Out With A Whimper And Then…The Picks…
…so a lot has been discussed already this week about the New England Patriots’ unceremonious exit from the NFL playoffs. There will be a new Super Bowl champion.
And, in general, it appears to be the end of an era.
I know, most of the country (world?) is celebrating this fact. It’s been a good run for Pats fans though. Nothing to complain about. Even the falling way short thing of this year.
We will dive into the future of the New England Patriots full force in an upcoming piece.
For now, a short chat about what went wrong against Tennessee last weekend. Short, because these things have been discussed and analyzed ad nauseam all week…everywhere. But, we officially need to get things off our chest.
So here goes, in no particular order:
*Horrific play calling, specifically the three straight runs near the goal line, when they haven’t been able to run the ball in from there all season. Also, the handoff to linebacker Elandon Roberts on third and short earlier in the game. And Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels will still get a head coaching job, perhaps before I am done writing this. Not to mention the defensive play calling. Everyone knew Titans running back Derrick Henry was going to tote the rock a lot. How was he able to carve up that defense right from the get go?
*Julian Edelman’s crucial drop late, when he was wide open. There was still third down to get the job done, but the air felt out of the tires by then. Hard for me to get on Jules, with him playing through all sorts of injuries. But that drop was MASSIVE.
*Offensive guard Shaq Mason being downfield at the wrong time.
*Mohammed Sanu adding nothing. N’Keal Harry seemed clueless. And Joe Judge is the head coach of the New York Giants now.
*Hate to even go after the head coach with all the wins Bill has given us. But he got burned when Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel pulled the same thing with the penalties on the punt that ate up a lot of clock. Belichick pulled this the same move against the Jets earlier this year when the game was out of hand. Maybe Vrabel knew the rule all along too. But why would Bill pull that out in a game where it wasn’t needed? Then he was pissed when it went against him. Hard to fathom. Also, the late punt with no one back to receive it, letting the ball roll all the way to the one-yard line. Couldn’t Edelman have caught it at the 20ish yard line and gotten a few yards to put the team in a better position? Head scratcher. Hoping for a blocked punt seems a little “pie in the sky” to me. I guess it was a little too late then anyway.
*The fraudulent defense that was supposedly full of Pro Bowlers and All-Pros not being able to stop anyone when they needed to.
That’s enough. It was a disappointing end to the season. That’s an extreme understatement. Losing to Miami and losing the bye pretty much sealed the deal for me. I picked them to lose to Tennessee, but wouldn’t have been shocked if they pulled this one game off. But no more than that for certain. Playing the extra week was never a good idea for this team. I was actually pretty calm as the Titan game was going on. I had zero faith, even if they managed to win. No lofty Super Bowl expectations here for sure.
The team gave me some false hope after the Buffalo win in Week 16. But I also think they had some talent to go further than they did. I never thought they were an 8-0 (first half) team. But I didn’t think they were a 4-4 (second half) team either. I didn’t think the defense was a record setting one like they looked like when they played a bunch of bums in the first half. But I thought even against good teams that they could get a stop when they needed one. I never thought the offense was as explosive as the Randy Moss/Wes Welker years (duh!). But with Edelman, James White, Sanu, Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel and with a sprinkle of Benjamin Watson and maybe N’Keal Harry and a smidge of Phillip Dorsett from time to time, the offense would have enough. After all, there have been years with lesser weapons, in my opinion.
In any event, the Patriot season is over. But hopefully, there is still some good football left to be played. Let’s move on to that:
Minnesota at San Francisco (-7.5)
The Niners are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Week off. Rolled through 2019 to the tune of a 13-3 record. The Vikings had a nice win against the heavily favored New Orleans Saints on Wild Card Weekend. But there are injuries all over the place on that team. And if receiver Stefon Diggs gets past his illness and plays, he will likely pull another temper tantrum if the Vikes choose to ride the running game and Dalvin Cook to offset the injuries. Which is what they should do. The Niners should probably win big, but they won’t. But they still should win.
San Francisco 31, Minnesota 27.
Tennessee at Baltimore (-9.5)
Looks like RB Mark Ingram is going to play. Expect TE Mark Andrews to play as well. Will the bye week and the last week of the regular season where the regulars didn’t play create rust for the Ravens? I am betting no. Maybe at the start. But not much more. The Ravens defense was pretty good by season’s end. And although Derrick Henry is a beast, I would say the Ravens put up more resistance than the Patriots. Force Ryan Tannehill to throw the ball, which he didn’t at all last week. Tannehill has apparently been reborn in Tennessee. But the guess here is that he has less success against Baltimore. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson was abysmal in last years’ playoffs. This should be a complete 180 from that game. How can it not be?
Baltimore 34, Tennessee 17.
Houston at Kansas City (-9.5)
I don’t hear too much Chiefs hype. Haven’t heard much this season, to be honest. I get that Baltimore had a great year, no question about it. But I feel like the Chiefs have just as good a chance to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. That game the Texans played against Buffalo last week was wretched. Both of those teams were…no one wanted to win. Even though Houston beat KC way back in Week 6 (yes, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes DID play), I have a hard time seeing how they do it again in this spot.
Kansas City 27, Houston 13.
Seattle at Green Bay (-4.5)
Green Bay ended up 13-3 and secured a bye. I’m still trying to figure out how that happened. They won games down the stretch but played kind of uninspiring ball from what I could see. The Seahawks stumbled a little bit at the finish as well. They had trouble beating a 40 year old backup QB with a torn hamstring in the Wild Card game. The ‘hawks also have pulled a few guys off the street to play running back the last few games. Including The Artist Formerly Known As Beast Mode. But they seem to always keep games close. And are an amazing 8-1 on the road. Gut feeling here.
Seattle 24, Green Bay 20.
Week (against the spread): 3-1
Week (straight up): 3-1
Lock Of The Week (season, ATS): 10-7 (since we forgot to do one last week, let’s be done with it for the year. Pathetic record for a Lock Of The Week anyway).
Season (against the spread): 133-127
Season (straight up): 167-93
Posted on January 11, 2020, in Uncategorized and tagged AFC, Baltimore Ravens, Bill Belichick, Divisional Round, gambling, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, NFC, NFL picks, Playoffs, point spreads, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl, Tennessee Titans, Tom Brady, Wild Card Weekend. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.