckily for Patriots fans we only have to worry about Blake Bortles and Nick Foles/Case Keenum. All things considered, I do think not finishing the job considering who else is still alive would be a pretty big failure. I mean it's Tom Brady vs Bortles and Foles/Keenum. Not winning there would be like if Gordon Ramsey lost Top Chef to an easy bake oven.
Song: You Worry Me
Artist: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Album: Tearing at the Seems
I like this song a lot but it also totally sounds like it could be in a commercial for the new 2018 Subaru Outback.
Case Keenum Leading the SKOL Chant After The Minneapolis Miracle is the Coolest Thing I've Ever Seen
First off, give that cameraman a raise, that panning out (think that's the right term) was perfect.
This is a classic case in recency bias, as I've seen cooler things, but this has gotta be close to the top of the list. Man what an all-time sports moment we all got to witness yesterday. Vikings' QB Case Keenum leading the SKOL chant with fans after a victory in a game where they were all but dead. To quote the late, great Chris Farley in Tommy Boy "That.....was awesome!" Just think about everything that lead up to this moment, the rollercoaster that was the 4th quarter.
One of the wildest final five or so minutes of football game you'll ever see. Reminded me a ton of the Saints-49ers playoff game in 2011. Both were sea-saw affairs. Also both teams that ended up winning on last second miracle plays blew 17-0 leads. Sure stinks for the Saints to be on the wrong side of those two games, just think about how different Drew Brees legacy would be if he had a defense who could stop miracles? Off the top of my head in the last 6 minutes there was a blocked punt, lead changing touchdown, a 4th and season conversion, two potentially game winning field goals, and a Hail-Mary. Usually you're lucky to get one of those in a game. This shit was straight out of a movie, capped off with Case Keenum leading the Vikings' crowd in their SKOL chant after The Minneapolis Miracle as they're calling it, was an all time just awesome sports moment. Idc who you root for (unless it's the Saints) you can't help but feel good for Vikings fans.
Like I said, it already has a wikipedia page so you know it's an all time moment.
Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs is already arguably the greatest moment in Minnesota Vikings' history. Between that, and the possibility of being the first team to play the Super Bowl at home, it feels like all the stars are aligning for Minnesota to win it's first Super Bowl. Watching that touchdown with the Vikings' radio call makes it even better, no disrespect to Joe Buck but these moments with the actual team broadcasts are always better, they just have that legit emotion from fans that a national broadcaster just can't replicate.
Just an all time game, capped off with an all time great sports moment. The fact that it's the snakebitten Vikings being lead by Case Keenum makes it even more special. Keenum's story to how he got here is incredible. Just look at how much he's moved around in his career. Like the tweet says, it doesn't even tell half the story.
For a while it felt like this game was going to be a blow out, Drew Brees looked horrible, Minnesota was rolling. Then Drew Brees has a classic 4th quarter to make a game of it, and eventually take the lead on two separate occasions. I said it earlier but that game felt soooooooo much like the 49ers-Saints 2011 Divisional Playoff game which had one of the craziest final five minutes you'll ever see, that is of course until last night. It turned into one of those games where if you didn't have money on it you weren't sure who you wanted to win. At times I was like I want the Saints to win just so I can look smart on my blog predictions that were read by nobody, but then I was like man this Vikings story is just too awesome to die right now.
If you know anything about the history of the Minnesota Vikings you know they have had their fair share of heartbreaking moments, and it looked like it was going to have another chapter added to that already long book of misery as lets not forget the Vikings were at one point up 17-0. Think about where they went emotionally in those final minutes. Took the lead after squandering it, gave it up again, start the final series with a penalty, then Hail Mary with 10 seconds to live another week. To watch their Cinderella backup QB Case Keenum lead the stadium in their fight song/chant/whatever you want to call it after it looked like their dream season was over was incredible and is what sports are all about. To think it would've never happened if it wasn't for that stupid rule that they had to run a play after the touchdown despite the clock expiring as this happened during the delay when they were trying to clear the field is pretty crazy too.
While I obviously want the Patriots to win the Super Bowl again, you almost feel greedy wanting yet another Lombardi, but they sure do never get old. But after last night, it really does feel like it is the Vikings year. That is of course unless they just have another classic Vikings heartbreak, as there's still two more games left! But for now, let's just enjoy what took place last night.
Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer of the Irish band The Cranberries, died in London on Monday, according to a statement from her publicist.
O'Riordan, who was 46, died "suddenly" according to the statement, but no details were given on the cause of her death.
The singer was in London for a short recording session, the statement added.
The Cranberries rose to global fame in the mid-1990s with a string of hits, including "Linger," "Zombie" and "Dreams." The group, from Limerick, has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.In 2007 O'Riordan launched a solo project with her album "Are you Listening?" before reuniting with the group in 2009. That same year she also teamed up with The Smiths' bassist Andy Rourke and DJ Ole Koretsky to form the group D.A.R.K.
In 2017, the Cranberries' canceled many dates on their Europe and North America tour, with the band citing O'Riordan's ongoing back problems as the cause.
Really sad news out of London, Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer of The Cranberries has died unexpectedly today at the age of 46. Didn't realize she was so young, so sad. Guess you could say her life changed in the worst possible way. Maybe a little too soon to do a little lyric wordplay, as I would hate to have a Zombie come back and haunt me.
But in all serious, this sucks, she was a mother of three, with a voice like an angel and the front-woman to arguably the most famous Irish band of all time. It's awful to speculate at a time like this but you just hope it wasn't anything self inflicted, too many musicians have taken their own lives in the last year or so.
I'm no Cranberries super fan or anything (tbh don't like the food either, fruit ewww) as the peak of their success happened when I was a wee lad (get it cause she's Irish?) and I really only know a handful of songs by them, but of those handful they were massive hits. As a music junky I'm well aware of the impact that had in the 90's. "Linger", "Dreams", and "Zombie" are all timers. They're some of the biggest not just alternative hits of the last 25 years, but just hits in general who's impacts are much greater than any commercial success they might've had. Like "Linger" was heavily featured in the Adam Sandler movie "Click" which is very noteworthy as that's the last good Adam Sandler movie. That scene that just gave the worst case of goosebumps after watching it on Youtube.
I'd say their most notable song was "Zombie". "Zombie" is just one of those songs that everybody knows, even if you don't know who The Cranberries are, you probably know that song. You definitely could have worse legacies, obviously as a musician I'd imagine you want to have a lasting impact where everybody knows who you were, but having a signature song like "Zombie" that is known by pretty much anybody who has listened to the radio in the last 40 years isn't too bad either.
What is kind of eerie about all this is whole is just a few days ago I was doing some late night wikipedia research on The Cranberries, and now this happens. Weird!
Just really sad, unexpected news. When Dennis Reynolds is paying his respects you know it's a big deal.
Song: Lost in the Game
Artist: Public Access T.V.
Album: Street Safari
I'm so kewl!!!
If it wasn't for this hit, and some of the worst officiating of all time I would've gone an astounding 4/4 (100%) picking winners during the wild-card round.
However thanks to Travis Kelce's concussion and the Kansas City Chiefs being immune from winning home playoff games I had to settle for 3/4.
It's my own fault for believing in Kansas City. But it's okay because we've got quite the slate of games this weekend.
Divisional weekend is considered by many to be the best weekend of football all year. I am one of those many. The divisional playoffs are responsible for some of the greatest moments in NFL history. I feel like I said this exact same sentence in previous blogs but it's true! However this year we aren't doing presents. This year I won't give example, you're reading this, you obviously have internet access, go on wikipedia and have yourself a nice research filled afternoon after you finish reading this.
Here are your Divisional Round matchups.
(6) Atlanta Falcons 11-6 @ (1) Philadelphia Eagles 13-3
Saturday 4:35 PM NBC
Now I bet you're thinking
"Doz/Ryan (depending on your relationship with me), that's a picture of Michael Vick and Brian Dawkins along with a tight end on the Falcons that neither of us could identify blocking Derrick Burgess in the back, why did you chose this picture?"
Well friend, because we're gonna go with throwback pictures for this year's blog. Now that's out of the way..
The obvious story line in this game is the fact that the Eagles will be playing without QB Carson Wentz who still is out for the season with a torn ACL. Sucks for them!
In fact the Philadelphia Eagles are underdogs at home! OMG! This game is the first in NFL history where a 6 seed is favored over a 1 seed in the Divisional Round.
Although let me be honest with you, even had Carson Wentz not gotten hurt, I still was going to pick the Eagles to lose their first playoff game this year. I like Wentz but I just had a gut feeling the Eagles wouldn't be for real come playoff time. I could've sworn I tweeted that at some point this season but could not find proof of that. Oh well, you'll just have to trust me with that one!
With the exception of the Giants, I feel like NFC East teams just don't win in the playoffs. Now with Nick Foles at QB in Phily I am even more confident that trend will continue. Even though I still think the Falcons are kind of frauds, and if there was ever a team to find a way to lose to Nick Foles in the playoffs it'd somehow be them, I'm taking the Falcons to win. The Falcons sure did luck out as a 6 seed this year. Get the Rams who aren't ready for prime time just yet, now the Eagles with a backup QB. Maybe God feels bad for them for blowing the biggest lead in Super Bowl history!
(5) Tennessee Titans 10-7 @ (1) New England Patriots 13-3
Saturday 8:15 PM CBS
A lot has changed since the last time the Patriots and Titans met in the playoffs. Steve McNair was still very much alive (RIPIP) and Donald Trump was just a billionaire reality game show host with sideline access.
Most people are totally writing off the Titans, they're a young team that nearly went from 8-4 to missing the playoffs against the mighty 13-3 Patriots eyeing for their 7th straight AFC Championship game.
You've got Shaughnessy making the same crappy jokes he's been making for years.
DJ Bean said the Titans would need 10 Air Buds to beat the Pats.
I on the other hand am not going to make such a silly claim. It's almost like people are forgetting how bad the Patriots defense is. Here are a few stats:
The Patriots defense is:
- 29th in the NFL in yards allowed
- 30th in the NFL in pass defense
- 20th in the NFL in rush defense
- 24th in first downs allowed
- 5th in points allowed
You could say they've mastered the bend but don't break defense.
However I think it's bad news bears for the Patriots defense in this match up. Granted it was earlier in the season, and they've made adjustments but when they faced athletic QBs that could run in Alex Smith, DeShaun Watson and Cam Newton they completely dominated. If it wasn't for a miracle Tom Brady TD drive they would've gone 0-3 in those games, which were all played in Foxboro. Now the Patriots find themselves facing another mobile QB in Marcus Mariota.
There's no denying Marcus Mariota had a down year, 13 TD 15 INT. But last week he showed glimpse of the star QB in the making he was after his first two seasons, and when the chips were down he did everything and more to beat the Chiefs.
Derrick Henry has broken onto the scene as of late and could give this front 7 nightmares. While the Patriots have the advantage of playing at home, in elements that Tennessee is not used to I think it's absolutely insane that most are just considering this game a forgone Patriots victory.
While I think the Patriots will win IMO there's a very high chance the Titans cover the 13.5 point spread. What the Patriots have in their favor is history. Tom Brady is 9-0 in Saturday night playoff games. But it's the playoffs....anything can happen!
TBH I am a little worried based on his play to end the season, and the Titans ability to dominate the run game, therefore keeping the ball out of Tom Brady's beautiful, God like hands.
I also can't help but address the elephant in the room, me.
Nashville has been haunting me, I should've have left, and it would just be the ultimate cherry on top of a shitty year sundae for the Titans to end the Patriots season.
Despite everything I just said, I do think the Patriots find a way to win this game. It reminds me a lot of their game against Houston last year in the divisional round where they let the Texans hang around but broke away late. I really do think the Titans will cover, but it wouldn't shock me if they didn't. That's kind of talking out of both sides of my mouth but whatever. I'm going against the grain and saying the Pats just squeak it out. I'll look like an idiot when they by 24 but that's okay as long as they win.
(3) 11-6 Jacksonville Jaguars @ (2) 13-3 Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday 1:05 PM CBS
In week 5 the Jaguars shocked the NFL by absolutely murdering the Steelers 30-9 in Pittsburgh. As an owner of both team's D/ST in fantasy they sure shocked me as I started the Steelers D and missed out on a 30 fantasy point explosion! It's okay though that's just for fun. What wasn't fun (for Pittsburgh) was BIg Ben's performance at afternoon. The Jaguars defense picked off Big Ben 5 times and brought 2 of them back for touchdowns! He stunk!
Before squeaking out a 10-3 victory of the Buffalo Bills in a game that saw more punts than points the Jaguars most previous playoff victory came against the Steelers at Heinz Field in the 2007 Wild Card Round.
Experts are expecting this game to be much different from week 5, but guess what I am not an expert. Sure I am a little biased because I hate the Steelers but I've been saying for weeks that the Jaguars are going to beat them again and the playoffs and what kind of man would I be if I didn't stick to it?
I think the Steelers are rushing Antonio Brown back too early, and while Blake Bortles only threw for 87 yards last week, let's not forget he was dealing with gale force 3-7 mph winds.
The Jaguar defense is no joke and if Blake Bortles can just be okay I think the Jags have a great chance of pulling off the upset.
(4) 12-5 New Orleans Saints @ (2) Minnesota Vikings 13-3
Sunday 4:40 PM FOX
Did you know that Minnesota is hosting the Super Bowl this year?
Probably not, it's been a well kept secret in the NFL this year.
One thing I will say, before I say a bunch of stuff is that the Saints sure are lucky to be playing this week. Sean Payton's bonehead decision to go for it on 4th and 2 at midfield up 5 instead of punting nearly backfired. In a weird series of events, the Panthers interception Drew Bree's 4th down pass actually helped the Saints out as it pinned the Panthers farther back, in a way acting like a punt. But they survived and get to face the Minnesota Vikings.
This game is predicted to be the game of the week and I agree, it should be the NFC Championship game as IMO these are the two best teams in the NFC, however due to seeding it did not work out that way. I do however believe whoever wins this game will end up playing in the Super Bowl.
These two teams met up way back in week 1 when Vikings beat the Saints 29-19. That game was started by Sam Bradford so it doesn't really hold any barring for this match up.
Case Keenum has been a pleasant surprise for Minnesota going 11-3 as the starter with 22 touchdown passes to only 7 INT. The journeyman back up has had a nice year for sure! The dude just keeps winning. It felt like every week he was bound to come back to earth and give up the reigns to Teddy Bridgewater, but it never happened.
Sadly, it ends this week.
As a narrative guy, one that always rings true (unlike the Vikings cause they have no rings! lol) is heartbreak come playoff time for the Minnesota Vikings. They're 0-4 in the Super Bowl. Gary Anderson miss in 98 NFC CG, Brett throwing against the grain, Blair Walsh, I don't need to pile on.
While many would say true Viking heartbreak would need to come later in the playoffs, I still think this would be quite the blow. After the Falcons beat the Eagles Saturday the winner of this game is going to know that they'll host the NFC Championship game. So they'll know they have a great chance to have their entire playoff run at home. Bad news for them, it'll be a one game run.
Sadly for Vikings fans, like in 2009 they are facing the New Orleans Saints. Like 2009 the Saints will beat the Vikings. I just simply don't think the universe will allow their to be a scenario where a Drew Brees lead team loses to a Case Keenum lead team. Although Eli Manning is 2-0 vs Tom Brady so I guess anything is possible, and much like those Giants teams the Vikings defense is nasty.
Saints however have been my NFC Super Bowl pick and I'm riding with them. This game should be the game of the weekend.
(no these grubby sausage fingers aren't mine, how dare you even allow that thought to cross your mind)
"An Ode To The Tide Pod, The Forbidden Fruit"
By: Ole Dozo.
God said don't eat the apple,
Yet she couldn't oblige.
Now it's time, my dear Tide Pod
For a juicy surprise.
So bright, and plump,
Dare I say thick?
Oh Tide Pod, oh Tide Pod
I just don't believe you'll get me sick.
For I am so large,
and you are so tiny.
Oh Tide pod, oh Tide pod
you're so damn shiny.
You twinkle, and sparkle
atop the washing machine,
for today it'll be,
my insides you clean.
You've cleansed my shirts,
Oh Tide pod, Oh Tide pod,
Like the song by The Cars,
You're just what I need.
I've just gotta have you,
Don't care what they say,
I'm going to CVS,
Gotta have you today.
For you're the forbidden fruit,
that I've just gotta try,
I surely believe just one bite
couldn't cause me to die.
Like Fat Bastard,
I urge you to get in my belly,
Oh Tide Pod, oh Tide Pod
You spread like organic raspberry jelly.
I bite down on you Tide Pod.
You burst like a bubble,
Oh Tide Pod, oh Tide Pod,
I'm in a whole lot of trouble.
Why'd it take me so long?
I've never tasted anything quite like this,
Haven't been this happy since my first kiss.
As you gush like a geyser,
I can't but smile
Oh Tide pod, oh Tide pod,
Stick around for a while.
Through convulsions, and shaking,
I'll never worry,
For you go down easier than a 3 pointer by that pussy,
Shall I compare to a midsummer's breeze?
Is that grape that I taste?
With a hint of Febreze®
Now much like the Weeknd,
I can't feel my face,
For I just ate a Tide Pod,
As dinner, it replaced.
Though I can't feel my chest,
I'm fine, I swear,
For the risks of you Tide Pod,
I am well aware,
We're in this together,
like two peas in a pod.
Oh Tide Pod, oh Tide Pod
Why do we keep up this facade?
Life can be harsh,
oh what else can I say?
But thank you dear, Tide Pod,
You brightened both my insides, and day.
Don't actually eat Tide Pods.
That being said, you're probably an adult and who am I to tell you what to do?