The Regular season is over and I went 148-91. I had no picks for Week 1 and the Thursday night game of Week 2. So the playoffs are here and New Year's Eve was a horrible day for coaches. As expected Andy Reid was fired by the Eagles. Norv was finally let go from San Diego along with his partner in crime, AJ Smith. The biggest surprise had to be the firing of Lovie Smith after a 10-6 campaign by the Bears. I fear for Jay Cutler, he may be the next Alex Smith, owner of a new OC every season.
For my money the best job openings are either the Bears or the Browns. The Browns have some young talent and new ownership. The job that may be the worst - the Bills. A very overpaid defense there and a bad QB situation. The Cardinals need an O-line, the Chargers and Eagles need new voices. The Chiefs, they have some good talent, but need a healthy QB. I figured Rex would survive another season and did, but the QB situation in Gotham smells like a pile of garbage left out in the summer sun for two weeks.
Now, on to the playoff games!
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
Oh how the mighty have fallen. From 11-1 to 12-4, the Texans are reeling, but then again they went into the playoffs on a three game losing streak and won in the Wild Card round last year. Let me unleash all my frustration about the Texans for a moment.
The Offense, when it really worked, ran like a high performance sports car. But Gary Kubiak wanted it to work like a plodding pickup truck. Now, it is broken. At no point have the Texans tried to fix what the obvious needs on the offensive side of the ball over the years. Draft pick after draft has been used on defensive players while the talent level on the offensive side has suffered. It was called offense on the cheap. Well, now its broken. I can safely say that some of my friends and I called for the Texans to dump Schaub last year and go with TJ Yates starting this season. I think the results would have been the same 12-4 but with a QB on the upswing instead of the downswing.
As for this game: Yates won last year and is 2-0 against the Bengals. The run game is broken and the Defense can't hold out forever. Still, I expect the Texans to hold serve once.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Interesting that these teams just met last week. The key is that the Vikings had to fight to make the postseason while the Packers were already in. That is a key difference for why this game will be a bit different in intensity. Another difference is the QB. Adrian Peterson is All World, but I don't think he can match Aaron Rodgers in total production. I think the Packers are the most dangerous team in the playoffs on the NFC side. I will stand by that.
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
The future meets the fading present. I think the announcement that Ray Lewis is retiring signals the closing of a window for Baltimore's current team. However, the city's old team, the Colts, appears to have rebounded spectacularly after one season. I must admit that I am very much an Andrew Luck fan. Hate that he is in the AFC South now, but he is a tremendous talent.
Part of me likes the idea that the Ravens will overcome a very pedestrian regular season and make a run for Lewis' final games. I think there will be enough emotion for the Ravens to pull this one out against a team that has used emotion all season.
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins
The best match-up of the weekend is also the final game. RG3 is fun to watch, but he is helped by the super stud running back, Alfred Morris. But the Seahawks are a defensive nightmare and have talent on their offense as well. The 'Hawks also have more experience.
I have a feeling that both these teams are just starting runs for years to come as playoff contenders. The Seahawks simply look like a more complete team at this point.