Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
Jeff Krisko – It’s abundantly clear that the Atlanta Falcons are going to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles and make their way back to the Super Bowl this year. There’s a lot of reasons why this will happen. First, Matt Ryan is #2. Second, they lost 28-3 in the Super Bowl last year, and that was Super Bowl 51. Numerology tells us these are all good omens. Three is a lucky number, as is one. Three minus one is two, Matt Ryan’s number. 28-3 is two distinct numbers, but if you make the score a math equation, it gives you 25. Twenty-five is also an extremely lucky number… as is 51. As for the Eagles, they have a massive bad omen. The Eagles allow the fourth-fewest points per game this year, which is a very good thing overall, but the number four is extremely problematic. Four in Asia is an unlucky number, and not only is the fourth-best defense a bad omen, but Nick Foles, stepping in for Carson Wentz, is on his fourth team stint (Philly, St. Louis, Kansas City, Philly). Not great for the Eagles. Atlanta 28 – Philadelphia 13
Waleed Ismail – It’s very easy to look at Nick Foles, panic and pick the Falcons. Goodness knows I was tempted to do that. But the Philadelphia Eagles are a surprisingly complete football team, even without Carson Wentz. They have a defense that has given up the 4th fewest yards per game, the 4th fewest yards per game and the 3rd best rushing offense in football. While the Falcons certainly have the talent to win this game, they have been too inconsistent all season for me to trust them now. That is why the Eagles win 24-20.
Evan Hoovler – I look across the field at practice. My Sunday school teacher is in the stands. With every mistake I make, I can hear her tut-tut, even though she is 50 yards away and died in 1988. With every dropped pass I feel her eyes burning into me, with every missed audible the ruler comes across my knuckles. That’s just one person, this Saturday the stands will be filled with 65,000 more, all angrily booing and thirsting for my blood. I look at the bottle I have buried in the bottle cart. I am weak. I am small.
My name is Steve Sarkisian, and I am about to cost the Atlanta Falcons the playoffs. Eagles win, 17-13
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots
Jeff Krisko – For Tennessee and New England, we look to the stars… and by that I mean Marcus Mariota and Tom Brady. And by that I mean their astrological signs. Tom Brady is a Leo, and Mariota a Scorpio. Let’s see what the stars have in store for them:
Leo: “Home-based decisions will be easier to make now that you trust your judgment and realize your needs matter as much as everyone else’s. The moon adds luck to lottery tickets but it’s knowing who loves you that makes you feel like a winner.” Tell me this doesn’t lend credence to the fact that Brady and Belichick will put their tumultuous relationship outlined in the Seth Wickersham report behind them and run roughshod all over the remaining three teams on their schedule?
As for Mariota’s Scorpio… not great, Bob:
“Only days ago you agreed to last minute changes in certain longstanding plans. While it was annoying and upsetting, circumstances shifted and there was nobody to blame. Actually, with so much in transition, you’re urged to adopt a more flexible attitude towards sudden changes. It will make your life a lot easier.” This obviously has to do with the imminent ouster of Mike Mularkey. He said that he knew he was on his way out the door and the win only staved that off. Keeping with that idea, Mariota has to know that his circumstances will change sooner rather than later, and he needs to embrace the change… by losing… New England 35 – Tennessee 19
Waleed Ismail – Last week, we witnessed the impossible. We saw a quarterback throw a touchdown pass to himself just to win a football game. In fact, the only way the Tennessee Titans were able to remain competitive with the Kansas City Chiefs was to do something that had never been done in a playoff game before. Whatever miracle the Titans have prepared for this game will most likely be undone by Bill Belichick’s black chicanery. New England wins this game 32-20.
Evan Hoovler – Look, this game is a horrible matchup for New England. Derrick Henry is finally in the pilot’s seat and ready to run all over their mediocre defense. Marcus Mariota is what coordinator’s on the Pats fear most: A smart mobile quarterback. Plus Tennessee’s defense is no tomato can. When Henry ploughs into the end zone as the clock runs out, he will look at the seats and make a pronounced “shushing” noise. Then the fans will look at him, look at the scoreboard, look back at him, and laugh. Patriots win, 31-13
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers
Jeff Krisko – In China, there aren’t just lucky numbers or acts, but there are also lucky colors. The matchup between the Jaguars and Steelers does not bode well for the Jags, especially considering their colors. The Jaguars are teal and gold, which is a mishmash of lucky and unlucky. This signifies their amazing defense (gold, lucky, the color of kings) and terrible quarterbacking (teal, green, the color of the cuckold). The Steelers, by contrast, are the famous black and yellow. Yellow is the color of royalty and power, and black the color of heaven. This tells me they will ascend higher to the throne… Pittsburgh 17 – Jacksonville 13.
Waleed Ismail – Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Bort. Final score. Bort 24, Non-Bort’s 23.
Evan Hoover – People used to make fun of a plucky, never-been-kissed signal caller named Tim Tebow. But when the playoffs came, Tebow proved everyone was looking at him wrong. For one game. That he won. And had the Broncos moved Tebow to running back for an extended Wildcat formation, as I keep urging the Jaguars to do, then Tim Tebow would have a dozen, yes 12, Super Bowl rings. Jags win 21-17.
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Jeff Krisko – It would be rad as heck if the Vikings played the Super Bowl at home. A simple coin flip told me they would move on. What are the odds? Minnesota 24 – New Orleans 20
Waleed Ismail – This game hurts my soul to predict. There is no team I have enjoyed more this season than the New Orleans Saints. They finally have a respectable defense and their offense is just poetry in motion. I want them to win this game. But the Minnesota Vikings have a defense that is playing some pretty terrific football. And when push comes to shove, I pick defense over offense. That is why Minnesota wins this game 23-21.
Evan Hoovler – Look, when Drew Brees is only the third strongest part of your team, you are unstoppable. New Orleans spanks the Golden Gophers, 31-10.