It’s been a big week for football fans. Carson Palmer retired, and Jon Gruden will be the next head coach for the Raiders (unless something goes terribly wrong, but at a rumored 10-years-$100 million, I assume things will be just fine.) That’s plenty of noteworthy news right there, and we haven’t even starting talking about the NFL playoffs yet. The 2018 NFL Wildcard Weekend is here.
The playoffs should be interesting. On the NFC side, the Eagles and the Vikings have first round byes. These two teams have swarming defenses, but questions at quarterback. That’s one thing you don’t want (questions at QB- swarming defenses are always nice) heading into the playoffs. The two leading contenders from the AFC side, the Patriots and the Steelers, have more stable situations at quarterback. Yet, the Steelers’ best player, Antonio Brown, has a partially torn calf. He is not a lock to be 100% for the divisional round, a sobering fact which casts a shadow over the Steelers Super Bowl aspirations.
NFC Wildcard Round
The NFC Wildcard Round will feature three teams from the NFC South. That’s utterly amazing. You don’t see that everyday. The L.A. Rams host the Falcons this weekend. Atlanta is dangerous; they are the reigning NFC champs. Yet, Todd Gurley had an MVP-like season, registering 19 touchdowns. Also, Jared Goff had 28 touchdowns this year, which is the most a Rams quarterback has had since Kurt Warner in 2001. The Rams are the chalk, but this game is a toss-up in every sense of the word. Atlanta has a real solid chance to upset. The other NFC game is the New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers. The Saints have the most explosive player on the field, stud rookie running back Alvin Kamara. They also have home-field, two key advantages in what looks to be a epic battle.
AFC Wildcard Round
The Bills will be playing Jacksonville this weekend. One major storyline is Lesean Mccoy. His ankle is hurt, and cutting is still causing him pain. He will probably be active, but he may limited. Without him, Buffalo looks to be in the soup. The other AFC game is the Titans versus the Chiefs. The Titans made the playoffs this year, but there are rumblings that Titans coach Mike Mularkey could be fired. Apparently, some Titans players are upset with his ultra-conservative “exotic smashmouth” offense. Look for standout tight end Travis Kelce and the Chiefs to win at home.
What are your predictions for the games this week? Share your thoughts in the comments.