Everyone knows the NFL is shorthand for “not for long.” That saying is usually applied to the limited shelf life of football players.
Carolina’s Luke Kuechly is a recent example of the toll football takes on the body. Kuechly is considered by many to be the top linebacker in the NFL. Kuechly retired this week at 28 years old, leaving millions on the table.
Not for long can also be applied to the fleeting success franchises find difficult to sustain. The New England Patriots were the one team that defied the odds for almost two decades, but these playoffs have shown even the NFL’s best don’t stay on top forever.
The Baltimore Ravens were everyone’s favorite all season long. The Ravens won their last 12 games and posted a sterling 14-2 mark.
Baltimore had a top defense, but most of all the Ravens had Lamar Jackson taking snaps. Jackson’s combination of rushing and passing skills befuddled defenses all year.
The Ravens were so confident in Jackson’s ability to gain yards the team would routinely go for 4th down conversions, even on their own side of the field. With Jackson, Baltimore seemed like a team of destiny.
Jackson and the Ravens failed to win a single playoff game, falling 28-12 to a Tennessee Titans team last weekend that struggled to even make the playoffs.
Sports are hard.
You know what else has proven challenging this season? Picking winners against the spread! I’m reminded of another classic saying, “You can’t kill a dead horse,” so here we are, conference championship weekend and we’re still making picks!
Titans @ CHIEFS -7
Tennessee has bucked the odds, knocking off the Patriots and Ravens in back to back weeks. Can the upstart Titans make it three in a row in Kansas City?
No, no they can’t.
Titans passer Ryan Tannehill has gotten away with average performances the past two weeks behind a strong running game. It will take more than a strong running game this week to keep pace with Patrick Mahomes and the red-hot Chiefs offense.
Mahomes’ performance a week ago was shocking. Kansas City fell behind 24-0 early in the second quarter. It appeared like we were going to witness another AFC upset.
Five thousand points later Kansas City was advancing to next round. OK, maybe the Chiefs didn’t score quite that many points, but it sure felt that way. There’s just too much firepower on the Chiefs side. Chiefs win 35-17
Packers @ 49ERS -7.5
San Francisco has already defeated this Packers team once already.
That game was uncompetitive. The 49ers scored 29 more points than the Packers. That’s a big difference.
As painful as it is to admit, as a Seahawks fan, the 49ers have been the best team in the NFC all season long.
Aaron Rodgers, if he rekindles some old magic, can keep the Pack in the game for a while, but inevitably the more talented 49ers sided should pull away from a flawed Packers team.
Everyone excited for a Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl?! 49ers win 30-13
By Nolan Rose
For the Clarion