Welcome to the first 2017 post of “the stack.” Hopefully everyone had a nice weekend. The NFL playoff field is set and The Stack will be talking about it later this week, but let’s get to reaction from Sunday’s games and take a look at the bowl games being played today in “the stack” for today, Monday, January 2nd:
Bengals 27 Ravens 10
The Bengals wanted this one more apparently. They didn’t have a lot of offensive weapons, but beat the Ravens handedly. Apparently Steve Smith won’t be leaving the game on a winning note, but changes appear to be coming to the Ravens offensive staff. Will Marvin Lewis be back as Bengals head coach? We’ll find out soon.
Colts 24 Jaguars 20
Colts owner Jim Irsay reportedly is not happy with what he has seen from his team this year. He couldn’t have liked what he saw in the first half in Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. A last second fourth quarter touchdown with nine seconds left to win the game may help though. Both of these teams have significant issues they need to resolve in the offseason.
Patriots 35 Dolphins 14
The Patriots emphatically ended a three game losing streak in Miami to the Dolphins with this rout. In doing so, they secured homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs and Tom Brady made one last effort to show that he is the MVP of the NFL. Hard to argue. Both teams are in the playoffs.
Vikings 38 Bears 10
If the Vikings that showed up on Sunday played like that all season, they would be back in the playoffs. Oh wait, they don’t play three win teams like the Bears every week. Sam Bradford was good and the five turnovers forced by the defense helped make this one a runaway and get the Vikings to .500 for the season. Still a disappointing season given how it started (5-0 in case you can’t recall).
Jets 30 Bills 10
Guess that decision to bench Tyrod Taylor didn’t help matters much for the Bills quarterback situation. They looked abysmal in their loss to the Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick played pretty well for the Jets, but both teams go into this offseason needing some serious help.
Eagles 27 Cowboys 13
Finally! A Tony Romo siting! Romo came in and threw a touchdown on one series for the Cowboys and then Mark Sanchez came in and gummed things up. The Eagles were able to pick up a win and end the season on a good note as they enter the offseason which will give Carson Wentz and company a full offseason to re-tool and get better.
Steelers 27 Browns 24
The Browns played better in this game, but you have to take into account they were taking on the Steelers’ backups. They had a chance to win in OT with a touchdown, but a quick pass to Andrew Hawkins was snuffed out quickly and the Browns lost 14 yards or so on the play. They had to settle for a field goal and the Steelers scored a touchdown on their possession. Only the Browns. At least they have the number one overall pick.
Buccaneers 17 Panthers 16
This one wasn’t all that pretty. Cam Newton threw three interceptions and Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers offense didn’t look very good, but they rallied with a fourth quarter touchdown to take the lead and hung on to win. Not enough to make the playoffs, but this is a team on the rise. That’s for sure.
Titans 24 Texans 17
Even with veteran quarterback Matt Cassel, the Titans were still able to beat the Texans who face significant quarterback questions headed into their wild card game this week against the Raiders. Tom Savage suffered a conclusion and had to leave the game. Brock Osweiler came in and actually didn’t play too bad at all. We’ll see what they decide to do. They still couldn’t beat the Titans though on Sunday.
Falcons 38 Saints 32
The Atlanta Falcons started fast on Sunday with five touchdowns in their first five possessions. That was enough to hold off a late rally by the Saints. The Falcons offense is legit. Matt Ryan has made a strong case for being MVP of the league. The running game is good and oh yeah they have Julio Jones. They clinched the two seed with the win. Watch out for the Falcons.
Broncos 24 Raiders 6
Perhaps the Broncos were playing a little more inspired in this game because it was likely head coach Gary Kubiak’s last game (he told the team after the game he was retiring confirming reports from earlier in the day). Then the Raiders lost quarterback Matt McGloin to injury and had to go to rookie Connor Cook. He didn’t play terrible, but this once promising season could end very quickly if McGloin is unable to go in wild card weekend. The defending Super Bowl champions don’t even make the playoffs.
Cardinals 44 Rams 6
The Rams quit on their season a few weeks ago. That’s what it looked like in this game. The Cardinals took it to them, but lost running back David Johnson to what appears to be a significant knee injury which is a tough way to go into the offseason. He is a special talent. Hopefully the injury isn’t too bad.
Chiefs 37 Chargers 27
In what very well probably was the last game for the Chargers in San Diego, Chiefs rookie Tyreek Hill made a couple of big plays and Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense got going to take the two seed in the AFC with the Raiders loss. This Chiefs team is scary.
Seahawks 25 49ers 23
The Seahawks fell into a quick 14-3 hole to the 49ers, but came back to win because the 49ers stink and head coach Chip Kelly was fired as well as GM Trent Baalke. However, the Seahawks are not themselves. There was another scuffle on the sideline between teammates. It just seems like this Seahawks team is off. Don’t expect them to get very far in the playoffs unless they come together.
Giants 19 Washington 10
The Giants, with absolutely nothing to play for, kept Washington’s offense in check all day. Washington did tie the game 10-10 in the fourth quarter, but the Giants responded with a field goal on their next drive and then scored a defensive touchdown late when Washington started throwing a bunch of laterals. You like that Kirk Cousins? You might have just lost yourself a lot of money.
Packers 31 Lions 24
Aaron Rodgers said over a month ago that the Packers could run the table. He was right. The Packers won the NFC North Sunday night in Detroit and Rodgers has made himself perhaps the leading candidate for MVP with a four touchdown performance. He is playing lights out right now. Watch out for the Packers in the postseason. They could very well run the table in the playoffs. At least for Lions fans they are in the playoffs.
Florida vs. Iowa (Outback Bowl) 1 PM ET ABC
Raymond James Stadium and Tampa get a dress rehearsal for the National Championship game next Monday night. Both teams stink on offense, but have pretty good defenses. I’ll take the team with the better defense (Florida) who will manage to figure out a way to score a bunch of points.
Pick & confidence points: Florida, low 30s (30-32)
Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin (Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic) 1 PM ET ESPN
What a story Western Michigan has been this season. I think they have a pretty good chance at taking down a Wisconsin team that is probably still stinging from blowing that second half lead against Penn State in the Big Ten Championship game. The MAC though has really struggled in bowl games this year. Have to think that a good Wisconsin team is still slightly better than the undefeated Broncos. Not quite as confident in this one.
Pick & confidence points: Wisconsin, high teens (17-19)
USC vs. Penn State (Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual) 5 PM ET ESPN
USC is a virtual home team in this game and no team has played better the last two months arguably outside of Alabama than USC. Penn State plays really well for stretches, but has yet to play a complete game. They’ll play with a chip on their shoulders, but the talent of USC triumphs over them.
Pick & confidence points: USC, mid 20s (24-26)
Auburn vs. Oklahoma (Allstate Sugar Bowl) 8:30 PM ET ESPN
What Auburn did this season to turn things around with Gus Malzahn coaching for his job is pretty remarkable. They have a strong defense and a decent enough offense if that is a kind enough word to describe it. Oklahoma ran the gauntlet in the Big 12, but “Big Game” Bob Stoops has troubles in bowl games lately. He has a more talented team. Don’t let me down Bob.
Pick & confidence points: Oklahoma, high 30s (37-39)
Coming up Tuesday: CFP reaction, NFL coaching news and more