Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NFL Playoffs Thoughts

Some thoughts on the NFL Divisional Playoff round.  You know, that was the round where The Grandstander posted perfect 4-0 prediction record. (Yes, I believe I had that!)

Game of the Weekend.  Hands down, Green Bay's 34-31 win over Dallas.  That game had everything one could possibly want in a football game.

Play of the Weekend. The pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jared Cook along the sideline with :03 left in the game to set up the game winning field goal for the Packers.  Not sure what was more impressive, Rodgers' throw, Cook's ability to catch and keep his toes in bounds, or the game official seeing it and over-ruling the initial call of incomplete.

Runner-up Play of the Weekend.  Ben Roethlisberger's third and three pass to Antonio Brown from inside his own ten yard line to make first down and enable the Steelers to run out the clock and preserve their 18-16 win.

Surprise of the Weekend (to me anyway). How good the Atlanta Falcons were.  I hadn't seen Atlanta all season, so, like I said, this one surprised me.  Sets up what should be one whale of a game between Atlanta and Green Bay and an Aaron Rodgers - Matt Ryan showdown/shootout.

What Is He Doing Here? Award.  This one goes to Houston QB Brock Osweiler, and do I have to go into the details on this one? Whomever the genius was in the Houston Texans brain trust who decided to bestow a $72 million contract upon this guy has got to be concerned about HIS job security right about now.

He's Proved Himself Award.  This one goes out to Dallas rookie QB Dak Prescott who was pretty terrific in that game against Green Bay (and all season long, for that matter).  Tell me again what some people (ahem, Jerry Jones) were suggestion that Tony Romo would be brought into that game if Dallas fell behind early.  Dallas did fall behind early, and it was Prescott who led them back into that game and almost won it for them.  Best wishes to Romo as he goes to a new team for next season, because it sure looks like Prescott is going to be The Goods for Dallas for years to come.

The Other Guy.  To be honest, I had to go to the Google Machine to look up who Atlanta's coach was as I was watching that game on Saturday.  The NFL has a Final Four of coaches that counts nine Super Bowl appearances and six Lombardi Trophy winners, Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, and Mike McCarthy.  And the Other Guy.  Dan Quinn.

Are They Vulnerable?  Despite the fact that the Texans were easily the worst of the eight teams that played this past weekend, they were able to hang with the Patriots for at least the first half of the game, so it raises the question, Are the Patriots vulnerable?  Houston's pass rush did get to the Golden Boy a few times in that first half and made him look like a 39 year old quarterback.  Of course, they play four quarters, not just two, and Tom Brady was definitely Tom Brady by the time all was said and done, but the question lingers....

Most Valuable Talisman.  For the second week in a row, these babies produced a Steelers Playoff victory:

Yes, I will be wearing them again come Sunday at 6:38 PM.  Belichick and Brady....BEWARE, and #FearTheSocks. Many thanks to pal Joe Risacher for coming up with that hashtag.

Predictions.   Not ready to make them yet, but here's a hint:  Back in September I predicted that the Steelers would win the Super Bowl, and I am not about to back away from that prediction.  As for Green Bay and Atlanta, I need to cogitate just a bit more on that one.  Look for the call(s) come Friday.

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