Wow, has anyone else gone through an overdose on football over the past week or so? Between the bowl games and week 17 of the NFL, I think everyone had their fair share of the pigskin contests.
Our state schools split their bowl games this year. Iowa State shot themselves in the foot with mistakes in really what was a winnable game for them. They looked excellent when not making those mistakes against Washington State. Should be interesting to see if David Montgomery and Hakeem Butler stay or leave for the NFL.
The Iowa Hawkeyes, despite having no ground game, pulled it out against a strong Mississippi State defense. I said whoever could pass the ball would win, and well, not to toot my own horn here but Iowa had one less interception and threw for more yards. My assumption was correct. Didn’t nail down the final score but I did predict both games correctly.
Overall I went 26-14 discounting the National Championship which has yet to be played. Still sticking with Alabama to beat Clemson.
Both teams looked good in their semi-final contests, though I question why Oklahoma kicked off against the Tide to start that game. Regardless, Alabama is just too good for anyone to beat this year. Should be another instant classic on Monday night between the Tide and the Tigers.
Shifting gears to the NFL playoffs now, cue up the classic Jim Mora speech anytime, and might as well go ahead and this wrong altogether. The NFL playoffs didn’t shape up like I thought they would this year. I’ll attempt to get the wild card done this week.
However, I did predict a few things correctly. I said Kirk Cousins won’t lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl, correct. I predicted that Patrick Mahomes would get the Chiefs into the playoffs, Houston took the AFC South and that Baker Mayfield would lead the Browns to six wins, only one off on that one.
Mayfield is going to be a star in this league. Take it to the bank.
Starting with the AFC Wild Card. The third seed, Houston, takes on their divisional rival, Indianapolis, for the third time this season. We all hear how hard it is for a team to beat another twice in the season much less three times. These two split their season series, each team winning a game by three points.
I don’t expect to be this one to be much different from the first two. The odd thing is that the road team won both games. The Colts are playing great football right now, the third team of all time coming back from a 1-5 start to make the playoffs. Andrew Luck is healthy and passed for 863 yards and six touchdowns to one interception in both games against the Texans.
I’ve been a fan of Luck since his college days and I like the Colts to take the rubber game, 42-39. This is going to be a very entertaining game.
The other wildcard sees Baltimore hosting Los Angeles. This is another rematch from a game not played that long ago, the Ravens besting the Chargers on the road in Week 16, 22-10. The Chargers will be able to look at the game film and see what they did wrong against the Ravens. The Ravens have a pretty solid defense that slowed Philip Rivers and the Chargers in the first game.
The key is how Los Angeles can slow down Lamar Jackson. Jackson is a dynamic, duel-threat quarterback and may be able to continue to help what has become a run heavy offense rack up another 160 yards.
I’ll take the home team in this case, Baltimore to beat the Chargers for a second time this season.
The NFC Wildcard games also appear interesting. The Chicago Bears will host the Philadelphia Eagles in the three against six seed games.
I had Chicago narrowly missing the playoffs when this season started in my mind and they really exceeded expectations by winning their division. The Eagles were hit with injuries and continue down that path.
Nick Foles got banged up in their final game and might not be 100 percent against a fantastic Chicago Bears pass rush. Look for Khali Mack and company to harass Foles when the Eagles have the ball.
Chicago’s offense is there as a compliment to their outstanding defense. Don’t ask Mitchell Trubisky to do too much and the Bears should be able to advance to the next round. Philly is just too banged up to make another run at the Super Bowl, but that’s football.
Of course the Vikings had their chance to get in instead of Philly, but they just had to pay a mediocre quarterback a boat load of money to choke against good teams like he has his entire career. Bears win by 10 against the Eagles.
The second NFC game this weekend has Dallas hosting Seattle. This is yet another rematch game. Seattle beat Dallas at home way back in week three, before the Cowboys settled into the offense they’ve been running since realizing they have a good running back in Ezekiel Elliott.
Outside of the 23-0 egg laying, the Cowboys enter the playoffs going 6-1 in their last seven games with wins over the Eagles and Saints during that span. The Seahawks have also gotten hot over the last several weeks of the season, their lone loss in the last seven games against the 49ers.
This might be the best game all weekend with two hot teams with good ground games duking it out. The home field advantage isn’t much of one for Dallas in their giant stadium. The Seahawks have plenty of playoff experience while Dallas lacks it.
It’s hard to best against Russell Wilson in the playoffs, and we don’t know what Dak Prescott can do when lights these bright shine on him. Whoever wins the rushing battle wins this game and I think that will be Seattle.
Next week we’ll break down the second round playoff games.