Reverse Barometer: NFL Playoffs Edition
Four NFL playoff games this weekend and we’ve got you covered. What’s better? 72 degrees and dry condition in Indianapolis or the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field? Whichever you prefer, here’s our forecasts for the games:
Chiefs at Colts: The two teams will meet for the second time in three weeks, as Indy downed the Chiefs, 23-7, on Dec. 22 at Kansas City. The Colts have won three-straight, giving up only 20 points in that span. Defense wins championships, and, so does home field advantage. Take the Colts to win over the Barometer’s favorite team in 2013. Why? Because it’s not 2013 anymore. And the Colts have Luck on their side. Get it? Colts 26 Chiefs 13
Saints at Eagles: The two quarterbacks in this game both went to the same high school – Austin Westlake. At least one Texas quarterback will win a playoff game this year. Get this – the Saints have never won a playoff game on the road. Ever. New Orleans lost each of their last three games of the regular season while Philly might be the hottest team in the NFC right now. Eagles soar at home in this one. Fire up some cheesesteaks for your watching parties. Eagles 24 Saints 17
Chargers at Bengals: Cincy is 8-0 at home this season. San Diego is back in the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game in 23 years. It will be cold. Not as cold as the “Freezer Bowl” in 1981 between the two teams (-9 temperature), but cold. Take the Bengals. They have fur. Bengals 30 Chargers 20
49ers at Packers: Packer fans must not be confident, as the team failed to sell out their game in time to avoid a local TV blackout on Thursday, though that deadline has now been extended to Friday afternoon. But then again, maybe a temperature forecast of -5 doesn’t motivate like it did for the Ice Bowl in 1967. Maybe the players are more confident than the fans, now that Aaron Rodgers has returned. The problem is on the other side of the ball; Green Bay’s defense is not so good. Look for the 49er receivers (and tight ends) to dominate the game. Hopefully the locals won’t have to see the carnage on TV. 49ers 34 Packers 14
Long Range NFL Playoffs Barometer:
NFC Champion: Seattle
AFC Champion: Cincinnati (really)
Super Bowl Champion: Seattle
Texas Longhorns Head Coach Reset:
Barometer predicted two weeks ago that the Horns’ new head coach would come from a four-man pool of Art Briles, James Franklin, Charlie Strong and Mike Gundy. OK, maybe the Gundy pick was a stretch, but the guy flirted with Tennessee last year like Mike Mangino eyes the pizza buffet at Cici’s.
Barometer sticks with our first three and replaces the fourth name with Jim Mora, Jr. from UCLA. Rumors say Texas is interested. I don’t think he’s a good fit; the worst of the four names for Texas, in my humble opinion. Mora stays at UCLA; he’s a better match for the Bruins. Plus, if he were leaving, it would have been for his alma mater, Washington.
The updated prediction – Briles ends up in Austin*. The man may look like a tractor salesman, but he can coach and recruit. Any of the first three would be good choices, actually.
* Literally five minutes after posting this column, Briles announced he was staying at Baylor. Bears fans can thank me later for publishing this fine piece of journalism.
Reverse Barometer is a tradition going back many years, in which my picks and calls tend to not just be wrong, but go completely the opposite way. Take this advice at your own peril. Sometimes I’m actually right, but I would suggest wagering any of these predictions the other way.