Last week, I made a post about all the NFL playoff teams, giving my predictions (and of course, beers). You can find it at: http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2017/1/4/14169844/rhodris-2112-pack-2016-playoff-edition.
MrMannequin took the data and made a chart of it, along with his own commentary at: http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2017/1/6/14191974/grading-the-playoff-field.
I thought I'd take a look at what I said about the Wild Card weekend matchups and see if that changes any of my thoughts about the Divisional weekend.
OAK v. HOU Summary and HOU v. NE Prediction
I predicted Oakland would win because it's a much better team than Houston, even without Derek Carr. I still think that's true, but, surprisingly, the Texans scored 27 points and Brock Osweiler actually looked like an NFL QB. Not great, mind you, but competent. Given their defense is legit (7th in DVOA), I'm not surprised that with decent QB play the Texans beat a Carr-less Raiders, I'm just surprised that Osweiler was competent.
Congrats to the Texans! Your reward: playing the Patriots.
Yeah, I'm still predicting the Patriots to win this game. I can see the Texans covering the wee little spread Vegas has put on the game (16 points), but not winning outright.
I'm giving this matchup a Payette Brewing (Boise, ID) Slaughterhouse Red Ale, because Bill Belichick is not going to let Osweiler look like a competent QB again.
DET v. SEA Summary and SEA v. ATL Prediction
Matthew Stafford is overrated in my opinion because he builds up counting statistics, but their offense isn't actually great, as shown by their 15th-ranked Offensive DVOA. He didn't even put up great counting stats in this game, but again, that's in part because the Seahawks are so much better at home.
Last week, I said that I leaned towards Atlanta. The more that I think about it, the more I think I was unfair to the Falcons. Their offense is really good, and the Seahawks simply aren't that good on the road. I suppose things like the Seahawks experience could make a difference, but I don't see it.
This won't be the wholesale slaughter like the first game, but I think the Falcons win by more than 8. And they'll do it something like 38-28. Fun game to watch, except if you're a 12th Man.
I'm bestowing a Triple Crossing (Richmond, VA) Falcon Smash American India Pale Ale because the Falcons will smash the Seahawks.
MIA v. PIT Summary and PIT v. KC Prediction
I still think the Steelers are a little light to win the Super Bowl, but I'm not surprised they stomped the Dolphins. I thought Jay Ajayi would get 80-100 yards, but the Steelers told Matt Moore to beat them and he did not. Of course, it didn't help that Antonio Brown antonioed all over them early in the game. Once the Dolphins got down 2 scores, the game was over.
Now Pittsburgh comes to my town to play the Chiefs in what I think is the best game of the weekend. My prediction is for a game filled with big plays and long touchdowns, especially since KC is likely to have some snow and maybe ice over the weekend. It'll be the kind of thing that favors the offense since the defense will slip more often trying to react.
My initial prediction was that KC would win simply because we have 2 good teams but KC is both at home and rested. I see no reason to change that assessment.
However, this is the closest matchup of the weekend and it could go either way. I'm giving this game one of my favorite beers, a Boulevard Brewing (Kansas City, MO) Heavy Lifting American India Pale Ale. Both teams will do some heavy lifting, but in the end, KC will prevail.
NYG v. GB Summary and GB v. DAL Prediction
I thought I had this pick nailed. Then the Hail Mary at the end of the half got Green Bay going and the New York defense forgot how to defend. I had leaned towards New York because I went with my heart, hoping that the Giants would win so the Cowboys could beat them and end this talk that the Cowboys can't.
Sadly, now we're faced with an offseason of Giants fans claiming "the Cowboys suck" because the Giants won 2 close games.
Oh, well, I'll somehow survive. Especially since I think Dallas will win on Sunday. Lest you think this is merely a homer pick, let me toss out some facts.
First, the winning streak of the Packers. 7 in a row. That's impressive. It would be more impressive if it included wins against top tier offenses. Yes, they beat the Seahawks at home, but the Seahawks are not particularly good on the road this year. Yes, they beat the Texans, who are a playoff team but one without consistent QB play. Same is true of the Lions and Giants.
I'm not going to discount that streak, but I will point you to the post that just got put on the Blogging the Boys front page this morning by VAfan: http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2017/1/10/14213090/packers-v-dallas-cowboys-green-bay-hasnt-faced-a-competitive-offense-during-seven-game-win-streak.
Now, let's look at it using the things I used for all of the other games. The Packers are a good team, but the Cowboys are better. Packers 4th in Offensive DVOA, Cowboys 3rd by a significant margin. Packers 20th in Defensive DVOA, Cowboys 17th by a significant margin. Packers 20th in Special Teams DVOA, Cowboys 10th by a significant margin.
But the Packers are hot! Well, coming into the Playoffs, the Packers Weighted DVOA, which gives more emphasis to the more recent games was 7th, compared to their overall DVOA of 7th. Top quarter of the NFL. This is a good team and has been a good team all year. I think their streak is dependent upon their opponents, not themselves, as they have played well all along.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, are 2nd in overall DVOA and 2nd in Weighted DVOA. A better team that has also played well all along. Included in this good play is a 2-touchdown win in Lambeau Field. I've said it before, but a close game is decided by luck. This was not a close game. The Cowboys won handily at Green Bay's home field.
People keep saying the Packers aren't the same team now. No arguments. But the Cowboys aren't the same team either. They beat Green Bay *without* Dez Bryant. I think they beat them again with him. Going into this game, Dallas is as healthy as any team in the NFL. I'll take a better team that's rested, playing at home, and healthier every time.
This game gets a Deep Ellum (Dallas, TX) Morpheus Belgian Strong Pale Ale because this will the kind of game a Dallas fans' dreams are made of.
So far, I'm 2-2 on my predictions. In general, I'm not dissatisfied. I predicted 2.5 games exactly right, but was surprised by Osweiler playing competently and the Giants defense incompetence in the 2nd half.
I'm confident about my predictions on 3 of the games this week, waffling only on the Steelers-Chiefs game.
So far, I give myself a Drop-In Brewing (Middlebury, VT) Dude, Are You Okay? American India Pale Ale because it's a question my sweetie asks all the time.