Jan. 16, 2017
"The Stack" 1-13-17
The Stack is back on this NFL Divisional Playoff Football Friday. Wouldn’t you know it, the Los Angeles Rams and San Diego Chargers have new head coaches. The Rams tabbed Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay, who I believe is one year older than I am as their head coach and the Chargers followed suit with former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. For being in L.A., neither of these are very splashy hires. It sounds like Wade Phillips will be the defensive coordinator with the Rams though so that’s nice. It’s time though to talk some divisional playoffs so let’s get right to the preview you demand in “the stack” for today, Friday, January 13th:
Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons 4:35 PM ET FOX (Saturday)
The Falcons almost had the Seahawks in Seattle during the regular season. Matty Ice (Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan) is just 1-4 in his career in the playoffs so that is a concern. This Falcons offense though is high flying and does everything so well. I would probably pick the Seahawks if Earl Thomas were playing, but he isn’t. I just don’t see how they will be able to slow the Falcons down enough while their offense does enough to generate points unless Russell Wilson and Thomas Rawls both rush for over 100 yards which I do not see happening.
Prediction: Falcons 27 Seahawks 16
Houston Texans @ New England Patriots 8:15 PM ET CBS (Saturday)
No one is giving the Texans a chance in this game. They have been the butt of a lot jokes this week. The only way they win is if Tom Brady and Bill Belichick pull a Dereck Rose and go AWOL on the team and that might not even be enough. There really is nothing else that needs to be said about this one.
Prediction: Patriots 27 Texans 9
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:05 PM ET NBC (Sunday)
There is a possible ice storm that may hit the Kansas City area and impact this game. I’m not sure who that would favor more. The Steelers offense is rolling right now, but Big Ben’s health is a definite question. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is tremendous with a bye week and you know he will have a plan in place to slow down the Steelers offense. The Steelers blew out the Chiefs when they met in Pittsburgh earlier this season. That will not happen in this one. The Steelers defense is better than they were at that point. The Chiefs offense though has a huge star in Tyreek Hill. What a game this will be and the most difficult game of the week to pick for sure.
Prediction: Steelers 24 Chiefs 20
Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys 4:40 PM ET FOX (Sunday)
If this game doesn’t bring in roughly 50 million viewers then the NFL has some serious issues. Tough to imagine that Jordy Nelson playing in this game what with his broken ribs and collapsed lung and all. That didn’t seem to stop Aaron Rodgers last week. He is the hottest player in the NFL right now. No one can stop him. The way the Cowboys can stop him though is to keep him off the field and they will do that with a heavy dose of Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys were able to win when the Packers were struggling back in October. That is not the case right now. Can two rookies, Dak Prescott and Elliott get the best of Rodgers? I have my doubts. Can the Cowboys secondary contain Randall Cobb, Devonte Adams and company? Not likely. I want the Cowboys to prove me wrong, but I am not betting against Rodgers in this one.
Prediction: Packers 31 Cowboys 27
Coming up Monday: NFL Divisional playoff reaction
Listen to this week's "The Sports Block" podcast here.