STAMFORD, CT – Four walk-offs; what a weekend for the NFL! We saw some heroic QB play, massive near collapses, special teams’ blunders, and inexplicably bad late game defense. The Championship games sure seem to be less exciting than these white-knucklers. I have a few finals thoughts on the Divisional Round and will offer my Championship Round Picks. Let’s get to it.
Saturday Night’s All Right for Sucking… at QB
The 49ers won in spite of Garoppolo throwing more ducks around than Bugs Bunny… Rodgers looked cold and couldn’t make a play down the stretch to put the game away… Burrow played pretty well and avoided the big mistake, but he struggled in the red zone… Ryan Tannehill lost the game for the Titans with three interceptions, including one that set up the winning FG.
The Sunday QBs showed us how it’s done, but Saturday was u.g.l.y.
Sunday, Bloody [Bad Defense] Sunday
What in the hell were the Bills doing at the end of regulation? Why was the middle of the field so open? I get it, Tyreek Hill is fast, but they made it so easy to get in FG range. It looked like they were defending the sidelines as if KC had no timeouts. Well, they did. Just a colossal blunder to spoil the Josh Allen (and Gabriel Davis) coming out party.
And how do you let a WR who just won the triple crown get behind you with seconds remaining in a tie game? I guess they knew it was a blitz and didn’t think Stafford would have time to go downfield. Whoops. Was Gregg Williams calling the defensive plays?
Stafford showed some gigantic
balls fortitude in finding Kupp twice after fumbling on the first play of the drive. The weight of that collapse must have been getting heavy on his back.
The Championship Games
49ers at Rams
When the Giants got into the playoffs in the 2007, they didn’t seem like a real threat to most people. But looking at their potential playoff schedule, you felt like there was a chance if things fell right. The first round match up vs Tampa was winnable and Dallas and Green Bay has weaknesses. Something similar might be happening with these 49ers. Their strengths matched up well against the Packers’ weaknesses and now they play a team in the Rams that they have handled and beaten twice this season, by way of a romp and a massive comeback.
Deebo Samuel is one unique weapon, and if he can’t go, the 49ers chances are massively diminished. Jimmy G has not been sharp and really did not deserve to be a winning QB in that game and would not have if the Packers DBs had grabbed a few of the ducks fluttering in their vicinity or if their special teams didn’t come up big. But he’s moving on, and Josh Allen is not. No one said life was fair.
The Rams must be a little shaken after their near meltdown in Tampa. I enjoying Troy Aikman effusively praising McVay for trusting Cam Akers after his early fumble, but that trust nearly came back to bite him when Akers fumbled again in crunch time.
After Stafford nearly lost a fumble on the opening play of the last drive, I was thinking the Rams should take it to overtime and regroup. But Stafford showed that he’s the real Matty Ice, delivering two beauties to the great Cooper Kupp to set up the winning FG.
The likely game plan for the Rams will be to stack the box and make Garoppolo beat them. George Kittle will have to have a monster game for the Niners to have a chance if Deebo is out, which seems likely. The Rams offense seems to be locked in right now. I don’t think SF can pull off a third win over the Rams in the same season. But this could be another tight one.
The pick: Rams -3.5
Bengals at Chiefs
Even though I missed with my Titans pick last week, I still think Burrow is a year away. The man has the goods but needs the experience. This feels like his learning year, like last year was for John Allen. The Bengals red zone offense seemed predictable and they’ll have to score TDs against KC.
You can only limit the Chiefs offense so much. I mean, having Tyreek Hill and Kelce almost seems unfair. Someone else should always be open, with all the attention those two get. It’s hard to see the Bengals keeping up with the Chiefs firepower. I would lay the 7 in this one.
The pick: Chiefs -7
Who do you like to get to the Super Bowl? Let us know in the comments.