Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: January 3, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in football, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

It’s time for the playoffs to start in the NFL. Things kickoff on Saturday as the Tennessee Titans visit the Kansas City Chiefs. The other Saturday game has the Los Angeles Rams hosting the Atlanta Falcons. Then of course there are two games on Sunday. The first game has the Jacksonville Jaquars hosting the Buffalo Bills. The second game on Sunday will see the Carolina Panthers visiting the New Orleans Saints.

In the AFC the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers got 1st round byes. Over in the NFC the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings received the 1st round byes.

Let’s see if we can break these games down a little bit.

Kansas City definitely had and up and won season. They came out of the gate 5-0 and where on everybody’s list of Super Bowl favorites. After dropping a couple of games they bounced back with a division win and things looked like they where back on track. The Chiefs then stumbled losing their next 4 games in a row. They got things going in the right direction to end the season as they won their final 4 games and won the AFC West.

Tennessee was high on everybody’s list to win the AFC South, but they never seemed to get things going. The Titans where 2-3 before going on a 4 game winning streak. After that ended they did out two more wins together and ha a chance to really lock up a playoff spot, but they lost their final 3 games heading into Week 17. Tennessee faced a win and your in situation in Week 17 and they got the win to grab a wild card spot an advance into the playoffs.

Looking at the way these teams seasons have went it appears as though Kansas City is headed back in the right direction coming into this match up. Can Tennessee build on their win and in game to surprise the Chiefs?

The Atlanta Falcons where the NFC’s representative in the Super Bowl last season and coming out of the gate with 3 straight wins this season they looked like a contender to return there. The Falcons really struggled and lost 4 of their net 5 games and there was talk that they wouldn’t even get into the playoffs. The Falcons went 6-2 in the second half of the season and grabbed a wild card spot and will have a chance to return to the Super Bowl.

The Los Angeles Rams under first year coach Sean McVay have been one of the nicer surprises this NFL season. The Rams feature some young skill position players; so there where questions about how they would perform. A 4 game winning streak in the middle of the season solidified the Rams as a playoff contender. The Rams picked up big wins in Week 15 and Week 16 to lockdown the NFC West and it allowed them to rest key players the final week of the regular season.

This match should show us how much playoff experience means in a first round playoff match up. The Rams key offensive players Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins have never played in a playoff game. While players like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman played in the Super Bowl last season. How much will this factor in?

Andy Dalton and Tyler Boyd are two of the most popular NFL players in Buffalo these days and they don’t even play for the Bills. Of course it was the Dalton pass to Boyd that helped the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens and get the Bills into the playoffs as a wild card team.

The Bills won 9 games over the 2018 season, but never won more than 2 in a row. LeSean McCoy accounts for over 30% of the Bills offense; so he’ll be the big key to them having a shot to advance this weekend. It’s no shock at all that McCoy was the Bills leading rusher. but he also led the team in pass receptions with 59 and was 2nd on the team in receiving yards with 448.

The Jacksonville Jaquars where another surprise team this season/ Remember heading into the last week of pre-season they decided to make a quarterback change, but decided to go back to Blake Bortles for Week 1. Bortles had a solid season and threw just 13 interceptions and while that’s still a higher number than the team would like it’s down from his previous seasons. The Jaquars are built to win with defense and their run game; so that’s how they’ll try to get out of the 1st round.

You have to think that if Jacksonville can stop McCoy they’ll win, but if Buffalo can force Bortles into some mistakes maybe they can pull off an upset here. Which way do you see it going?

The Carolina Panthers are considered the wild card team in this match up; so they’ll be on the road. Carolina has faced the Saints two other times this season and lost both of those natch ups. The Panthers actually lost both of those games by double digits, 21 in the first match up and 10 in the second. While rookie Christian McCaffrey has been a big contributor on offense for the Panthers this season everyone knows that the Panthers live and die by how Cam Newton plays. Newton was the M.V.P. two seasons ago and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl. He struggled last season and Carolina watched the playoffs. Which Newton will we get this weekend?

The New Orleans saints found a running game this season and it helped lead them to an NFC South division title. Interestingly the Saints just don’t have one running back that teams have to deal with they have two. Mark Ingram led the ground game with 1124 yards, but rookie Alvin Kamara added 728 rushing yards. Ingram put up 12 rushing touchdowns this season, but Kamara added 8 of his own. Kamara caught 81 passes while Ingram grabbed 58. Now Ingram didn’t find his way into the end zone as a receiver, but Kamara did catch 5 receiving touchdowns. The duel threat backfield has helped in other areas. Michael Thomas had a 100 plus catch, 1000 plus yard season. The running game has also cut down on Drew Brees’ passing attempts.

It’s difficult to beat a team three times in a season, but that’s what the Saints will have to do if they want to get out of the 1st round. Can Newton lead his team to what would be a 1st round upset?

Feel free to let me know how you’ve got this weekend in the comment section.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but don’t forget that the podcast is also available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

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