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No Country For Old Men

Mill Woods

Posted on January 5, 2020 22:19

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It was a bad weekend for 40-year-old quarterbacks. I correctly predicted the Titans eliminating Tom Brady and the Patriots. But I did not foresee the Vikings knocking off Drew Brees and the Saints. And it was not a good omen for the Eagles when Josh McCown had to take over. All three aging QBs are pondering what might have been.

At the end of my last post, I left you with that tired old saying: "On any given Sunday". But that tired old saying is true — especially in the playoffs where, typically, the teams are pretty evenly matched.

On Sunday, every one of the Fox NFL personalities took the Saints to win, some by margins as great as 17 points. I went with the Saints, too, but (were I picking margin of victory), I would never have predicted a blowout, because the Vikings have been tough all season. A month ago, I predicted that the Vikings would win their rematch with the Packers and take the NFC North crown. I missed on that prediction, but at least I knew better than to diss a strong offense and defense. The pundits ate crow; it was another heart-breaking ending for the Saints.

Brees looked as if that repaired thumb was a problem, but I also did not like the play calling on several Saints drives. I especially did not like the bomb (which became an interception), when Brees and company really needed to convert a third down, keep the ball longer, and rest their defense. 

In the late game Sunday, the Seahawks might have beaten the Eagles with Carson Wentz — but it certainly did not help Philly that their young, mobile QB had to be replaced by 40-year-old Josh McCown (who performed reasonably well for not having played). Seahawk QB Russell Wilson took full advantage — about as impressively as he did early in the season when Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger had to take a seat. 

In January outdoor games, we tend to focus on defense, but what about the running attack? The Titans did what I expected: they used the pounding of Derrick Henry to win Time Of Possession, gouging 200 yards out of the NFL's top-ranked defense. The Patriots were also no slouches on offense, but most of it came in the passing game. There were lots of throws to tight ends, and those screen plays were very successful.

And yet, it was not enough in that low-scoring contest. If Tom Brady decides not to retire, he'd better get himself some wide receivers! (PS: the Eagles also need this message: injured WRs need to be replaced, because an excellent TE tandem is often not enough).

That Texans-Bills thriller was a reminder to teams: even if you play great defense, you can't get too comfortable unless you're scoring as well, especially if the game is on a fast track. The Bills looked almost invincible in the first half, but were unable to keep up once Deshaun Watson and company turned on the jets.

Speaking of fast teams, we now look ahead to the season's biggest scoring machines: 49ers, Ravens, Packers and Chiefs. It's over for Brady and Brees, but for some of us, the fun is just starting.

Mill Woods

Posted on January 5, 2020 22:19

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