Wildcard Bitches!!; NFL Playoff Picks

To alter the line from Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,

“Wildcard Weekend Bitches!!!”

We have a slate of games where both games on Sunday are much more interesting.  We also have a lot of people picking the games that are close to coming to a consensus on all four road teams.  This is not an accident, a reasonable football fan can make an argument that all four road teams are better, in some cases much better.

Think about these facts:

  • All four home teams on wildcard weekend are home teams, do you realize that not one of these teams came from a division that also had a wildcard?  All four divisions that produced a wildcard also produced the first round byes.
  • Two of the home teams are western division winners.  Each West division has been deteriorating for years and we are getting to the basement, hopefully.
  • The Colts are going on fumes, the similarities between this game and last years Patriots-Ravens game are eerie.  That turned into a blowout.
  • In each game the stats point towards the road team, and not meaningless stats.  The big stats for Vegas wiseguys are Yards Per Play, Yards Per Point and 3rd Down Conversion Rate.  In each game the road team is better or nearly better in each category.
  • Vegas is telling us all four road teams are better.  Two road teams are favored, and the other two are underdogs by less than three points, which is the standard advantage given to the home team.

Onto the games.

New Orleans -10.5@ Seattle – Seattle is the worst playoff team we have ever had by record and stats.  They cannot and should not be taken seriously.  All week I tried to talk myself into the underdog role, being at home, the big pointspread, but in the end they are just too bad.  Their offensive 3rd down conversion rate is a horrible 36%, only higher than Chicago among playoff teams.  Their defensive 3rd down rate is 40%, second worst to New England.  Their Yards Per Play and Yards Per Point are also the worst in the playoffs.

Lets put it another way to make it easy.  FootballOutsiders.com does a lot of unique computations to measure how good a team is, their top four is New England, Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Philadelphia which shows their stats mean something.  Football Outsiders had Seattle as the third worst team in the league.

Jets@ Colts -2.5 – I love Peyton Manning and always defend him.  I feel their defense has never made any sense to me as a compliment to Manning.  The more possessions Manning gets the better, right?  So why do they run a passive defense that allows the other team to eat clock.  Why not go for broke and blitz the team into turnovers or big plays?  Either way Manning gets the ball back quicker.  For these last few years I think the best defense for Manning has been the defensive style of the Colts, their passive style gets the offense out of rhythm.

When the basis of a defense is to hold you to field goals but will allow you to move the ball I have a problem with that.  The Jets will eat the clock, move the sticks and Manning does not have enough weapons to score touchdowns when he has the chance.

Baltimore -3@ Kansas City – Kansas City is a fraud.  They have beaten nobody!  If you look at their wins it is amazing.  Their best win was their week one win over San Diego, which was at home, in primetime, in a monsoon and they still needed a punt return for a touchdown and a late game goaline stand to win the game.  They are a fraud and have beaten no playoff team outside of Seattle.  Their wins have come against San Diego(who they were later blown out by), the NFC West, Denver, Cleveland, Buffalo, Tennessee and Houston.  Ugh.

Baltimore is tougher and much more tested.

Green Bay @ Philadelphia -2.5 – Tough game to pick, I am a Packer fan so I will stick with my team.  These teams are two of the top four teams in the entire playoffs and it is a shame they meet here.  I do predict the winner will make the Super Bowl, as long as neither suffers a major injury(Vick or Rodgers). 

If the Eagles win they would go to Chicago for a rematch, good luck Bears.  Then they would either host New Orleans, who is not great on the road in this kind of weather.  Or they would be at Atlanta.  Who do you think is better built for a fast indoor track, the Falcons or Eagles?  No way Atlanta would win that game.

If the Packers win they will go to Atlanta, a team they lost by three to in the regular season in which they fumbled at the one, had a Falcon 4th down drop not challenged(which resulted in a big touchdown to end the half), and still were able to tie the game with under a minute left.  14 points that essentially went to Atlanta and it came down to a last second field goal. Yeah, the Packers will not be scared.  After that they would be at New Orleans or at Chicago.  Again I like the Packers chances in either of those games.

Why the Packers Win:  The disparity of defenses in this game is actually quite large.  This was supposed to be a rebuilding year in Philly and I think a large reason why Andy Reid was willing to go with Kolb over McNabb to start the year was he knew the defense was not playoff caliber, and it is not.  So, while he had a year to build the defense he would get his future quarterback ready so next year and for the forseable future the offense and defense would be championship caliber.  Vick threw a wrench into that, the defense still sucks but now the offense can be scary at times. 

Vick will make some plays against the Packers, but Green Bay will get theirs also.  There is a lot of talk going around about the Eagles, and Vick’s, inability to deal with the blitz.  This involves Vick’s decision making, the oline protection and receivers breaking off routes.  That is too much to fix during the season, especially in a week since it involves all aspects of the passing game  My guess is Andy Reid will have some tricks to deal with blitzes early but Dom Capers and the Packers will figure things out and take control in the second half.  On the other side of the ball Aaron Rodgers will light up the Eagles secondary.  The Eagles are the worst in the playoffs at Yards Per Point, meaning they give up big scores while the Packers are among the best at big plays.

I see a very competitive game early but at some point the Green Bay defense will get a turnover and the offense will convert to a quick score.  The Green Bay defense will get a double digit lead that they will hold onto.  Philly will make it interesting late but the Packers will hold on.

Playoff Predictions:

Wildcard Round:  Green Bay over Philly, New Orleans over Seattle, Baltimore over KC, Jets over Colts.

Divisional Round:  Green Bay over Atlanta, Chicago over New Orleans, New England over Jets, Pittsburgh over Baltimore, New England over Jets.

Championship Round:  Green Bay over Chicago, New England over Steelers.

Super Bowl:  Stay tuned.

Next Bucks Game Full schedule »
Saturday, Nov 11 Nov7:00at Washington WizardsBuy Tickets

comments powered by Disqus