NFL 52 Pickup: The Road Warriors
By Alex Fleming
So the code opened the door. The final four are left standing on an epic last Sunday of normal football in America. The best have come to play. When healthy, both 1’s look opposing. But these are not normal times. The HyVee sensation will play. But his health has become a question in the back of our minds. The most talented quarterback on the planet, is 1-4 in NFC Championship games. To be fair, he’s finally at home.
The red white and blue come storming into Kansas City looking to break tables and hearts. Statistically, Josh Allen is an emerging nightmare, and Diggs can have rightful claim as the best receiver in the game right now. The Southeast belongs to the AFC East, and the NFC South. After a recent 2nd round TKO stunner similar to Poirier vs. McGregor, the Saints are still shocked they aren’t playing this Sunday. But their counterpart dusted themselves off, to have a chance at history. Never in NFL history, has a team hosted and played in their home stadium for the Super Bowl. With Tom Brady, his legacy precedes him. Anything is possible. It is 2020. And I can’t help but notice that these two teams have something in common: both teams have a winning road record. Both teams have played better, on the road. Buffalo is 7-1 in the road. Even that took a Hail Murray. The 2 home losses were from Kansas City and Tennessee. Tampa suffered 3 losses at home. The Saints, Rams, and Chiefs all defeated the Bucs at Raymond James. Retribution is a dish best served cold. The losses to the Saints and Bears were early in the season. The Buccaneers are 8-2 on the road.
These road Warriors have to play their cards right. Arrowhead is a tough environment for anyone to go inside of. The defending Super Bowl champions are not going to give you anything, and even with their $503 million dollar quarterback injured during their first playoff matchup, they found a way to still win. Mahomes has passed concussion protocol, and he will look to retain his crown as the best quarterback in the NFL. Towards the North, an MVP looks for undisputed validation, with a trip to his 2nd Super Bowl. 48 touchdowns, 5 interceptions; 2 to the team they’re facing. It’s not as if this guy needs motivation. The 53 man rosters are all missing someone. Zach Moss, Tardiff, Antonio Brown, David Bakhtiari. We have ourselves a game of 52 Pickup. But you have to play your cards right. It’s been 25 years since Buffalo was in a Super Bowl. Tom Brady can be the first quarterback ever, to play in 10 Super Bowls. A 7th Super Bowl would not only be the cherry on top of the low-fat whipped creme, on top of the Avocado Ice Cream, of a brilliant career. Not to mention the epiphany solved of whether it truly was the chicken, or the egg. Talk about a home field advantage….
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers regardless of the outcome of sunday’s game will go home. Tired, beaten, and frustrated that they couldn’t pull off such a historic achievement is without a doubt likely. The Green Bay Packers already have the advantage: they are at home, and more in-tuned with the weather. This is when one must be mentally tough. There are quite a few players on the roster that has played or is used to inclement weather. The Usual Suspects, Brady and Gronk, Cameron Brate from his Harvard days. Tyler Johnson did play in Minnesota; he is used to the cold a bit. Ndamukong Suh is a Cornhusker at heart, and the long-awaited return of Vita Vea, brings hope and a wall, to assist in the rushing defense. Antoine Winfield Jr. is a dawg; a rookie safety who’s becoming an enforcer. Also, a former Golden Gopher. Lavonte David is the most underrated linebacker in the game today, and Devin White has stood out in the last week’s of the season. Confidence non-deturring, a Dante’s Inferno is all that’s in their way in acquiring history. Win or lose, the Bucs win with a victory on Sunday.
Should the pirates fear the Frozen tundra? No. Here’s why. To those that know, or remember, the field of grass the Green Bay Packers play on is heated. There are thermals buried beneath the field, keeping it warm and fresh. Of course there is the chance at falling snow, but if there isn’t any dropping, the field will be nice and comfortable. So many people want or expect the State Farm Bowl. You Can’t Always Get What You Want.
In Buffalo’s case, an up and coming beast in the east is roaming through the playoffs. 74% completion of your passes isn’t easy on any given Sunday, but that’s what Josh Allen is doing. The wide receiver core is the key to their victory this Sunday. Diggs, Beasley, Davis, Smokey and Stills. Wouldn’t sleep on McKenzie either.The disrespect the Buffalo Bills received after losing to the Super Bowl champions off of a tough back to back in the regular season, was heartfelt. This one is for all the marbles however, and a little bit of respect from the media and doubters. When the Buffalo roam, they tend to leave a trail. If it wasn’t for Arizona, that trail would be 12 straight games and the hottest commodity since Bitcoin. The timing is right, the numbers add up, the pieces fit. Daboll will play his best chess this Sunday. Look for the #@BillsMafia to go crazy watching the performance of the Bills defense, led by Leslie Frazier. Pay attention to the steady decision making and humble and hungry mentality of Coach McDermott. The resurrection of the wagon is complete. Expect a different Bills team that you used to know on VHS; Though shall not steal- unless it is to eat. Watch a hungry Bills squad eat up on the ground, and steal a victory in Arrowhead Stadium. The game February 7th will merely be a foreshadowing of a 2021 regular season matchup. Who better than the Buffalo Bills? Four time Super Bowl run in the 90’s legendary quarterback and receivers. Tough defense, an opportunist of corners; old and new. Synergy in action, with an unstoppable empty set package. But they have to play their cards right.
Predictions: Buffalo 41- Kansas City 32 Tampa Bay 37- Green Bay 34