The brains of this pigskin pick’em column, or lack-there-of, enters the wild card round of the NFL playoffs after a Week 17 sabbatical in Juneau. We’re well rested and ready for action.
It’s been a difficult season against the spread, but as Seahawks legend and current running back, Marshawn Lynch, likes to say, “You know why I’m here.”
It’s a new season with the playoffs kicking off on Saturday and we’re hoping to deliver winners free of charge to Clarion faithful. Let’s get to the games.
Bills @ TEXANS -3
This is the stone-cold lock of the week! Bills quarterback Josh Allen is not good at football. Allen’s passer rating is in the 80s and his QBR is a paltry 47.5. Those numbers don’t bode well for the Bills Mafia.
It’s really hard to win playoff games on the road with a great quarterback. Allen is in his second year and this will be his first playoff game. Allen, undeniably, is not a great quarterback.
Houston doesn’t have any question marks at the QB position. Texans passer Deshaun Watson is that dude. Watson elevated Clemson to unimaginable heights as a collegian, expect him to do the same with this Texans franchise. Texans win 23-13
TITANS @ Patriots -5
Something is not right with this Patriots team. It’s been a long time since a Bill Belichick-led team limped into the playoffs as vulnerable as this team appears to be.
Tom Brady seems to be a shell of his all-time great self. The once vaunted defense has revealed cracks in the armor and suddenly the fear factor that used to accompany this team has vanished.
Would you believe me if I told you that Titans QB Ryan Tannehill has a higher passer rating and QBR than Tom Brady? Would you believe that Tannehill has thrown only two less touchdown passes than Brady for the season while playing four less games?
I’m not ready to predict a Tennessee victory, but the last month has felt like the end of the Patriots Dynasty. Patriots win a close one 20-17
Seahawks @ EAGLES +1.5
For clarity, this is a total anti-jinx play.
The Eagles are the better team, they have been all year. Eagles QB Carson Wentz is a great player and even better person.
If we’re being honest, we can all acknowledge that Philadelphia has the best fan base. The stadium is packed each week with good-natured folks who want both teams to have success and play good football.
I have always been impressed by the kind people in Philly that support their own as if they were family and openly cheer for great plays by the visiting team.
Good things happen to good people and that’s why it’s a virtual lock that Philadelphia wins this week in a hard fought, good-spirited contest. Eagles win 26-20
Vikings @ SAINTS -7.5
Hate to lay more than touchdown in a playoff game but this Saints team has the feel of a Super Bowl winner.
Despite a fantastic 13-3 record, New Orleans dropped all the way down to the third seed in the NFC. I think that can play into the team’s advantage.
Nobody is going to pass up a bye week, but sometimes continuing to play, and stay in rhythm, is the best thing for a football team. The Saints are my pick to win the Super Bowl.
The Vikings feel like that team stuck in football purgatory. They’re always going to be tough as currently constructed. QB Kirk Cousins is good enough to get you to the playoffs year after year, but Minnesota just doesn’t seem to have that playoff gear necessary to reach the big game. Saints win 30-21