Tag Archives: new england patriots

I Predict a Riot

The NFL playoffs are here.  I was thinking about what I should write for my final non-“what did I learn here?” post of the year, and I thought playoff predictions would be perfect.  I’ve done it throughout the year, and I have to make them anyway, so why not?

I’ll give my predictions for each round of the playoffs, along with a score for no good reason.  I’d like to tell you all that I usually do pretty well in my annual playoff pick ’em, but that would be a lie.

One thing I know will be true, though: these should be some really good games.


#6 San Diego Chargers at #3 Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals are a really good home team, while the Chargers got into the playoffs despite needing about 38 different things to happen.  Yet, for some reason, I sense a Chargers upset here.  Why?  Well, there is a quirky little thing involving the team that plays the Philadelphia Eagles in the Eagles’ home opener: in each of the last three seasons, that team has won the Super Bowl.  That team has also lost to Washington and defeated Dallas and the New York Giants.  Only one team meets that standard in 2013: San Diego.

Chargers 23, Bengals 21

#5 Kansas City Chiefs at #4 Indianapolis Colts – These two met a couple weeks ago, and the Colts cruised.  The Chiefs started the season 9-0, then lost four of the next six.  With their seed locked in before Week 17, they sent their reserves out onto the field and almost (maybe should have) beat the Chargers.  Of course, those guys won’t be playing in this game.

Colts 20, Chiefs 16


#6 New Orleans Saints at #3 Philadelphia Eagles – Yes, I’m a homer.  But Drew Brees and the Saints really struggle on the road, and this game will be played on a Saturday night with a raucous (read: probably drunk) crowd and temperatures in the 20s.  There may be snow on the ground from a storm earlier in the week.  Just saying.

Eagles 35, Saints 31

#5 San Francisco 49ers at #4 Green Bay Packers – The 49ers went 12-4 this year.  The Packers went 8-7-1.  However, because the Packers won their division, they get to host this game.  That seems unfair, but hey, the Saints won one more game than the Eagles and they have to go on the road as well.  Normally I would look at how good the 49ers are and say it doesn’t matter, but Aaron Rodgers returned from a broken collarbone in Week 17 and threw a game-winning touchdown pass to put Green Bay into the tournament, and if there’s anyone who can swing a game like this, it’s Rodgers.  But he won’t.

49ers 24, Packers 13


#6 San Diego Chargers at #1 Denver Broncos –  I just have one thing to say about this game: the Chargers beat the Broncos a few weeks back.  It won’t happen again.

Broncos 42, Chargers 20

#4 Indianapolis Colts at #2 New England Patriots – These two franchises used to meet in the playoffs all the time, but while Tom Brady still runs the show in New England, it’s Andrew Luck at the helm of the Colts offense.  I want to pick an upset here, but I don’t see it.  Not in what will surely be a night game in Foxboro.

Patriots 28, Colts 20


#5 San Francisco 49ers at #1 Seattle Seahawks – This could be the best game of the entire playoffs.  Divisional rivals that really don’t like each other, they split their two games this season, with each team team winning at home.  The Seahawks have the best home-field advantage in the league, maybe even all of sports, and that will be the difference here.  Make sure you watch this one.

Seahawks 17, 49ers 14

#3 Philadelphia Eagles at #2 Carolina Panthers – It’s strength against strength if these two get together, as the Eagles’ dynamic offense battles the Panthers’ stalwart defense.  On the other side of the ball, while Cam Newton is tough to handle, the Panthers have struggled on offense at times, and are hoping Steve Smith returns from a knee injury in time for the game.  If he doesn’t, I don’t think the Panthers will win.  If he does…I still don’t think they win.  Yes, I’m a homer.

Eagles 26, Panthers 17


#2 New England Patriots at #1 Denver Broncos – Ah, there it is.  Manning vs, Brady, Episode #3,907.  The Patriots seem to be missing all of their key guys, but keep winning.  You expect the shoe to drop at some point, and this is that point.

Broncos 34, Patriots 24


#3 Philadelphia Eagles at #1 Seattle Seahawks – I know the Seahawks don’t lose at home.  Except they did, just last Sunday, to the Arizona Cardinals.  And that’s with Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throwing four interceptions.  How do you pick a guy off four times and lose?  Nick Foles won’t throw four interceptions.  And the Eagles also have LeSean McCoy, who led the league in rushing yards.  Add in that the Seahawks have a weakened offensive line, and don’t really have a healthy playmaking receiver to capitalize on the Eagles’ weak pass defense…it doesn’t sound so crazy now, does it?

Seahawks 23, Eagles 20 (OT)

(I’m a homer, but I also know how to hedge my bets.)


Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks – It’s going to be cold in New York, er, New Jersey, on Super Bowl Sunday.  That might be a factor.  It might not.  Look, I don’t know, and I don’t know why you’re still reading this after I tried to talk you into the Eagles winning in Seattle.

Broncos 27, Seahawks 13

Enjoy the playoffs!


Push It Real Good

How awful was the ending of the Patriots-Jets game today?  I know I’ve mentioned how annoying Boston is, so seeing the Patriots get shafted should make me happy, but the end of today’s game was preposterous.  Now, this opinion may be affected by the fact that I had chosen the Patriots in a survivor pool, but still.

As Jets kicker Nick Folk yanked a 56-yard field goal attempt wide left in overtime, Chris Jones of the Patriots was flagged for pushing one of his teammates forward into the line of scrimmage.


That’s right, this season, it’s now illegal to push a teammate into the line on a kick attempt.  This rule has been a bugaboo for special teamers, drawing flags across the league throughout the first six weeks of the season.

Oh, wait, I’m sorry.  This foul has NEVER BEEN CALLED IN A GAME EVER.

With the extra 15 yards and a first down, the Jets went on to kick the game-winning field goal a few minutes later.

Look, I understand rules are rules.  I do.  And this is a rule, so theoretically it was the right call; I’ve seen the replay and I can’t tell if he pushed his teammate or just ran into him on his way to the kicker.  The problem is, why is this a rule?

Apparently it’s because of “player safety.”  But who are you protecting by outlawing pushing your own teammate into the line?  You’re not banning guys from pushing the other team’s ball carrier out of bounds.  You’re not telling guys they can’t push a receiver to the ground after he makes a catch.  Pushing in and of itself is legal all over the field; why is this different?

Regardless of what I think, the rule is on the books, and as such, officials should call it.  However, it’s been missed (or ignored) so often this season that the league sent out videotapes to officials, showing them all the times it should have been called but wasn’t.  Unfortunately for the Patriots, the umpire decided that today was the day he was going to notice it.

I’d be interested in seeing footage from every kick in that game to see if this really was the only instance of that happening.  If so, fine.  If not, that’s a horrendous decision by the official and should be punished.

One more thought: this game was in New Jersey, which according to the NFL is part of New York.  Had this game been played in Foxboro at the Patriots’ home stadium, there is absolutely zero chance that flag gets thrown.  None.

Why not?  Safety, of course.  For the officials.

Media Men Beg to Differ

Ah, Tebow.

I have absolutely nothing against Tim Tebow.  I’m not a fan, in the sense that he has never played for my favorite team so I’ve had no reason to root for him on the field, but I have nothing against the guy.  In fact, because of the crap he takes, I sometimes find myself rooting for him.

Tebow is one of the more polarizing figures in our current society.  People loved his story when he led the Broncos to a playoff win back in January of last year, but there were also people who quickly tired of his commitment to his faith.  There was also the issue of his quarterbacking ability; namely, he didn’t appear to have very much.  He’s a dangerous weapon when he’s running with the ball, however, and if you are as big as he is and can carry the football, you will have your chances to play in the NFL.

Unfortunately, Tebow is intent on being a quarterback.  He was traded to the Jets, and the 2012 season was an unmitigated disaster.  This week, he signed with the New England Patriots, and the hate-love-hate cycle began anew.

The en vogue thing is now to criticize ESPN for its obsession with Tim Tebow.  While I agree that it’s annoying to see Tebow news in April, May, and June – I think any football news before August is annoying – by talking about the coverage, all we’re doing is providing justification for more of it.

Whether you like it or not – or whether you like him or not – there is a demand out there for the Tim Tebow story.  The media backlash, and the media backlash to the media backlash, just proves the point.  It’s the sports version of the Kardashians: by talking about them, you justify talking about them.  It’s a ouroboros of stupid.

If you don’t like Tim Tebow because you feel like he rubs his Christianity in your face, that’s your prerogative.  If you don’t like Tim Tebow because he has funky throwing mechanics and isn’t a very good quarterback, that’s fine too.  If you don’t like Tim Tebow because “he hasn’t won anything,” well, let me point you to the Heisman Trophy and the national championships he won back in college.

But if you don’t like Tim Tebow because the media is obsessed with him, I’m not okay with that.  That’s not his fault.  And don’t hate on ESPN for covering him, either.  The very fact that you have an opinion on him warrants it.  That’s just how it is now.

In the Georgia Dome on the 50-Yard Line

I like sports.  A lot.  I watch them all the time.  Last night, I attended a basketball game, while following another basketball game, and listening to the NFL playoffs, on my phone.  Like I said, I like sports.

As a result of watching them, I also know a fair bit about them.  I know who the better team is, I know what teams do well, I know what they don’t do well, and I have a pretty fair idea of who’s going to win.

Except I don’t.

In my NFL playoff pick ’em contest, I got three of four games last weekend, and the one I missed was the one I was least confident about.  No big deal, I still had my final four teams available.

Well, as of this writing, the Texans and Patriots are in the first quarter of the final divisional round game of the weekend.  So far, I’m 0-3.  As are the majority of pundits.

How does this happen?

How do people who watch game every week, people whose job is literally to know who is going to win games, can be so wrong, while the old lady in the office who picks based on mascots or jersey colors takes home the money?

The easy answer is, “bro, you overthink it.”  That’s patently false.  The Denver Broncos were far and away superior to the Baltimore Ravens this season.  The only area in which the Ravens were better than the Broncos was special teams…and the Broncos returned two kicks for touchdowns during the game.  And yet, when Denver missed an opportunity to take a 14-point lead into halftime and instead the game was tied, well, you had to know it would come back to bite them.  Final score: Baltimore 38, Denver 35, in double overtime.

Then in the late game, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown two minutes into the game.  All he did after that was shred the Packers’ defense for 181 yards…rushing.  Another tie game at halftime turned into a rout as the 49ers took it, 45-31, despite Green Bay employing Aaron Rodgers, a Super Bowl winner and one of the consensus top three quarterbacks in the league, and Kaepernick making something like his eighth career start.

Side note: I picked the Broncos over the Packers in the Super Bowl.  HIGH FIVE!

Then this afternoon, the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons took a 20-0 lead over the red-hot (and arguably better) Seattle Seahawks.  Nobody believed in the Falcons, yet here they were dominating the Seahawks, a chic pick to make it to the Super Bowl.  However, we quickly saw why the Falcons had no respect, as 20-0 and 27-7 leads turned into a 28-27 deficit with less than a minute to go.

All Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan did was drive the Falcons down to the Seattle 31-yard line with 13 seconds to play.  Kicker Matt Bryant came out, took a field goal attempt…and missed it wide right.  BUT!  In a display of one of the most controversial tactics in football (studies have shown it doesn’t work, and actually hurts the team doing it), the Seahawks called a timeout to “ice” Bryant.  Instead, he got a mulligan, split the uprights, and the Falcons won.

I don’t know how I feel about icing the kicker, but I know how I feel about what happened today: it’s bogus.  The Falcons lined up, the Seahawks called timeout, the official near the sideline blew the whistle, the other officials blew their whistles, a second or two went by…then snap, kick, miss, oh well, let’s do it again.

There should be a delay of game penalty for teams that take practice kicks well after the whistle when a timeout is called.  I understand that in the heat of the game, often with the result on the line, it can be tough to hear the snap.  But that was ridiculous.  The whistles blew, time passed, and THEN the Falcons took a practice kick.

(Obviously, I picked the Seahawks to win, and for 45 minutes they did not deserve to win.  That being said, I can’t stand to see tight games decided on crap like that.)

And now, it’s 3-0 Houston.  Rob Gronkowski just left the field and went to the locker room.  Patriots fans…do I even have to tell you who I picked in this game?