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Still In The Game? Not For Long!

Mill Woods

Posted on January 11, 2022 17:38

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It's an old joke in NFL circles: that humorous acronym stands as a sobering warning to giddy players and fans alike. Today, the old monicker is truer than ever; the quality that I have dubbed "extreme parity" is what makes the league so interesting — for so long — for so many. But it can also signal extreme danger for players, coaches, fans — maybe even sportswriters?

Six exciting playoff games are coming; six teams' head coaches have been fired. That's the NFL in a nutshell.

The firing of Urban Meyer by the Jaguars is old news. But the Dolphins ditched Brian Flores (huh?) after only three seasons —  with records of 5–11, 10–6, and 9–8 — barely missing the playoffs the last two years. New York would have cheered that record! (Sorry, NY, I had to.) There must be something going around in Florida (besides COVID), because the entire state decided that their team should be in the Super Bowl — right now. (Sorry, FL, it was right there for me.) On a serious note, I think Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles will not be calling plays for the Bucs next season. I also think the Chiefs' Eric Bieniemy will get a head coaching job. Change is constant.

What about us sports pundits? Do we feel pressure?

I think I owe it to readers to not only opine, but also to make predictions (and to at least get more of them right than the average fan could do). In exchange, perhaps you won't mind listening to my wild opinions (and jokes)? 

Before Labor Day, as always, I picked my 14 playoff teams. I got half right. I used to regularly get about two-thirds correct, but that was before this new era of "extreme parity". PS: I also trademarked the name: "National Parity League". 

So, getting half correct — before the first injury — is an accomplishment (try it). My good playoff picks were: Bills, Bucs, Cardinals, Chiefs, Cowboys, Packers, Titans. And the misses: Browns, Colts, Dolphins, Falcons, Ravens, Saints, Seahawks. Some of my picks suffered from the early-season loss of key players — the Falcons, Ravens and Saints immediately come to mind. But I am at a loss to explain the slump by the star-studded Browns, even in one of the NFL's toughest divisions.

Each week, I also give my predictions on the full slate of matches — that's right — no cherry-picking games for me! Here is how it went this season: I started strong and ended strong (posting a season-best 13-3 in Week 16), but I suffered a midseason slump (looks like I could have used a bye in there).  

Season record: 162.5 - 109.5. That equates to a team posting a 10-7 record. Every team with at least 10 wins is in the playoffs, so I think I should keep my job . . . not get the old "Urban Meyer". 

Hey, wait a minute! Damn the torpedoes, don't we have playoff games coming up?  Oh, yeah.

Wild Card Weekend          My Picks


Raiders at Bengals              Raiders

Patriots at Bills                    Bills

Eagles at Bucs                    Bucs

49ers at Cowboys               Cowboys

Steelers at Chiefs               Chiefs

Cardinals at Rams              Rams.

There's a lot of fun ahead — and a lot of peril. Some heartbreak, some glory. My advice to players and coaches: watch out for pink slips. My advice to fans (and writers): if it ain't fun, why do it?

 

 

 

 

 

Mill Woods

Posted on January 11, 2022 17:38

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