By Sterling Pingree
Colts at Texans
What a weekend of games? On Wild Card weekend there always seems to be at least one game that you can’t believe is taking place in the playoffs. Last year it was Jacksonville beating Buffalo (this really happened) 10-3. It was a tight game at halftime, when it was tied 3-3, but the Jags broke it open in the 3rd quarter with a touch down that apparently put the game out of reach. Were they wearing leather helmets? Did they disallow the forward pass? Did a hologram of Woody Hayes coach both teams?
I digress, this year we don’t have any of these dollar store match ups, Wild Card weekend feels loaded with solid games. That being said, if there is a potential dud in this bunch I think it’s right here. These two teams have played already twice this season with the Texans beating the Colts in OT in week 4 and the Colts getting revenge in Houston week 14, 24-21. Some are calling this the “AFC South Championship game”. The Texans and Colts have played two good games already this year, but never forget that the Colts lost 6-0 to the Jacksonville Jaguars (with a Woody Hayes hologram coaching) and the Texans after winning 9 games in a row in the middle of the season have lost 2 of their last 4 with their 2 wins being over the Jets and Jaguars. Yikes.
Analysts are high on the Colts right now and when everybody’s betting one way, you go the other way. I think the Texans pull this one out.
Texans 27 Colts 24
Seahawks at Cowboys
Saturday night, prime time, Seahawks and Cowboys. Just saying those words reminds me of Tony Romo’s botched snap in the Wild Card round in 2007. If only CBS had the broadcast for this game, I would give anything for Romo to have to watch that replay on live television. The next best thing though will be Troy Aikman watching it, you know he’s going to take some joy out of watching his broadcasting doppelganger made a fool of.
This game feels like it’s going to come down to coaching, bad coaching. Pete Carroll and Jason Garrett, there are some sound decision makers for you. Maybe I’m an elitist because the Patriots have had Bill Belichick for 20 years (Happy Anniversary HC of the NEP!) and the Pats have made the playoffs every year without having to play a wild card game since 2009, but isn’t Jason Garrett just the poster child of Wild Card weekend coaches? Always comes in as 4 seed, you never really know how they got a home game, generally underachieve and will botch 2 or 3 big decisions during the course of the game. The Cowboys looked great in week 17, when they didn’t need to try, I feel like that comes back to haunt them and the Boys drop another home playoff game.
Seahawks 30 Cowboys 17
Chargers at Ravens
I just saw this game and still don’t know what to make of this game. The common thinking amongst those that know football is that the Ravens play a style of defense that confounds what the Chargers do on offense that had been confounding everybody else in the league. Confounded? Me too. All year I’ve thought that the Chargers haven’t gotten the acclaim that they deserved because they happen to play in the same division as the KC Chiefs. But as is the story of the 2018 NFL season, just when a team seems to take the reins of the league, they fall back down to earth. The Rams beat the Chiefs, they lose to the Bears. The Saints beat the Rams and they lose to the Cowboys. And when the Chargers beat the Chiefs in KC, they fell to the Ravens the next week. The Ravens are the hot pick right now and as a Patriot fan, I could do without either of these teams darkening the doorway of Gillette Stadium next Sunday. Both of these teams have a chance to go into Arrowhead and knock out the Chiefs, which would give the Patriots home field for the next round if they could overcome the Texans. In the end, I’m going with the east coast home team holding off the hard charging, Chargers. (Sorry, I didn’t mean to do that, I just backed myself into a corner and couldn’t find a way out.)
Ravens 24 Chargers 23
Eagles at Bears
This feels old school. Really old school. This feels like Buddy Ryan and Mike Ditka. Jim McMahon and Randall Cunningham. Jerome Brown and Mike Singletary. This feels like, the Fog Bowl! From what I’ve heard, Fox had their pick of NFC games and they took the Cowboys Saturday night in prime time. Probably a good pick, but I think NBC lucked out really because this is going to be the game of the weekend.
The NFL’s best defense, going against super (bowl) sub Nick Foles at Soldier Field. The weather reports for Chicago look like mid-40’s and clear, so no “Bear Weather” to speak of but this is the sort of game that the NFL was built on. In a landscape now where the game revolves so much around offense and the passing game and rules that outlaws everything except arm tackles, this game is a throwback. In a throwback style of game, the Bears prevail.
Bears 23 Eagles 17
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.