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Sowing's Wildcard Picks

I became way too busy in 2020 to do this on a weekly basis, but now that the playoffs are here, I can't leave ya'll hanging. Take these picks to the bank, ladies and gentlemen. List is recent digs.
1The Avalanches
We Will Always Love You

#7 Colts (11-5) at #2 Bills (13-3): Josh Allen had an MVP-caliber season and the entire team is hitting its stride at just the right time. They just dropped 56 points on a Dolphins team that was in the thick of the AFC playoff race. On the other hand, the Colts let a 1-15 Jaguars team hang around pretty late before finally securing a 28-14 win and (barely) a playoff birth. Still, the Colts could prove to be a pesky obstacle. They boast a top-10 defense both in terms of points and yards allowed, Frank Reich is a superb play-caller and seasoned spoiler (OC during the Eagles shocking 2017 Superbowl win, HC when the Colts pulled off a road upset two years ago in Houston), and Rivers has that late-career-no-f's-given moxie which affords him the confidence to make bold throws with nothing to lose. Plus there's always the risk that Josh Allen won't thrive in the postseason spotlight - remember how he panicked on the Bills' final drive against Houston last January? Pick: Colts 30, Bills 27
Halo of Hurt

#6 Rams (10-6) at #3 Seahawks (12-4): The Seahawks' offense hasn't looked the same for a couple of months now -- something feels broken. Even at 12-4, it almost feels like they stumbled into the playoffs. To their credit, they've been able to consistently grind out ugly wins. The Rams have been wildly hit or miss this season, appearing as either a Super Bowl contender or a top draft pick contender (see: losing to the Jets), so it's tough to project a likely outcome in this tilt. One thing I'll say is that the Seahawks' defense has been getting stronger as the year has wound to a close. That, combined with the Rams' banged-up offense (including the questionable status of starting QB Jared Goff), means I'm rolling with Russ and his ability to pull out another ugly 4th quarter win. Pick: Seahawks 24, Rams 16
The Good Sweat

#5 Buccaneers (11-5) at #4 Football Team (7-9): A 7-9 team without an actual name hosting a playoff game sounds like a punchline, but don't write the Washington Football Team off entirely. This defense is for real, and I expect them to offer significantly more resistance than Tom Brady is used to facing. Their problem lies on the offensive side of the ball, where at best they've been a ball-controlling field goal machine. I'd love nothing more than to see a 12-9 dogfight where a nameless Washington team and their cancer-beating head coach emerge victorious over a six-time superbowl champion, but unfortunately, Tampa is just too good on both sides of the ball to succumb to even the friskiest incarnation of this WFT squad. Plus, the Bucs have really been balling out lately -- they've outscored their last four opponents 148-75. That momentum may be challenged here, but it won't end. Pick: Buccaneers 27, Football Team 16
4Taylor Swift

#5 Ravens (11-5) at #4 Titans (11-5): This story practically writes itself. The Ravens are re-matched with the squad that prematurely ended their superbowl aspirations a year ago. Now the road underdogs themselves, they have the opportunity to return the favor by handing the Titans a home playoff loss. It's more than just a movie script, however: the Titans faltered down the stretch, getting blown out by Green Bay 40-14 and then barely squeaking out a must-win game against the 4-12 Texans. Conversely, the Ravens rediscovered their mojo (winners of 5 straight) and are now that wildcard team that nobody wants to face. Between Derrick Henry and Baltimore's stable of runningbacks, both offenses will feature a lot of running. I foresee a close game early on before the Ravens run away with things, both literally and figuratively. Pick: Ravens 37, Titans 24
5Slaughter Beach, Dog
At The Moonbase

#7 Bears (8-8) at #2 Saints (12-4): There are some interesting hypotheticals that I could chase into an upset prediction, but I'm going to firmly resist that urge because I think that even if all of the Saints' runningbacks are inactive due to COVID, they're still absurdly more talented on both sides of the ball. Then there's the whole Drew Brees narrative...everyone in that locker room will be giving 110 percent to send him riding off into the sunset with a second superbowl ring a la John Elway/Peyton Manning. There's also the "us vs the world" narrative - this team, which seems to perpetually meet bad fortune in the postseason - is gunning to finally fulfill its championship potential. Oh, and remember those "things I trust more than" memes, which included things like Flint water? That's how I feel about Mitch Trubisky in the playoffs. Pick: Saints 34, Bears 14
6Andrew Bird

#6 Browns (11-5) at #3 Steelers (12-4): They did it! The Browns finally made the playoffs for the first time since 2002, and it's hard not to feel good for their fans. Let's just hope it's not a fleeting euphoria, as they head on the road to face the Steelers and that suffocating defense. The good news for Cleveland fans: the Browns were built for this. They have an outstanding offensive line and running game, and can get just enough plays out of Baker Mayfield such that they don't need to rely on him to carry the offense. The defense is stout enough. They're built not only to withstand these bad-weather playoff games, but to thrive in them. Pittsburgh is -almost- in the same boat, but they lack a strong running game to make everything work, which leads to too much pressure on Roethlisberger's aging shoulders. Pittsburgh has also fallen ass-backwards into the playoffs after an 11-0 start. The Browns will grind out a miraculous win here. Pick: Browns 20, Steelers 17
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