NFL wild card playoffs: Experience preferred, not required
Wild Card weekend!
The NFL playoffs are in full swing with some intriguing match-ups. Each game will feature one starting quarterback with playoff experience with the opposing QB having none. That’s the angle taken by many of the football analysts regarding this weekend’s games. But just how important is it to have been battle tested in playoff football?
Joe Montana had zero playoff experience in 1981. Zip. Nada. Nuthin’.
Same for Kurt Warner in 1999.
Ditto for Tom Brady in 2001.
The results? A Super Bowl MVP trophy for all three.
That said, I don’t put a lot of stock in so-called playoff “mojo”. However, I do believe that the four starting QBs who have appeared in the post season previously will lead their respective teams to victory this weekend.
But the real question here is will they all cover?
As always, the following picks against the point spread are for recreational purposes only.
Redskins (+2 ½) at Buccaneers: The Buccaneers won a regular season thriller over the Redskins in Week 10. With the ‘Skins leading 35-28, the Bucs scored a TD with less than a minute remaining. Coach Jon Gruden decided to go for the win by calling for a two-point conversion attempt. The officials ruled that RB Mike Alstott crossed the goal line, giving the Bucs the win, 36-35. I guess in the eyes of that officiating crew, closeness counts in horse shoes, hand grenades and two-point tries.
Jaguars (+7 ½) at Patriots: Jags QB Byron Leftwich remarkably will return just six weeks after breaking his ankle. But I’m afraid his club will fall a bit shy given that two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady is unbeaten in his playoff career (9-0). However, your day will come, Byron. Remember, Denzel Washington was beaten out by Al Pacino for Best Actor at the 1992 Oscars. I think Denzel rebounded nicely, didn’t he?
Pats win, Jags cover.
Panthers (+2 ½) at Giants: Panthers coach John Fox threatened to fine players if they engaged the Giants in trash talking. However, Fox would allow them to earn the money back if they could successfully spell “Osi Umenyiora.”
Steelers (-3) at Bengals: Did you happen to see the Bengals performance on defense each of the last two weeks? An average of over 30 points and 400-plus yards allowed. If you have a bobble-head doll out there of a Cincinnati defensive player, dousing it with gasoline and setting it ablaze would make it more life-like.
Last Week: 6-7-3