Bold predictions for the divisional round: Vikings rookie QB has a monster day, The Natural wins OT thriller in the trenches.
It is that time of the season ladies and gentlemen. PML playoff madness is upon us! Arod (AFC) & Bacon (NFC) are here to bring you some more BOLD prediction that you should be prepared for in the divisional round!
Austin Ekeler and Javian Hawkins run for a quarter mile and 6 touchdowns!
Okay so I know it’s been a while since any of us were forced to do any type of mathematical conversions like this, so before you start googling the conversion formula of yards to miles, the answer is about 450 yards. Yes, I confidently predict Ekeler and Hawkins will amas a total of 450 yards rushing in the AFC divisional matchup with 6 total combined touchdowns. Its not too farfetched when you dig a bit deeper into the potential of the prediction. The two have been tearing it up all season with 58 combined touchdowns. Yes, 58. Hawkins, the rookie out of Louisville, has taken the league by storm hitting the 2,000 yard milestone and setting the NFL single season rushing touchdown record at 38, passing who? Yes, you guessed correct Austin Ekeler and his short lived record of 36 he captured last season. Guess who else is a part of the exclusive 2,000 yard club? Do I need to say it? Well, yes, Austin Ekeler. I expect fireworks on the ground this game as Fallen has been absolutely committed to feeding the rookie the pigskin. It isn’t everyday we get such a marque matchup of top flight running backs in a game of ultra-importance. We watched Fallen blow his opportunity last year through the air in his playoff matchup versus the Patriots. As always, I am a firm believer that we learn from our mistakes and Fallen has taken the mentality to another level by changing his entire offensive scheme by turning into a run dominant offense. Hawkins vs Ekeler, one of the better narratives I will be keeping my eye on during this game.
The Natural holds down the throne in a run-heavy overtime thriller
I truly expect this being one of the more anticipated games I have been around to witness in my PML days. KMFO has come onto the scene and not only dominated PML thus far, but ironically, shares a division with the reigning Super Bowl champion and is in prime position to be the savior Dramaman has been looking for all cycle. I totally expect both coaches to take the next 36 hours or so to watch game film, plan, and strategize for the divisional showdown. The Bills defense has been nothing short of dominant as they rank first in the league in most defensive categories. Look for the Patriots to come out with a more conservative approach this game and lean heavily on the abilities of Phillip Lindsay not only on the ground, but with short passes and check downs. I am not totally sold that The Natural has the confidence, nor plans to in better words, take shots into the hungry Bills secondary with an explosive pass rush looking to disrupt Cam Newtons motions. With that said, the Patriots need to dictate the game script and ensure that it will be decided in the trenches. These two teams have combined for 90 total sacks, ultimately placing the Bills and the Patriots 1st and 2nd in the league respectively. The Natural will not put himself in a position to try and match passing attacks with the Buffalo Bills in this one. Knox (1,546/8), Diggs (1,474/17), Chase (1,236/10) is too much to try and keep up with going against a defense of KFMO’s caliber. PML playoff experience kicks in here for the Natural and he finds a way. Look for the Natural t to dictate the game script, essentially creating a low scoring game that is decided late, maybe even overtime.
NFC Hot Takes (Bacon)
Now, we’re going to take a look at the NFC. There has been some talk about it being the weaker conference and that the AFC Championship is the real Super Bowl, but I disagree. In the divisional round, we are going to see four teams who fought all season to get where they are now. As they say, “any given Sunday”.
1.Miles Sanders rushes for more yards than Dwayne Haskins throws
Football Team Head Coach Tbruh aka Tbandit has gone on record writing off both the Eagles and the Saints, his two potential opponents this round. He is already looking past them and has his eyes set on the NFC Championship game. In his mind, this game is in the bag and all he has to do is load up the game and set the controller down. If I had to guess, he hasn’t prepared for this game at all and assumes he is going to win by 20+ without watching any film on his opponent or preparing any semblance of a gameplan. I think Tbruh’s decision to prematurely announce his spot in the conference championship is going to be bulletin board material for an Eagles team that has been playing tough and scrappy football lately. Eagles coach Burn is going to be dialed in for this game. He is going to run the ball very well as he always does, and spend half of the play clock scrolling through “standard pass”. Miles Sanders has flown under the radar this year, but has actually been one of the most elite players in the league, rushing for 1700 yards and 29 touchdowns and adding 71 receptions for 578 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is the backbone of this team and is going to do everything he can to help propel the Eagles to another underdog playoff run as they face off against a coach who views them as junior varsity level.
2. Avonte Maddox scores two defensive touchdowns
If you had told PML before the season that Avonte Maddox would be one of the most feared defenders in the league by the end of the year, the league would have laughed at you. Coming off a season that saw them pick in the top ten of the draft, most of the league wrote off the Eagles. However, they slowly but surely found themselves slugging their way into playoff contention, and with a big Week 17 win over Quesita and the New York Giants, Philadelphia wound up in the playoffs. After a strong outing against the Seattle Seahawks, they are now in the Divisional round. In their last three games, Maddox has tallied six interceptions and has shown a knack for the endzone. Whether it comes on a bad read by the Football Team or a bad pass by Haskins, Avonte Maddox is going to leave a mark. One coach has been quoted, saying, “you don’t do anything impressive and shouldn’t have won,” to Eagles head coach Burn. He may not have to do anything impressive, but he’s winning and Maddox has been a big part of their success. Tbandit is going to be cocky early and force a pass against Maddox that goes to the house and then throw him another pick six when he is trying to get back in the game.
1.Jamie Newman throws for 400+ yards
The rookie from Georgia had a solid first season in PML, throwing for 3300 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions after winning the QB job over Kirk Cousins in the preseason. Ranking 30th in passing yards per game, Newman hasn’t been much more than a game manager in the regular season. Not much has been asked of the rookie quarterback, and I think Cowboys coach CEO knows it. He is going to focus on Dalvin Cook, the heart and soul of this Vikings offense, and try to make Newman beat him through the air. Outside of Justin Jefferson, nobody caught more than three touchdowns this season. CEO is going to try to stop the run and focus on the young receiver from LSU. However, I think Svperstar will adapt and find ways to get guys like Adam Thielen and Irv Smith Jr. open and overcome blanket coverage on Jefferson. Thielen is sneaky athletic, one may even call him a “lunch pail guy”. The Cowboys will underestimate the crafty veteran’s ability to beat them over the top, and he will help propel Newman to a breakout game in the playoffs.
2. Dak Prescott throws 5 interceptions
CEO and the Dallas Cowboys have had some games where they exploded offensively, highlighted by scoring 76 and 70 on the Panthers and Saints, respectively. Not to mention 59 on the Falcons and 61 on the Giants. This offense has been lethal all season. However, we’ve seen CEO pull a bacon more than once and throw back-breaking interceptions in huge moments this year. He is a coach who is more than capable of blowing out an inferior coach, but can slip up when the lights get a little too bright. He is known for being surgical as a passer and making few mistakes. Protecting the ball as well as anyone, CEO is conservative with his play calling and keeping his emotions in check. However, behind a Vikings offense that is well rested and I expect to explode after their bye week, they are going to have to play catch up in this game. This Cowboys passing attack functions more as a complement to the running game rather than doing the damage on its own, ranking 28th in the league. I think Dak Prescott is going to have to play hero ball, and the Vikings are going to make him pay.