Update: here are Colin’s thoughts on the Divisional Rounds (he loves Denver to beat Pittsburgh)
Colin ended his last week of the NFL regular season with a 2-3 record, ending his 5 week winning streak. In a typical year, Colin would end it after the regular season since he would have to pick every single game rather than picking his favorite picks. But with the college championship game and the NFL playoffs, Colin will make this very last Blazing Five picks of the year.
Onto this week’s picks:
THE HERD’S BLAZIN’ FIVE PICKS NFL 2016 WILDCARD PLAYOFF:
[loser] Kansas City at Houston (+3.5) – FYI, Cousin Sal picked the Chiefs to win in a blowout as his lock of the week. As for Colin, he’s taking the Texans here. Chiefs likely wins in a close game, but Colin is picking the Texans to cover. Neither team has a great offense, but rely heavily on their defense. Since week 8, Houston has allowed 12 points a game, and 5 times they allowed exactly 6 points in a game since week 8. They had 8 sacks last week against the Jags. In a low scoring game, Colin would not give up more than a field goal. Chiefs also have a great defense, they’ve only allowed 14.5 points in their last 12 games. But Brian Hoyer is capable at QB for Houston, and he’s the best QB Houston has. Houston’s at home in a low scoring game. Houston will cover with KC winning 21-20.
[loser] Pittsburgh (-2.5) at Cincinnati – Steelers are giving up less than a field goal this game. In the last 15 times these two teams played in Cincy, Steelers are 13-2 against the spread. Pitt has decent defense, not great, but they are great at stopping the run and 3rd in the league in sacks, which means A.J. McCarron will have to beat the Steelers. McCarron is about 60%-70% of Andy Dalton, who Colin does not love. Take the Hall of Fame QB against a backup QB. Steelers wins 28-24.
[loser] Seattle (-5) at Minnesota – It will be cold, but not overly windy, weather shouldn’t be a huge factor. Teddy Bridgewater grew up in Florida, he doesn’t like playing in zero degree weather either. Whereas Wilson played at Wisconsin and now plays in cold windy Seattle. Vikings are loaded with young players, and they just came off an emotional win against the Packers to win the division, they will pull back emotionally. Difference in QB play is massive this game, Bridgewater is closer to A.J. McCarron than to Russell Wilson, the difference in their level is staggering. Seattle wins 27-17.
[winner] Green Bay (-1) at Washington – Redskins are the hot team going into the playoffs, but Aaron Rodgers will be facing the Redskins defense that’s ranked 28th in the league in yards allowed, they give up chunks of yards. Washington played 3 great teams this year, and lost them all. Washington finished last in points off turnovers differential, which means their offense is limited and not very opportunistic. Green Bay has not been impressive to end the season, but they did lose to two great teams in Arizona and Minnesota. Green Bay circles the wagons, wins 28-23.
[loser] Clemson vs Alabama (-7) – In college, Colin does not have problem giving up points. Of the last eight national championship games, the favorites won 7. Alabama has more experience, more players that are NFL ready. Clemson’s biggest weapon is their QB Deshaun Watson Bama played against 2 mobile quarterbacks this year, and Bama stifled them both. Bama had the toughest schedule in the country, they only lost to Ole Miss by 6 because of fluke turnovers that they rarely commit. This should be a competitive and close game, but Alabama pulls away late 34-24.