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Ten Thoughts on the NFL, the playoffs, and the Bears

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NFL: AFC Wild Card-Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Since my playoff picks didn’t go as planned last weekend, I’m taking a mulligan and picking the divisional round over again. My first few thoughts this week will give you the postseason schedule for this weekend plus my new and improved picks!

SATURDAY GAMES

1) The Indianapolis Colts travel to the play the top seeded Kansas City Chiefs with a 3:35 pm (Central) kickoff on NBC.

About a month ago I mentioned on a podcast I was guesting on that if the Colts got into the playoffs they could win the AFC. After saying that I still picked the Texans to beat them last week.

Whoops.

No with a chance at at do over will I go back to the Colts?

Nope, I’m taking the Chiefs to win 31 to 30.

2) The Dallas Cowboys take on the Los Angeles Rams at 7:15 pm (Central) on FOX.

This would have been the Bears spot had the kick been true.

Give me L.A. to win, 24-23.

SUNDAY GAMES

3) Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots at 12:05 pm (Central) on CBS. The Chargers were the only winner I picked last week, so I’ll ride with them one more time and predict Philip Rivers finally wins against Tom Brady by a score of 23 to 17.

4) The Philadelphia Eagles head to the dome to battle the #1 seed New Orleans Saints at 3:40 pm (Central) on FOX and will the “underdog” Eagles keep the Nick Foles magic going?

I doubt it. The odds of the Eagles getting a bunch of breaks two weeks in a row are slim, so give me the Saints to win 28 to 14.

All the home teams are favored per bestsportsbooks.co, so we’ll see how it shakes down this weekend.


5) Back to the Colts for a second. Frank Reich — who accepted their head coaching job only after Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels accepted then backed out — wasn’t able to hire all of his assistant coaches because McDaniels had already started hiring his staff.

It wasn’t an ideal situation for a first time head coach, but it worked out pretty well for them.

6) And speaking of McDaniels, after interviewing for the Packers job and not getting it, he has decided that he would not seek any other NFL head coaching jobs at this time.

Then again, he has been known to change his mind...

7) The Green Bay Packers made an unexpected hire by tabbing Matt LaFleur as their next head coach, and I think it could be a good hire for them. He fits the recent trend of young offensive minds getting head coaching jobs, but the key will be how well he meshes with Aaron Rodgers. There have been some rumors coming out of Green Bay that he’s not the easiest guy to deal with.

LaFleur comes from the Titans where he was their offensive coordinator, but he’s also worked with Sean McVay and Kyle Shannahan in the past. He’s a West Coast offense guy so the new offensive terminology will be close, if not identical, to what they had under Mike McCarthy.

After hiring their young head coach, Green Bay’s next step is in keeping the defensive staff intact.

It’s a similar blueprint to what the Chicago Bears did a year ago.

7) The Raiders made news last week when they hired football analyst Mike Mayock as their new general manager. Mayock had a cup of coffee in the NFL, and he worked as a sideline reporter and color-man, but it was his stellar work as a draft guru for the NFL Network that really put him on the map.

He’s been one of my favorite football analysts for some time now, but working with head coach, and fellow TV star Jon Gruden, will be an interesting dynamic. When asked who has the final call on drafting players, Mayock said this.

“In all honesty, Jon’s got final say, if it ever comes to that, and I’ve got zero problems with that,” Mayock told ESPN’s Steve Levy on Monday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium, where he was scouting the college football title game between Alabama and Clemson.

”Now, having said that, I think we’re going to come to a consensus, and I like a little yelling, a little screaming, a little fighting for what players you believe in. But at the end of the day, I guarantee you, Jon Gruden and I are going to know what a Raider looks like and smells like. I don’t think we’re going to have any issues.”

I thought the Raiders played decent down the stretch and it’ll be interesting to see how their new rebuild shapes up.

8) There was a lot of NFL talent on the field last night from Clemson and Alabama, but the most talented player is only 19-years old and not eligible for the NFL draft until he’s three years removed from high school (2021).

9) With the Bears season over, we turn our attention to the NFL Draft, but with no picks until the third round most of the usual mock drafts will be useless to us. Luckily we have a slew of draftniks here at WCG that will bring plenty of third round options to us to discuss.

Also, don’t sleep on general manager Ryan Pace using more future picks to get back into the 1st or 2nd round this year if there’s a guy he really likes. He’s shown an aggressiveness in past drafts, so anything is possible.

10) Do you guys realized what happened exactly one year ago?

NFL: Chicago Bears-Press Conference Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

10a) Have you guys voted for the Bearman yet?

Let’s get him into the Hall Of Fans by voting here.