NFL 2020: Wild Card Playoffs

PLAYOFFS!!! I’m a bit shocked the NFL made it through the whole season without missing a game, but they did and we’re here now. Outside of that, not a lot of news as the teams prep for the playoffs. Coaching/Covid problems for the Browns, Aaron Rodgers cementing his case for the MVP, and the finals named for the HoF is about it. So let’s get straight to the games:

Saturday, Jan. 9

12:05 pm

Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills (-6.5, 51)

3:40 pm

Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks (-4, 42.5)

7:15 pm

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Football Team (+8, 45)

Sunday, Jan. 10

12:05 pm

Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans (+3, 55)

3:40 pm

Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints (-10, 47)

7:15 pm

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns (+6, 47.5)

All these games are watchable (but it helps is you’re hate watching too). The Colts defense v. the Bills offense is one I’m very, intrigued about, but I’m a bit surprised how much the Rams are under-rated against Seattle with a questionable defense. Granted a ton comes down to Goff’s availability, but I think that game will be closer. And who doesn’t want to see Daniel Snyder’s team lose hugely against the Bucs. Instead of All 22, I just want one camera showing the pain on Snyder’s face every play; although that may cause me to throw stuff at my TV.

Sunday has the Ravens as a road favorite against the Titans. The Titans defense isn’t very good, and I expect the very hot Ravens to win easily. Same with the Saints. The Bears are getting 10 points, and Mitchy T. comes out and says he wants to Bears to “open it up” against the Saints. Considering he only looks like an average NFL starter when running a very efficient, limited offense, that’s asking a lot. That will be a fun game to watch.

The Steelers Browns game should be fascinating, but has the distinct possibility of turning into a shitshow as the Browns struggle to deal with Covid. But those teams hate each other so much (as do their fans) that it could be a car-wreck where you just have to see how bad it is.

And one more thing:

Just in case you’re not totally burned out by fantasy football or pick ‘ems or survival picks or of NFL football, I created a group, entitled SDMB (I know, I’m super-original), for NFL.com’s playoff challenge.

The gist of it is you pick players you think will score the most fantasy points, and if their team is eliminated, you pick new players. But if their team wins, you get bonus points (2x, 3x, 4x) for as far as they go through the playoffs. So it’s an interesting mix of fantasy and pick ‘em games.

The group website is here: https://playoffchallenge.fantasy.nfl.com/group/437388

The group name is SDMB.
The password is: cecil.

Join in if you like. Soon football will be done, and you know you’ll miss it.

Enjoy the games. PLAYOFFS ARE HERE!!!

You do know that the Seattle defense has been among the best in the second half of the season, right? Since week 10 they have dominated. It’s the Seattle offense that’s a bigger question; they seem to struggle when they don’t establish the run and Russell has been inconsistent in the latter half of the year. His deep ball throwing which early in the year led to historic offensive numbers (and led to multiple franchise records this year) has been inaccurate of late.

Lately the defense has been bailing out the offense, especially the pass rush which has been suffocating people since Carlos Dunlap was signed.

Go Football Team!!!

That is so lame. They gotta come up with something better.

They’re certainly better than earlier in the season, but since week 12, they’ve played offensive powerhouses Eagles, Giants, Jets, WFC, Rams, and the Niners. Holding the Rams to 9 points was very impressive, but the rest of that is a trash heap of poor offenses.

It should be an interesting game.

There could be a whole bunch of interesting, close games this weekend, but there could also be 3 or 4 blowouts. I think the Titans/Ravens game will be close, as will the Steelers/Browns. And WFT could give the Bucs a contest, but they might get blown away.

As @Hamlet stated, all games should be watchable!

Bills will crush the Colts.

Washington will see its 15-year-playoff-win drought extend further.

Ravens still won’t be able to stop Derrick Henry.

Browns will put up a valiant fight for one quarter, then get rolled by Pittsburgh.

The Titans won’t be able to stop the Ravens either. It’s going to be a high scoring game that either team could win.

The Ravens are the 8th best rushing defense in the NFL, the 4th best in rushing td’s allowed, and second in scoring allowed.

The Titans are the 28th rated defense in yardage in the NFL and 24th in scoring.

Let’s geaux Saints!!!

While we wait for the games to start, take a look at this ranking of which position players would be easiest to get by without, should COVID strike down an entire group. According to this, there are two positions more important than quarterback. See if you agree before clicking: defensive backs and offensive line.

I definitely agree with their #1 choice. It’s unlikely that their defensive counterparts could credibly fill in, and without that group, your other players on offense are going to get crushed.

Makes sense. I have read that safety, cornerback and center are considered the most difficult non-QB positions in football.

No 7-9 divisional winner has ever lost in the wild card round. I’m voting WFT, for no actual reason at all.

I’m okay with the Browns being forced to play tomorrow, as I think teams should basically have to deal with their own COVID consequences - unless they got infected from players on another team who broke the covid rules, I suppose, in which case they’d have done nothing wrong.

On the other hand, it doesn’t feel great to have the Browns first playoff game in 19 years completely crippled by the fact that the team couldn’t practice until Friday afternoon, and their head coach won’t be able to attend the game. That’s… really harsh. At the very least they should have Stefanski up in one of the team boxes by himself with a radio, like OC/DCs often do.

I didn’t actually read up on the cause of the Browns covid outbreak, if it was because people broke rules or bad procedures or what.

I wouldn’t really be fair to their opponents if the game gets delayed, and then if the Steelers win they have to go into the next playoff week with a short rest.

Kind of a shit sandwich all around.

Last year 538 ran a probabilistic NFL prediction contest I really enjoyed (and also scored in like 50th place out of 20,000 people or something) but I can’t find it this year. They cancelled it, right? Or am I not looking in the right place?

They didn’t run it. I never saw any announcement or explanation; it just wasn’t there.

I think the Colts are going to regret going for it on 4th and 4 instead of kicking the field goal.

Agreed. Terrible decision to not kick the FG.

Man, Colts left 6 points on the field with two should-have-been field goals.

I’ll admit I haven’t watched the Bills a whole lot this year, but ISTM that they are calling a lot of QB runs in this game.