A wild weekend of upsets and crazy finishes made for a tremendous slate of games during the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. A weekend that made one league general manager shake his head.
This time a week ago, one general manager spoke to Metro and gave his picks for the weekend…picks that this football mind held were going with the flow of the season and the playoffs to date. Turns out, however, that the weekend didn’t go according to plan.
Our GM got just one game right — the New England Patriots win over the Tennessee Titans. Every other game was wrong.
“That’s the beauty of the NFL right there,” the GM said this week. “And I suppose the beauty of me doing this thing anonymously.”
He chuckled a bit before adding “Let’s see how wrong I am about this weekend.”
Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots –
“There’s a lot of talk about how this game sets up well for the Jaguars. Then there is the whole Tom Brady injury thing in practice this week. It all is setting up for an upset."
“But, I don’t think it is, really. The Patriots are good when teams dial up the blitz and Tom has one of the fastest release times in the NFL. If the Jaguars dial up the blitzes as they’ve done this season, then New England might be able to hit some big plays over the middle and quick slant routes."
“If Jacksonville can generate pressure sending only four, then they can hang around this game. Offensively they did put up 45 points against an underrated Steelers defense."
“But there is an experience factor here and Brady is Brady, [Bill] Belichick is Belichick. Pats can’t lose this one. They love the ‘Us against the world’ mentality. They should win. If Brady can get a moment in the pocket I think they can systematically move down the field.”
Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles –
“So, I picked against both these teams a week ago. I almost had the Vikings going down too. Almost…"
“The Vikings seem like a team of destiny. They’ve got a defense that is built for the playoffs, that really clicked in the first half last week. Offensively they’re doing enough, they’re being efficient. During the season, they did a good job of limiting turnovers and they can control the clock with their offense, that’s big. They got after [Drew] Brees last week. Breese bounced back in the second half but they don’t face a Brees this week."
“Philadelphia, without [Carson] Wentz is going to struggle against this defense. The Vikings can do so much defensively and I don’t think we’ve even seen their best yet."
“It’s a tough match-up because the Eagles are the best-run defense in the league. But the secondary has been suspect. You have to take Minnesota in this one because they can spread the ball around and then open up the run.”