Saturday Divisonal Playoff Preview 


*WARNING: some football jargon* 


KANSAS CITY @ NEW ENGLAND

The team that helped coin the Patriots 2014 war cry “We’re onto *insert name of team about to get bludgeoned*”is coming to Foxborough! This is pretty exciting, it’s like when Magneto got to meet Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class. Yeah, the Chiefs embarrassed the Patriots on national television, but they helped create a monster that went on a historic tear en route to a Super Bowl victory. Took down like 5 divisional leaders at one point during their torrid streak. Now the Patriots are in the wounded animal category, once poised for a 16-0 season, but recently have slide into the #2 seed. People have almost completely stopped talking about them. The order of NFL team buzz, definitely is going:
1. Seattle

2. Carolina 

3. Kansas City

4. Denver 

5. Arizona 

6. New England 

7. Green Bay

8. Pittsburgh 
 Tangent:  Seattle gets an unnecessary amount of buzz, and I for one can’t stand it. Here’s Seattle in a nut shell: won one shootout, lost a few shootouts, have one impressive win and dominated Jimmy Clausen, Johnny Manziel, the 49ers. Lost twice to the Rams. They allowed over 24 points per game to playoff teams in the regular season, with two exceptional defensive games against Minnesota and Arizona keeping that average as is. 

My verdict: OVERRATED. Especially after the Minnesota playoff game, they are quite unappealing to me. And add to Russell Wilson being completely insufferable and I’ll be rooting against them as long as I’m not under duress or trying to bed a Seahawks fan that’s an absolute dime. 

Definitely think the teams to be talking about are Denver and Kansas City, ones a great team getting healthy and the other is insanely hot. We know how good Carolina is–though people are still labeling Arizona the favorite–so I thoroughly expect them to do things to Seattle that would make Hannibal Lecter cringe.  

Without getting into Pittsburgh and Green Bay (one needs its quarterback to be healthy and the other oddly enough has only a quarterback), only New England remains; are they getting healthy or just pretending to get healthy? Outside noise has never bothered a Bill Belichick coached New England team. Two Scandals, a murder and a funeral by ESPN have all ended pretty well for the team. The only thing that hampers the Patriots is when they are truly the inferior team. I definitely can believe that Kansas City is an unstoppable force of nature that may have what it takes to beat NE: pressure, ball control and turnover forcing defensive backs. 

Additionally, I may be inclined to pick the Pateiots of Billy B dabbed for us.  I would even settle for Frank Caliendos’ Bill Belichick doing it. Bring me that before kickoff and I’ll put the house on the Patriots.
Until that time however…
Kansas City 21 New England 16 


GREEN BAY @ ARIZONA

An eye opening matchup between these two teams a few weeks ago left everyone believing the Packers would be soon-departing, while 12-2 Arizona immediately was tabbed the favorite of the NFC, even with considerations for then undefeated Carolina.  

It wasn’t unwarranted either, especially when you can sum up a game on one picture 

 
Since that point, Arizona was crushed at home by streaking Seattle, in a fashion similar to their own demolition of Green Bay. Meanwhile, Green Bay lost the North title, limped into the playoffs and crushed red-hot Washington on the road. Seattle eeked out a win on the road in round one against the Vikings . Basically, I’m saying that these teams have been confusing the shit out of me.  

In recent years, Aaron Rodgers could seriously stretch the field both vertically and horizontally, thanks to the skill of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. I didn’t actually think Nelson could be that important to the Green Bay offense, but since teams figured it James Jones and Davante Adams aren’t deep threats, the Packers have nearly come to a screeching halt on offense. Without an separation ability, not even Rodgers near-legendary ability to scramble and throw dimes on the run has been effective. Sad too, because for once they have a pretty solid defensive unit.
Last season, Rodgers and the offense were buoyed by a great offensive line, but the talent and continuity has just not been there this season. With the absence of David Bahtihari at LT and continuous position switches for G Josh Sitton, Rodgers has been forced to use every trick in the book of quarterbacks. Hard counts, fake spikes, and quick snaps to catch the defenses in substitution played a major role in Green Bays wild card round offense. It’s only shown that despite the way the MVP may pan out, Rodgers is still IMO the best player in football.  
Meanwhile, MVP candidate Carson Palmer and the Cardinals seemed to have the title of NFC favorites by the balls. The Cardinals won a shootout in Seattle, crushed the Packers, and laid waste to just about everyone else who wanted a piece en route to an easy West title. 

I think the one glaring bullet-point everyone points to on their season is the no-show week 17 performance home against Seattle. With a slight chance to grab the #1 seed (I say slight because Carolina was playing the Bucs with a win-and-clinch scenario), the Cardinals starters sucked it up before being pulled for the backups. I want to call this an outlier; Arizona was too good by in large for anyone to pay the Seattle game serious credence. If anyone wants to look to a game to try and accurately predict Arizona, look at the Arizona-Green Bay game, where Arizona relentlessly pressured Rodgers and scored multiple touchdowns on defense. A similar formula may yield similar results in the dessert, even with a nuanced Aaron Rodgers forcing defenses to always cross their T’s and dot their I’s. I think Green Bay may have found some of their old magic in Washington, but still lacking a vertical threat won’t give the Packers the personnel to take advantage of a Tyrann Mathieu-less Arizona secondary.  

Arizona 27 Green Bay 23

PS- the image I cropped for the featured picture originally had “#ieatass” accompanying it at the end of a string of hashtags. No relevance whatsoever in or out of context when it’s preceded by 

“#patriotsnation #patriots #broncos”

Guess some people just wanna get that out there 

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