When you’re a Tennessee Titans fan and it’s time for the playoffs, you have to consider your alternates. Once the shock of watching good football and competent coaching washes over you, it can be a lot of fun. Let’s have a quick top five of the most fun days of the NFL season (I won’t rank, just list):
Week 17 Sunday (all 32 teams playing on the same day, the way it used to be)
Wild Card Saturday/Sunday
It’s true that we have to struggle through commercials on playoff weekends, but those ten games are some of the best of the season, and unless you’re hanging out with a die-hard fan who watches his team lose in historically painful fashion (tipping one back for you, Josh), it is the ride of the season. I’m not sure if that means you get the “hall pass” to have one more beer and BBQ-fueled blitz (or five), but it’s worth a shot.
On this week’s show, I got to meet the lovely and talented Keith Myers of 12th Man Rising. The show, naturally, was focused on the Seahawks, a team that understand historically painful losses. Will Marshawn come back? What led to Russell Wilson’s insane efficiency in the second half? Is Doug Baldwin better than Steve Largent? (I’ll answer that with a no)
Sharona did not take the “Peyton’s on pace for his 10th first-round playoff exit in his career” bait.
Technically I’m winning the Going for 2 auction but seeing as four of my ten players exited this week and my #2 overall pick Antonio Brown is concussed, I’d say that lead is going bye-bye.
I’ll finish with my usual off-the-cuff playoff thoughts.
KC at New England: It “feels” like the Pats are playing at well less than 100%, although if there’s a team that constantly defies what we call expectations, it’s the Pats. Kansas City may not start their top RB and WR but it’s not like they are a scoring juggernaut anyway. Julian Edelman seems like the key guy, along with the best TE playoff matchup in a long time.
Green Bay at Arizona: In our hour-plus show we talked about the Cardinals for 12 seconds. The last time these two teams played in the playoffs was an all-time classic with Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner dueling it out and the game ending in an improbable defensive TD. That game from 2010 was the Cardinals’ last playoff win.
As a brief intermission, this is the first time in the NFC since that 2009/2010 season that the top two NFC playoff seeds have zero Super Bowl wins. Last time we got the Saints/Vikings classic and sorry again, Josh.
For the 10 a.m. start (West Coast time) for the second straight week, Seattle goes on the road to play the Carolina Panthers. I saw a newspaper’s attempt to make this into a rivalry. Just two years ago Seattle/San Fransisco was the new hot rivalry, so let’s just enjoy the game. You have the 15-1 Panthers with the likely MVP in Cam Newton, a tough defense with some injuries in the secondary, and the dice-roll fun of Ted Ginn Jr’s ability to catch. J-Stew’s back but we’re probably looking an an ADP kind of stat line from him hopefully minus the fumble. It’s all Russy all the time on the other side, and that Beast Mode guy might be back. The last playoff game with this kind of hype had to be a Brady/Peyton kind of deal.
It’s hard to tell what to expect from the final game of the weekend. The Steelers will trot out luminaries like Fitzgerald Touissant and Sammie Coates this weekend while the Broncos are relatively healthy. The Broncos have to be the least intimidating 1 seed since the Titans had the mantle (my own historically painful playoff memory bubbling up). The Broncos have the defense in theory although the Steelers tore them up during the regular season. Roethlisberger is put together with the proverbial bailing wire and duct tape, with a little Super Glue thrown in. There’s no Antonio Brown, so maybe it’s a Heath Miller kind of week. Peyton’s back but it’s really down to the run game to give Denver a shot.