Welcome back to the one-and-only non-professional guide to the NFL postseason. I hope you enjoyed last week as much as I did, well, actually, Wild Card Weekend didn’t go as planned. After making my predictions for all 11 games over the next month (later in column), hoping that the coveted 11-0 mark would hold true…it didn’t. However, 3-1 isn’t all that disgraceful, and blemishes is what makes this your non-professional guide.
I’m assuming all who are reading this know the outcomes of the four games last weekend, and if you don’t, I wouldn’t rely on my writing ability/credibility. Here are the topics/headlines that summed up Wild Card Weekend:
1) The Houston Texans survived the Marvin Lewis storm, and by storm, I mean a sun shower that’s not threatening. If you haven’t realized by now, Cincinnati has lost 3 wild card games in the past 4 years, and Coach Lewis is 0-4 in the postseason. Never pick the Bengals in January, ever.
2) Christian Ponder decided to be a wuss during the most important time of the season, and the Minnesota Vikings got “Joe-Webbed.” Green Bay cemented the fact that Week 17 was a fluke, and I’m actually starting to believe they gave the win to Minnesota so they could steamroll over them at icy Lambeau Field.
3) The Indianapolis Colts simply did not show up, and Chuckstrong will be put to rest until next season. It was one heck of a ride for Pagano and Luck, and they obviously have a bright future in store. And for Baltimore, maybe this Ray Lewis retiring ordeal is true, and the Ravens could be Super Bowl contenders.
4) The NFC’s super-hyped team, better known as the Seattle Seahawks, won handedly in Washington after early game struggles. Pete Carroll could be leading one of the most exciting and revolutionary championship runs in the modern-football era, all behind one of the most underrated rookies of recent years, Russell Wilson. And yes, Luck and RG3 have been exiled from the playoffs, but Wilson stays alive. If you think about that, it’s shocking. Speaking of RG3, may his knee recover fully as no football fan likes to see such an extraordinary player fall as he did.
Here’s how my picks fared last week:
Wild Card Weekend
(3) Houston defeats (6) Cincinnati. (Correct.)
(3) Green Bay defeats (6) Minnesota. (Correct.)
(5) Indianapolis defeats (4) Baltimore. (Incorrect.)
(5) Seattle defeats (4) Washington. (Correct.)
(1) Denver defeats
(5) Indianapolis (4) Baltimore.
(2) New England defeats (3) Houston.
(1) Atlanta defeats (5) Seattle.
(2) San Francisco defeats (3) Green Bay.
(2) New England defeats (1) Denver.
(2) San Francisco defeats (1) Atlanta.
Super Bowl XLVII
(2) San Francisco defeats (2) New England.
So those are my revisions, we’ll see how they fare once again. Onto this weekend’s games:
Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos (Saturday, 4:30 PM ET, CBS)
Peyton Manning has never once won in freezing conditions, and that’s how the weather is playing out in the Mile-High City this weekend. We’ve all seen Peyton fall out of the playoffs early when he’s the 1-seed, and I’m afraid that could be in store Saturday afternoon. However, Baltimore does still not have the offensive framework to dismantle a defense, and even with Ray Lewis as motivation, that scares me. With that, the inevitable Brady vs. Manning AFC Championship will remain a possibility.
Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers (Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, FOX)
Much like an independent voter, I’m leaning both ways on this one. Green Bay has been playing exceptional football and Aaron Rodgers has continued torching secondaries, but San Francisco is led by a young charismatic coach, and young charismatic quarterback. As well as maintaining one of the NFL’s most indomitable defenses, the Niners have the credentials to advance to their second straight NFC Championship. And because I can’t differ from my Super Bowl pick…San Francisco is victorious…narrowly.
Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Can Matt Ryan (and Mike Smith) and the Atlanta Falcons hurdle the playoff cliff? After putting their most balanced team of recent years on the field this season, I believe it’s about time. Yet, is Seattle’s defense just too talented for that to happen? Yeah, maybe. And are Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch just too explosive? Once again, maybe. Pete Carroll may have discovered his best coaching formula (besides recruiting violations…okay, that’s Reggie Bush’s fault), but Atlanta gets to play in their dome and in their city, and Matty Ice is finally becoming an elite signal caller; therefore, Falcons win. Finally.
Houston Texans @ New England Patriots (Sunday, 4:30 PM ET, CBS)
There’s been connections to the 2010 NY Jets with this Houston team, but I’m not buying it. And if you own it, you better sell it. Houston doesn’t possess a dignified passing game, and New England’s run defense is above-par. Plus, this is Tom Brady trying to become the most decorated quarterback in NFL history, as well as Belichick attempting to become the actual Vince Lombardi. New England doesn’t have a true test in the AFC except for the Broncos, so I’ll be waiting for that game next weekend.
In other news, my Cleveland Browns made a controversial decision by hiring Rob Chudzinski as the next head coach in northern Ohio. Just when Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner were starting to impress me, they deflated my hope. I’m banking on the fact that Chudzinski can bring back the high-flying offense from 2007, but if he can’t, we’ll be rebuilding again, shortly. Sometimes when it doesn’t seem right, the outcome is astonishing. Come on, Chudzinski, my faith is with you. But not with Norv Turner.
If you want to see the press conference in which Haslam and Banner introduced the new lead man, here are the links:
Well, that’s that. Enjoy the games. See you next week.
About the Author
Written by Corey Rioux
A wise man once told me, "Sports are modern-day mythology." I tend to disagree. Proper grammar is optional. You can read my columns here: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/author/c_rioux23/ You can follow me on twitter at: @CoreyRioux You can contact me via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org