Bro-Picks Presents: The Top 10 Super Bowls of All Time

Super Bowl 52 came and went, but does it crack the top 10 of the greatest Super Bowls of all time?

Despite its grandiose nature, the Super Bowl is often a one-sided affair and relatively uncompelling. Every so often, however, we get a Super Bowl that is actually competitive and exciting, and it’s important to cherish these games since they don’t come around often. The top 10 Super Bowls of all time are:

10. Super Bowl V: Baltimore Colts V. Dallas Cowboys

Also known as “The Stupor Bowl”, this game is often ranked as one of the worst games of all-time due to its sloppy play, but it’s undeserved. Sure the game featured 11 turnovers combined, a missed PAT, and even some officiating miscues, but Super Bowl V was a back and forth contest that came down to the final play of the game: a 32 yard field goal by Colts kicker Jim O’Brien. If that doesn’t qualify as a great Super Bowl, then what does?

9. Super Bowl XXXII: Denver Broncos V. Green Bay Packers

After agonizing defeat after defeat, Super Bowl XXXII was shaping up as another disappointment for Denver’s QB John Elway, as the Broncos were 14 point underdogs against the reigning Super Bowl champion Packers, who were led by QB Brett Farve. Super Bowl XXXII went down to the wire, and featured one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history, when Elway launched himself in the air in the hopes of gaining a first down, and was hit and spun around like a helicopter. Talk about a heart of a champion.

8. Super Bowl XXXVI: New England Patriots V. St. Louis Rams

In the wake of 9/11, how fitting was it that a team called the Patriots pulled off an incredible upset against the then St. Louis Rams “Greatest Show on Turf”? Sure, allegations of cheating have marred the Patriots dynasty, but it was the first Super Bowl appearance and victory in their remarkable 18 year run that featured an enthralling game winning field goal from New England kicker Adam Vinatieri.

7. Super Bowl LII: Philadelphia Eagles V. New England Patriots

This year’s Super Bowl featured one of the more exciting games in the big game’s history. A back and forth contest that saw the Eagles and Patriots combine for 1,151 yards offensively and featured only one key defensive play late in the fourth quarter, it also featured a blown lead and two comebacks. Somehow, the Eagles managed to shake-off their choker label and win their first Super Bowl in franchise history, and Super Bowl LII should be remembered as an all time great Super Bowl.

 

6. Super Bowl XIII: Pittsburgh Steelers V. Dallas Cowboys

Two of the NFL’s most iconic franchises did battle for the second time in four years, and this one was one for the ages. An offensive explosion that featured seven touchdown passes from future hall of fame QBs, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw and Dallas Cowboys QB Roger Staubach, the game gave us another iconic Super Bowl moment when Cowboys TE Jackie Smith dropped a pass in the end zone that would’ve tied the game at 21. The Cowboys would never recover, and the Steelers walked away with their 3rd Lombardi Trophy in a thrilling contest.

5. Super Bowl XXIII: San Francisco 49ers V. Cincinnati Bengals

Another re-match bowl, Joe Montana and the 49ers capped off their 3rd Super Bowl victory with a 92-yard touchdown drive that all started with a spotting of comedy legend John Candy in the stands. To win the game, Montana threw a 10-yard touchdown to WR John Taylor, his only catch of the game. It added to Montana’s legend as “Joe Cool”, and was the last game Niners coach Bill Walsh roamed the sidelines on as a member of the organization.

 

4. Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants V. Buffalo Bills

After New York executed a game plan that kept the ball out of the explosive Bills no-huddle offense, Buffalo still had a chance to win the game with a 47-yard field goal with eight seconds left. Bills K Scott Norwood missed the kick wide right, a thrilling finish to a game that would mark the end of coach Bill Parcel’s tenure with the Giants and the beginning of the Bills four straight Super Bowl appearances in the 90s. Broadcasting legend Al Michaels’ two words, “wide right”, continues to haunt the city of Buffalo to this day.

 

3. Super Bowl XXXIV: St. Louis Rams V. Tennessee Titans

Sure, the Rams at one point led the game 16-0, but Steve McNair and the Titans led a furious comeback to tie the game at 16. After Rams QB and league MVP Kurt Warner threw a 73 yard TD pass to WR Isaac Bruce, the Titans had a chance to win the game with 1:54 left. On the final play of the game, McNair completed a pass to WR Kevin Dyson, who was tackled by Rams LB Mike Jones 1-yard short of the goal line. One. Yard. Short. Perhaps the greatest finish in Super Bowl and NFL history.

2. Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburgh Steelers V. Arizona Cardinals

For the Steelers, appearing in Super Bowls is second nature. For the Cardinals, it seemed like a pipe dream. A close contest throughout, Super Bowl XLIII gave fans one of the greatest plays in football history when Steelers LB James Harrison intercepted a pass from Cardinals future hall of fame QB Kurt Warner and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown before halftime. The Cardinals would battle back valiantly, scoring the game’s next two touchdowns, including a 64-yard touchdown reception by WR Larry Fitzgerald, which gave Arizona a three point lead with 2:37 remaining. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger then led the Steelers on an 8 play, 78-yard drive that was capped off by WR Santonio Holmes’ terrific tip-toe catch in the back of the end zone to secure Pittburgh’s 6th Lombardi trophy, the most in NFL history.

 

1. Super Bowl XLII New York Giants V. New England Patriots

With the prospect of a perfect season on the line, the New England Patriots had only one game to win in order to immortalized as the greatest team ever. The New York Giants had other plans. The game was a 7-3 score stalemate throughout until an amazing fourth quarter took place. First, the Giants took the lead after QB Eli Manning threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to unknown WR David Tyree (*more on him later) to give the Giants a 10-7 lead. Just a few possessions later, Patriots QB Tom Brady did what he does best by leading a 12 play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a 6-yard touchdown pass to WR Randy Moss to give the Patriots a 14-10 lead. On the Giants final possession, Eli Manning escaped the clutches of Patriots DE Richard Seymour and DE Jarvis Green and delivered a 32-yard completion to WR David Tyree, who out-jumped Patriots All-Pro S Rodney Harrison and caught the ball by pinning it to his helmet in what is now referred to as “The Helmet Catch.” Four plays later, Manning tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to WR Plaxico Burress to cap the upset of the century, and the greatest Super Bowl of all-time.

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Bro-Picks Presents “The Predicta-Bowl”: Super Bowl 52 Preview

The least hyped Super Bowl in recent memory awaits.

This postseason in the NFL has more than made up for an otherwise lackluster regular season. It took us a while to get here, and some of it was agonizing to sit through, but we have arrived to the NFL season’s final destination: Super Bowl LII in the freezer known as Minneapolis, Minnesota.

For the 4th time in five seasons, the NFL’s big game features the number one seeds from each conference: the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Many predicted the Patriots would be here at the start of the season. Despite a lackluster defense and even minimal signs of sure to be MVP 40 year old QB Tom Brady slowing down, New England once again ran through most of the AFC. Sure, they were in a dog fight in the AFC Championship game where they were without star TE Rob Gronkowski for an entire half due to a concussion, but even a game Jacksonville Jaguars couldn’t kill off the Patriots machine. Heck, not even alleged in house fighting between head coach Bill Belichick, QB Tom Brady, and owner Robert Kraft over who was supposed to be Brady’s successor, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, and Brady’s cult-ish training guru, Alex Guerrero could stop New England from making it to an NFL record 10th Super Bowl, the 8th among this regime.

Despite rumors of a rift between them, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, QB Tom Brady, and head coach Bill Belichick dominated the AFC once again and are set to partake in their 8th Super Bowl together.

The Eagles were a dominant force this season under the guidance of 2nd year QB Carson Wentz. Wentz and the Eagles looked unstoppable at times, as he threw 33 TDs and finished 2nd in the league in that category. He was first in the league at the time he suffered a torn ACL, MCL, and LCL, a devastating blow that led many, including myself, to believe the Eagles were done. But the Eagles embraced something they hadn’t considered the entire year until the NFL Playoffs: the role of the “underdog.”

Enter back-up QB Nick Foles, who was on his way to being a superstar QB with a 27 TD to 2 INT season with the Eagles in 2013 before bouncing around the league and pronounced done after failing to secure a starting job. Foles has filled in nicely this postseason, throwing for 598 yards and 3 TDs, and could be on his way to earning another starting job this offseason. The Eagles defense has also proven itself to be a main factor in their success this season, as their fourth ranked defense during the regular season has allowed only 17 points in two postseason games. The Eagles have proven they are more than their superstar QB by embracing their “underdog” status, and are a great team firing on all cylinders heading into Super Bowl 52 despite crushing injuries.

When many counted them out due to crippling injuries, the Eagles embraced the role of the underdog. If the playoffs are any indication, they are anything but underdogs in Super Bowl 52.

 

The Prediction:

2 Weeks ago: 1-1

Overall: 170-96

While there has been a lack of buildup to “The Big Game” due to being played in an icebox known as Minneapolis, Minnesota, Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz’s injury, and the prevailing notion the Eagles don’t stand a chance against the mighty Patriots, this will be a close game. The aforementioned Eagles defense is good enough to keep them in the game, and with offensive talent like WR Alston Jeffrey, RB Jay Ajayi, and TE Zach Ertz, the Eagles definitely boast better talent and position players. Had Carson Wentz been under center for Philadelphia, the Eagles would prevail and win their first Super Bowl in franchise history after a legacy of agony, defeat, and underachievement. But the most important position, QB, is dominated by this year’s MVP and perhaps the greatest QB of all time: Patriots QB Tom Brady. Throw in head coach Bill Belichick getting an extra week to game plan and prepare for an opponent, and you have to like the Patriots chances to hoist a 6th Lombardi trophy, a “Predicta-Bowl” result if there ever were one.

Winner and Final Score: Patriots 27 Eagles 23

Bro-Picks: AFC and NFC Championship Predictions

Football’s Fantastic Four.

The NFL’s conference championship weekend has arrived, and all four QBs playing this weekend have combined to make it to this round 12 times. (*Okay, all of those appearances are courtesy of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, so what?*) Other than the Patriots, we’d be kidding ourselves if we thought these teams were going to make this far as late as last week, as no one expected the Jaguars make the Steelers look like dogs in Pittsburgh, the Eagles looked like they couldn’t complete a pass to save their lives with QB Nick Foles filling in for MVP candidate Carson Wentz, and the Vikings needed the  “Minneapolis Miracle”to upend the New Orleans Saints. The NFL’s regular season might have been outright terrible, but the NFL Playoffs have been nothing short of surprising and thrilling, and the AFC and NFC Championship match-ups could provide even more of those same qualities come Sunday.

Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots (3:05 P.M. E.S.T.)

Let start by apologizing to the Jacksonville Jaguars. I predicted you would go 3-13 this season and remain in the basement of the AFC. I highly doubted the Jaguars would be able to go into Heinz Field and knock off a superior Steelers team despite the fact they had done it earlier this season in week 5. The “Sacksonville” defense has been nothing short of stellar this postseason, as they have sacked the opposing team’s QB 4 times, have forced 4 turnovers, and have scored a defensive touchdown. Their defense is good enough to keep them in this game. Their rushing attack, led by rookie RB Leonard Fournette, has been a steady presence for the offense, scoring 3 touchdowns thus far. Even QB Blake Bortles has silenced some of the haters, making key throw after key throw and has even made plays with his legs en route to the Jaguars improbable postseason run.

However, despite all of the ruckus surrounding New England QB Tom Brady’s hand being injured, the Patriots are going to make it to their record 10th Super Bowl. Head coach Bill Belicheck takes the Jaguars seriously, (*unlike the Pittsburgh Steelers*), and is treating this game as if the Jags are going to pulverize the Pats. He does not want to be on the losing end a third time against Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville’s Executive VP of Football Operations, in big game spots such as these. As fitting as it would be to see the Jacksonville Jaguars, the NFL’s forgotten franchise, make it to the Super Bowl, it’s just not going to happen. Even with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s long running feud with the Patriots in mind, the NFL cannot afford Blake Bortles making a Super Bowl over the golden boy.

Winner: Patriots

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (6:40 P.M. E.S.T.)

Had QB Carson Wentz been playing this postseason, not only would the Eagles win this game, they’d win the Super Bowl. Sure, QB Nick Foles had one of the greatest NFL seasons ever with 27 TDs compared to just 2 interceptions back in 2013, but everyone had serious doubts he could fill in for Wentz and make it this far this postseason. Foles played mistake free football last week against the Falcons, and let his top ranked defense win the game for him. It’s true defense wins championships, and the Eagles have enough of it and the “underdog” motivation to surprise everyone by making the Super Bowl despite their crushing injuries.

It should be said, however, one of the only defenses to be better than the Eagles this season belonged to the Vikings, who were number one in total defense in 2017. The Vikings shutout Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints offense for a whole half last Sunday, and looked like an impenetrable wall. Sure, it took the “Minneapolis Miracle”, a 61-yard touchdown pass from QB Case Keenum to WR Stefon Diggs, to pull-out a victory, but that play precisely sums up the Vikings this season. People have doubted this team due to it’s lack of star-power, as its top-ranked defense is mostly nameless and their starting QB has been a journeyman in the NFL. The Vikings have been underdogs his entire season, and the opportunity to be the first team to ever play in their home stadium in a Super Bowl is too good of an opportunity to go to waste. Every dog has its day.

Winner: Vikings

Bro-Picks: NFL Divisional Round Predictions

One step closer to Minnesota.

Wild Card Weekend was predictably wild, but gave us some unexpected results. The great choke artist known as Andy Reid gave away yet another home playoff game as the Chiefs blew a 21-3 halftime lead and lost to the Titans 22-21, the Falcons beat the Rams by holding Los Angeles’ explosive offense to 13 points, the Jaguars barely squeaked by the Bills 10-3 in a battle of ineptitude, and the Saints pulled the hat trick by defeating the Panthers for the third time this season.

We have now arrived at the Divisional Round in the NFL Playoffs, where the top seeds in each conference finally get in on the action. The Patriots, Steelers, Eagles, and Vikings may have earned their high seeding during the regular season, but none of that means anything now that every teams’ season can be summed up by one simple phrase: Win, or go home.

Last Week: 3-1

Overall: 167-93

Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (Saturday 4:35 P.M.)

Suddenly, the Atlanta Falcons have become the team no-one wants to see in the playoffs. Their defense is clicking, holding the league’s top offense in the Los Angeles Rams to a measly 13 points. The Falcons scored 26 points, and are undefeated when scoring 20 or more points this season. While the Eagles were experiencing a magical season behind MVP candidate QB Carson Wentz, Philly’s offense hasn’t clicked since Wentz tore his ACL in week 14. The Eagles cannot rely on the arm of backup QB Nick Foles to get them to Minnesota February 4th, and asking their 4th ranked defense to carry them to the Super Bowl is too tall of a task.

Winner: Falcons

Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (Saturday 8:15 P.M.)

The Titans rode on the back of RB Derrick Henry, who rushed for 156 yards and a TD, and had the ball bounce their way, particularly on QB Marcus Mariota’s 1 yard TD pass to himself off a deflection, en route to an epic comeback win on the road last week at Kansas City. Hope they enjoyed it while it lasted. The Patriots will want to smack anyone in their way of another title, especially after reports of a power struggle between QB Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft.

Winner: Patriots

Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday 1:05 P.M.)

The Jaguars made the Steelers look convincingly ordinary back in their week 5 meeting. After Jaguars QB Blake Bortles rushed for more yards (*88*) than he passed for (*87*) in his playoff debut last week against the Bills, it’s safe to assume Jacksonville will have a much more difficult time beating the Steelers this time around. QB Ben Roethlisberger may have thrown 5 interceptions in their last match-up, but he knows how to win in spots such as these. Throw in the return of unanimous All-Pro WR Antonio Brown, and that spells doom for the vaunted “Sacksonville” defense.

Winner: Steelers

New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (4:40 P.M.)

In a game where their one-two RB tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kumara only rushed for 45 yards on 19 carries, Saints future Hall-of-Fame QB Drew Brees turned back the clock by passing for 376 yards and 2 TDs. If need be, Brees can still fling it. However, against a top-ranked but largely nameless defense in the Vikings, Brees will find it much more difficult to have another throwback performance. And with the prospect of being the first team to play in their home stadium in the Super Bowl for the first time in NFL history, the Vikings will be even more motivated to show their regular season dominance wasn’t a fluke, particularly their week 1 drubbing of the Saints.

Winner: Vikings

Jon Gruden: The Return

Sorry Jack, Chucky’s back.

Back in 1998, then Raiders renegade owner, the late Al Davis, made a bold head coaching move. He fired coach Joe Bugel after a terrible 4-12 season, the Raiders worst season since 1987, in favor of a young, fiery, unknown commodity by the name of Jon Gruden. Gruden was a hit with the Raider Nation, embodying the eccentric fan base to a T. The fans showed their adoration for the coach by bestowing him the nickname of “Chucky”, the killer doll and horror icon from the Child’s Play franchise.

Jon Gruden roams the sidelines during his first tenure with the Oakland Raiders.

Gruden’s tenure with the Raiders was immensely successful, posting a 38-26 record in 4 seasons as the Raiders head coach, and guiding them to the AFC Championship game in 2000. His stint with the Raiders came to an abrupt end, however, when Raiders lost in controversial fashion in what is now known as “The Tuck Rule Game” against the New England Patriots. Gruden lost a power struggle with owner Al Davis, the same man who had hired him to lead the Raiders to the promised land. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a king’s ransom, including Tampa Bay’s 2002 and 2003 first round draft picks, their 2002 and 2004 second round draft picks, and $8 million in cash.

A joyous Jon Gruden hoists the Lombardi Trophy after his Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated his former team, the Oakland Raiders, 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Gruden made Davis pay for his move, as the Buccaneers blew out the Raiders the next season in Super Bowl XXXVII 48-21. Gruden’s next six seasons as head coach of the Bucs weren’t nearly as successful, posting a 45-51 record, appearing in the playoffs twice, and no playoff victories. He was fired at the end of the 2008 season after a season ending loss, which knocked Tampa out of the playoffs, to the same Raiders that had traded him away six years earlier. Ironic.

Jon Gruden looking underwhelmed during a press conference while head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It didn’t take long for Gruden to land on his feet, as he was soon announced as the color commentator for ESPN’s flagship sporting event, Monday Night Football, and remained in that role for nine years. Gruden’s star power emerged even more during this time, as he was not only praised for his commentary inside the booth, but began hosting rookie QBs ahead of the NFL Draft in “Gruden’s QB Camp.” He starred in commercials for Corona and Hooters as well, and seemed like a man who was comfortable living his life without the stresses and pressures of coaching in the NFL. But the 3:17 a.m. wake-up calls and itch to coach again never left Chucky, and teams, both in the NFL and the NCAA, seemingly pursued him every offseason. But Jon didn’t feel the time was right to return. Until now.

Jon Gruden during a broadcast of ESPN’S Monday Night Football.

Following a colossally disappointing 6-10 season for the Raiders, a season in which before it began many believed Oakland would appear in the Super Bowl, head coach Jack Del Rio was fired. The team’s star QB, Derek Carr, lost confidence. The offense under the guidance of first year offensive coordinator Todd Downing looked broken. The Raiders had massively underachieved. Before Del Rio could even announce he was fired, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortenson reported Jon Gruden was set to return to the Black Hole, where his head coaching career began. Nearly 10 days later, Jon Gruden was introduced as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

“This is a big effing deal,” proclaimed Raiders owner Mark Davis at the introductory press conference. It absolutely is. Gruden’s contract is reportedly for 10 years and $100 million dollars. Mark Davis knew he had to make a splash and keep scorned Oakland Raider fans invested in the lame duck franchise for the next two years while they remained in Oakland before bolting to Las Vegas. The fate of the franchise depended on it.

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis needed to make a splash head coaching hire for his “lame-duck” franchise or risk losing fans before the team’s move to Las Vegas.

It helps, however, Jon Gruden believes he has unfinished business with the Raiders, as he invoked horrific memories of his final game as a Raider, “The Tuck Rule” game. “(Tom) Brady fumbled that ball,” Gruden stated. He went on to say, “Yeah, there is unfinished business as a coach. I was traded, I was fired. I’ve missed the game terribly. But I’ve really missed the Raiders. And for my career to end on that night in New England? It still ticks me off. I’m just so thrilled to be back here.”

Jon’s love for the fanbase and the city of Oakland was also prevalent throughout the press conference. “A big reason why I’m here is my passion for the city of Oakland and this franchise. And the people in the Black Hole, if you’re out there listening. I can’t wait to see you guys, man. I really can’t.”, Gruden stated. While Gruden may have 100 million little reason as to why he’s back, it’s clear he wants to be a Raider again, and wants to deliver a winning football team to the city of Oakland before loading the moving trucks. So much of the love letter to Oakland in the wake of the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas has seemed like a PR strategy, as evidenced by the acquisition of retired RB Marshawn Lynch, a native of Oakland, last offseason. But Jon Gruden epitomizes the Raiders and the East Bay’s attitude, so his adoration for the city and the franchise seems genuine.

Gruden didn’t make any promises in regards to producing a winner on the field, however, stating “I’m gonna do everything I can, no guarantees, no promises, but I want to win.” The Raiders will have to find a way to repair their offense, and must greatly improve their defense as well. Gruden seems to have taken steps in those directions already, as he announced Rams QB coach Greg Olson and Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will be the offensive and defensive coordinators respectively.

It’s not often former head coaches come back to the NFL and succeed, only Dick Vermeil won a Super Bowl with the then St. Louis Rams in 1999 after taking a hiatus from coaching. It’s not like the Raiders have had much success at bringing back old coaches either, as evidenced by Art Shell. After coaching the team from 1989 through 1994 during their Los Angeles days, Shell was re-hired to coach the team in 2006, yielding a disastrous 2-14 campaign, their worst in franchise history.  History may not be on Gruden’s side, but the time was right to come back. “I just, in my heart feel this is the thing to do. This is what I want to do. This is the organization that I want to be a part of, and I’m all in.”, Gruden said.

Jon Gruden and the Raiders won the press conference. They’ve riled-up the Raider Nation and have them believing 2018 will be their year. They have reason to believe Gruden can guide the team back to championship contention despite his near decade-long absence from coaching. Win, lose, or tie, Jon Gruden will be a member of the Raider Nation forever, but only time will tell if Mark Davis’ desperate hire will pay dividends within the next 10 years. Much like at a high stakes poker table in a Las Vegas casino, Mark Davis is all-in on Jon Gruden.

Jon Gruden and Mark Davis pose for a photo after Gruden’s introductory press conference at the Raiders headquarters in Alameda, California on January 9th, 2018.

 

 

Bro-Picks: NFL Wild Card Weekend Predictions

The wild wild (card) weekend.

After weeks of debating who would get in and who would be left out, the NFL Playoffs are upon us. They begin with what is typically the most unpredictable of rounds the NFL Playoffs have to offer, Wild Card Weekend. This round is reserved for seeds 3 through 6, with the 3rd and 4th seeds being division winners and the 5th and 6th seeds representing teams who may not have won their division, but won enough games to punch their ticket into the dance.

Only six teams in NFL history have ever won the Super Bowl as a Wild Card team: the  1980 Oakland Raiders, the 1997 Denver Broncos, the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, the 2007 New York Giants, and the 2010 Green Bay Packers. The odds may be stacked against this year’s wild card teams, which include the Tennessee Titans, the Buffalo Bills, the Carolina Panthers, and the Atlanta Falcons, but all of these teams have a reason to believe they can make it to Minneapolis and hoist the Lombardi trophy. Never count out the wild card.

Last Week: 10-6

Overall: 164-92

Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (Saturday 4:20 EST)

Two of the NFL’s most boring/ “they won’t win the Super Bowl” teams face off in ESPN’s biggest money loser. In what could be Jon Gruden’s last game calling Monday Night Football/ Wild Card games for ESPN before he and “The Rooney Rule” breaking Raiders reunite, it’s the Chiefs suddenly resurgent offense that should carry them to victory. However, the Chiefs supposed home-field advantage in Arrowhead stadium hasn’t meant much in years past, as Kansas City is 0-5 in home playoff games dating back to the 1995 NFL Playoffs. Don’t be shocked if the impotent Titans lull the Chiefs to sleep and come away with an upset victory, but all bad things turn around eventually, right?

Winner: Chiefs

Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (Saturday 8:15 EST)

The Los Angeles Rams are the biggest surprise to arise from the NFL this season. Head coach Sean McVay has turned the league’s worst offense in 2016 into the league’s highest scoring offense in just a year’s time, making him the favorite for coach of the year honors. RB Todd Gurley has been reborn into an MVP candidate, piling up 2,093 yards from scrimmage and scoring 19 total touchdowns. But at QB, the league’s most important position, the Rams tout a much improved Jared Goff, while the Falcons will trot out reigning league MVP Matt Ryan. From muscle memory alone, you’d think the Falcons have a clear advantage over the upstart Rams, who currently have only six players on their roster with playoff experience.

Winner: Falcons

Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday 1:05 EST)

Bills mafia, the eccentric and dangerous fan base of the Buffalo Bills, rejoiced when Bengals QB Andy Dalton threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to WR Tyler Boyd to send the Ravens home packing, while catapulting Buffalo into the playoffs for the first time this millennium. It came at the price of the sprained ankle of RB LeSean McCoy, who is a game-time decision for the match-up. The Bills offense desperately needs him, as the vaunted “Sacksonville”defense ranked 2nd in the league in total defense this season. If they can hold down Buffalo’s rushing attack, all the Jaguars need from QB Blake Bortles is to hand the ball off to potential offensive rookie of the year winner, RB Leonard Fournette, and not turn the ball over. That formula should result in a re-match against the Steelers in the Divisional round.

Winner: Jaguars

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (Sunday 4:40 EST)

New Orleans dominated their regular season meetings against Carolina, averaging nearly 33 points and winning those contests by nearly 16 points per game. The Saints have finally surrounded Drew Brees with a running game, compliments of the one two punch that is Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. The Saints defense has also improved greatly, as they were 10th in turnover differential the NFL at + 7. The Panthers are a seasoned veteran team, and QB Cam Newton bounced back from his awful 2016 season. He threw 22 touchdown passes and led his team and all QBs in rushing yards with a career high 754 yards, and is the Panthers 1st, 2nd, and 3rd option. For better or worse, Carolina goes as Cam goes, which isn’t the greatest position to be in against a future hall of famer in Drew Brees.

Winner: Saints

 

 

 

 

Bro-Picks: NFL Week 17 Predictions

A long regular season comes to an end.

After 4 arduous months of mediocre football at best, the NFL’s regular season finally comes to an end this Sunday. It’ll go out on a whimper as well, as the NFL elected not to flex one of Sunday’s games into the Sunday Night Football time slot. The NFL claims this is due to the fact that it’s New Year’s Eve, but its mostly due to the fact none of the match-ups this Sunday will draw a crowd. So much for the NFL still being the king of all American sports, as injuries have derailed some of the league’s rising stars, you can have stretches of playing god-awful football during the regular season and still be in the playoff picture, and we still don’t know what in God’s name a catch is. We can only hope these week 17 match-ups can provide marginal entertainment ahead of what will hopefully be an unpredictable postseason.

Last Week: 11-5

Overall: 154-86

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

Some NFL teams believe the Packer should have to release QB Aaron Rodgers because he was placed on injured reserved and it wasn’t because of a new injury he suffered, a violation of NFL rules. If this were to happen, it would force Packers GM Ted Thompson to finally build a team instead of relying on one of the greatest QB talents to ever be under center. What a concept.

Winner: Lions

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Colts QB Andrew said he doesn’t feel like he’s part of the team this week, but expects to start throwing next week. Oh the agony…

Winner: Colts

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings know what’s at stake this week, a first round playoff bye. They need to take care of business against the lowly Bears, who should “FireFox” as soon as the final horn blows Sunday.

Winner: Vikings

New York Jets at New England Patriots

The Patriots continued their diabolical ways by signing Steelers legend James Harrison this week in an attempt to play mind games with Pittsburgh ahead of their presumed AFC Championship Game match-up. Oh Belichick, you silver tongued devil you.

Winner: Patriots

Washington Redskins at New York Giants

A match-up many believed would determine playoff seeding at the start of the season is now a battle of ineptitude. The biggest question that looms in this one is where both team’s starting QBs will play next season.

Winner: Redskins

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have nothing to play for this week, as they clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs due to their ugly win over the Raiders on Christmas. As usual, the Cowboys found  a way to choke away a playoff birth under the guidance of Jason Garrett. He used to have Tony Romo to blame for these blunders, but it’s become abundantly clear Garrett is not the one to guide the Cowboys to the Super Bowl.

Winner: Cowboys

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Here lie the remains of the 2017 Cleveland Browns, the 3rd team in NFL history to have a winning percentage of 0 in an NFL season.

Winner: Steelers

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

For the Falcons it’s simple: win, and they’re in. But accomplishing this against a Panthers team no one will want to face come this postseason is easier said than done.

Winner: Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

Ravens coach John Harbaugh pulled a Kanye this week by saying the NFL doesn’t care about the Ravens by moving their game from 1 p.m. to 4:25 p.m., which he believes will result in a smaller crowd at the game. He’s not entirely wrong, and he can get back at the NFL by making a long postseason run with his boring team if they beat the Bungles.

Winner: Ravens

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

The Bills mafia has a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999 if they win on Sunday. This should be an easy task against smokin’ Jay Cutler and the Dolphins, but the Bills have known cold, playoff-less winters for nearly two decades. One has to wonder if they have it in them to finally end their playoff drought.

Winner: Bills

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Despite the rumblings of their former Super Bowl winning coach, Jon Gruden, being interested in the head coaching position, the Bucs have inexplicably retained head coach Dirk Koetter for next season. That won’t put a smile on Chucky’s face.

Winner: Saints

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans

The Titans have a chance to still make the postseason as a wild card team, but the Sacksonville defense will want to prove last week’s thrashing at the hands of the 49ers was a fluke.

Winner: Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

The Chiefs will start rookie first round pick QB Patrick Mahomes against the “No Fly Zone” Denver defense this Sunday. Could this be the beginning of the Patrick Mahomes era in KC?

Winner: Chiefs

Oakland Raiders at Los Angles Chargers

Despite what will surely be a road game against LA’s favorite team, the Raiders, the Chargers actually have a chance to make it to the playoffs with a win and some help Sunday. The Raiders, who have been the NFL’s most disappointing team this season, may want to consider a coaching change if they want to just win, baby.

Winner: Chargers

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are resting up for the playoffs with the NFC West wrapped up. Jimmy Garoppolo appears to be the answer at QB for the 49ers, and a team that many thought could go winless not long ago may finish as the hottest team in the NFL.

Winner: 49ers

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians denied a report this week saying he will resign as coach of the Cardinals, but all signs point to that report being true. Despite all the dysfunction with Earl Thomas courting free agent suitors already, the Seahawks can fall into the playoffs with a win and a Falcons loss. They may be dysfunctional, but this is a team that knows what it’s doing once they find themselves in the postseason.

Winner: Seahawks