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Kibbles and Picks 2020/21 – Regular Season Final and Wild Card

January 8, 2021
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And that’s that.

It was a moonshot anyway – I had to be correct on all seven of the games on which we differed to come out on top – but at least there was a chance. Alas, despite an excellent 13-3 record on the week, I was able to carve away just a single game from Stella’s lead, thanks to her own also-excellent record of 12-4. Thus, by a margin of five games, Stella is the 2020 Kibbles and Picks champion.

I did what I could – a blazing 46-18 in the final month – but it just wasn’t enough, leaving me to once more bow to the superior football picking acumen of my dog. For the sixth time in eight years, I tip my cap to Stella.

ALLEN’S PICKS

Week 17 record: 13-3

Season record: 162-93-1

STELLA’S PICKS

Week 17 record: 12-4

Season record: 167-88-1

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But that’s the regular season. As with every year, I have the opportunity to avenge my defeat with postseason Kibbles and Picks. I’ve had a touch more success with this one – and make no mistake, just a touch – but ultimately, it’s the playoffs. Some weird stuff is going to happen and whichever one of us more accurately anticipates the weird stuff will win. I hope it’s me – a dignified end would be nice (though we all know whatever football-picking dignity I might have once had is long gone).

In this, the newly-expanded Wild Card Round, we’re in agreement on half of the six-game slate. On Saturday, we both like Buffalo and Tampa Bay to win. The Bills are playing well enough to be considered among the favorites to mount a serious look at a Super Bowl run; Stella and I both like the Colts, but neither of us thinks that they can muster up what it takes to beat a rock-solid Buffalo team. Washington is here because their division is terrible; Tom Brady looks poised to once again make his annual playoff run – though with a different jersey this time. He and the Bucs will have no problem carving up the WFT.

On Sunday, we agree that New Orleans should have little trouble knocking off Chicago. The Saints have had a strange season, but their offense is about to see an influx of impact, assuming Michael Thomas is ready to go and Alvin Kamara clears COVID protocols. The Bears just aren’t ready for prime time, though if Mitchell Trubisky can find a way to win this game, things get tricky in Chicago. Still, I don’t think the Bears front office needs to worry much about it.

As for our disagreements, we’ll start on Saturday in Seattle. I’ve got the visiting Rams winning the game. I know, I know – Jared Goff might not play. And I’ll admit, if John Wolford starts, this is likely a bad pick. Either way, Aaron Donald makes life rough for Russell Wilson. Goff plays and the Rams get something going on the ground? They win. Stella disagrees; she’s of the mind that Seattle wins this game regardless of who the quarterback of the other team is. She thinks Wilson will be more than capable of finding guys like D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett against this secondary. She also expects at least two turnovers, courtesy of the opportunistic Seahawks D.

Next, it’s off to Tennessee, where I have the road Ravens beating the Titans in their own house. I know Lamar Jackson laid an egg in last year’s playoffs, but it’s tough to pick against a guy who, even after a step back from last year’s MVP incandescence, is so electrifying. I think the savvy Baltimore D minimizes the damage done by running back Derrick Henry and the offense scores just enough to win. Stella also admires Jackson, but she expects his playoff win drought to continue. Her take is that this defense isn’t good enough to minimize the force of nature that is Henry (not many are). She thinks Henry touches the ball 30 times and Ryan Tannehill completes the passes he needs to complete and the Titans win. We do agree that it’ll be a close one.

Lastly, we have the Cleveland/Pittsburgh tilt. I’m going with the Browns here, though not without a far amount of reticence. While I do appreciate the talent on the Cleveland roster, they continue to struggle with COVID ramifications – head coach Kevin Stefanski will not be at the game due to a positive test. I’m banking on that roster talent, on both sides of the ball, to carry the day even without Stefanski’s presence. Stella thinks I’m nuts – of COURSE not having the head coach on the sideline is going to have a negative impact. And while this Steelers team has its flaws, it has more than enough firepower to take down the reeling Browns. She expects a big game through the air and a few timely sacks by the Pittsburgh defense.

And there you have it. Playoff Kibbles and Picks in full effect. Will I restore some modicum of honor to my name? Or will I be twice-defeated, laid waste to by my adorable adversary? Only time – and the games – will tell.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Saturday, Jan. 9

Indianapolis at BUFFALO

LA RAMS at Seattle

TAMPA BAY at Washington

Sunday, Jan. 10

BALTIMORE at Tennessee

Chicago at NEW ORLEANS

CLEVELAND at Pittsburgh

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STELLA’S PICKS

Saturday, Jan. 9

Indianapolis at BUFFALO

LA Rams at SEATTLE

TAMPA BAY at Washington

Sunday, Jan. 10

Baltimore at TENNESSEE

Chicago at NEW ORLEANS

Cleveland at PITTSBURGH

Last modified on Friday, 08 January 2021 11:40

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