Let’s put Brady aside and focus on a big playoff weekend
Brady. Brady. Brady. Brady. Brady. Brady. Brady. Brady. Brady. Brady.
There, we’ve gotten that out of the way, we’ve mentioned Brady, as in New England Patriots quarterback Tom, numerous times. It’s going to be a long stretch of Brady between now and March.
Brady posted this. One of Brady’s teammates or former teammates said that. Brady’s guru said this. Brady’s father said that.
Too much drama. We prefer the drama of the NFC and AFC Divisonal Round, and it seems really, really strange to not be heading to Gillette for a playoff game this weekend. In fact, it’s the first time the Patriots won’t be playing in this round in 10 years. Amazing.
Why? Lots of reasons. Some of the rest of the AFC is finally catching up by getting younger, drafting better, signing better free agents, and in some cases, becoming more physical. Eventually, things change, a natural evolution of sorts. Proof of that: the Patriots this year have lost to all four teams playing in the AFC playoffs this weekend.
Anyway, here we go with a look at our Divisional math:
NINERS 27, VIKINGS 23
We really, really, really wanted to go with the Vikes in an upset. Just something about a Wild Card team that wins on the road (Minny’s first road playoff win in 15 years) that gives you the idea they can do it again. Jimmy G and the ‘Niners are good, but we’re not talking about the Joe Montana or Steve Young 49ers. But there’s an ankle injury to Adam Thielen, who had 102 receiving yards when these teams played in 2018. The Vikes are the type of team that needs everything to fit just right. Sure, it’s Garoppolo’s first playoff start of his over-hyped career, but we think he’s got a playoff win in him.
RAVENS 24, TITANS 13
Lamar Jackson is the big choice for the prime time CBS Saturday night game, another sign of the changing of the guard. This game, other than Jackson, looks like the immovable force vs. the unstoppable object. Two physical teams pounding each other, but one has Jackson and the other doesn’t. Ryan Tannehill can’t win this game throwing for under 100 yards, but of course the big question is whether or not Baltimore can handle Derrick Henry better than the Patriots did. We say they can. Nice job, Mike Vrabel, but your Titans’ run stops near the Inner Harbor. Have a crabcake though while you’re there.
CHIEFS 34, TEXANS 21
Can Bill O’Brien’s Houston Texans win at Arrowhead for the second time this season? They went there in October and came away 31-24 winners. Back then, Chiefs QB Pat Mahomes was playing on a bad foot, leading sack man Chris Jones and starting left tackle Eric Fisher missed that one. Simply put, the Chiefs had yet to really hit its stride. Defensively, KC has given up just 52 points since, a 12-game span. Yikes. But they didn’t nickname any of their positional groups, thank goodness. KC has to stop one and one guy only – Deshaun Watson. He’ll make his plays, but so will Mahomes. Nice run, Texans, maybe next year.
PACKERS 27, SEAHAWKS 17
Great quarterback matchup, isn’t it? We love Seattle, but the Seahawks should be much better than than they are with Russell Wilson at the controls. They lost two big late season games at home, which showed they’re basically good enough to win a round of the playoffs and maybe two, but that’s that. Seattle hasn’t won in Green Bay since 1999. It’s certainly not that easy, and any team that needed Marshawn Lynch to get its running game going isn’t going to be able to keep the ball away from Aaron Rodgers. Is the Pack back? It may be. It’ll be back in the NFC Championship Game in prime time next Sunday, we think.
LAST WEEK/PLAYOFFS: 2-2
REGULAR SEASON: 75-45
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow King on Twitter (@Telegraph_TomK).