Everything you need to know about those NFL divisional playoff games

WEEI
January 14, 2019 - 10:14 am

By JOHN ANDERSEN

PSA: The Lonely Wallets Club of degenerates who ponied up their life, love and happiness on the Colts and Cowboys covering the spread and/or winning their games will convene at Twin River later today. Please bring glue and feathers.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE DIVISIONAL ROUND IN THE NFL:

Chiefs 31, Colts 13

It remains unclear how we went this entire year watching Patrick Mahomes throw no-look passes with his shoelaces tied together and still well over 50 percent of the money came in on the Colts. This includes myself, who fell for the Andrew Luck tease like a look from a girl across the bar who was just looking to see if the bathroom line behind me had thinned. Coincidentally the line for Luck sat at minus-4.5 thanks to the winter wonderland in Kansas City, MI, the second-best Kansas City in America. But that line was too thin for Luck, as was his offensive line, who were touted as, “the best offensive line in football,” much to the dismay of literally every single offensive line that helped their team advance to their respective conference title games next week. Dee Ford, Justin Houston and Chris Jones danced by the Indy OL for much of the first half, resulting in four three-and-outs for the Colts in the first half. The second half saw the Colts’ offense go more uptempo but still fall short of putting points on the boards. Indy went 0-9 on third down conversions, and quite frankly were lucky the Chiefs didn’t put up 45--for every dropped pass or missed block on the Colts’ side, there was one on the Chiefs’ side as well. Despite at least four drops by his receivers, Mahomes was able to win by playing opposite to his style for most of the season. Matt Eberflus’ Cover-2 limited much of the deep plays from the Kansas City offense, so Andy Reid just didn’t go for deep plays. Screens and crossing routes were wide open for the Chiefs and were especially impactful with Malik Hooker inactive for the Colts.

The Chiefs will host the Patriots for the AFC Championship Game while the Colts go into the offseason with enough cap space to house a family of elephants, an extra second-rounder from the Darnold trade, and the vast majority of their roster on rookie deals or bargain contracts.

Quote of the Week: “That’s not a doink, that’s a dong!” Cris Collinsworth, NBC

Rams 30, Cowboys 22

After I wrapped up my Dolphins interview, which I landed after sending proof that my cousin used to buy cheap beer for Sean McVay at Miami of Ohio before McVay turned 21, I returned to my crappy apartment in Brighton and revisited some of my offseason notes NFL notes. Among them was a Nostradamus-esque declaration on my Broncos rundown: “CJ Anderson will probably be cut, but he’s very good.” That’s not to say Anderson could maintain 20+ attempts per game for an entire season, but he deserved to be on a team and get carries. Regardless, a very good running back was on the street and the Rams’ RB room was hit with the hurts, so McVay pulled another genius McVay move by signing a great RB who was collecting dust on the couch. Vintage McVay, presented with a problem and solving it, not unlike a car towed to a mechanic and the mechanic taking one look at it and saying, “sir, your wheels are square.” McVay ate the red pill a few weeks ago on Anderson and Saturday night Anderson broke 120 yards for the third game in a row, adding two TDs. Anderson took some of the heat off Todd Gurley, who enjoyed 115 yards on the ground himself. As a result people have taken to calling the duo of Gurley and Anderson “Ground and Pounds.” G&P helped to offset another lackluster performance from Jared Goff, who played fine but not good enough to go on the road and beat the Saints next week. Joining Goff on the no-show list was none other than Aaron Donald and the rest of the Rams’ pass rush, who only showed up on the stat sheet as a unit because of a phantom wrap-up that was ruled a sack. The defense limited Zeke Elliott to 47 yards on 20 carries, but the pass rush will have to be better for LA to have chance at beating the Saints next week on the road.

Patriots 41, Chargers 28

It’s pretty impressive to complete 34 passes for 343 yards while falling off a cliff.

The Seattle Cover-3 defense keeps coming back for more, like Jason Voorhees getting electrocuted back to life in a lake only to get killed again. Tom Brady has had his way with this defense since he faced it in Super Bowl 49, again in 51, and many times since. It’s time for it to be retired, as it was in the second quarter when the Chargers realized it wasn’t working and tried to play man-to-man instead, which just made things worse. Aiding Brady was Sony Michel “sucking” and “blowing” his way to three TDs on the ground and the Patriots’ defense not missing a single tackle until the fourth quarter (per PFF). Phil Rivers’ game plan of the past month of throwing the ball into coverage and banking on Mike Williams going up and over defenders finally ran out juice, which resulted in Rivers berating the officials for the entire game. I know children were watching, I just hope his 12 weren’t. Horrible role model.

Speaking of horrible, the daunting duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa combined for zero sacks and two tackles.

The Patriots are still here, and after a full season’s worth of cliff talk, they are real underdogs. The AFC Championship spread even opened at NE +3, the first time since 2015 Tom Brady goes into a game as an underdog. As Brady said postgame to Tracy Wolfson, everyone thinks the Patriots suck. An Irish reporter even called Brady a bum at Brady’s press conference.  Brady responded to the Irishman by saying, “I like winning,” and to Wolfson with, “we’ll see.”

Saints 20, Eagles 14

Sunday night the legend of St. Nick came to a screeching halt as a perfectly placed pass went through the slimy claws of Alshon Jeffery and to Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore to give the Saints the ball with under 1:20 on the clock and a six-point lead. Alvin Kamara then tore up the middle for 12 yards on 3rd-and-10 to seal the win for the Saints.

The Eagles scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the game to go up 14-0 before being shutout the rest of the game. The Saints’ offense struggled as well, but they slowly crept back from the deficit and took the lead right before the start of the fourth quarter. Drew Brees was given the reigns through the air due to the deficit, and he and Michael Thomas connected 12 times for 171 yards. But it all started with the most predictable fake punt ever, which should be every time the Saints line up in a punt formation with that Spartan Taysom Hill at the personal protector spot.

In Week 9, Michael Thomas went over 200 yards receiving against the Rams, who visit New Orleans for the NFC Championship Game next Sunday. The Rams enjoyed relative success against Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in that game, while Thomas’ matchup with Marcus Peters netted the 211 yards. Peters famously told Sean Payton to, “keep talking that s--t,” after Payton merely pointed out they liked the matchup of Thomas on Peters. Redemption time for you, Mr. Peters.

NFL TWITTER VIDEO OF THE WEEK:

Written under duress by John Andersen, award-winning NFL journalist who has written books on Devery Henderson and Isaiah Pead...maybe. You can follow John on Twitter @JohnWEEI.

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