A Wild and Crazy Wild Card Weekend [PREDICTIONS]
14 NFL teams are still alive now that the season has ended and for 18 others, they have cleaned out their lockers, several head coaches have been handed pink slips, and the 12 teams that are playing in this weekend’s wild-card round will try to stay alive so they have the chance to unseat the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Most of the coaching firings were expected. I was a bit surprised by Anthony Lynn’s release from the L.A. Chargers as I didn’t think they were that awful a team. But guys like Doug Marrone in Jacksonville? 15 straight losses after an opening day win will get you fired every time.
Incredibly, The Washington Football Team extended their season as NFC East Division champions but head into the weekend with a pathetic 7-9 record. That, and they are hosting Tampa in the first round, the Bucs only won 11 games. A loss by Tampa in this one would certainly be embarrassing. How I see these games playing out lies ahead.
Indianapolis at Buffalo: After seeing what the Bills did to the playoff-hopeful Dolphins last weekend, I can’t see the Colts having any chance to win this game. Two teams in the AFC are very scary right now and they are Buffalo and Baltimore. Prediction: Buffalo 35, Colts 17.
L.A. Rams at Seattle: These two teams split the two games they played in 2020 each winning their respective home game. In the last meeting, the Seahawks won by 11. No reason to believe that won’t be a repeat performance. Prediction: Seahawks 27, Rams 20.
Tampa Bay at Washington: So Chance Young was all the buzz this past week after his team won the NFC East last week and he was caught on camera exclaiming “Tom Brady, Tom Brady, I’m coming! I want Tom! I want Tom.” So the media made a big deal over this and Young refused to apologize. I say so what. What is the big deal? But in reality, does The Washington Football Team have a chance because they won only nine games this past season? Their offense is not good enough to win this game so the defense will have to get the job done. I think Young will get to Brady at least once if not more but that won’t be what wins this game for Washington. Brady has way too much postseason experience for Washington to handle. Prediction: Buccaneers 24, The Washington Football Team 17.
Baltimore at Tennessee: Back in November the Titans won 30-24 in a matchup of these two teams. Now they meet again but under entirely different circumstances. The Ravens won their final five games while Tennessee dropped two of its final three. Baltimore is the other scary team in the AFC and I think they handle business this weekend. Prediction: Ravens 30, Titans 24.
Chicago at New Orleans: After starting the season 5-1 the Bears went into a slump losing six in a row and then finished the season 3-1. But they are heading into New Orleans who simply has too much firepower and a solid defense that will get the job done. Prediction: Saints 37, Bears 13.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh: The Browns finally got over the playoff snide and get in by virtue of beating the Steelers on the final day albeit while facing offensive and defensive backups. Just as their luck has gone over the last 17 years, the Browns last made the playoffs as a wild card playing none other than who? The Steelers. They lost that game and will lose this one. I find it very hard to imagine a team beating a team one day and then less than a week later beating them a second time on their field. That is what the Browns are up against and making it more difficult is that not only is Kevin Stefanski who tested positive for COVID will not be permitted to coach the game for Cleveland but the most tenured player on Cleveland Joel Bitonio, their starting guard is sidelined as well. Several coaches are also being kept away from the game that while being played at Heinz Field is now more advantageous to the Steelers. That and Ben Roethlisberger has had a two-week rest as had Maurkice Pouncey and TJ Watt among others so the Steelers will be bringing it to the Browns with playoff experiences the Cleveland players do not have. Prediction: Steelers 31, Browns 17.