So, the New England Patriots aren’t in the final eight and there’s something both uncertain and gorgeously comforting about that.
But for the first time in two decades, it’s time for us all to stop thinking about that cursed franchise and focus on the new-age NFL success stories.
The starring cast consists of Kyle Shanahan, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and.. Ryan Tannehill?
If you thought last week’s drama was something – and it was – wait until you see what the Divisional Round has in store for you, folks.
Minnesota Vikings @ San Francisco 49ers (-7.5)
11th January 2020 4:35PM
It’s not that I don’t like the Vikings. I genuinely do. But that emotional attrition of New Orleans is probably weighing a tonne down on their shoulders right now. They can’t even sit back and enjoy it because they’re on a short week before a long flight over to San Francisco.
Now imagine that scene: trying to get 53 men to calm down, refocus and try to dissect the most sophisticated offence in the entire league.
All of this before they go onto a plane, and into a silent count.
You just can’t see it.
They won’t be stupid enough to get into man coverage situations because George Kittle ranks only second to Michael Thomas in the ‘impossible to guard one-on-one’ category in my book.
But Jimmy G operates his best in zone, with Kyle Shanahan in his ear. There’s a big of Goff and McVay about these two, and it worked well enough for the Rams.
Expect more of the same here. Back the 49ers with CanPlay.
Tennessee Titans (+10.0) @ Baltimore Ravens
11th January 2020 8:15PM
Mike Vrabel is not getting the love he deserves whatsoever.
He went into New England, kicked his former head coach in the mouth, messed with his head and walked out of Foxboro victorious like he did so many times in his playing career. He’s got a swagger about him and that aggression should be bottled.
The only reason teams lose when they shouldn’t is because they go conservative. Look at the three best teams in the NFL – the Niners, the Ravens and the Chiefs. What do they all have in common? They absolutely bomb the ball downfield three to four times a game.
This keeps defences honest. He’ll take his shots, too. Lamar Jackson still hasn’t thrown a deep out route, nor has he managed to complete a corner route. If you take away his seams, his sit routes and his fades, I’m really not sure he can make the throws to beat you. Tennessee’s problem is that they may actually get pressure on too fast for their own good.
An initial read from Lamar could easily launch him into a scramble and with linebackers who lack speed, they may need to send a spy. The problem with that? You need a defensive back and playing dime against this run game? Oh boy. Even still, this is a whole host of points and I can’t take any playoff team to beat another by 10 points.
The Titans (+10) are -123 with CanPlay.
Houston Texans (+10.0) @ Kansas City Chiefs
12th January 2020 3:05PM
The Houston Texans figured out the Kansas City Chiefs this season and turned them over in Arrowhead Stadium already.
Their reward? A ten-point underdogs tag – and they’ll absolutely revel in that, too.
What Bill O’Brien lacks in scripting, he makes up for in in-game adjustments and while Steve Spagnuolo will believe he can make his own adjustments from their last clash, it would be asking a lot to get him ten points ahead of an elite defence like the one Houston possesses.
Back the Texans with CanPlay.