Finally it's here. Playoff time for the NFL. It's the greatest time of the calendar year.
32 teams have been whittled down to 12. My Chargers are not one of these 12 teams and they are still celebrating Mad Monday (possibly in LA).
Teams have been divided into conferences now- the AFC and the NFC. The winner of each of these conferences will ultimately play in the Super Bowl.
The AFC teams are the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots (current champions), Cincinnati Bengals, JJ Watt Texans (otherwise known as the Houston Texans), Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The NFC is made up of the Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.
The two top seeds have the weekend off, but for everyone else this is the Wildcard Weekend!
The Carolina Panthers have barely put a foot wrong this year and have been Super. Cam Newton has certainly solved gravity and worked out that balls he throws up, come down- in the end zone with his wide receivers. The Panthers have only lost one game throughout the regular season and deserve their favouritism tag.
The Cardinals have been steadily building for two years and enter this years playoffs with a complete roster and no injuries. Don't be surprised to see these birds fly during January.
The Patriots have limped into January losing 4 of their last 6 games. The week off is so needed and they'll be back with a healthy roster shortly to cause damage. The Broncos are welcoming back Peyton Manning. Remember him? He'll start for them in two weeks and this will be his swan song. I hope he goes out like the champion he is. The Broncos will definitely be in the hunt, but I'm not sure Manning will get his fairy tale.
The poor old Vikings. They finally win their division, wrestling the honours off the Packers and they now face the red hot Seattle Seahawks who demolished them recently. The conditions are likely to be arctic but if Adrian Peterson runs hot they may have a chance. If he doesn't they and Teddy Bridgewater might have to build a bridge and get set for next season. My prediction is the Seahawks who have finally hit their straps in the last four weeks. 24-17.
This might be the last year the Washington Redskins are called that, as many of their brothers, sisters and cousins have asked for a name change. Kirk Cousins has steered this team into the finals- basically they were the only NFC East team who kind of wanted to actually be in the playoffs. They aren't here to make up the numbers and won't want to look like a Griffin, but I don't think they'll have the firepower to beat the Green Bay Packers. The Packers haven't set the world on fire, but when you have Aaron Rodgers, you have enough. Packers to win 19-17.
The first game of the playoffs sees a match up no-one expected at the start of the year, when the Chiefs were 1-5 and Andrew Luck was playing. The Chiefs recovered and their defense has been the backbone of this team. The Houston Texans have started four quarterbacks this year and surprisingly they've each won a game. The Texans have the best defensive player in the comp, JJ Watt and if is in playing they are always a chance. I think the Chiefs will get the job done here. It won't be pretty, but they'll advance. 16-15.
The Bengals v Steelers game is the pick of the games. The Bengals are regulars in the playoffs, but haven't won a game with Andy Dalton at the helm. He's injured though. The Steelers have lost their two running back stars which evens things out. I believe the Bengals will advance here and do it in style. 28-14.
My guess for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, is the Bengals v Seahawks.
Enjoy the games!