And Am I the Only One Who Believes NFL Week 18 was Dreck?
Ok, before we get to Wild Card Weekend, I want to take a moment to explore a word that to me personified NFL Week 18.
- obvious and intentional exaggeration.
- An extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”
If you look it up in the dictionary – you know those books with the red cover that used to exist? – you’ll see a photo of Cris Collinsworth. See this quote from last week’s LA Chargers LV Raiders game as evidence…
“Al if this is a movie I would have already left because the script was so unbelievable. Like that can’t really happen.”
What does that even mean. It was happening right in front of your stupid face. God if only you would leave and let Al do the game by himself.
So, my question for everyone who is fondling the NFL’s Johnson for the past week. What was so great about it besides the last 2 games?
Saturday, we had Broncos Chiefs which wasn’t a great game and Cowboys Eagles which was a blow out that looked more like a scrimmage.
On Sunday at 1pm WFT crushed the Giants, the Lions beat the Packers with nothing at stake, Vikings smoked the Bears, Titans ho hum beat the Texans and the Browns downed a Bengals team without Burrow or Mixon.
There were two games that had meaning at 1, but were they great games? Absolutely not. The Colts were crushed by the worst team in the league 26-11 to lose out on a playoff spot and the Steelers Ravens was a boring game until the Steelers tied it at 13. At one point the consecutive possessions were Ravens fumble, Steelers Field Goal, Ravens Interception, Steelers Interception, Ravens turnover on Downs. Those are the makings of a great game?
Ok, I’ll admit the Overtime was good and the 4th & 8 conversion by Ben in possibly the last game of his career was memorable. But a great game in total? No.
Then the late games consisted of Bucs Panthers 41-17, Seahawks Arizona 38-30, Dolphins Pats 33-24, Saints Falcons 30-20, Bills Jets 37-20. These were great games with a lot on the line so everyone in the media is massaging Goodell’s junk?
Let’s get real, there were two games going into the weekend that looked good on paper and only two games that turned out to be good in reality. There were the Rams 49ers, a game which in the first half was a bore at 17-3 and the Chargers Raiders OT finale. And let’s remember it was 29-14 midway through the fourth quarter.
So why is everyone kissing the NFL’s ass like Week 18 was the greatest week in the history of NFL football? I can’t figure it out.
Anyway, on to Wildcard Weekend, which does in fact feature a slate of games that should really make for an incredible weekend of Football.
“Finally, a game that means something. The Colts need a win against the Jags and they’re in the playoffs. Even Carson Wentz can’t fuck this up.”
Yes, I absolutely said that last week in this very space. I was wrong, Carson Wentz could, and did fuck it up. He dicked it up, he choked, he stunk up the joint. How ever you want to put it, that’s what Wentz did. With a chance to clinch a playoff spot against the 2-14 Jaguars, Wentz went 17-29 for 185, a TD, a Pick, a lost fumble and he was sacked 6 times. That’s a 58.6% completion rating and a 74.6 passer rating, oh and two costly turnovers against the Jaguars who lost the week prior 50-10.
After the game here’ what Wentz had to say…
“It sucks, honestly, you know, walking off kind of in disbelief. It’s hard to fully reflect on everything right now. It all happened so fast. But just even thinking back just to where we came from, (we) dug ourselves out of a hole. You know, we were in control of our destiny. And then the last two weeks just didn’t get it done. It hurts right now. A lot of reflection to come over the next handful of days, unfortunately. But, yeah, it’s not a good feeling right now.”
Here’s a guy who still won’t take the blame for his failures. It didn’t suck Carson, you did. And how do you think Colts management feels? They’re stuck with you and no first round draft pick because that is now the property of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Speaking of the Birds, here’s a look at their Wild Card matchup with the Bucs brought to you by History.
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The 1pm game on Sunday features a matchup with some pretty good historical flavor as this will be the fifth time these two teams have faced off in the playoffs.
The Eagles and the Bucs first playoff meeting came in the 1979 Divisional Playoffs when the Birds flew down to the Big Sombrero for Tampa’s first ever playoff game in franchise history. The Eagles were fresh off a 27-17 Wild Card win over the Chicago Bears, but they couldn’t overcome a 17-0 TB lead and would eventually fall to the Buccaneers 24-17.
The most interesting period between the two squads; however, were the three playoff games the Eagles and Bucs played in a row during the 2000–2002 seasons.
In 2000 the two faced off in the Wild Card Round. The Eagles had turned things around with an 11-5 regular season after going 5-11 the year prior. The stifling Eagles defense and the Donovan McNabb led offense would turn the game into a rout 21-3.
2001 would be the same story as the Birds and Bucs met up again in the Wild Card Round at Veterans Stadium. The Eagles dominated from start to finish, intercepting Bucs QB Brad Johnson four times and eventually winning 31-9. Tony Dungy was fired as Buccaneers coach two days later.
The fourth playoff matchup was on the biggest stage when the two faced off in the 2002 NFC Championship. The Eagles were -4-point home favorites and after taking an early 7-0 lead and looking like it was Super Bowl or bust, one play changed the momentum, when Brad Johnson threw a short pass to WR Joe Jurevicius who seemingly ran forever en route to a 71-yard gain. Mike Alstott would cap the drive with a one-yard TD run and a 10-7 Bucs lead. Tampa would win the game 27-10 and go on to a Super Bowl win over the Oakland Raiders 48-21, giving Jon Gruden his first SB win as coach, with Tony Dungy’s team.
Now let’s take a historical look at a football series that began in 1937.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams
In Grumpy’s Week 14 column I mentioned a game with the two teams who used to be the football franchise in St. Louis and have a history dating back to 1937, when the Cardinals were located in Chicago and the Rams were located in Cleveland.
At the time I said there was a good probability the Rams and Cardinals would see each other again in the playoffs, so I was going to save that story for another day. Guess what, that day is today.
The now Arizona Cardinals will head to LA to face the now Los Angeles Rams on Monday night to see who will move on. The two teams split the season series with the Cards winning the first meeting 37-20 and the Rams winning in Week 14 by a score of 30-23.
One interesting tidbit is that every Rams Cardinals game since 2017 has been decided by seven or more points, so if you pick the winner, you should get the cover. Speaking of winners, the Rams are 9-1 against Arizona since the Boy Genius took over as head coach in 2017.
But let’s look a little deeper into the history of these two teams who both served as the NFL franchise in St. Louis.
The teams who started out as the Chicago Cardinals and the Cleveland Rams played 14 times between 1937–1945 and split the series 7-7.
The Rams then moved to Los Angeles for the first time and the LA Rams faced off with the Chicago Cardinals 12 times between 1946-1958, again splitting the series at 5-5-2.
The Chicago Cardinals would move to St. Louis for the 1960 season and locked horns with the LA Rams 13 more times between 1960-1987. The move to St. Louis didn’t help the Cardinals during this span with the Rams winning 10 and the Cards only 3.
In 1988, the St. Louis Cardinals became the Phoenix Cardinals and this time the move would prove more fruitful as they won 4 games and lost only 1 to the LA Rams between 1998-1993.
In 1994 the Phoenix Cardinals became the Arizona Cardinals and were coached by former Eagles HC Buddy Ryan. They would lose the only game in this matchup 14-12 to a Rams team coached by Chuck Knox in front of a pathetic crowd of 32,969 at Anaheim Stadium.
The Rams then moved to St. Louis in 1996 and would be the city’s franchise until 2015, winning a Super Bowl Title in the process. If you need a refresher on that Super Bowl win you should go check out the movie American Underdog. Oh wait never mind it’s already out of theatres. The St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals matched up 30 times during that span with the Cardinals winning 18 to the Rams 12.
In 2016 the Rams moved back to Los Angeles and have since amassed a 10-2 record against the Cardinals.
What’s really interesting is that in all those games the Cardinals and Rams have only faced off one time in the playoffs. It was a 1975 Divisional Playoff win for the Rams by a 35-23 score. The Rams defense scored two touchdowns in the first half on pick 6’s, one by Jack Youngblood, and RB Lawrence McCutcheon ran for and NFL Playoff record 202 yards.
Interestingly enough, Ron Jaworksi was the winning QB for the Rams that day. He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1977 and would be the Eagles starter in their loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs in the 1979 Divisional Playoff Game I highlighted earlier.
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Grumpy’s Pick(s) of the Week
Ok, last week I skipped on picks because the games sucked. And I still don’t care what anyone says, with the exception of two games and a handful of quarters the first ever NFL week 18 blew chunks.
But it’s time to move on and I will do so by taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8 vs the Philadelphia Eagles. Living in the Philadelphia area I have heard all week about how this upcoming monsoon and bad weather will doom the Bucs and deliver the Eagles the win because the Bucs can’t run the ball and the Eagles are the best running team since Johnny Strzykalski, Joe Perry & Frankie Albert. Look it up.
Dare we forget the Eagles are 9-0 against teams with losing records and 0-7 against teams with winning records. They’ve beaten Matt Ryan, Trevor Siemian, Sam Darnold, Jake Fromm, Jared Goff, Teddy Bridgewater, Taylor Heinicke, Zach Wilson and What’s Eating Garrett Gilbert Grape. This week they get Tom Brady.
Dare we forget the Bucs beat the Eagles 28-22 in Philadelphia in week 6 of the season in a game the Bucs led 28-7 until they became disinterested and fell asleep late to let an all-out Birds team make it respectable.
Dare we forget this is a Tampa Bay team that toys with inferior competition? Last week against the Panthers with little to play for they lollygagged through the first half to lead 17-10. Brady & Co then put it into high gear in the second half to outscore the Panthers 24-3 with little more at stake besides clinching a better seed and getting Gronk his $1 million in incentives.
What do you think’s going to happen with a playoff win on the line especially after Brady had to deal with this not shaking Nick Foles hand bullshit all week. Buccaneers cover.
Pick #2 is the Los Angeles Rams -3.5 vs the Arizona Cardinals.
Enjoy Wild Card Weekend. I hope you are fortunate.