Results and Predictions: “Black Monday” and the NFC Wild Card Preview

Well, what a disappointment for people who enjoy seeing heads rolling. More action happened leading up to Black Monday than actually occurred on Black Monday, severely impacting the length of this article and making yesterday’s article look a little foolish. Welp, you live and learn people. You live and learn.

Black Monday Recap: Tom Coughlin resigned, as I fully expected (Retire/resign is pretty much the same in my books). I think that this was the best case scenario for both parties. He gets to leave on his terms and the team can move on without feeling guilty. He should definitely have a bust in the Hall of Fame by 2025.

And that’s it. Nobody was actually fired today. The Chargers stated that McCoy was safe, someone I thought was a dead man walking, but other than that it’s been a slow news day on the coaching front.

NFC Playoffs Preview: For those of you who are more interested in the playoffs than the coaching guillotine, consider yourselves spared. With the relative silence of Black Monday, it means you got to this part much faster than you would’ve if heads went a rollin’.

Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings: The good news for Seattle is that it won’t be raining or snowing when they go to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. The bad news is that it’s going to be 6 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s -14 Celsius). And for those of you who’ve been living under a rock, 6 degrees Fahrenheit is really, really cold. Both of these teams are good, but I’m going to be curious to see if the bitter cold has any major impact on the Seahawks. If it doesn’t then the Minnesota Vikings should start booking their tickets to someplace warm so they can practice their golf. If it does impact the Seahawks, then the Vikings should start booking their tickets to someplace warm, Arizona, so they can play the Cardinals. I think it’s going to end up somewhere in the middle, but in the case of the Vikings that’s not good news.

Seahawks 17, Vikings 13

Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins: Let’s play who’s the worst team in the NFC Playoffs? The Green Bay Packers are the worse team, but not by much. Here’s an interesting stat: after starting 6-0, the Pack have gone 4-6 to finish 10-6, including 3-3 in their last 6 games. This team is one Hail Mary from finishing 9-7 instead of 10-6. That being said the Redskins haven’t beaten any team currently in the playoffs this season and don’t exactly inspire a ton of trust themselves. They lost horribly to the Panthers and didn’t exactly do well against the Patriots. That being said that was a healthy Patriots team and the Carolina Panthers, which is no cakewalk. The Packers offensive line has been leaky, the last two weeks especially, and a leaky offensive line with virtually no amazing options at wide receiver spells doom for any team in the playoffs. Even if the Pack wins this there’s no way they can win against the Panthers or Cardinals. Fortunately for them they won’t have to play the Panthers or Cardinals. They’ll be golfing.

Redskins 21, Packers 20.

Tomorrow: Why The Patriots Will Be One And Done

Results and Predictions: “Black Monday” and the NFC Wild Card Preview

The AFC and Black Monday: Preview and Predictions

First off, I want to apologize to any Broncos fans who’ve been reading this. I was thoroughly surprised by Peyton’s ability after he was inserted into the game against the Chargers today, and he played the second biggest roll in getting you guys to the #1 seed, right behind the Dolphins victory over the Patriots. With that being said, here’s how I think the playoffs and Black Monday are going to go down:

Black Monday: 4 teams 5 teams didn’t wait for Black Monday, and now that Mike Pettine has been fired by the Browns and Jim Tomsula has been fired by the 49ers, that leaves several teams still with coaches on the hot seat:

Tom Coughlin: He won’t be fired. Tom Coughlin has too much of a resume to be fired. He will, however, be pressured and forced to retire. The Giants organization has too much respect for him, but they clearly cannot continue forward with him.

Sean Payton: Again, he’s not being fired. He’s probably going to be released from his contract so that he can part ways with the organization for greener pastures.

Jason Garrett: There’s always a surprise on Black Monday or thereabout. This is that surprise. The Cowboys are offensively worse than most college teams when they don’t have Dez or Romo. Jerry Jones is an impatient man. After three seasons of mediocrity, one season that ended abruptly in the Divisional Round, and now a downright embarrassing season, he’s going to be looking for another coach (Sean Payton maybe?).

Mike McCoy: New year, new location (maybe), new coach for the Chargers. This is definitely happening (I will eat my least favorite shirt if it doesn’t).

Chuck Pagano: This pretty much goes without saying.

Coaches that are Safe (for now): Jim Caldwell, Jim Tomsula, Marvin Lewis, John Harbaugh.

*UPDATE* The previous post was posted a few minutes before Jim Tomsula was fired by the 49ers. It has been updated appropriately.

Playoffs: After all the hype, all the exciting wins, depressing losses and whatever the hell this was, the playoffs are finally here. What do we have in store for us? Well…

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals: I want to apologize to both teams right now. Last week I said the Steelers could easily make the Super Bowl and that the Bengals didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell at winning. Yeah. Deangello Williams had something to say about that by injuring his ankle. Now, with basically their running game in tatters, the Steelers are looking more one dimensional, and they don’t need to ask the Michigan State football team to understand that’s bad news. This game has become so much more interesting, and it gives Cincinnati a chance to finally get rid of those demons that really started getting going 10 years ago in against (who else?) the Steelers. With Deangello this is a different tune. But he’s likely out this week, which means he’ll have all offseason to get healthy.

Bengals: 24, Steelers: 14

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans: The Chiefs are easily the hottest team in the entire country, with the Texans riding high themselves. It’ll be a match of Kansas City’s offense against a very strong Texans defense. Unfortunately for the Texans, the Chiefs have a passing game this year, and the Chiefs defense is an absolute monster. The Texans season began with a loss at home to the Chiefs, and it will end with a loss to the Chiefs at home.

Chiefs: 27, Texans: 13

The results of those two games leads to an interesting Divisional Round: A depleted New England Patriots squad against a Bengals team flirting with destiny and a chance for Peyton Manning to redeem himself against a Chiefs team that sent him to the bench a few weeks ago. But the analysis of whatever Divisional Round matchup actually happens has to wait until next week. Tomorrow I’ll reflect on the actual results of Black Monday and give my take on the NFC Playoffs.

The AFC and Black Monday: Preview and Predictions

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: The NFL Playoffs Cometh

The post-Christmas season is perhaps the best time of the year for American Football fans. Even though it’s not even week 17 in the NFL, many eyes are beginning to turn towards the playoffs. It’s not hard to blame them either, with only the Steelers and Jets jockeying to be included in the top 12 teams. Everybody else is playing for positioning, so without further adieu, let me introduce you to the wild card playoff and potential wild card playoff teams:

AFC:

Pittsburgh Steelers: If there’s anybody listening to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” it’s this Steelers team. Right now on the outside looking in, they have to win against the Cleveland Browns (not a hard task) and hope the Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets. Crazier things have happened, sure, but don’t get your hopes up Steelers fans. That being said, if they can make it, they’re a force to be reckoned with. I could easily imagine this Steelers team playing for a 7th Super Bowl in San Francisco. If they make the playoffs.

New York Jets: Win and they’re in. It’s just that simple. And it’s not like this is a bad team that got lucky. The Jets are sneaky good. The one potential matchup I don’t like for them is potentially at the Kansas City Chiefs. Otherwise I could easily see this team do well against every other team in the playoffs, including the Patriots.

Kansas City Chiefs: Where to begin with this team? Clearly they’re one of the best in the AFC right now. Winning potentially ten games in a row leading into the playoffs and looking more powerful each week is not something you see from bad or even average teams. This team is my personal pick to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this year hands down. Anything is possible for sure, but if they somehow manage to gain a home field advantage in the Wild Card game their opponent better mutter prayers throughout the entire game. Because they’re gonna need all the miracles plus one to beat this Chiefs team.

Houston Texans: Even though this team could finish 8-8, NEVER underestimate a playoff team at home. The playoffs are entirely different animal, and home field advantage takes on an entirely new meaning in the playoffs. Just ask the 2010 New Orleans Saints and the 2014 Arizona Cardinals. Nevertheless, the Houston Texans should be hoping for a matchup between them and the Denver Broncos the most. I think the aforementioned Jets and Chiefs are just too good and the Broncos give the Texans the best shot to move on to most likely the Patriots.

Cincinnati Bengals: I’m so sorry Cincinnati fans. If the Broncos beat the Chargers next week then you’re just s.o.l. I have little faith in the Bengals because you’ve been good before but somehow lose everything you gained in the playoffs. Especially without Andy Dalton, my faith-o-meter is just above zero. I’m not saying you don’t have a chance, everybody has a chance in the playoffs (see the 2007 and 2011 New York Giants), but other teams would die to play you in the playoffs. Your best shot at moving on? The other team keeling over and dying of a heart attack.

Denver Broncos: Best case scenario? Beating the Chargers and getting a bye for the Wild Card. Worst Case Scenario? Losing to the Chargers, the Jets winning and having to travel to Arrowhead Stadium to play the Chiefs. Again, my faith-o-meter is barely above zero, and while it’s higher than the Bengals I don’t see this team beating the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium.

Patriots fans don’t worry. You’ve got the bye during Wild Card week.

NFC:

Seattle Seahawks: This team can do it. Maybe. They’ve definitely gotten better since the start of the season, but they’re not as good as they’ve been the past two seasons. They have at least an even matchup in the playoffs against either the Vikings or Packers. Their best shot would be against the Redskins, but that matchup is highly unlikely at this point. I don’t expect to see them make it past the second round.

Minnesota Vikings: For all their talk about not wanting to see Green Bay win the NFC North again, it might be in their best interests to lose this week and hope Seattle loses to Arizona. If Seattle does as they hope they would get a favorable matchup against the Redskins and potentially avoid a game against the Arizona Cardinals until the Conference Championship. Making it to the Super Bowl with the stacked teams waiting for them in the Divisional Round is a tall order, but they could do it. Especially if they play it tactically.

Washington Redskins: For all the hate they’re getting from me (they’re the team all the other NFC teams want to play in the Wild Card), they’re going to get more love than the Bengals and the Broncos. Why? Because I’ve seen this before, 8 years ago and 4 years ago by another NFC East team called the Giants. Nobody gave them any chance either of those years, and this Redskins team reminds me of both of those squads. Does that mean they’re going to make it out of Wild Card weekend? Hell no. Their best bet to get out alive and advance to play either the Cardinals or Panthers is through the Vikings in the Wild Card weekend. And that’s hardly a good bet.

Green Bay Packers: Again, this team should be looking to lose this weekend to play the Redskins. This time it’s easier: they lose, they play the Redskins, profit. As much as they’d probably love to play at Lambeau Field, their best bet goes through FedEx Field. The critics would absolutely hate this because they’d miss out on a potential ratings bonanza between the Seahawks and Packers. That being said if they continue to play the way they played against Arizona last week this Packers team isn’t making it past the Divisionals, even if they play Seattle or Minnesota in Lambeau.

Cardinals and Panthers have both clinched the bye week.

With all that said and done, this appears like it’s going to be an entertaining Wild Card weekend no matter who wins or loses. I have never been more excited for the playoffs (okay that’s a lie. When I was 7 and watching my Buccaneers steamroll their way to a Super Bowl XXXVII victory, THAT was exciting). They will no doubt entertain everyone. Except for Bengals fans. For them it’ll likely be painful. (P.S. I will seriously eat my words if they win. And if they do y’all can comment with whatever humiliating punishment I should face. Nothing too extreme like running around in a bra though.)

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: The NFL Playoffs Cometh