Thursday, January 7, 2016

NFL Picks 2015, Wild Card - from Archer Avenue

Check out more from me, including movie reviews & movie trailers, at Archer Avenue (archeravenue.net).  Also, follow me on Twitter @OlieCoen for sports & movie talk.



Here are my NFL Wild Card Picks
(7-9 last week, 163-93 for the season)
Bye teams: Broncos, Cardinals, Panthers, Patriots




kcchiefsKC @ Hou – Way back in Week 1 of this season, the Chiefs went on the road to face the Texans, winning that game 27-20.  Now, in the first week of the postseason, they’ll try to duplicate that victory.  Has anything changed since then?  Well, that was back when the Chiefs were bad.  They got off to a 1-5 start, with their only win coming in Houston.  They followed that up with a 10-0 stretch, ending the season just behind the Broncos for the AFC West, going on the road instead of hosting a playoff game.  Well, home or away, this is still a scary team.  They score more than the Texans, they allow less, and they have a 5-3 road record to match Houston’s 5-3 at home.  Now, the Texans have a mini-streak going, at least compared to the Chiefs, and won’t roll over for a loss.  J.J. Watt is still a dominant force on that line, but it’s points that will be hard to come by for the Texans in this game, not defensive pressure.  Kansas City is the better team in every phase, won’t be bothered with playing on the road, beat this same team earlier in the year before the big winning stretch, and should advance to the next round.

pitsteelersPit @ Cin – The Steelers are 4-1 in their last five games, earning them this postseason’s title of the AFC team you do not want to face.  They score more than your dad might be used to from a Pittsburgh team, they play fast on defense, they never back down, and they’re in every game.  Now, a rough patch when Big Ben was injured marred their stats a little, and an unbelievable loss in Week 16 to the Ravens almost messed up their playoff hopes, but this team, right now, ignoring the numbers, could beat anyone.  With the Bengals, you’ll need to ignore some numbers too, but not in a positive way.  A.J. McCarron will once again be starting for Cincinnati, and during a season that seemed magical for the Bengals he’ll be asked to keep that magic going in the first round of the playoffs.  Losing to the Broncos was killer, since that also resulted in losing the 1st round bye, which could haunt them right away.  McCarron has played well in relief, give the kid some credit, and the Bengals have a strong defense that can stop a great quarterback.  But who would you go with, in January, when it really matters, Big Ben or A.J.?  Yeah, me too.

seaseahawksSea @ Min – If the Steelers are the hot team in the AFC, the Seahawks own the NFC, despite a similar loss in Week 16.  They went out with a bang Week 17, and overall Seattle is 4-1 in their last five games.  Russell Wilson has been playing outside his mind, putting up 4-5 touchdowns with ease, even without tight end Jimmy Graham.  If the Seahawks can keep the points coming, they’ll easily make it past Wild Card week.  And the reason is, despite being a solid team, the Viking can’t score.  They rely too heavily on their stout defense and Adrian Peterson’s legs, failing to earn respect as a team that can come from behind when called to do so.  Bridgewater needs more time to improve, but now isn’t the time to be soft on the guy.  The Vikings did just beat the Packers in Lambeau to win the division, that was pretty huge, but it was quickly forgotten when they saw who their opponent was this week.  No one wants to play the surging Seahawks, especially not a team that can’t keep up score-wise.  Minnesota is 6-2 at home, so don’t count them out, but also don’t lay down the big bucks on them winning this game.

wasredskinsGB @ Was – It’s finally time to admit it; the Packers aren’t very good.  I’ve picked them all year long, partly because Rodgers was my fantasy quarterback and partly because I really expected a turnaround at any time.  After all, this is Green Bay, the NFC powerhouse, the offense that can’t be stopped.  To see them lose game after game that they should win was frustrating & confusing, especially when each week I really thought that they would fix their problems and return to form.  If that was going to happen, winning last week would have been the time to do it, and they came up short.  On the bright side, they get to play the Redskins instead of the Seahawks, but they don’t get to host the game, which would have been a huge advantage in Green Bay.  The Redskins, conversely, are actually hot right now, winning four in a row and forcing us to admit that we really do “like that”.  Cousins is crazy accurate, the ‘Skins don’t lose at home, and they get to face the worst Packers team I’ve seen in years.  Sounds like a recipe for success to me, so Washington should survive to play one of the bad bye boys next week.

Check out more from me, including movie reviews & movie trailers, at Archer Avenue (archeravenue.net).  Also, follow me on Twitter @OlieCoen for sports & movie talk.




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