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NFL Playoffs

HuskerWeatherman

Feral Cat
20 Year Member
Great season -- lots of interesting story lines ... outstanding matchups ahead next weekend!

The AFC field is loaded. A 10-win Miami team has to sit, which is amazing considering this is an expanded playoff field this season.

#1 KC - bye

#2 vs #7 Indy at Buffalo. The Bills may be the hottest team going into the playoffs. They've won each of their last six by double-digits. Josh Allen rapidly turned into a great NFL QB this season -- and the offseason acquisition of Stefon Diggs had to be the single greatest addition to any team. The Colts are a dangerous 7-seed. Phillip Rivers proved he's still a worthy starting QB, passing for just over 4,000 yards this season. Jonathan Taylor struggled for much of the season, but finally turned it on late. To note, I adopted the Bills for rooting interest early in the season when it became obvious my Eagles weren't going anywhere. Buffalo is a really fun team to watch. I'll pick Buffalo.

#3 vs #6 Cleveland at Pittsburgh. How about that? A division rivalry for a first round game! While I'm not a Browns fan, I am happy for the city of Cleveland. The Browns hadn't been in the playoffs since 2002! And then they lost OBJ mid-season. But they got there. The running game with Chubb and Hunt makes them click. The Steelers, on the other hand, are atypical for a Pittsburgh team, as they've struggled to run all season. Pittsburgh was the last undefeated team this season -- but their wheels started to fall off over the past month. I'll pick Cleveland -- but this is a hard game to predict.

#4 vs #5 Baltimore at Tennessee. This Ravens team didn't seem nearly on the level of past Ravens teams. And Lamar Jackson was not nearly what he was last season. Yet they somehow got there. Tennessee has the best true RB in all of football. Derrick Henry topped 2,000 yards rushing on the season -- one of only 8 players in NFL history to do so. I'll pick Tennessee.

The NFC field is certainly not as deep as the AFC. When you have a team with a losing record in the playoffs (Washington), that's going to be the case. But even teams like the Bears and Rams seem hardly inspiring. But the top of the NFC is very good.

#1 Green Bay - bye

#2 vs #7 Chicago at New Orleans. The Bears went back and forth with finding a reliable starting QB all season. But what made them better down the stretch was David Montgomery at RB. And they still do have a solid defense. The Saints are great on both sides of the ball. I believe the #1 defense statistically. Kamara on offense (assuming he returns from his Covid sit out), and it's hard to root against Drew Brees getting one more shot. I'll take the Saints.

#3 vs #6 Los Angeles Rams at Seattle. The Rams will win with defense -- if they win. Aaron Donald is still the best in the game. But the offense is good one game, bad the next -- much like Goff at QB. Unsure if he's set to return from injury -- they do need him (edit: he's questionable for next weekend). They are pretty banged up offensively. Russell Wilson had another MVP caliber season (though I think Rodgers will win MVP). DK Metcalf has emerged as the top WR in the NFL not named Devante Adams. That Seahawks duo is capable of carrying Seattle quite a ways. I'll take Seattle to win.

#4 vs #5 Tampa Bay at Washington. At times, Tampa played like one of the best teams in the NFL. Other times, not good at all. Kind of how Brady's season went. He had some clunkers, but he also had some games that were as good as he's ever played. Very interesting matchup against what has become one of the best defensive lines in the NFL -- the Football Team from Washington. On paper, Tampa Bay is the team to pick. Why do I have a feeling Washington is going to pull the upset and make it real hard on Brady? I'll take the team formerly known as the Redskins. But it's darn tough picking against Brady in the playoffs.

I can see any of these teams winning the Super Bowl: KC, Buffalo, Tennessee, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Seattle. I don't believe in Pittsburgh from the AFC nor Tampa Bay from the NFC.
 
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HuskerNash

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
If the Titans could play a little defense I would peg them as a favorite. This is may be the most fun and frustration I've had in my years of watching the Titans play in Nashville. An offense for the ages but a very bad defense.
 

SWVAHusker

Varsity
15 Year Member
The football gods clearly want to make Cleveland really earn their first playoff victory since Bernie Kosar. If their game against the Steelers is played as scheduled on Sunday night, they'll be without Head Coach Kevin Stafanski, a DB coach, a TE coach and at least one WR and one OL.

The WR testing positive may be a real problem for them if any of their other WRs test positive later in the week or are deemed close contacts. A couple games ago the Browns ended up only having two WRs active, both UFA's that hadn't caught more than three passes between them in multiple years in the NFL.

 
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HuskerWeatherman

Feral Cat
20 Year Member
The football gods clearly want to make Cleveland really earn their first playoff victory since Bernie Kosar. If their game against the Steelers is played as scheduled on Sunday night, they'll be without Head Coach Kevin Stafanski, a DB coach, a TE coach and at least one WR and one OL.


That is brutal. Yeah, first playoff game in nearly 20 years -- minus their head coach. And Stafanski did an incredible job to get the Browns into the postseason -- huge turnaround from falling well short of expectations under Kitchens last season.
 
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Porkchopexpress

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
Nice write-up @HuskerWeatherman

My picks for this weekend aren't too different. Only change is Pittsburgh over Cleveland. Tough to beat an opponent in back-to-back weeks and to win without any playoff experience.

After that, I think it's GB/TB in the NFCCG with GB winning, and even as a KC fan, I think Buffalo has the best shot at making the SB out of the AFC. I'm just glad KC won't play Buffalo until the AFCCG. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs are on fire right now, and their D is slightly better overall than KC's. KC has not been playing well over the second-half of the season. Some of that is due to the schedule (a stretch of 4 road games in 5 weeks coming off their bye), but I don't think this team is playing at the level they were last year at this time. The optimistic fans seem to think the team kind of coasted through the second half, and will kick it up a notch in the playoffs, but I don't think that's the case. The OL is below average, the team is thin at LB, and even when healthy that group isn't spectacular. The stars on the DL have not lived up to their contracts, and the secondary can be exploited by the right teams.

I don't want to derail this thread, but KC should have been setting offensive records this season. Way too many weapons to be scoring only 17 points against Atlanta and 22 points against Denver in December home games.
 

HuskerWeatherman

Feral Cat
20 Year Member
Nice write-up @HuskerWeatherman

My picks for this weekend aren't too different. Only change is Pittsburgh over Cleveland. Tough to beat an opponent in back-to-back weeks and to win without any playoff experience.

After that, I think it's GB/TB in the NFCCG with GB winning, and even as a KC fan, I think Buffalo has the best shot at making the SB out of the AFC. I'm just glad KC won't play Buffalo until the AFCCG. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs are on fire right now, and their D is slightly better overall than KC's. KC has not been playing well over the second-half of the season. Some of that is due to the schedule (a stretch of 4 road games in 5 weeks coming off their bye), but I don't think this team is playing at the level they were last year at this time. The optimistic fans seem to think the team kind of coasted through the second half, and will kick it up a notch in the playoffs, but I don't think that's the case. The OL is below average, the team is thin at LB, and even when healthy that group isn't spectacular. The stars on the DL have not lived up to their contracts, and the secondary can be exploited by the right teams.

I don't want to derail this thread, but KC should have been setting offensive records this season. Way too many weapons to be scoring only 17 points against Atlanta and 22 points against Denver in December home games.

Of course, I wrote that late Sunday night. Then this has happened this week:


Yeah, the Browns are in trouble.

While the Chiefs are 14-2, the second half of their season was unimpressive. Their last seven wins were all by less than a touchdown. And four of those (two you mentioned) were against non-playoff teams. KC is not as fearsome as last season -- though their defense is probably better. They are another team that struggles with their run game. I like the teams that are playing lights out going into the postseason, and Buffalo has been destroying their competition.
 

BleedinHuskerRed

Red Shirt
5 Year Member
I support GB and KC, but Suh and David play for the Bucs, and I really think Suh deserves a SB win.

But, Tom Brady also plays for the Bucs. Bleh.

Tough call.
 

CrabHusker

Shut up and color
5 Year Member
I'm for KC, but the Colts-Bills game is, to me, the best of the weekend. Two team clicking right now.

Buffalo looks legit and seems to be the best challenger for Kansas City, IMO. I have to say I'm shocked an 87 year old Phillip Rivers, who looked to almost single handedly be responsible for half of San Diego's losses last year, would be the missing piece the Colts needed.
 

Porkchopexpress

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
Buffalo looks legit and seems to be the best challenger for Kansas City, IMO. I have to say I'm shocked an 87 year old Phillip Rivers, who looked to almost single handedly be responsible for half of San Diego's losses last year, would be the missing piece the Colts needed.

The Colts are such a weird team. Only team to lose to Jacksonville, but beat Green Bay and beat Tennessee on the road by double-digits. They have a legit RB in Taylor, but no one else on offense is having any sort of notable season. Their defense only produced one Pro Bowler, but they rank in the top 10 in a lot of stat categories. If they were playing any of the other AFC teams this weekend other than Buffalo, I'd give them a shot.
 

Porkchopexpress

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
While the Chiefs are 14-2, the second half of their season was unimpressive. Their last seven wins were all by less than a touchdown. And four of those (two you mentioned) were against non-playoff teams. KC is not as fearsome as last season -- though their defense is probably better. They are another team that struggles with their run game. I like the teams that are playing lights out going into the postseason, and Buffalo has been destroying their competition.

I fully expect the narrative on KC's 2020 season to shift drastically if they lose prior to the SB, to one that the 14-2 record was somewhat a mirage, and this team was running on fumes in the second half of the season. I hate being so negative, because this is still one of the best teams in franchise history, but this type of talent only comes around every so often.
 

CrabHusker

Shut up and color
5 Year Member
The Colts are such a weird team. Only team to lose to Jacksonville, but beat Green Bay and beat Tennessee on the road by double-digits. They have a legit RB in Taylor, but no one else on offense is having any sort of notable season. Their defense only produced one Pro Bowler, but they rank in the top 10 in a lot of stat categories. If they were playing any of the other AFC teams this weekend other than Buffalo, I'd give them a shot.

I've seen three of their games this year and they are San Diego (w/Rivers) kind of multiple personality. If he's on, they're in the mix. If he is 'Bad Phillip' they lose. On the Buffalo end of things, Allen hasn't had more than a couple of bad games all year, so I'll assume they'll be able to move the ball.
 

HuskerWeatherman

Feral Cat
20 Year Member
I fully expect the narrative on KC's 2020 season to shift drastically if they lose prior to the SB, to one that the 14-2 record was somewhat a mirage, and this team was running on fumes in the second half of the season. I hate being so negative, because this is still one of the best teams in franchise history, but this type of talent only comes around every so often.

It is simply very, very difficult to repeat in the NFL. This century, that's only happened once -- New England in 2003 and 2004.

The NFL forces parity through scheduling and draft picks. However, the Chiefs navigated that just fine this season, as they still obtained the #1 seed. But the other factor is mental. It's hard to maintain that same hunger and drive as the first time. Also, while I assume KC will have some fans in attendance, it's been shown statistically that even partially filled stadiums this year negated the home field advantage.

And you're right. It's amazing how quickly those windows of opportunity oftentimes vanish. You gotta win now because you never know what next season may bring -- especially in a sport like football, where a season ending injury or two at key positions can significantly impact your success. Most football players have very limited periods of peak physical ability.
 
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