Welcome, Nation, to another roundtable discussion of all things gridiron, as our guys check in with another edition of The Huddle. This week, we examine the fallout from Round One of the NFL Playoffs, as well as what to look for in Round Two, which kicks off Saturday.
Round Two Schedule:
Saturday, January 14:
4:35 p.m. on FOX, Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
8:15 p.m. on CBS: Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Sunday, January 15:
4:40 p.m. on FOX: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
8:20 p.m. on NBC: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
Roger Morrissette’s Special Kickoff Questions*
Cowboy took the lead with the Kickoff this week, as your esteemed sports editor was busy looking for jobs, chasing around his niece and nephew, and he may or may not have written a spec script for the new “Macgyver” reboot.
1. Wild Card weekend played out true to form as all four home favorites won fairly easily. Who has the best shot of being the first road victor?
2. The Giants absolutely imploded in a winnable game against Green Bay. How does Odell Beckham, Jr. recover from being the scapegoat due to drops and the #boatparty? Is Eli cooked?
3. Have the Seahawks really righted the offensive ship, particularly the running game, or are the Lions just frauds?
J Arsenio D’Amato:
Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Green Bay all have decent shots to be the first road victor, as all three of those games should be competitive to make up for the unwatchable wild card round.
Odell Beckham is very young and immature and his career can go the way of Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson, “Ochocinco” very easily. Right now all his actions on and off the field aren’t conducive to leading his team to any titles. Seattle has a championship pedigree even with all of the injuries and lack of an offensive line and are a tough team to put away.
1. I think Seattle has the best shot at winning on the road. The Seahawks are battle-tested and have already beaten Atlanta once this season. Nothing about playing in Atlanta would scare me as opposed to New England, Kansas City, or Dallas.
2. OBJ needs to reign in his behavior. Punching holes in walls and throwing tantrums on the sidelines are not doing him or his team any favors. As far as Eli, it looks to be the end of the line for him and if I’m the Giants, I’m looking at selecting a quarterback on day two of the draft. You can probably get one more serviceable season out of Eli.
3. I think [Russell] Wilson is in the zone now and the running game has picked up with Rawls healthy, but the Lions are not an explosive team on offense and suck at running the ball.
Seattle will face a much better offense this time around and without Thomas to help contain Julio Jones, it could mean trouble.
While it pains me to say it, I think Pittsburgh has the best shot at a road win this weekend. The Steelers blasted KC during the regular season and the Chiefs’ D will have to show up in a big way given the pedestrian nature of their offense.
The way the Steelers are clicking on offense makes it seem very unlikely they will score under 24. The Chiefs will need at least one big Tyreek Hill play and maybe a defensive TD to take it.
I disagree on Seattle – I think they are pretenders and too banged up to compete in Atlanta. I think the Falcons are being underrated in a big way based on past playoff performances… as Eli showed us, every year is different. I think they beat Seattle by double digits.
Green Bay has a better shot based solely on Rodgers. He is out of this world right now. With that said, no Jordy Nelson is a huge deal. I think the Cowboys will keep him off the field with their running game. If the Packers play a first quarter like they did against the Giants, they’ll be down at least 14-0. I see the Cowboys jumping out to an early lead and surviving a Rodgers comeback attempt late.
The Steelers’ D has been playing better down the stretch too, especially in the red zone. I think they win to set up Ben vs Brady.
Roethlisberger is not very good on the road and KC is a tough place to play and the Chiefs have a legit defense. I’m more confident Seattle can beat Atlanta on the road than Pittsburgh winning in KC.
Ben’s health is a wild card – you know he’ll be out there, but they need him close to 100%.
Seattle was pretty bad on the road this year [at] 3-4-1. They did beat the Pats, but the other wins were SF and the Jets. [They] lost to the Rams, Bucs, Saints, and 38-10 in Green Bay five weeks ago. Atlanta went 5-3 at home, but two of those losses were a bit fluky… the Chiefs game with the returned 2-point conversion and the Chargers coming back from a 17-point deficit.
I just think to beat the Falcons in a dome you have to outscore them… tall order for Seattle’s offense, which has been pretty average. We shall see.