STAMFORD, CT – If you were looking for a sign that 2021 is going to be better than 2020, how about Super
Wildcard Wild Card Weekend? Holy Nick Buoniconti, was that fun! No need for a second bye if it means we can have two fun-filled days of six games. How about some Wildcard Round Thoughts and then some Division Round Predictions? You know you want it.
Super Wild Card Round Thoughts
Did Mitch Trubisky piss away all of the solid work he did over the last month in one game? I know some guy dropped a perfect bomb touchdown that could have changed the game. But you could have turned off your set there. He did not play well.
When you need a big play on 3rd and 7, Mitch checks it down for four. The guy is an eternal reminder that they traded up to get him when they could have taken Mahomes. Maybe just move on.
The Steelers were plowing back against the Browns to get it within 12 and Cleveland was trembling under the weight of past collapses. It was fourth and one around midfield early in the fourth quarter. And they punted…
Cleveland immediately marched down the field and scored. Game over. I know it might’ve worked out differently had the punter done his job and pinned them. But you have to keep the momentum going there.
Maybe even worse was the Titans punting down 17-13 with about 10 minutes left from the Ravens 40 on a fourth and one. The Ravens 40. Even if they didn’t get it, you’re still okay. So many reasons to go for it there.
Even the six-fingered man, Count Rugen from The Princess Bride, tweeted that those punts were cowardly.
Going Out on a High Note, Sort of
What a one handed grab by Jimmy Graham at the buzzer! And I know he had 4 interceptions, but Ben Roethlisberger also had 500 yards and 4 TDs. Not a bad stat line. Phillip Rivers became the only playoff QB to ever lead his team to 450 yards with no turnovers and lose.
Anyway, if those three retire, at least they went out with memorable performances.
This guy sure was fun to watch. Hopefully the WFT didn’t stumble into a QB, because they have the makings of a solid team. He’s a free agent though, so maybe someone else will swoop in. Hell, he’s probably better than Trubisky.
It was weird how everyone thought Baker Mayfied would struggle because his head coach wouldn’t be there. “Stefanski is the only one who can calm him down,” said my buddy Josh. Huh? He still knows how to run the plays, right? Was his Mommy not available?
The Browns beat the Steelers with a better game plan. They were missing key DBs and OLs and all sorts of coaches. The came up with a plan to hide their deficiencies, especially on defense. This just in, the Browns have finally found their coach.
Division Round Predictions
Four excellent games are lined up for next week. I think the underdog has a shot in all four, oddmakers be damned.
Rams at Packers
The Rams need Aaron Donald to be healthy. This is a game where losing LT David Bakhtiari could hurt the Packers. The recipe for the Rams is as clear as day: ten parts Akers, a pinch of Goff here and there, and twenty parts of making A-Rodg uncomfortable. WR Adams vs CB Ramsey is worth the price of admission.
The Pack offense will be too strong in the end, but don’t sleep on McVay and the Rams.
Ravens at Bills
Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson will be playing in the AFC Championship game (possibly against fellow QB 2018 draft class mate Mayfield). Hey, didn’t the Giants and Jets pass on both of them? Yes, that’s correct.
John Harbaugh now has the most road wins in playoff history. As in, of all time. The Ravens are more suited as the overlooked underdog, instead of the top seed like last year.
Both teams should be able to move the ball and it feels like a game the team with the ball last might win. I’m looking forward to this one. The Ravens pull it off.
Browns at Chiefs
If they can get closer to full strength, the Browns can make this a game. The finished the game with only two of five starters on the O-line. Mayfield said he met the guy who ended up playing guard in the locker room before the game. The O-line has been a huge strength and they are in trouble if it’s not mostly intact.
On the bright side, they get their best CB Denzel Ward and the slot corner back from the Covid list. That have to play well against the Chiefs’ arsenal of weapons.
The Browns are dangerous, but I think the Cinderella story ends here. The Chiefs are rested and the Browns have been through too much. It catches up with them on Sunday.
Bucs at Saints
As you may have heard, Tom Brady is 43 and Drew Brees turns 42 on Friday. These dudes are old. The Bucs are clicking at the right time and the Saints are looking strong.
I don’t buy into the “it’s hard to beat a team three times” narrative. Of course it is. It’s hard to win in the playoffs and it’s harder when the other team is playing way better than they were when you beat them.
Something seems just a little off with the Saints offense. They have too many moving parts. Mixing in Taysom into the offense must piss Brees off and someday he’ll admit it. He was okay against the Bears, he’ll need to be better.
The Bucs get it done.
To recap, I’m going Bucs, Chiefs, Ravens, Packers. That’s it for me. Come back tomorrow for the Angry Ward, no relation to Denzel Ward, or any other Denzels, as far as he knows. Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.