Movie quote of the day:
“If we played ‘em 10 times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight.”
Herb Brooks, Miracle (2004)
Week 17 record: 11-5 (68.7%)
Overall record: 143-99 (59%)
Wild Card Weekend
No. 5 Kansas City (11-5) vs. No. 4 Houston (9-7)
Both of these teams have been playing very well. Kansas City has been on a roll, winning 10 straight games. Houston has won seven out of its last nine games. The Texans have home-field advantage, but they’re down to their fourth-string quarterback. I can’t bring myself to pick against the Chiefs. They’re hot and they have the better coach and quarterback. I think the Chiefs finally get their first playoff win in 23 years.
Prediction: Chiefs 26, Texans 21
No. 6 Pittsburgh (10-6) vs. No. 3 Cincinnati (12-4)
Cincinnati will be without quarterback Andy Dalton for this game. A.J. McCarron has actually been pretty decent stepping in as the starter. However, Pittsburgh is playing well. The Steelers have won six out of eight games. Pittsburgh has a defense that can get after the quarterback. I think that will take an effect on McCarron. I think the Steelers move on.
Prediction: Steelers 27, Bengals 20
No. 5 Green Bay (10-6) vs. No. 4 Washington (9-7)
I’m tired of making excuses for Green Bay. The Packers aren’t a good team and don’t deserve a spot in the postseason. Washington has been playing lights out, and Kirk Cousins has been red hot. The Redskins have home-field advantage for this matchup. I think Green Bay keeps it close but Washington will win the game.
Prediction: Redskins 28, Packers 23
No. 6 Seattle (10-6) vs. No. 3 Minnesota (11-5)
I know I sound bitter but Minnesota had no business winning the NFC North. The Vikings aren’t that good of a team. The last time these two teams met was in week 13 and Seattle won, 38-7. I think Seattle is the much better team. I think the Seahawks’ defense will make it brutal for Teddy Bridgewater. I think Seattle wins comfortably.
Prediction: Seahawks 31, Vikings 17
No. 5 Kansas City vs. No. 2 New England (12-4)
New England’s offensive line has been shaky, which is is what caused the Patriots to drop four of their last six games. I know that Kansas City has been en fuego, but I can’t see Alex Smith going into Foxboro and outplaying Tom Brady. I think the Patriots narrowly avoid an upset.
Prediction: Patriots 27, Chiefs 26
No. 6 Pittsburgh vs. No. 1 Denver (12-4)
Denver is going with Peyton Manning for this game. I’m not sure that’s a huge upgrade from Brock Osweiler but it is an upgrade. The Broncos’ offense struggled with both quarterbacks. Pittsburgh has had a ton of injuries but they still have one of the league’s best offenses. The Broncos’ offensive line isn’t great, in fact, they’ve given up 39 sacks this season. I think it’s going to be difficult for the Broncos to score points against the Steelers’ pass rush. I trust Ben Roethlisberger to score more points than Manning. I think Pittsburgh moves on.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Broncos 17
No. 4 Washington vs. No. 2 Arizona (13-3)
I think this is where Washington’s run will end. I think Arizona is the better team and they have a better coach. Carson Palmer has been playing at an MVP caliber all season. I don’t think Kirk Cousins will be able to move the ball against the Cardinals’ secondary. I’m taking Arizona to move on to the NFC Championship.
Prediction: Cardinals 34, Redskins 17
No. 6 Seattle vs. No. 1 Carolina (15-1)
The last time these teams played Carolina narrowly defeated Seattle on the road. However, Seattle wasn’t near the team for that game as they are now. I’ve given respect to Cam Newton and Carolina all season, but at the end of the day, I can’t see Newton making a playoff run. Russell Wilson has had a great season and the Seahawks’ defense is playing well. I think Seattle wins this game.
Prediction: Seahawks 28, Panthers 20
No. 6 Pittsburgh vs. No. 2 New England
A matchup for the ages. The quarterbacks for these teams don’t play each other enough. Like I’ve already mentioned, New England’s offensive line has been an eye soar recently. Pittsburgh’s defense has had 48 sacks this season, ranking No. 3 in the league. The Patriots have a great pass rush as well, but the Steelers have a better offensive line. I think that line will be able to protect Roethlisberger and he’ll be able to make more plays than Brady. I’m picking an upset. I think the Steelers move on to the Super Bowl.
Prediction: Steelers 30, Patriots 24
No. 6 Seattle vs. No. 2 Arizona
These teams just met last week and Seattle dominated the game, 36-6. I like Bruce Arians as a head coach more than I do Pete Carroll. I think Arians will have a different approach to this matchup, and Arizona will be ready to play. It’s very tough to advance to a Super Bowl as a No. 6 seed, which is why it’s only been done twice (2005 – Pittsburgh, 2010 – Green Bay). I think Arizona knocks off Seattle and prevents them from going to a third-consecutive Super Bowl.
Prediction: Cardinals 28, Seahawks 24
Super Bowl 50
No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 6 Pittsburgh
A rematch of Super Bowl XLIII (one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen). I think this game will be a high-scoring affair. Both offenses have the capability to put up points. Arizona has been the healthier team all season, I can’t say the same for Pittsburgh. I think this is where the Steelers’ injuries will finally catch up with them. It will be a great game, but I think Arizona gets its first Lombardi Trophy.
Prediction: Cardinals 31, Steelers 28
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