Buffalo, NY: Happy New Year! Thanks for reading, Mom. May 2018 bring joy to you all, even Mets fans. NFL Week 17 brought a wild finish in the AFC, with four teams finishing 9-7. But the better wildcard games should be in the wide open NFC. Let’s try to make sense of some of the madness.
The Giants limped into week 17 with two of their top six linemen, and they lost John Jerry almost immediately. Their last two competent receivers were out and there was talk about Davis Webb playing. Sooooo, of course the Giants run it down the ‘Skins gullet for 260 yards and get big plays in the passing game from Rhett Ellison and someone named Hunter Sharp. Maybe the Giants have just been starting the wrong linemen all year.
In week 14 and 15, the Bengals looked like they quit. They couldn’t wait to move on from the Red Rifle and Marv Lewis Era and get to rebuilding. So of course they rose up and knocked the Lions and then the Ravens out of the playoffs. Dalton’s dart to Boyd on a 4th and 12th came out of nowhere and sent the Ravens home and the Bills to the playoffs. The Bills were last in the playoffs about eight Star Wars movies ago.
With an old fashioned whomping of the Raiders, this looked like a team that should have been in the playoffs. They have looked dominant on both sides of the ball at times and are definitely better than a few of the teams that got in. Oh well, you know what they say. That’s what happens when you leave your season to tie breakers and rookie kickers with giggle inducing names.
New England Patriots
You gotta give the Patriots credit. They always seem to take care of business in games like this and they do it without getting anyone hurt or giving up too much of the playbook. Sure, it was against Bryce Petty and the Jets, but still, I hate them.
Catch/Not a Catch
Speaking of the Pats, I would be negligent if I didn’t point out that when the Steelers have to play the Patriots in New England in the AFC Championship, it is because of that stupid catch rule and the reversal of Jesse James’s touchdown. You can only reach a ball over the goalline if you’ve already caught it. The NFL must fix this ludicrous rule 10 minutes after the Super Bowl is over. It’s making me question my whole childhood. My juggling catch by Mr. Anderson’s shrub when I was twelve may not have been a catch. Is anything real?
Wildcard Round (in order of excitement level)
Falcons at Rams: Last year’s
NFL Conference champion against the young upstart. The Falcons have the talent and the experience, but I think the Rams will be too much at home. Falcons will keep it close for a while but the Rams will pull away. And also, Gurley.
Panthers at Saints: All options are in play for the Panthers, from the Super Bowl to a first round dud. The Saints re-invented themselves and are tough at home. The last team with the ball could win this one. I think Cam will bounce back, give me the Panthers in the upset.
Titans at Chiefs: The Chiefs feel like a team who will beat who they’re supposed to beat and lose to who they’re supposed to. The Titans are lucky to be here, I’d rather see Phillip Rivers in this spot. Mariota did not make the jump this year and I am no longer confident he will. The lesson, don’t listen to Chip Kelly. The Chiefs should win this one.
Buffalo at Jacksonville: After consecutive losses, the Jags are reeling and Bortles has turned back into a toad. But this is the perfect draw for them. The Bills can’t stop the run and don’t have a lot of weapons on offense. I expect the Jags to cruise.
That’s my time. Come back tomorrow for Angry Ward, who has resolved to practice positivity in 2018. You can follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.