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Nearing The NFL Finish Line

Mill Woods

Posted on January 21, 2021 22:18

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As we head to the Conference Championships, most NFL fans are mourning their teams' losses and dreading the bleak weeks and months that follow the Super Bowl. Cheer up! There are four teams remaining. Pick one and enjoy the fracas.

Sometimes, it's tough being an NFL fan. The Saints spoiled my weekend by denying me a chance to go 4-0 with my picks.

After beating the Bucs twice in the regular season, the Saints apparently decided they didn't need to throw to their top receiver, Michael Thomas, who was only targeted a handful of times — for zero receptions. Attempting to toss the ball everywhere but to Thomas, the Saints had a number of passes tipped, resulting in interceptions — and poor Drew Brees ended his career with a spanking.

On the red side, Mike Evans wasn't 100% either, but the Bucs managed to keep him relevant. And that Bucs D pressured Brees all day long, while the secondary handled the Saints' lesser receivers. 

In the weekend's other three matches, my picks came through. The Chiefs survived the loss of Patrick Mahomes and edged the feisty Browns, while the Bills avoided the kind of mistakes that ended up sinking the Ravens. And what about the Packers? Well, those banged-up Rams were really just a warmup.

Now, we head to the conference championships. Although I went 3-1 last time, I will not pretend that picking these upcoming games is easy.

At this writing, Mahomes is still in concussion protocol, and I can wait no longer to make my predictions. Assuming Mahomes is able to play Sunday night, I like the Chiefs to beat the Bills.

The Chiefs have the NFL's most innovative offense, scripted by HC Andy Reid. The Bills' pass defense is excellent, but Reid is very adept at calling plays to take the steam out of pass pressure and get the ball to his speedy play-makers. I also think Reid will call more running plays than average — and run defense is not the Bill's strength.

The Bucs have had a nice run, but this Sunday afternoon, I like the Packers to end their marauding. Unlike the Saints, I doubt that the Pack will deny their best receiver, Devante Adams, the ball. And, while both teams' secondaries tend to commit too many penalties, I am thinking that the often-undisciplined Bucs will commit more.

As for Tom Terrific, I do not think his savvy and experience will be enough. The Bucs run the ball fairly well, but they have shown in past weeks that their running game can be corralled, and Brady definitely does not need to be scrambling to turn third-and-long situations into first downs. I think that Tom will face many such tough spots on Sunday, and the Packers' D will feast on them.

I sure hope Mahomes can play Sunday, because, as much as I like the Bills, I think either NFC team would win the Super Bowl if KC is not in it.

Chiefs-Packers in February. Enjoy!

 

Mill Woods

Posted on January 21, 2021 22:18

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