I am still reeling from last weekend’s NFL Playoff action. Raise your hands if you woke up Monday morning wanting more football.
To recap: Brady and Rodgers got bounced, as did both number one seeds. Three of the four games were decided by last second field goals. All of those were won outright by the underdog. The piece de resistance was one final barnburner between two of the game’s best quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes threw for 177 yards AFTER THE TWO-MINUTE WARNING. And countless NFL fans, many of them undoubtedly residing in Buffalo, brought into question the fairness of the overtime coin toss. Did I miss anything?
No matter how you slice it, we have four teams remaining: Cincinnati, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Kansas City. Sorry, East Coast. I guess that means they can officially start the Super Bowl two hours later.
More importantly (I gest), we have a contest in which, believe it or not, everybody is still alive! Not a single person guessed all four games correctly last week, which isn’t all that surprising considering the unpredictability of those lines. I read somewhere that those four games were the closest combined point spreads since the 1960s. That means the NFL has finally achieved in its quest for parity, New York Jets and Giants obviously excluded.
Just like the NFL, we have parity in our contest. With three games left to play, anyone can win this thing. Here are your latest standings…
And now, it’s time for the guy who is tied for last place to make his predictions.
Sunday, 3pm: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs (-7)
Luckily for the Cincinnati Bengals, who I said last week didn’t know they weren’t supposed to get this far, this game is in the afternoon instead of at night. We all witnessed what sort of magic Patrick Mahomes can pull off in front of an electric crowd. But it really doesn’t matter what time Mahomes plays. He’s magical in Arrowhead period. He is 7-1 career at home in the post-season where he has thrown for 23 touchdowns and only one interception. That’s bordering on insane. Cincinnati’s defense has probably overachieved at this point. They can breakdown all the game film they want from Sunday’s epic contest against the Bills and probably get a headache from watching Mahomes, who has been on a mission since mid-season. The Chiefs have won 11 of their last 12 games, the only loss in that stretch coming to, you guessed it, the Bengals in Cincinnati. If you don’t think for one second the Chiefs aren’t looking to avenge that loss, you’re out of your mind. The Bengals have a bright future, but Mahomes and company are about to remind them, just like they did the Bills on Sunday, that over the next ten or so years, all roads to the Super Bowl must travel through Kansas City. The Chiefs cover the seven points handily.
Sunday, 6:30 pm: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)
You’re going to hear a lot this week about how the Niners have the Rams’ number, that they haven’t beaten them this season, either home or away. I’m here to remind you that it’s nearly impossible to beat the same football team three times in the same season. I’m here to remind you that while the Niners have escaped the last two weeks with victory, it has not been pretty. I’m here to remind you that these Rams were constructed for this very reason, to reach, and win, the Super Bowl. The Rams are on a mission. They got over the biggest hump last week by beating the defending Super Bowl champions. They know they are one win away from being only the second team ever to play the Super Bowl in their own home stadium. This roster has veterans like Aaron Donald, Matt Stafford and Odell Beckham that are chomping at the bit to win a ring. You have unstoppable MVP candidate in Cooper Kupp who can strike with a big play at a moment’s notice. You have a coach who wants back there, this time with a quarterback he trusts. And you have former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller to show them the way. The Niners’ luck against L.A. runs out on Sunday. After watching incredibly competitive football last weekend, I smell two blowouts this time around. I’ll take the Rams to cover handily as well.