What do you bring to the No. 1 television program? You bring the playoffs. This tournament is like no other in American sport. It dominates the conversation. It rules over the weekends. Until the Super Bowl ends, it will also dominate ratings. There are 12 teams with a chance. I will try to pick the winner next week. But this week it will be all Wild Card all weekend long.
Eight teams return to the playoffs this year. This is one more than what returned in 2014.
Out of the playoffs this year are four teams. The four teams out are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Detroit and Dallas. The shocker here is Indianapolis, who made it to the AFC Championship last year. Andrew Luck was just not the same and then had an injury that ended his season.
In turn, we get to welcome four new teams back to the playoffs that were not there in 2014. Those teams are Kansas City, Houston, Minnesota and Washington.
How do these games match up this weekend? Let us give it a look see.
Hot And Not So Hot
The Wild Card weekend has four games. The AFC plays Saturday and the NFC plays Sunday in a change over last year.
It all kicks off with “I have won 10 straight games and I started 1-5” Kansas City on the road to face “Well I am in the playoffs and I started 4 different quarterbacks this year” Houston. This should be a no-brainer. Kansas City keeps rolling and gets the win.
The next game on the docket pits Pittsburgh traveling to Ohio to take on Cincinnati. No, you are not imagining things. This matchup happened on Dec. 13 and Pittsburgh prevailed, 33-20. The white elephant in the room is that Cincinnati has not won a big game in I can’t remember. In actuality, Cincinnati’s last playoff win was 1990 (the Ickey shuffle days). I like Cincinnati but history does not. Until Cincinnati proves it can win a game, I will go against it. That last win was 25 freaking years ago. Come on, man!
On Sunday, red hot Seattle heads to the land of 10,000 lakes to take on Minnesota. How can upstart Minnesota beat a hot Russell Wilson led team? The answer? Minnesota can’t, and the defending NFC champions pass its way to a victory. Watch out because Seattle is H.O.T. hot, hot, hot, at the right time.
The last game of the weekend sees Green Bay travel to Washington. As hot as Seattle is, Green Bay is in disarray. The offensive line is … well offensive! When you talk to Green Bay about its defense, the team gets defensive! The story here is just how bad it gets when you do not protect one of the best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers. The constant pounding is like a tide going out to sea. All is revealed. I did not even mention that Washington has won five of its last six behind the quarterback stylings of Kirk Cousins. I am thinking Washington keeps it going.
Wild Card Weekend Musings
The intensity of the NFL playoffs is gut-wrenching. What I would like you to notice this weekend are the opportunities lost. Every change of possession and every change in field position represents an opportunity. Some teams walk through that door as a team with special teams, offense and defense all working together. Other teams just see it as a huge amount of pressure and it gets ugly fast. That is why these weekends are either all or zip, zero and nada. Note that it is usually nothing in between. That is why we watch.
Get me a slice of pizza!
But at first blush, how the heck is anyone beating Seattle in the NFC and New England in the AFC? Am I repeating myself? I guess that article will be next week.
Tim can now be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and welcomes your opinions on the “Diary of a Fantasy Virgin” articles.