Any hopes of a perfect NFL postseason (or even near-perfect like I had with a 10-1 roll back in 2015) was dashed on Saturday when I not only dropped both games straight up, but also against the spread. The good news is, at least for me, everybody else dropped the same games. The bad news is it put me in triple digit losses straight up for the third consecutive season.
Here’s how it went down.
Straight up: 2-2
Against the spread: 2-2
Straight up: 8-8
Against the spread: 2-14
Straight up: 159-101
Against the spread: 122-132
My best pick (and I could really only choose from two, couldn’t I?) was the Saints beating the Panthers, but not covering the spread. Sunday basically went down without a hitch for me. Saturday, full of hitches.
My worst pick was the Rams over the Falcons, because I picked the Rams to win, which everybody did, but I picked them to cover. My gut told me they wouldn’t, but my brain talked me into it. Stupid brain. I take absolutely no fault within myself for picking the Chiefs over the Texans and for Kansas City to cover. It’s unforgivable, and should cost Andy Reid his job, that they didn’t do both.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 9, 2018
As for the week, plenty went 3-1, the 24 percent or so that picked the Falcons to beat the Rams. Nobody went 4-0. That’s how bad a loss that was, Andy Reid. Shame on you. Eight selectors went 1-3, with three of the best straight up pickers on the season in Chris Burke from The Athletic, Mike Renner from Pro Football Focus and Jared Dubin from CBS Sports all falling for either the Bills or the Panthers. Mostly the Bills.
On the season, Jeff Ratcliffe is still all alone. After a 2-2 week, he’s 182-78. Just outstanding work so far. He has three people on his heels so can’t afford a stumble. A 3-1 week from Kevin Sherrington at the Dallas Morning News puts him at 180-80 and in striking distance.
Against the spread, we had four people go 4-0. Jarett Bell and Lindsay H. Jones from USA Today and Brandon George and Jon Machota from the Dallas Morning News were all perfect against the books.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 8, 2018
Scott Thurston from the Boston Globe brought up the ass end of the rankings this week, going 0-4. I’ve been there, Scott. It burns.
For the season against the spread, Frank Schwab at Yahoo Sports continues to lead the way at 141-110. Case Keefer from the Las Vegas Sun at 139-121 is realistically the only guy that can catch him. My 2-2 weekend did nothing for my case to end the season in the Top 10. I gained no ground, but still have seven games left. Is a 9-2 finish possible? I say that it is!
NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND EARLY LINES
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (+3), O/U: 43.5
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13.5), O/U: 47
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7), O/U: 41
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-3.5), O/U: 44.5
We have one home dog here in the divisional round for good reason. Nick Foles and the Eagles offense has been less than reliable over the last few weeks of the season. The Falcons, on the other hand, may have discovered a championship winning formula when they beat the Rams last Saturday. They need to do more of the same.
Fletcher Cox on being underdogs
“We've been disrespected all year. Our record speaks for itself. We're a team that's been disrespected week in, week out but we just come out and ring the bell every week”
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 8, 2018
My only shock at the Patriots at -13.5 is that it’s not -15. Mike Mularkey vs Bill Belichick may be the single greatest postseason coaching mismatch in the history of the NFL. I expect this line to move up, no matter what.
The last time the Steelers and Jaguars met up at Heinz field, Jacksonville beat the shit out of them, 30-9. It was a loss so bad, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger openly questioned his own abilities and wondered if he had what it takes to play the position anymore. Pittsburgh went on to lose only one game the remainder of the year, a 27-24 last-second bed-shitting against the Patriots.
— z-#Sacksonville (@Jaguars) January 7, 2018
If you’ve been reading my previews and wrap ups over the final month of the season, you probably already know that the Saints are the one team out of the NFC I think has a shot in the Super Bowl if they face the Steelers or Pats. They have to get by the Vikings first. I expect plenty of people to jump on that Minnesota -3.5 early and move it down to -3 or even -2.5 before the end of the week.
The Oakland Raiders are officially set to introduce Jon Gruden as their new head coach Tuesday. Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with the Raiders and though he and Sean McDonough weren’t supposed to talk too much about it during their Wild Card game on ESPN/ABC, they did. I’ll be writing more on this Tuesday. Gruden has already added three assistant coaches to his staff, former Los Angeles Rams quarterback coach Greg Olsen, Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and special teams coach Rich Bisaccia from the Dallas Cowboys.
Sean McDonough gets choked up saying final broadcast goodbye to Jon Gruden. Charles Woodson at the end. Wait for it… pic.twitter.com/jE8dT17j3q
— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) January 7, 2018
The Chicago Bears closed out Monday by announcing they hired their new head coach, Matt Nagy. Nagy was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. He held that position since 2016. Before that he was the Chiefs’ QB coach. Nagy is 39 years old and this will be his first job away from Andy Reid, who he started with as an intern for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008.
We have officially named Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as our new head coach.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 8, 2018
The Green Bay Packers hired Brian Gutekunst as their new general manager. He replaces Ted Thompson, who “transitioned” to another job in the organization. Gutenkist was a promotion from within the Packers’ building and previously served as the team’s director of player personnel.
The Cincinnati Bengals hired former Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin to take the same position with their team. Austin is usually a hot name to throw around when head coaching jobs open up, so any interviews he had over the last week or so must have been wrapped up.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 8, 2018
The Tennessee Titans ownership has given head coach Mike Mularkey a vote of confidence and assured him he will not be fired, no matter how badly his team gets defeated by the Patriots Saturday. So, sorry for that, Titans fans.
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- NFC Championship Match Up: Vikings at Eagles - January 19, 2018
- AFC Championship Match Up: Jaguars at Patriots - January 19, 2018
- Pittsburgh Steelers Postmortem - January 18, 2018
- Tennessee Titans Postmortem - January 16, 2018
- Atlanta Falcons Postmortem - January 16, 2018
- NFL Divisional Round Wrap Up - January 15, 2018
- Mularkey Out in Tennessee - January 15, 2018
- Carolina Panthers Postmortem - January 14, 2018
- Buffalo Bills Postmortem - January 13, 2018
- Hard Knocks Is The Showcase Nobody Wants - January 13, 2018