Sunday’s Wild Card Predictions

Buffalo Bills Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars will win this game. Their defense is too tough and the Bills are too weak on offense. The Bills are playing on the road and their “happy to be there” attitude defined by their celebration last Sunday tells me all I need to know about them. There season was a success and it is over. They aren’t a very good team and there best player isn’t at 100%. Their only chance is if Blake Bortles gives them defensive points and the Jaguars fall behind. The Jaguars have the 2nd best defense in the league and beating Buffalo’s 29th ranked offense is a no brainer. But, then again, Mariota throwing himself a TD and the Chiefs ability to squander an 18 point lead at home reminds me that nothing is absolute.

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

This matchup is the hardest for me to pick. My inclination is that the Saints will win. They have a better running back, a better and more consistent quarterback, and a better coach. Their defenses are almost identical in terms of points per game, Carolina allows fewer yards, but both teams could win this game. The main question I have is how well will Cam Newton play?

Cam Newton at his best takes over games and is sensational; bad Cam is irrelevant and ineffective and I expect bad Cam. The Saints have played him plenty of times and can prevent Cam from taking over and winning. Sean Payton will scheme Cam into a bad game and will stifle him. Without an elite Cam the Panthers will lose this game.

Also, the 2013 postseason was a long time ago and Brees isn’t about to waste a home playoff game losing to a team he has beaten already 2x’s this year. Bree’s now has a balanced offense, and though he doesn’t have the gaudy total yard numbers like previous years, he is in the playoffs. Bree’s wait is over and I expect the Saints to make it to the NFC Championship game at least. I’ll take the Saints. I a not willing to lay money on this game, which tells you my confidence in a Saints cover, but I think you should.

BYU Prediction for 2017

Finally! It has been a long time since Brady came back and buried the Falcons like the New York Times buries a retraction. The football drought finally ends this Saturday. This is kind of a college football appetizer, but I am so hungry I am not being picky. Football is back!!!

What are the experts expectations?

Phil Steele, by his own admission, is the most accurate predicter of college football. I’ll touch on his two different ratings. His first ranking is where he predicts the final rankings at the end of the year. He has BYU ranked #27. Meaning that after the end of the bowl games, he thinks BYU will be ranked #27. Notables on BYU’s schedule is Wisconsin #10, LSU #13, Boise St. #45.

In Phil Steele’s power poll, which ranks best teams, not according to where they will rank, but how good they are. BYU is ranked #33. Other notables are Utah #43, LSU #13, Wisconsin #11, Boise St. #56, Utah St. 104.

In the AP poll BYU is #38 with Utah and Boise being ranked higher at 27 & 29 respectively. The coaches poll has BYU #42 with #25 Utah, #29 Boise St., and they even have Mississippi St. #35.

Their strength of schedule is #84. Similar to other years they have about 5 good games, and the rest are cupcakes. The tough games are: @LSU (technically neutral) Utah, Wisconsin, Boise State, @Miss St. (only because they are SEC). They have Utah, Wisconsin, and Boise St. at home. They are scheduled for 13 games.

BYU 2017 Prediction: 11-2

The main reason I believe that they will win 11 games is because of Tanner Mangum. Mangum is an elite QB and will carry this team to a great season. They will be closer to winning 12, then winning 10. This is Mangum’s 2nd year under Coach Sitake, with Detmer as his offensive coordinator. He played great when Taysom Hill was hurt, and I am expecting results as good or better than Max Hall and John Beck.

So, yeah, I believe they will beat Utah. I understand that none of my kids have ever seen a BYU win over Utah, but c’mon, Utah’s running a high tempo offense? Utah is a punch-you-in-the-mouth type of team, and trying pretend their something else won’t work. My only concern is that BYU’s receivers and running backs aren’t like last years, a good QB will equalize it out, which is why I trust Mangum to lead them to an 11-2 season.

Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch knelt during the National Anthem in the Raiders first preseason game. This was Jack Del Rio’s conversation with Lynch about this.

“[Marshawn Lynch] said, “This is something I’ve done for 11 years- it’s not a form of anything other than me being myself.” Del Rio responded, “So you understand how I feel, I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem, but I’m gonna respect you as a man. You do your thing, OK, and we’ll do ours.”

People get far too upset, so I’m not calling for outrage. But, I think it is far worse to sit during the Anthem because you are too lazy, or can’t be bothered, than to sit without reason. This is a good litmus test to drill down people’s true reasons for hating Kaepernick. Those that are outraged, why are they outraged? Are they outraged because Kaepernick didn’t stand for the Anthem, or the reason why he didn’t stand? Those that were outraged, because he wasn’t showing proper respect to the troops, should have the same level of outrage, for Lynch who sits without reason.

If the real reason people are upset over Kaepernick is because of his political position, which is what I think it is, this will blow over without much fanfare. There is much doubt on whether Lynch has sat down for 11 years during his career, but nonetheless. I find Lynch’s dismissal of the anthem without reason, worse than Kaepernick’s reason for black social justice.

Prediction: Belichick and Patriots will lock up Bell

Comic: Patriots' Bill Belichick lock up Le'Veon Bell

The Patriots will invite the Steelers into Foxboro on Sunday and send them home packing up and they can Facebook live their way home on a cold long flight back to where they come from.  That is what happens to teams in the playoffs at Foxboro and this year will be no different.  Here’s why.

Lock Bell Up

Lock him up!  Belichick has had the Patriots do this for years.  He takes your best asset and locks them up and makes them effectively useless.  That is what happened when the Patriots played the Steelers earlier in the year.  Le’veon Bell had 21 carries for only 81 yards.  If Bell has a similar performance the Patriots will win this game and be headed to their 7th Super Bowl.

Dion Lewis

Dion Lewis is another reason that the Patriots will win Sunday.   He is 15-0 in games that he has played in.  He has always been a duel threat and after returning a kickoff for a touchdown last Sunday, he is now a triple threat.  Lewis’s explosiveness will help them recover from what they lost when Gronkowski was hurt.  The Patriots haven’t used him a ton and I feel like they have been waiting for the right time and not show their hand too early.  Last week was his coming out party and this week watch Pittsburgh try and contain him.

The Flu

Pittsburgh’s first match this week was the flu, which won’t help them on Sunday. Add this ontop of having to go on the road, Antonio Brown’s Facebook live distraction, going up against Bill Belichick, who has had more time to prepare than you, and facing the greatest Quarterback of all time.  This is too much for an undisciplined Steelers team.  They had a good run and a good season after a mediocre start.

NFL Playoff Weekend Recap, and what I learned

I missed big on this playoff prediction

Rodgers torches Cowboys in Playoffs

This weekend we finally had some exciting playoff football games.  They didn’t come until Sunday, but both games came down to the end.  The above comics were my playoff predictions heading into the weekend, along, with Brady’s beat down of the Texans, which was far from Nostradamic.  So I  picked 2 out of the 3 games correctly.

Seattle

It is time to admit that Earl Thomas was key to Seattle’s defense.   The Seattle defense showed signs of decay after his injury and showed up against good offenses.  They gave up too many points against elite offenses and 20 points wasn’t going to beat the Falcons.

I have been stubborn to relegate the Seahawks from a great team to a good team, but not being able to flip the switch in the post season, consider them relegated.  Their offense can’t score enough and their defense now doesn’t keep them in games when the offense struggles.

Packers

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers look unbeatable.  The last throw to put them in field goal range was incredible.  The story goes that he drew that play up on the spot and just told each receiver what to do, grade school style.  All-time quarterbacks need all time stories.  Rodgers recent success with Hail Mary’s and making up a game saving plays on the spot are all time stories.  If he finishes this year off with a Super Bowl ring, he wil be added to the top tier of all-time quarterbacks.

Kansas City

Kansas City tastes playoff disappointment again.  A different season and we have the same story.  Holding the Steelers to just 18 points going against Roethlisberger, Brown, and Bell, is quite an accomplishment, only to have your offense  muster 16 points.  The Chiefs are consistently good, but never great as they exit the playoffs again.  Alex Smith is good, but not quite good enough.

 

 

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