Fantasy season may be over, but the real season’s just beginning! Nothing better than playoff football, and we mean NFL playoff football…not that lame watered down college nonsense. Note: when you resort to blaming poor ratings because of Star Wars, you know you’re out of options. Shit, Luke Skywalker could show up to my house and I’ll be like, “Luke, use the force and shut your mouth until halftime. The game’s on!”
Roid Rage, fresh off of winning The Machine’s season-long ATS picks (over me by one game!), split the games yesterday with his expert analysis of the AFC games. Seriously, what the hell happened at the end of the Cincy/Pitt game? Is the City of Cincinnati on fire? Prediction: Marvin Lewis gets fired. Anyway, it’s time for some NFC action. Let’s get right to it.
Seattle (10-6) @ Minnesota (11-5), Sunday 1:00 PM
Line: MIN +5.0, O/U 39.5
A home dog? In the playoffs? That must be a mistake, right? That hasn’t happened since…well yesterday, when both playoff games featured home dogs. Home dog or not, The Machine’s a firm believer in past performance being a good predictor of future events…especially when that past performance happened last month. And that brings us to the Seahawks and Vikings.
Remember way back when, in December, when the 6-5 Seahawks went to Minny to face the 8-3 Vikings. The Vikings had all the hype, as they had only lost one game at home all year. Well, the Seahawks absolutely throttled the Vikings, scoring the first 35 points en route to a 38-7 dismantling of the Vikings.
This game comes down to who do you trust more: An upstart team or the defending Super Bowl Champions? This one’s a no brainer. The Machine’s money is on Seattle. No Beastmode? No problem. Thomas Rawls ran for over a 100 yards and a touchdown the last time they played…and Minnesota has no answers for the read/option, which we normally hate, but admit the Seahawks run to perfection.
For Minnesota to have any chance, they have to feed AP the ball. I don’t care how far behind they get. AP only had 18 yards on 8 carries last month. That ain’t gonna do it. AP needs to have 20+ touches.
Simply put: The Seahawks are on a roll. Winners of 6 of their last 7 (and 8 of their last 10), Seattle’s coming into the playoffs as the hottest team. Not even the frigid cold Minnesota winter can cool them off, which brings us to our other point: the weather. This could be one of the coldest games in NFL history. How cold, you ask? Special underwear cold…temperatures are expected to reach 20 below with wind chill. This again, will place a huge importance on ball control and time of possession. Seattle ranks 4th in the league in time of possession, while Minnesota sits at 17th.
Prediction: Seattle 20, Minnesota 10
Green Bay (10-6) @ Washington (9-7)
Line: GB +1, O/U 45, Sunday 4:40 PM
If we told you the team that’s going to win is the team with the quarterback that has thrown for more yards and has a better QBR and higher QB rating, you’d think Green Bay, right? I mean, Green Bay has All-World Aaron Rodgers. Certainly he’s had a better year than Gus Frerotte-in-training Kirk Cousins? Right? Right?
WRONG! Gus…err…Kirk has quietly put together one of the best performances of any QB in the league this year…and he’s done it with far less of a supporting cast. And who can forget his now infamous rallying cry:
Green Bay really misses Jordy Nelson. Even without Jordy, they have a ton of weapons on offense (and Aaron Rodgers); however for Green Bay to be successful, they need balance with the rushing game, and that’s where the Packers are failing. Don’t let Green Bay’s 12th overall rushing ranking fool you: Eddie Lacy is limping into the playoffs. In his last three games, Lacy has rushed for 23, 60, and 34 yards, respectively, with 0 touchdowns. That equates to 39 yards/game. Not surprisingly, Green Bay lost 2 of those 3 games (with the lone win against the Raiders). Without a healthy Lacy, Green Bay becomes very predictable. And their defense is a liability.
Washington, meanwhile, enjoys a healthy balance. Their three-headed rushing attack of Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, and Chris Thompson, makes defenses keep an extra man in the box, which opens up the passing lanes for Kirk. Jordan Reed has been simply unstoppable, with 5 tds in his last 4 games.
This game’s going to be close. The Redskins get no respect because they play in the NFC East and…well because everyone hates Dan Snyder. Some or all of that may be true, but it won’t matter come game time. Somebody needs to win a home game in the playoffs this weekend. We like the Skins in a close one.
Prediction: Washington 24, Green Bay 21