Who Am I?

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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

2015 NFL SEASON: WILD CARD ROUND






Me
Eli
WEEK 17
9-7
9-7
9-7
TOTAL
158-98
164-92
153-103



Chiefs at Texans, 9 Jan 2016 ABC/ESPN 2:30PM (MT)
Kansas City beat the Texans in Houston back in Week 1 in a game that was not as close as the final score was.

Can the Texans beat the Chiefs? Anything is possible. The Texans have never lost a playoff opener in the team’s relatively short history.

I am aware of the Chiefs lack of playoff success in the last 20 years. The last time the Chiefs won a playoff game was in January 1994 in Houston.

Against the Oilers.

In the now abandoned Houston Astrodome.

Since then the Chiefs have lost 7 consecutive playoff games, twice as the AFC 1-seed and most recently blowing a 28-point lead on the road in Indianapolis in January 2014.

The Texans defense has carried them through the season as they have started four different quarterbacks under center much like the Cowboys did. The only difference is that the Cowboys are not in the playoffs mainly in part due to the play of quarterback Brandon Weeden. It was Weeden as well as linebacker JJ Watt as part of the Bulls on Parade defense that led the Texans to their first ever win over the Colts in Indianapolis as well as their last two wins to close out the regular season.

Much like last season, Houston’s defense carried them to a 9-7 record but unlike last season there is now a playoff appearance. If this were the 1985 Bears or the 2000 Ravens, I would have more faith in the Texans in winning this game, but they aren’t.

Chiefs 24, Texans 10


Steelers at Bengals, 9 Jan 2016 CBS 6PM (MT)
The two teams split the regular season series 1-1 with each team winning on the road. The Bengals won in Pittsburgh 16-10 while the Steelers won in Cincinnati 33-20.

The Bengals are another team that has not won a playoff game since the 1990s mainly in part due to being terrible for long stretch during the 1990s and part of the 2000s.

Again, could the Bengals break their playoff drought especially against a Steelers team that could make a deep playoff run with Ben Roethlisberger under center and the receiving corps led by Antonio Brown that can torch secondaries? While AJ McCarron has been playing well while Andy Dalton recovers from a hand injury that he suffered in the last Steelers-Bengals meeting, I cannot see the Bengals breaking their infamous playoff streak.

Steelers 36, Bengals 20


Seahawks at Vikings, 10 Jan 2016 NBC 11AM (MT)
Congratulations Minnesota Vikings on winning the NFC North. Your reward is a home playoff game and you get to host… the Seattle Seahawks.

Since their bye week Seattle has won 6 of their last 8 games. 5 of those wins came with the Seahawks scoring 30 or more points. One those wins was a 38-7 win over the Vikings in Minnesota.

The Vikings have the NFL’s rushing champion for 2015 with Adrian Peterson, but they are too one dimensional to take on Seattle’s defense and secondary.

I expect the Vikings to keep it close, but Seattle will eventually pull away.

Seahawks 31, Vikings 14


Packers at Washington, 10 Jan 2016 Fox 2:30PM (MT)
The last Wild Card weekend game takes place between the Packers and (begrudgingly) NFC East Champion Washington football team.

If you said Washington would win the NFC East at the start of the season, I and many others would have laughed at you. To close out the season Washington has won four straight games including games against their NFC East foes Philadelphia and Dallas in a rather meaningless game in terms of playoff seeding. Kurt Cousins threw for 4,166 yards breaking the single-season franchise record set by Jay Schoreder in 1986. Before that, Brad Johnson was the first to throw for 4,000 yards in a season for the franchise and that was in 1999 when Washington won the NFC East, and it was the last time the team won a home playoff game.

The Packers are limping into the playoffs. After their 6-0 start, Green Bay has gone 4-6 including a 38-8 thumping by the Cardinals and a 20-13 loss at home to the Vikings for the NFC North title. In those last two games, Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 13 times and over the entire 16-game regular season Rodgers has gone down 46 times. Washington linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and defensive end Chris Baker have a combined 15.5 sacks and with Green Bay’s porous offensive line could have a day.

Many are comparing this Packers team to the 2010 team that won three straight road playoff games and made good on Charles Woodson’s promise to see President Obama.

Bleacher Report notes that the 2010 team had a +148-point differential while the 2015 Packers has a +45-point differential. Rodgers in the last half of 2010 threw for 16 touchdowns vs. 2 interceptions and ended the season on a 7-3 run. In 2015, Rodgers has thrown for 10 touchdowns vs. 4 interceptions in the same time period with the team going 4-6 and 3 losses by 7+ points.

And consider who Green Bay will have to play if they are to make it to the Super Bowl. The Panthers in Charlotte, the Cardinals on the road. Hell if somehow the Packers and Seahawks match up for the NFC Championship, I would give a slight edge to Seattle with how they are playing right now.

Then there is this: over the last half of the season Kurt Cousins has played better than Aaron Rodgers. Cousins has had a better completion percentage, more passing yards, more yards per attempt, a better touchdown to interception ratio, and a better quarterback rating.

Oh and over the last eight games Washington has gone 6-2 vs. Green Bay’s 4-4.

However, in my playoff preview, I am picking the Packers. Despite all the figures going against the Packers, why?

They still have Aaron Rodgers who has won a Super Bowl, was named MVP of that game, and is a 2-time league MVP.

Packers 24, Washington 17

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