It’s that time of year again, kids. The NFL Playoffs are among us. That means it’s time for TSS’ second annual TSS Crew NFL Playoff Challenge. In case you forgot how it goes, here are the rules.
Six writers are each given an AFC and NFC playoff team that is chosen at random. The writer then has to defend his teams all the way through the playoffs no matter how much he actually thinks his team will win or not. Before each game, the writer has to explain why his team will win and predict a final score. Last year, David D. drew the New York Giants and went home victorious. Tinsley also received numerous death threats from Packers fans convinced he’d cursed their franchise by drawing the Cheeseheads. All in all, fun was had. So let’s get to this year’s assignments:
David – Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans
J. Tinsley – Green Bay (we swear it was a random drawing, people) and Baltimore Ravens
Greg Whitt – Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings
Raj – New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks
AJ – Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins
Gotty – Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers
So without further ado, let’s get to today’s match-ups featuring Tins’ Packers vs. Whitt’s Vikings and AJ’s Bengals vs. David’s Texans.
5 Reasons The Green Bay Packers Will Win (J. Tinsley)
1. Green Bay remembers Eli and company coming in last year and kicking over the proverbial buildings ending their season short of a second straight Super Bowl appearance.
2. As if the offense needed any more potency, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson have been practicing this week and look to be on target for a return this weekend. The return that has Packer-faithful most excited? Charles Woodson broken collarbone appears to finally be healed after missing the last nine games.
3. Quirky stat of the first round: Minnesota is 0-3 at Lambeau Field when Adrian Peterson rushing for 100+ yards.
4. It’s not exactly walking on water with ankle weights, but beating the Packers two straight weeks will be a test of extremely difficult proportions. In Green Bay, in January, on the frozen tundra, at that.
5. Despite my firm belief Adrian Peterson was, one, created in a lab likely on Area 51 and, two, he should at least be the co-MVP, the playoffs are defined by quarterback play. And the Packers have Aaron Rodgers. The same Aaron Rodgers who has only completed 74.7% of his passes for 16 touchdowns (one interception) and a quarterback rating of 132.5 his last five games against Minnesota. Yeah, that Aaron Rodgers
Final Score: 34-20, Packers
5 Reasons The Minnesota Vikings Will Win (Greg Whitt)
1. It looks like Christian Ponder may have finally figured out how to pass the ball for more than five yards a clip. While he didn’t exactly put up Drew Brees numbers in terms of yardage, he did complete some nice deep balls last week that he hasn’t been able to connect on earlier this season.
2. Last year the Packers went down to a seemingly inferior team in the first round of the playoffs. With some up and down play this year, I’m not sure that this Green Bay squad has fully exorcised those ghosts of failures past.
3. Expect Jared Allen and the Minnesota front seven to keep Aaron Rodgers on the run and unable to set his feet to make big throws against the Vikings secondary. The Vikings are fifth in the league with 44 sacks this year, five of which came last week in a victory versus the Packers who have allowed the most sacks this season.
4. Momentum is in the Vikings favor after pulling out a big, emotional, win last week.
5. The Vikings have an angry rhinoceros in football cleats by the name of Adrian Peterson. Expect him to receive close to 30 carries, and rush for 175 yards.
Final Score: 28-24, Vikings