NFL Picks - Conference Championships

Jacksonville @ New England
Bortles vs. Brady! It’s the match-up you never knew you always wanted. Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles will be starting his first AFC title game whereas New England QB Tom Brady will be starting his 12th. One has no experience, the other has tons. It reminds me of a dad taking his son to a brothel on his 18th birthday to lose his virginity. And we all know how that turns out, the one with the experience always wins ... Er wait, no, the virgin is the winner there. Maybe this analogy has become strained, but if we see Bortles fumbling with his belt in the first quarter we’ll know at that point that he’s in over his head. Believe it or not this will be the fifth time these teams have met in the playoffs, which will be news to the readers out there who had no idea the Jaguars franchise has even played in four playoff games total before this. The Pats are 3-1 in the series, with the home team winning every previous meeting. Though the first of those contests was in January of ‘97 when, I’m pretty sure, approximately half the Jacksonville roster was not yet born, so what bearing does that record really have on this Sunday? The more I think about this game the more perplexed I get.  Luckily for me, even though NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth won’t be calling a game this week, I dropped him a line and got his two cents on this match-up:

That’s cool man, I believe you. And I think I believe you about the game too. The Jags are a threat, but probably aren’t ready to get this monumental win just yet.

Patriots 24-19

Minnesota @ Philadelphia
Going into the season I predicted that each of these teams would finish 8-8, so I’m just as surprised as you that this is the match-up in the NFC title game. Unless you’re going to tell me that you’re not surprised, in which case I’d say that I really don’t appreciate you lying to me after all we’ve been through together. What’s more shocking is how the teams got here, with back-up quarterbacks that both toiled under Jeff Fisher with the Rams. The most shocking aspect not being that they were reserves who are now a win away from starting a Super Bowl, but that they’ve managed to be successful even with the stink of Jeff Fisher hanging over their careers. Let’s be honest though, the strength of these teams is their defenses, and this one figures to be low-scoring, or at least it better be if the Eagles actually want to win. This is another tough one to pick, just like the earlier contest. I’m torn again. When that happens I have no choice but to enact a rarely used emergency procedure ... BONUS CRICOLL!!!

Couldn’t help but notice he didn’t make an actual prediction, other than that both teams will poop during the game, maybe? I guess I’ll have to handle this myself. The Eagles believe that everybody outside of their locker room has written them off. Well count me amongst them, because I’m literally writing them off for the second time in two weeks.

Vikings 17-12


NFL Picks - Divisional Round


Atlanta @ Philadelphia
The Eagles enter this game as the only #1 seed to ever be an underdog in the Divisional Round. Even the scurvy-ravaged Chicago Cardinals of 1946 were laying a point and a half. Are Philadelphia and Foles really worthy of this skepticism? Let’s turn to the man who will be in the booth this Saturday afternoon for his analysis; take it away CriColl:

My thoughts exactly. All of it.

Falcons 24-16

Tennessee @ New England 
This one smells like a blowout. And what does that smell like exactly? Almonds. Don’t you think it smells like almonds? I do. In fact I’m smelling them right now. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not having a stroke. My lips were chapped so I lathered them in almond butter. So now don’t you feel like an idiot for making assumptions? Perhaps I shouldn’t follow my nose regarding the Titans, however, because just one week ago I said that I didn’t see any way Tennessee could win at KC. Of course, the Titans won, but I stand by my original statement, because on multiple occasions during the second half I shouted, “No way!” I don’t imagine the Patriots will make the same mistakes or go as stagnant as the Chiefs did last week; New England tends to increase their lead in the second half, not blow it. And if I’m wrong, it’ll only be the third time this year. 

Patriots 34-13


Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh
As you may have heard, this is a rematch of a Week 5 statement win by the Jaguars. In that game they managed to blowout Pittsburgh 30-9 despite Blake Bortles throwing for only 95 yards. That’s a great sign for Jacksonville seeing as how they only got 85 yards from Blake in their Wild Card win over Buffalo. Looking at that stat it’s hard to imagine how the Jags could’ve beat the Steelers so handily back in October. It’s much easier to comprehend when you realize that Jacksonville had two pick sixes and a 90-yard TD run from Leonard Fournette. Obviously you can’t just call three big plays like that a fluke, but if you remove them from the equation who knows how that first game goes; these two teams are probably still playing! Yes, I know that even if the score had been 9-9 it would have just ended in a tie after overtime. And yes I am aware that Jacksonville missed one of their post-pick six PATs, which means that even without the big plays the score would’ve been 10-9. Forget it! All I’m saying is that I believe in an infinite timeline in which one could theoretically travel back in time to any given moment. So in a manner of speaking these two teams are, in fact, still playing, and will forever be. And even if that’s not true they’ll play again Sunday, so we’ll just see what happens then. Pittsburgh doesn’t have to play totally mistake-free, but if they can avoid the catastrophic plays they fell prey to the first time around, and force Blake Bortles to throw for more than 100 yards they should get the win. 

Steelers 20-13

New Orleans @ Minnesota
These teams met back in Week 1 and the Vikings are hoping this one is a carbon-copy of that contest. Though can we really expect that? I mean the star offensive players for Minnesota in their first match-up were Dalvin Cook and Sam Bradford, and the Saints were trying to figure out how to incorporate Adrian Peterson into their game plan. So clearly things were very different. And I haven’t even gotten to the Coozer yet. Remember the Coozer? He was that party animal the Vikings had on their sideline who kept distracting Drew Brees by making real loud (and convincing) fart noises whenever New Orleans would step to the line of scrimmage. He also slammed brews the entire game and made a pyramid of the empties for players to crash through when they got shoved out of bounds. Everybody was pretty sure that he was violating NFL bylaws, but everybody was absolutely sure that he was totally righteous! I mean a real pounder. Of course, as we all know The Coozer disappeared shortly thereafter when an APB went out in the Minneapolis area for a hit-and-run involving a car registered in his name that had a LOT of illegal pets in the trunk. Needless to say he won’t be a factor this time around. Be that as it may I think homefield advantage, mistake-free offensive play, and a top-notch D will be enough to get the Vikes the win. Or as The Coozer would say, “I hope yer bald, cause we’re about to shit on your heads!” Man, he was great.

Vikings 23-20


NFL Picks - Wild Card Round


Tennessee @ Kansas City
The 2017 season ended with four AFC teams at 9-7 and somehow the two worst ones made the playoffs. I’m not saying the Ravens and Chargers are top notch squadrons, but c’mon, they could beat the Titans and Bills. And I guess this would be in some sort of tag-team match? The TenneBuff team could do some cool trick plays with Mariota and Taylor, whereas the BaltAngeles team’s QBs would be decidedly less athletic. But since Phil Flacco is only a fantasy, I suppose we should move forward to focusing on the actual game at hand. This is an intriguing match-up between ... no it’s not. I don’t see any way that the Titans go into Kansas City and win this game, and if they do? It’d be the first time I’ve been wrong all year. 

Chiefs 26-13

Atlanta @ Los Angeles Rams
It’s the first playoff game in Los Angeles since January of 1994, and it promises to be a scene this Saturday night. One man who will be right in the thick of things is NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth. Let’s see what he thinks of this match-up:

To be fair, any analysis that doesn't weave in the Sixth Sense is inadequate.

Rams 27-24 


Buffalo @ Jacksonville
I can almost guarantee Trump already has a tweet drafted for Monday about how much lower the playoff ratings are because of him. Well it ain’t you pal, it’s that we’re getting games like Bills/Jags. However, I for one am fairly jazzed for this match-up. Come on, it’s Bills/Jags and it’s a playoff game! This is like when Butler and VCU played in the Final Four, I’m not totally sure how we got here, but I don’t wanna go back. Well yes I do, but I’ve grown to accept the restraints of our known, linear timeline. I’d say that Buffalo doesn’t have much of a shot in this one, but they’re playing against Blake Bortles in the playoffs. We don’t know exactly what that will look like and I couldn’t be more excited to find out. Ok, I suppose I could be more excited, but then it would be apparent to those around me and when they ask what I’m so excited about I’d have to reply “Blake Bortles starting a playoff game.” So to save some embarrassment I’m going to dial it back a bit.

Jaguars 24-12

Carolina @ New Orleans 
Can the Saints beat the Panthers three times in one season? I’m not so sure. I mean there’s no way Cam Newton will allow himself to be demoralized by two previous losses, he never let’s anything get him down. Except for losses, and turnovers, and incompletions, and rushes of less than four yards ... Ok so maybe Carolina is screwed. New Orleans may have had one of their most productive losses in years last week at Tampa, because it made them the 4 seed instead of the 3, and now if they get the win on Sunday they at least have the chance to travel to Philadelphia in the Divisional Round instead of automatically going to Minnesota. Of course, that’s a big if. It would mean the Saints would have to rattle Newton with an early incompletion this Sunday, but after that he should be crestfallen enough that he's easy to prey upon.

Saints 28-19