The 2016 NFL regular season has officially come to an end and many football fans will soon be deprived of this glorious game for half the year. There’s actually some good news in this ordeal, though. This season was one to remember with many storylines like both the defending Super Bowl champs Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers missing out on the playoffs together! What about the way the rookie duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have revitalized the Dallas Cowboys and have been sitting atop the NFC? Nobody will ever forget Odell Beckham Jr abusing, cuddling with, and marrying the kickers practice net! After such an amazing regular season, one could only hope that the playoffs are even better! It’s now BBQ or Mildew time! Does your favorite squad have what it takes to make it to Super Bowl LI?? Lets take a look at this weekend’s matchups:
AFC Wild Card Round
Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans Saturday @ 4:35p on ESPN
Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday @ 1:05p on CBS
With the habitual top seeding New England Patriots and the fiesty Kansas City Chiefs earning the weekend off, two very interesting matchups in the AFC are up. First up, we have the injury-riddled Houston Texans taking on the equally injured Oakland Raiders. The young & hungry Raiders will head into the playoffs without starting quarterback Derek Carr, who was making a case for NFL MVP before a fibula injury vs. the Colts in week 15 ended his campaign. Rookie QB Connor Cook is set to become the first Rookie to get his first start in a postseason game and will have his hands full with a Texans defense ranked #1 in total defense. Houston, though, has its own share of quarterback issues to sort out. After luring former Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler to Houston with a lucrative 4 year, $72 million contract, Osweiler has done next to nothing to deserve it! You know it’s bad when head coach Bill O’Brien benches him in week 15 and the crowd cheers as backup Tom (21) Savage entered the game! Savage suffered a concussion last week against the Tennessee Titans forcing the Texans to hand the reins over to Osweiler again! Don’t expect different results though, folks. The Raiders have enough weapons for Cook to weather the storm.
In Pittsburgh, Big Ben and company have grind their way into a spot in the tournament, but look to be have gotten hot at just the right time as they take on the new Miami Dolphins on Sunday! This matchup will be a rematch of the 30-15 Dolphins victory in week 6 that ignited Miami’s 6-game winning streak! Miami will enter the postseason tournament without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but backup Matt Moore has proven to be at least just as good as the inconsistent Tannehill. With the All-Pro “Triplets” running back Le’veon Bell, Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown all healthy and finding their stride during the final stretch, The Steelers should sneak out with a close victory. Miami’s dream season comes to an end against the same team that initiated the hype train.
NFC Wild Card Round
Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks Saturday @8:15p NBC
NY Giants vs. Green Bay Packers Sunday @4:40p on FOX
In the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons have earned the right to perhaps take a trip to Miami and party with Justin Bieber! Instead, that’s how Odell Beckham Jr. and a few Giants teammates decided to spend their day off on Monday. While I have absolutely zero problem with it, being a South Florida resident, I just hope they’re all prepared for Sunday’s meeting with Aaron Rodgers and the smoking hot Packers! And they will be! While Mr. Discount Double Check has been on fire the past 6 weeks, so has Landon Collins and the Giants defense! Though Eli Manning had been his usual inconsistent self, he usually plays his best in the postseason when he boasts an elite defense! Not to mention that the Packers’ secondary has yet to show up to a game this season! Look for Manning and OBJ to feast on the Cheese Head defense en route to the divisional round.
In Seattle, we have a matchup featuring two of the NFL’s young gunslingers: Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford. Coming into the season without newly-retired All-Pro WR Calvin Johnson, everybody and their mama had all but written off the Detroit Lions! Behind Stafford’s MVP caliber season, the Lions came within a win of earning their first division title in nearly 25 years. On the other side, the Seahawks might have over achieved without also newly-retired All-Pro RB Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch and a horrendous offensive line. This game will come down to who can make a defensive stop when their respective team needs it, and the Legion of Boom resides in Seattle! Free safety Earl Thomas will be missed, but the Seahawks playoff experience should be enough to get them over the hump.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
After being suspended for the 1st quarter of the season, Brady and the Patriots have been on a rampage! While many will punish him for missing so much time, you can’t ignore the fact that he amassed 3,554 passing yards, 28 touchdowns & only two interceptions! Not to mention his 11-1 record or the way he has the Patriots looking like Super Bowl favorites!
Landon Collins, NY Giants
The recipient of this award may surprise most, but real ballers will understand why Collins should be most deserving. In just his second season, the young safety put together a Bob Sanders-esque season totaling 125 tackles (100 solo), 5 interceptions and 4 sacks. His play his been one of the reasons the Giants defense has vastly improved this season and have them back in the playoffs! Von Miller or Khalil Mack may actually walk away with the award, but Collins has definitely shown that he’ll be there to catch it if one of them slip one bit!
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Although he’s playing being arguably the best offensive lines in the NFL, nobody can deny that Elliott’s running ability is just as impactful! His league-leading 1,631 rushing yards & 15 touchdowns were good enough to break the great Tony Dorsett’s rookie record, and it’s more than enough to garner honors.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Joey Bosa, San Diego Chargers
After missing the first four games of the season due to an ugly contact holdout coupled with a minor hamstring injury, Joey Bosa has been making offensive lines (and the Chargers front office) put some “Respeck on his name”! In a mere 12 games, Bosa has totaled 10 1/2 sacks and over 20 QB pressures! One could only imagine what this young bull would do with a full 16-game slate.