An Uneducated Take: Divisional Weekend

8 Teams down to four.

by Three Point Stance Contributor Zack Couch | @ZackCouch

Wild Card Weekend is over. How’d y’all make out?  I went 1-4 with my picks (had two picks on the Titans-Pats game).  Sitting at 47-39 with eight games to go.  Obviously I can finish above .500.  I won’t pick wrong on everything. Right??!  We’ll cover the weekend’s games, get into a bit of the head coaching carousel, and run over a few thoughts.

Oh Buffalo.  The city sold out of folding tables in the lead up to the game and the team was rolling with and were leading 16-0 in the third quarter.  What happened?  DeShaun Watson happened.  Watson led his team to three straight scoring drives to take a 19—16 lead late in the fourth quarter.

With a minute left in the game, Buffalo got a shot to tie the game.  On the very first play of this drive, Josh Allen broke free for a huge gain on a scramble and as he was going down, tried to lateral?!?!?  What the fuck?  It didn’t cost his team the game, because the Bills were able to bat the ball out of bounds.  What was he thinking at the time?  I ask that question, but I don’t really want to know his excuse for doing it.  I’m choosing to think he might be dumber than Jared Goff.

In Overtime, Watson made one of the best plays of the year.  He somehow got away from two defenders and was able to hit Taiwan Jones on the check down for a huge gain to set up Fairbairn’s game winner.  

During and after the game, there was a lot of talk over Dabo Sweeney comparing Watson to Michael Jordan.  This feels like just a bit of hyperbole at the moment. Sure, he made some clutch plays, he’s won a National Championship, but we need to pump the brakes at that because he will still need to win a Super Bowl or two before it will be fair to make a comparison like that.  I’m not saying he’s not a good player, I’m just saying slow down.

After watching this game, two things are immediately clear.  Derrick Henry is elite, and Tom Brady might need to retire.

Henry chewed up the Pats defense for 182 yards and 34 attempts.  And he didn’t get most of it on one long run.  His longest run was for 29 yards.  It was just a consistent ground and pound through the entirety of the game. 

Which leads us to Tom Brady.  He really should hang it up. What more does he need to prove?  He’s still the G.O.A.T even if his last throw was a pick six.  What more does he need to prove?  He’s got more championships than any other quarterback in the Super Bowl era.  

Carson Wentz…solid quarterback…just can’t stay healthy. That will be the story of him for the rest of his days. Just a damn shame.  Seattle was able to lean on a depleted Eagles team and get the win, but it shouldn’t have been that close, but we did get to see another fat Marshawn Lynch touchdown. Life is good.

Good for you, Kirk Cousins.  Way to get the win in NOLA, but at the same, he didn’t look good in the game and he almost drove Diggs to insanity with the lack of targets.  If you take away that last big throw to Thielen, Cousins was 18 of 30 for 199 yards. That’s just not going to get it done.  Thankfully, he has a defense that was able to come up big throughout most of the game.

I honestly came away feeling more impressed with Taysom Hill than anything after this game.  50 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, 25 yards receiving, and 1 touchdown. What more can you ask of this guy?

Anyway, Cousins was able to hit Rudolph in the end zone for the game winner in overtime on what was a potential offensive pass interference.  I wouldn’t have thrown the flag as an official, but I can see the gripe.  It just comes off as humorous.

Coaching Carousel
Well, the head coaching jobs didn’t stay open long as we saw that Dallas, Washington, Carolina, and New York filled their vacancies.  Two of these hires seemed like good fits while the other two left me scratching my head.

Washington: Hiring Ron Rivera seemed like a no brainer.  Experienced and should be able to make somewhat of an impact.  Doubtful to see him get back to the height of his successes at Carolina though.

Carolina: Matt Rhule feels like a good hire. I think they may have overpaid but I don’t question the decision to hire him.  Only question left for them is if they will depart from Cam. 

Dallas: Mike McCarthy?  I don’t get this one.  He wasted the best years of Aaron Rodgers’ career.  You really want to go with that?  Also, to satisfy the Rooney Rule, you interview Marvin Lewis?!??! A man who is 0-7 in the playoffs?!  Seriously, why not give Eric Bieniemy a shot?  Or Jim Caldwell?  This was just painful to see.

New York: Ummmm, you know you all could have interviewed Josh McDaniels, right? Instead you want to go with Joe Judge.  A wide receiver’s coach from New England.  Remind me again, what was New England’s weak point this year?  And also hiring Jason Garrett as offensive coordinator?  I’m fairly certain the Giants have given up on life.

And this leaves us with a final opening in Cleveland.  Jim Schwartz, Robert Saleh, Josh McDaniels, Greg Roman, and Eric Bieniemy all seem like good choices.  Hell, if Cleveland is willing to pay for it, why not try to make a play for Lincoln Riley and have him reunite with Baker. My money is on Saleh for this job, although I would not be mad if it went to Roman or Bieniemy.

Quick Takes
Richard Sherman: Granted, he’s earned his moment for proving all the naysayers wrong in regards to his incentive based contract, but dude, relax.

Antonio Brown: Stop tweeting!  Just stop. Reveling in the curse associated with your name?!  Get the fuck out of here. 

Jadeveon Clowney: Diving head first into a player who was going down…yeah seems legal.

Josh McCown:  Nice try, man. You did everything you could.  You left it all on the field.  Hold your head up high.

Russell Wilson: If you didn’t see it, you should check it out.  In the post game handshake with Eagles coach Doug Pederson, Russ checked in on the health of Carson Wentz.  It was a throwaway moment, but it showed a lot of character for Wilson.  I don’t think I’ve seen any QB do that ever.

Dallas Cowboys:  I already mentioned it once, but I’ll say it again.  They really hired the guy that wasted Aaron Rodgers’ prime playing years. 

Divisional Playoffs
Alright, we got Divisional Round games to pick.

Minnesota at San Francisco

The 49ers have opened up as a 7-point favorite and got down to -6.7 before coming back to -7.  Minnesota’s defense played tough in New Orleans but it’s gonna have to play even tougher as I imagine the Niners pass rush should be able to get to Cousins with relative ease.  I’d take the Niners -7.

Tennessee at Baltimore

Baltimore opened as 10-point favorites and now sits at -9.5. With Derrick Henry rushing the way he has been, I expect this one to be a bit closer.  I’d take the Titans +9.5 in what may be one of the shortest games all season.

Houston at Kansas City

I’m very excited to see this one.  KC opened at -9 and it currently sits at -9.5.  With the way Houston beat the Chiefs earlier in the year in Arrowhead, this feels like easy money to pick Houston +9.5.

Seattle at Green Bay

Green Bay opened -3.5 and it’s up to -4.  As depleted as the Seahawks are, I still think they cover +4.

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