College Football · NFL

NFL Wild-Card Recap/College Football Playoff National Championship Preview Combo Post

Well at least two of the four games were wild as the title states. Let’s start with a recap of the weekend’s action:

Kansas City 30 Houston 0 – As soon as Knile Davis found that hole on the opening kickoff and scampered 106 yards for a TD on the opening play, you could sense it was already over.  Talk about deflating an entire team 15 seconds in.  After that it was all Chiefs as they made the Texans look like the Browns’ scout team.  The Chiefs were coldly efficient on offense and unrelenting on defense.  They played almost a perfect game winning their first playoff matchup in 22 years.

Green Bay 35 Washington 18 – Let’s get the two non-crazy games out of the way first.  For a time there it looked like the Skins were going to hang with the Packers which would have been bad news (probably) for Green Bay.  Instead, A-a-ron Rodgers helped the Packers pull away and spoil actually a pretty good season in DC.  The Pack finally looked like the Pack of old and should be a formidable opponent for Arizona next weekend.

Seattle 10 Minnesota 9 – Poor Blair Walsh.  He provided the only points for the Vikings on the day but he will not be remembered for that.  He will solely be remembered for missing what accounts to a chip shot to probably send the Vikings to Phoenix next weekend.  Instead, he misses it by a long shot (it had to be at least five feet wide).  It was not even close.  I won’t fully blame Walsh here.  The snap was a bit high.  And the laces were IN for fuck’s sake (Ray Finkle anyone?).  But still, Walsh could have hit that kick blindfolded.  What a sad way to end such a cold, sloppy game.  NOW THAT’S FOOTBALL WEATHER….is what many would say.

Pittsburgh 18 Cincinnati 16 – Good god where do I begin with this game?  Talk about a shitshow.  Everyone knew it would be a chippy affair but it escalated and got out of hand late in the game.  First off, Pittsburgh gets out to a 15-0 lead against a Bengals team that was playing like they belonged in Arena Football League and not the NFL.  Then Cincy rips off 16 straight points to take the lead 16-15.  We were looking at an exciting finish.  That’s when all hell broke loose.  At this point, Ben Roethlisberger was out with an injury.  Vontaze Burfict intercepts Landry Jones in Steeler territory, meaning the Bengals would have to just gain a first down to win the game.  Instead, they fumble and the Steelers recover.  Here comes Roethlisberger Willis Reeding it off the bench and leading the Steelers down the field.  Then comes the play where he throws an incomplete pass to Antonio Brown but Burfict nails him with what amounts to targeting.  He gets 15 yards (which makes total sense).  Then Adam (Pacman) Jones gets a penalty for unsportsmanlike.  Question here: did anyone try and figure out why Joey Porter, who used to be one of the dirtiest players in football and is now a coach, is STILL on the fucking field after Brown has almost been brought to the sideline?  I don’t condone Jones for being a shitbag idiot and getting flagged but it makes no sense that Porter is deemed innocent in all this.  It seemed like kind of a bullshit call at the time that put the Steelers in field goal territory to win the game.  Otherwise it would have been a 50+ yard field goal.  Not saying Boswell wouldn’t have hit it from there but it’s a lot tougher.  And for Phil Simms to say he doesn’t blame the officials?  He can just fuck off.  What an idiot.  The officials let this chippy play go on all game.  They could have stopped this shit early and didn’t.  It just felt like a horrible ending to what could have been a great game.  Not saying I wanted the Bengals to win since I didn’t really care but a lot of what happened at the end felt wrong.  Phew, that was a long recap.

Alright, this sets up the following matchups this coming week:

  • Pittsburgh at Denver
  • Kansas City at New England
  • Seattle at Carolina
  • Green Bay at Arizona

I would like to find out if all the road teams have won in a Wild-Card round before. I would venture to say it’s never happened before but you can’t be too sure.  (And by checking quickly I found out that yes, this is the first time this has ever happened).  Funny thing is no one is batting an eye over this.  Like they all expected this to happen.  Bullshit.  Almost no one did.  But then again, most people’s favourite subject tends to be revisionist history.  I will do previews of the games later in the week along with a schedule (which should be rather simplistic).

College Football Playoff National Championship

I very rarely do true combo posts (and they’re usually mixed in with all sorts of other non-football topics like, ugh, soccer). But I figured I could kill two birds with one stone here since the College Football Playoff National Championship is TONIGHT!  The actual game is on TSNs 1, 3, 4, and 5.  If you want to watch the Finebaum Film Room (which can be at times boring, insightful, and hilarious) that is on TSN2.  Update: It isn’t Finebaum Film Room.  It’s the film room with the coaches which should still would be very interesting to watch especially with that many knowledgeable football men at once.  Saying that, it isn’t the Finebaum Gongshow that brings the hilarity every time.  Nice to see TSN going all in tonight for the championship.  This shows they actually give a shit about college football.  They have been, overall, much better this season than last but there are obviously still some kinks to work out there.

Alabama and Clemson play tonight for all the marbles and, to be perfectly honest, these two programs are easily the best two teams this season. Other than the Tide’s gaffe against Ole Miss they showed they were one of the top teams all year.  Clemson has run the table so far and has rarely looked weak all season.  They have had some weak quarters but never a weak half which is amazing.  Many point to their ACC schedule and scoff at it but they played a few very good teams.  But because they aren’t the SEC (or to a lesser extent, the Pac-12), they aren’t given the same gravitas as an Alabama would.  With out-of-conference scheduling changing and becoming much more important, this will become a moot point in a few years as most teams will try and put together at least a decent non-con sked so they aren’t punished by The Committee.

As for the game itself, let’s break things down a bit:

Quarterback (Edge: Clemson) – Jake Coker may have had the game of his young career on New Year’s Eve but he is no Deshaun Watson.  This is a clear edge for the Tigers as Watson showed what he was made of, tearing apart the vaunted Oklahoma defense in the other semi.

Running Back (Edge: Alabama) – Again, a clear winner here.  Derrick Henry is a step above everyone not named Christian McCaffrey and that is one huge step.

Wide Receivers (Edge: Clemson) – This is a slight edge to Clemson.  Much of this has to do with the guy throwing them the ball.  Saying that, if Coker can replicate what he did twelve days ago then it may be tough to beat.

Trenches (Edge: Alabama) – Not saying the Tigers aren’t good along the line but no one does it better than the Tide and it’s pretty much been that way for years now.  They somehow recruit the best linemen in the land year after year.

Linebackers (Edge: Alabama) – I’d say Bama would have a defensive edge over almost any team out there.  Again, it’s not a case of Clemson being bad.  They have a dominant defense.  Which makes Bama’s defense historically amazing.

Secondary (Edge: Clemson) – Clemson has one of the best pass defenses in the nation and it has showed throughout the season.

Special Teams (Edge: Alabama) – The Tide’s Cyrus Jones gives Bama the slight edge here as both teams are solid everywhere else on the special teams front.

So I would say Bama has the slight edge here. Also, this isn’t Nick Saban’s first rodeo whereas this is new territory for Dabo Swinney.  As much as it would be nice to see the Tigers win this, I think the Crimson Tide win a close one here.  I am going to say 27-23 Tide.

As I mentioned earlier, I will have the Divisional Playoff round schedule up later this week along with previews and picks of the four games. In the next or two I will also take a look back and see how shitty I did with my predictions for the college football season as I am sure some were so bad that I may need to have my college football blogging privilege revoked (for example, I had Georgia Tech winning their division…yeah).

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