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Kibbles and Picks 2021/22 – Wild Card Weekend Featured

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Well … it could have been worse?

It will surprise no one to hear that Stella has once more triumphed in Kibbles and Picks, outpicking me for the seventh time in nine seasons. However, I was able to battle back from the frankly embarrassing 15-game deficit of a couple of weeks ago; thanks to two consecutive 12-4 weeks, I was able to regain a little bit of my dignity.

I mean, I still lost to a dog, so dignity is a bit thin on the ground, but I’ll take what I can get.

Here are our final records:

ALLEN

Week 18 record: 12-4

Season record: 165-106-1

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STELLA

Week 18 record: 8-8

Season record: 174-97-1

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That’s right, folks! I wound up losing by just nine games! I got that lead down into single digits! Barely, but it counts! Let’s hear it for moral victories!

It’s worth noting, however, that even with my late-season push toward respectability, this might be one of the most dominant performances that Stella has ever put up in Kibbles and Picks. Even with a bit of a fade at the end, Stella was correct on 64% of her picks, whereas I managed just 60.7% for the year.

But with the regular season out of the way, it’s time for us to move into Postseason Kibbles and Picks territory. I’ve had a good deal more success when it comes to playoff picks, though Stella dismisses it as a combination of small sample size, luck and the fact that the postseason is considerably easy to pick. She’s not wrong, but I could do without the dismissive attitude, you know?

We’re at odds on four of the week’s six contests. The ones on which we agree are both on Sunday; she and I have the Buccaneers beating the Eagles and the Chiefs taking down the Steelers. They seem like pretty easy picks, so I look forward to at least one of them being extremely wrong.

We’ll start on Saturday. I’m going with the home Bengals over the visiting Raiders. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow – he’s young, but he looks poised to make some noise in these playoffs. His connection with likely Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase certainly helps, as does the steady work of running back Joe Mixon. It’ll come down to what the Bengals defense can do with the Raiders … and I think they’ll handle Vegas just fine. Stella understands that Cincy is favored, but she’s got a feeling about this Raiders team. Specifically, she thinks that there will be a big energy from veteran QB Derek Carr’s postseason debut; the return of tight end Dustin Waller, the resurgence of RB Josh Jacobs and the steady hand of wideout Hunter Renfrow will also play big parts. She also believes that the Raiders pass rush will harass Burrow into making mistakes – enough mistakes to give Vegas the win.

Next, I’ve got the Patriots going into Buffalo and beating the Bills, while Stella continues her ongoing quest to hurt my feelings by picking against New England. Sure, the Pats come in as underdogs, but the frigid forecast plays into New England’s hands; I expect Bill Belichick to come in with a scheme that will emphasize the team’s strengths and give them a shot. Look for a lot of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson and relatively little of Mac Jones on offense, while the defense will likely dare Josh Allen to beat them through the air. Stella insists that this isn’t about anything other than her belief that the Bills are the better team. She thinks that New England will struggle to slow down Allen, both through the air and on the ground; if he can pull off a couple of big plays, that will likely prove the difference in what promises to be a low-scoring affair. She also likes the Bills to figure out a way to maximize their run defense and keep the Patriots rushing attack in check. It’s always interesting when teams play for a third time in a season, but we both agree that this game is probably going to be more interesting in theory and practice. Anticipate a slog.

In the sole Sunday contest on which we disagree, I have the 49ers taking down the Cowboys in Dallas. This feels like a little bit of a reach, but I think Jimmy Garoppolo has the juice to get this team through to the next round. I also anticipate that all-around weapon Deebo Samuel is going to have a massive game against a mushy Cowboys defense. As to whether the Niners can slow down the Dallas offense, well … probably not totally, but I’m betting they can get enough stops to leave themselves room to eke out a close win. Stella thinks the San Francisco run comes to a decisive end here in Dallas. She doesn’t think the Niners have an answer for Dak Prescott and the rest of the Cowboys offense – she’s betting that one of the talented Dallas receivers is going to have a huge game against this secondary. She also anticipates a monster game from presumptive Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons; Jimmy G is going to spend a lot of time fleeing (and more than a little on the turf).

And finally, in the first-ever Monday night playoff game, I’ve got the Rams winning at home over the visiting Cardinals. I’ll concede that we’ve seen a little bit of struggle in L.A. over the past few weeks; QB Matthew Stafford has cooled considerably after a huge start to the season, but this is the guys chance to make some noise in the playoffs – I think he rises to the challenge. He’s got Cooper Kupp to throw to, which certainly helps, as well as a nice collection of other passcatchers. The run game is suspect, but if they can move the ball through the air and get a strong performance from Aaron Donald and the rest of the defense, the Rams should handle their business. Stella has some strong feelings about this Arizona squad. She loves Kyler Murray – who doesn’t? – and thinks that he’s going to do some damage against the Los Angeles defense. There are whispers that valued veterans like wideout DeAndre Hopkins and d-lineman J.J. Watt will make unexpected returns to the field after supposedly season-ending injuries. That will obviously help, but Stella thinks that the Cardinals win regardless – she’s not sure that Stafford and company are ready for prime time here.

There it is. Wild Card Weekend with Kibbles and Picks. Root for me, please – a postseason win isn’t the same, but it’s something. I would like something.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Saturday, Jan. 15

Las Vegas at CINCINNATI

NEW ENGLAND at Buffalo

Sunday, Jan. 16

Philadelphia at TAMPA BAY

SAN FRANCISCO at Dallas

Pittsburgh at KANSAS CITY

Monday, Jan. 17

Arizona at LA RAMS

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STELLA’S PICKS

Saturday, Jan. 15

LAS VEGAS at Cincinnati

New England at BUFFALO

Sunday, Jan. 16

Philadelphia at TAMPA BAY

San Francisco at DALLAS

Pittsburgh at KANSAS CITY

Monday, Jan. 17

ARIZONA at LA Rams

Last modified on Saturday, 15 January 2022 16:26

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