The Divisional Weekend is upon us and I went 4-2 over the Super Wild Card Weekend. Four of the games were decided by one score. The home teams went 2-4. With 6 overall games, it was non-stop from 1 PM to 11:30 PM Saturday and Sunday. Each of the games had its own merits so let us get to it.
Super Wild Card Means No Home Cooking For You!
The first game featured the Colts visiting the Bills. In a complete team effort, the Bills squeaked by with Josh Allen doing enough to win. The Colts over-thought the game and left 4 points on the field. With them losing by 3 points you never know what could have happened if they took the points. But they didn’t and the Bills not only get one playoff game at home but two in a row which has not happened in over 25 years. Final Score Bills 27 Colts 24.
The second game saw the Seattle Seahawks at home struggle offensively to the LA Rams. The LA Rams just frustrated QB Russell Wilson and even both QBs for LA figured out a way to defeat the Seahawks. Seattle appeared to be playing in mud or at least on a sandy beach. The game was so weird to watch considering during the first 6 games of the season, Russell Wilson seemed ready to win the NFL MVP. Final score Rams 30 Seahawks 20.
The final Saturday game had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Washington Football Team. The story of this game was QB Tom Brady. In what could only have been the most pressure he has felt in a while, Tom “Terrific” was … well Terrific. He had command of the pocket and made throw after throw. Easily the best QB performance of the weekend for it passed the eye test and the results test. The Tampa team though allowed backup QB Taylor Heinicke to torch them for 306 passing yards and 1 TD along with 46 rushing yards and 1 TD. Tampa’s defense has to get better and fast. Final Score Buccaneers 31 Washington Football Team 23.
The first Sunday game had the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Tennessee Titans. For the first 15 minutes or so it looked like the same QB Lamar Jackson with an interception and anemic offense out to a 10-0 deficit. But Lamar came through and outscored Tennessee 20 – 3 the next 3 quarters. QB Ryan Tannehill struggled with only 165 yards of passing. Derrick Henry only had 40 yards of rushing. That means the Baltimore Raven defense came to play. Final Score Baltimore 20 Tennessee 13.
The second game had the Chicago Bears visiting the New Orleans Saints. The game was very predictable with Chicago struggling to score and the Saints not struggling to score. So with New Orleans up 7-0 in the first quarter I decided to head over to the Nickelodeon simulcast with former NFL player Nate Burleson as an analyst, Noah Eagle as the play-by-play announcer, and Nickelodeon regular Gabrielle Nevaeh Green rounding out the booth. Nickelodeon added another regular in Lex Lumpkin as the sideline reporter. This was the best decision I made all weekend. The Nickelodeon presentation was very entertaining for adults. The children may not be able to handle 3 hours of football so much these days but for almost all adults it was a huge hit. Maybe it is because there are so many people who have grown up on Nickelodeon that seeing green slime brought them back to their childhood and having the game reframed from this perspective was just so darn entertaining. QB Drew Brees played well and the Saints’ defense helped win the game but Nickelodeon won the weekend. Final Score Saints 21 Bears 9.
The last game of the weekend had the Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the Cleveland Browns. Don’t blink because if you did you would have missed the Browns jumping out to a 28 -0 lead in the first quarter. Mistakes and mishaps befell the Steelers and they could never quite recover. QB Baker Mayfield was strategic with 3 TDs on 263 yards passing. The first five possessions of the Steelers in the first quarter ended as follows…Fumble, Interception, Punt, Interception, Punt. Since the Steelers were playing from behind, QB Ben Roethlisberger had to throw and throw and throw some more and he did so for 501 yards passing with 4 TD and 4 INT. The Steelers’ overall inability to run became a liability as Cleveland put their foot on the gas. Final Score Cleveland 48 Pittsburgh 37
What did we learn?
- Tom Brady is still good enough to be on any team.
- The Buffalo Bills at home have a shot.
- The Cleveland Browns can win without a coaching staff.
- Nickelodeon’s broadcast was something to behold.
That means we have to talk about this weekend. Back to only four games.
The first game sees the LA Rams visiting the Green Bay Packers and cold confines of Lambeau Field. This is a trap game for the Packers because if Seattle can play so inefficiently so can the Packers. Upset alert as the LA Rams keep their defense intact.
Next up are the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens and Bills should be a statistical tie in this one. I will say Josh Allen is better than Ryan Tannehill and Buffalo wins the game.
The Kansas City Chiefs host the Cleveland Browns. This is another trap game and this time for the Kansas City Chiefs. Remember all of those games they seemed to only win by a few points and one possession this season? Look for more of the same but Kansas City pulls away because they have been resting for two weeks. Byes make all the difference to Andy Reid teams.
The last game sees the New Orleans Saints hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This should be an easy New Orleans win but did you know that the hardest thing to do is beat the same NFL team a 3rd time in a season. When all things are equal, you take the team that was 0-2 in the regular season. Look for Tampa to do the trick.
Who You Got?
So this is the article I try to pick the Super Bowl contestants. I can see the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the big game.
Yes …in Tampa Bay’s home stadium.
But we shall only see.