From a personal standpoint the 2020 NFL season has been pretty bittersweet. Yes, I've enjoyed massive success with the +48 unit #TooManyLegs Teaser of the Week, but Tom Brady is gone, COVID took away the bro out, pig out football Sunday and I didn't play fantasy for the first time since 2010.
This blog isn't to talk about all the cowards who looked tyranny right in the eyes and did nothing about my dismissal from our league after I rightfully made the finals. It's not to talk about how shitty it felt to be tossed away like the untouched salads at southern wedding by people I thought were my friends. I'm just saying you don't realize how much more on top of things playing the waiver-wire every week makes you.
I went +48 units with minimal research and poor at best knowledge of trends and player health compared to most years. Not to make excuses before making multiple more excuses, but given the war against my brain, life during COVID, attacks on democracy and not being as in the loop as most season, the success of TML (even with a 5 week cold streak) should be praised even more than it already has been.
Subjectively, Divisional Round is the best round of the playoffs. Just think back in the last decade we saw the Catch III, The Flacco Ball game, The Double 14 point comeback/Pass game, Minnesota Miracle, the Chiefs came back from down 24-0 in like 9 minutes and I'm sure I'm missing a few, but need to spend like time with foreplay. We've got four matchups of the eight best teams remaining. I'm very interested to see how having only one bye affects this round now that both 2 seeds have already played.
Historically, I've done a pretty decent job picking winners this round.
Please respect the league year and enjoy the 2020 NFL Divisional Playoffs. Here's who I've got winning.
Los Angeles Rams @ Green Bay Packers
Saturday 4:35 PM (FOX)
In a match up of coaches who are v good friends and members of the Get of Him to the Greek of coaching staffs, Rams @ Packers is one of the most intriguing match-ups in a weekend full of such cliches.
A month ago the Rams felt like that not so dark house Super Bowl team, but after the most shocking loss of the season to the 0-13 Jets, and plenty of other fraudulent losses peppered in this season, you really never know what you're going to get out of this Rams team; especially with the uncertainty/super fraudiness of Jared Goff.
Aaron Rodgers has been playing straight up "fuck you" ball this season, just proving all the haters who may have doubted him wrong, like a 2016 Tom Brady.
While Aaron Rodgers never dealt with a witch hunt over minimal differences in air pressure, he did deal with his team trading UP in the 1st round to draft what common sense would lead you to believe is his replacement in waiting, after going 13-3 and making the NFC Championship Game. After carrying the Packers for the last decade with only one (1) Super Bowl appearance to show for it, without much help from the draft or free agency to improve the offense, Aaron has put up the best statistical season of his career.
Rodgers has won three straight home playoff games, but he's 0-2 against the #1 pass defense in his playoff career. Guess where the Rams rank?
I do think the Rams defense could make things very interesting with a banged up Aaron Donald against a banged up O-line. Yes, Davante Adams has been playing like a top 3 WR this year, but the Rams could cancel him out with Jaylen Ramsey meaning that guys like MVS are going to need to step up which should make Packer fans a little worried.
I think this game is going to be all about the 1st quarter. If the Packers, who tend to start hot can put up double digit points in the opening frame and force the Rams to pass with QB battling a broken throwing thumb it could be a blowout. If were to do a mini teaser for the Divisional Round Packers -0.5 would be my first choice. I do respect this L.A. defense, but truly believe this is Packers team is super motivated and ready to go after their embarrassing NFC Title Game loss last year.
Baltimore Ravens @ Buffalo Bills
Saturday 8:15 PM (NBC)
Of all the games this weekend, I think I'm most excited to watch this one. I love mobile QB play. I'm guaranteeing at least one triple option play in this game. There's a chance we see the playoff record for combined rushing yards between QBs break this game. (Colin Kaepernick (181) and Aaron Rodgers combined for 209 rushing yards in the 2012 NFC Divisional Round)
In a matchup of 2018 1st Round QBs, Ravens @ Bills is also a battle of the two hot teams in the NFL; both are undefeated since week 12 with a playoff win under their belt. The Ravens sport the league's second best scoring defense and the Bills scored the second most points in the league.
Lamar started his playoff career 0-2 and Josh Allen saw his Bills blow a 16 point lead his playoff debut last year, after tonight one will be a win away from a berth in the Super Bowl. That's sorta cool if you're a narrative guy/gal like me.
During the Bills 7 game winning streak they've scored almost 37 points a game and Ravens have only allowed over 19 points once since week 11. As dynamic as the Ravens can be with Lamar Jackson, their WR core doesn't put much fear into opponents. I feel like this game is also all about the first quarter because the Ravens, even though they did comeback down 10 last week cannot afford to be forced to abandon the run if they go down something like 14-3 early. Neither of these teams winning would shock me, but after Harbaugh (who's won a Super Bowl) said that last week was the best win of his career and the Ravens seemed a little too focused on payback against the Titans, I'm circling the wagons with my AFC East brethren.
Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday 3:05 PM (CBS)
The Browns just killed their most hated rival to pick up their first playoff win since 1994 and what's their reward? A date with the 14-2, defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
I've been saying it all year that the Chiefs have been sleep walking through the season, after resting starters in week 17, I've got a feeling that they're going to come out rusty in a game that most people are expecting them to win. Patrick Mahomes hasn't thrown a pass in a game since December 27th.
Then part of my brain is like dude this is such a trap, the Chiefs are going to kill the Browns and be like "see we were just waiting to turn on the switch". Well I'm not falling for it. The Browns have the best O line left in the playoffs and the Chiefs are not exactly a great pass rushing team. Baker to his credit has been playing well and I love the low key Kareem Hunt revenge game factor.
Yes the Chiefs won the Super Bowl last year, congrats to them. They came back down double digits in every game. We all know the story, but I think they're primed for an upset. Everybody has been saying how they're the greatest team in the NFL all year and they've been eating it tf up, getting cuter than Cynthia Frelund with their play calling. I'm not just gonna say this on DOL, but pepper the ML as well. Browns shock the world in a game that people will be talking about for years. Ravens were 14-2 last year and 10 point favorites against the Titans. Let's not let one playoff run wash away decades of the Kansas City Chiefs getting upset at home in their first playoff game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
Sunday 6:40 PM (FOX)
It's hard for me to write anything resembling neutrality here. I hope the Saints kick the fucking shit out out of the Bucs. Yes, I love Tom Brady and Gronk. They're on my Mount Rushmore of favorite Patriots with Vince Wilfork who rightfully takes up two spots, but the selfish, childish fan in me does not want to see them win a Super Bowl in Tampa.
I don't even really blame them for wanting to get away from Belichick, but I just cannot deal with this after Mookie Betts won it all in LA year one. I think Tom Brady is a much better QB than Drew Brees not only now, but in the annals of history, but like I've said, I'm a narrative guy. This game has two distinct paths. We could see the Bucs get past the Saints who embarrassed them twice this yer to put a final nail in the Saints Drew Brees era playoff heartbreak coffin. I mean how much more can the Saints take after their exits to the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons? Are we going to see the GOAT end Drew Brees career at home?
Can the Saints find some 2015 Broncos magic (even though Brees is playing much better than Manning did) and get a legend his second ring before calling it a career? What a step it would be to beat Brady and the Bucs for third time before either hosting the Rams who ended their 2018 OR heading to Lambeau Field to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
I have no idea what to expect and may place the emotional hedge with Tampa ML, but the Saints are my team this year in the playoffs. They've got a lot of Patriot in them and I want to see Drew Brees go out a champ. I think it's the best possible storyline these playoffs after they way they've gone out the last three years. I just am pumped to know I have the day off after this game thanks to the late great Rev. King. Hopefully I'll get to use that day to dance on the Bucs grave.