The NFL Playoffs are here! And what better way to kick it off than a wildcard round that features the teams that are responsible for the bizarro world that was the 2017 NFL regular season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were division winners for the first time in several years. The Los Angeles Coliseum will be hosting a playoff game for the first time since the 80s thanks to the Rams (that’s right, the RAMS). The Tennessee Titans are back in the playoffs as a wildcard team.
And the mother of ALL surprises: the Buffalo Bills are back in the playoffs after a 17-year hiatus (!!!).
This is shaping out to be one helluva weekend. I’m going to pinch myself to be sure I haven’t transported back to the 90s. Chris Berman is probably somewhere with the mother of all hard-ons thanks to his playoff-bound Bills.
So, without further ado…
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
Nice to see the Chiefs playing up to their talent level after falling to 6-6 during the season. They have won four straight and are entering the playoffs playing their best football. While the Titans returning to the postseason is a good story, Marcus Mariota and Co. do not have a chance in hell at Arrowhead — even more so with running back DeMarco Murray being declared out for the game.
God help the Titans (and their fans)… Chiefs 28, Titans 10.
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars
This is going to be my favorite match-up of the weekend. And it’s not just because both teams have made their long-awaited return to the playoffs (especially the Bills).
I don’t care that there are more exciting match-ups this weekend. I just want to see #BillsMafia and all their drunk, hilariously violent tailgating glory invade Jacksonville and go at it with the locals. We all know Bills fans will be excited, the Jags fans will be excited, and that combo should make for one festive-ass atmosphere.
As for who I’m picking to win this epic match-up, I’m going with the home team. If you are going against that nasty Jags D, your ass better have some balance on offense. No Shady McCoy for the Bills means it will be a long day for Tyrod Taylor and Co. this Sunday… Jaguars 20, Bills 13.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
The Saints beat the Panthers twice this season. Even though the Saints lost in Tampa, I still think New Orleans is better than Carolina, and will therefore show up pissed off in the Superdome. If Cam Newton plays as awful as he did vs. Atlanta last week, this will be a blowout by halftime… Saints 27, Panthers 13.
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams
This is going to be one of the more intriguing — and perhaps exciting — game of the weekend. Both offenses can put up lots of points in a hurry. The Rams have the FAR better defense, and you best believe that defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will turn the dogs lose on Matt Ryan.
That said, I like the Falcons SLIGHTLY over the Rams for one reason: playoff experience. Atlanta has been there, done that — and are looking to atone for its epic choke job in last year’s Super Bowl. The Rams are WAAAAY ahead of schedule, but they’ll be better for the experience next season… Falcons 30, Rams 28.