I wouldn’t be half-assing it correctly if I failed to offer up some half-assed NFL playoff predictions. But, first, a few words about the Colts.
WTF?!?! How on earth do you bring back the GM and head coach who have produced an uninspired, incomplete team that misses the playoffs in the weakest division in football and is somehow ruining what should be the next great NFL superstar in the process? Bringing them back last year was shocking enough. But again, for next season? Freaking ridiculous.
I can’t think of a single valid reason to bring Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano back. Grigson’s personnel moves have failed time-and-again. Is he really the guy you trust to clean up his own mess? Especially when he publicly bitches about a contract that the Colts had to give Andrew Luck if they wanted to keep him? It’s not like the Colts are the first team who have had to give a quarterback a massive contract. Other teams have managed to build winners despite that huge chunk of change invested in their QB.
Pagano remains popular in the locker room. But the Colts consistently look unprepared early in games. That’s all on the head coach. And the defense stinks, which is supposed to be his area of expertise.
The clock is ticking on Andrew Luck’s career. At this point in his Colts career, Peyton Manning had Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James (after starting with Marshall Faulk), and Reggie Wayne, plus an amazing offensive line. Luck has T.Y. Hilton and…well, an old, game Frank Gore who is forced to run behind a terrible offensive line that can’t block for him or keep the pass rush off Luck. It’s frankly amazing that Gore managed to crank out 1000 yards this year. Grigson has shown no signs of being able to build on either side of the ball. Pagano is hamstrung by the GM’s deficiencies, but has a bunch of his own.
Clean house, start over with competent management, and stop wasting Luck’s prime.
Whew. Now for the playoffs. I laughed when I looked at the matchups this morning. I had no idea Miami made the playoffs! That’s how tuned out I am to the NFL because of fall soccer and the Colts’ sucking. I get a little less interested each year, and it’s hard to regain that interest. I’m fine turning on a random game for a half or or so, then moving on to other things.
Still, I gotsta make some picks. So here goes. (BTW, here are my preseason picks. I picked six playoff teams! That’s good, right?!?!)
Oakland at Houston. Ken Stabler vs. Dan Pastorini, right? I heard there is a quarterback issue in this game. Are they turning it into an old-timers game, complete with raising the deceased Stabler from his grave? I’ll pick Oakland just because the AFC South is terrible and Houston gets no credit for winning the division.
Miami at Pittsburgh. Man, it’s like 1978 on the AFC side! Not only did Miami make the playoffs, but they won 10 games!?!? Holy shit! Pittsburgh is going to wax them, though.
Pittsburgh at Kansas City. I’m genetically inclined to never take the Chiefs seriously. That was reinforced by all those great, 1990s Chiefs teams that lost to inferior teams, at home, in the playoffs. And by their annual face plant against the Colts in the years I’ve lived in Indy. And, as a doubter, it’s hard for me to get onboard with a team that seems to win in flukey ways quite often. On the other hand, although I’m not a Chiefs fan, I am well steeped in the magic that may be currently residing under the concrete of the Truman Sports Complex. Could they be feasting on what fueled the Royals in 2014 and 2015? Chiefs.
Oakland at New England. I really, really hope it snows for this game! And there’s a controversial call that involved replay and obscure rule interpretations late in the game. Patriots,
Kansas City at New England. Come on. New England.
Detroit at Seattle. I might have pulled the trigger on a Detroit upset pick a few weeks ago. But not now. Seattle.
New York at Green Bay. From my limited attention paid, this seems a common selection for an “upset” pick. Upset obviously in quotes because the Giants won more games than the Packers, they were just stuck in the wrong division. But I’m an Aaron Rogers loyalist, and will stick with him here. Green Bay.
Seattle at Atlanta. This one seems cruel. Atlanta had a quietly spectacular year, and their reward is having to face Seattle after a week off. I know the Seahawks haven’t been quite the same team this year. But I think the Falcons collars are going to be awfully tight and Seattle wins a close one.
Green Bay at Dallas. And what to make of the Cowboys? Do you really go from mediocre to elite by plugging in a couple rookies and staying relatively healthy? That’s not supposed to happen. You’re supposed to have a transition year in there. While I question the Cowboys, I can’t pick against them here; the Football Gods will be on their side after the Dez Bryant game two years ago. Dallas.
Seattle at Dallas. Can the Seattle defense contain the Cowboys offense? Can the Seattle offense score enough to win? All the questions are on the Seattle side. Dallas.
ESPN is going to freaking meltdown in one, massive TV-gasm if we actually have a Patriots-Cowboys Super Bowl. The two most popular/most hated franchises in the game taking over all sports media for two weeks! Seriously, at least one ESPN exec will have a heart attack if this matchup gets locked in three weeks from now.
Can I really pick the Cowboys, who haven’t been this deep in the playoffs in 20 years, against the team that has owned January for 15 years? Nope, can’t do it. New England 23, Dallas 21.
CALL YOUR BOOKIES!!!!