Refreshed, Rested, and Ready to Roll

So, the bye week is important.

The NFL divisional round playoff games proved one thing. Getting a bye is very important and improves your odds for advancing. It has been six years since a wildcard weekend team reached(and won) a Super Bowl, but most years at least one wildcard weekend team wins a divisional round game. Not this year.

The Chiefs, Rams, Patriots, and Saints each took advantage of their week off and came out refreshed, rested, and ready to roll.

Chiefs

This isn’t your granddaddy’s typical Andy Reid choke artist team. Pat Mahomes is a gunslinger. Gunslingers don’t choke. He may lose, but he won’t choke. They are a high octane offense, with a defense that is a different animal at home. Home is where they will be for next week’s AFC Championship Game. I wouldn’t bet against them. This is the best team Andy Reid has put on the field since arriving in Kansas City. He deserves credit for bringing Mahomes along slowly, allowing him to learn by watching last year. Reid also deserves another shot at a Super Bowl. This team has that Super Bowl look.

Patriots

In the first half Sunday, Tony Romo said that the Patriots don’t impress you with their personnel anymore, it’s just the system is so good. He’s correct. Brady is old. Gronkowski is broken down. Julian Edelman is their only quality receiver. They rotate running backs, as they always have. The offensive line is adequate. Their defense is okay, but certainly not great. These are simply facts.

They win because they’ve run the same system for years with the same Hall of Fame quarterback and the same Hall of Fame coach, and nobody has found a way to stop it consistently. They made the Chargers, a four loss team, look like a semi-pro team. Note to Chiefs…don’t play zone against the Patriots.

The reason so many dislike Tom Brady and the Patriots can be found in this six second clip.

You can even hear reporter Tracy Wolfson laugh at the comment. Nobody I know thinks the Patriots suck, it’s just that they don’t like them. Most ultra successful teams are hated by many. Moreover, they have looked susceptible this year. That’s not doubting them, it’s just analyzing what we saw this season. So get over your pity party Tom, and go out and play annoyingly well again next week.

Rams

Some thought the Rams offensive line was a weak spot. Then they gashed the Cowboys for 273 rushing yards. Many of those yards came from CJ Anderson, a guy who suddenly resembles a bowling ball.

Aside from Anderson, the Rams have a bunch of other serious offensive weapons. Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods give quarterback Jared Goff a lot to choose from. If they can get a solid performance from defensive players other than All World Aaron Donald they will have a real chance at advancing to a Super Bowl.

To do that, they will have to survive the road and the Superdome. Apparently Marcus Peters, who is clearly a better trash talker than player, is ready…for some gumbo?

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Reminder: Los Angeles Rams CB Marcus Peters had this to say about Sean Payton after New Orleans Saints' win in Week 9. (via Lindsey Thiry)

Posted by SportsCenter on Sunday, January 13, 2019

Video courtesy of ESPN Facebook.

Saints

For the last month or so, the New Orleans Saints have not quite been firing on all cylinders. Sunday, the Saints took a half to get things rolling. Then Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas took off. They didn’t score a ton of points, but they looked a lot more like the early season Saints. Having said all of that, they benefitted from a ball going through Alshon Jeffrey’s hands and turning into an interception that essentially ended the game. The Saints were the least impressive team of the four advancing. A shootout is possible against the Rams, and that’s right up their alley. It is tough to bet against Payton, Brees, and the dome.

Tim Clark is a columnist and editor for PennSports.LIVE, and a wonderful writer of words. He is a lifelong sports fanatic with an eclectic mix of favorite teams including USC Trojans football, Louisville Cardinals basketball, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins in pro sports.

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