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Kibbles and Picks Regular Season Wrap-Up & Wild Card Round

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That’s it. I did it.

Despite Stella’s best efforts – a stellar 12-4 in Week 17 – I have managed to finally win another Kibbles and Picks title.

After winning in 2014 (the feature’s second year), I spent the next four years being shut out by my dog. This is all in good fun, of course, but I’d be lying if I said the streak wasn’t wearing on me a little. It’s ridiculous and I know it’s ridiculous, but on the other hand – my dog was better at picking football games than me.

But now, finally, courtesy of a respectable 10-6 final week, I am the Kibbles and Picks Champion. It was close – Stella cut my four-game lead in half with her performance – but ultimately, I came out on top. Sure, it was far from a dominating win, but it was a win. After too many close calls over the past four years, I’ll take what I can get.

Final regular season records

Allen: 161-93-1

Stella: 159-95-1

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But now, we’re in the playoffs; the slate is wiped clean. Stella will seek her revenge over the course of the next month as we attempt to pick our way through the postseason.

We’re in agreement on two of the weekend’s contests. We’re both picking the Patriots to beat the Titans on Saturday. It’s weird to see New England playing in the first weekend of the playoffs, but we still like them to bounce back from last week’s unfortunate loss to Tennessee. The combination of home field and predicted weather conditions should keep the scoring down. That sort of game favors the Pats. Stella’s iffier on the pick than I am, but we’re both going with them in the first round.

On Sunday, there’s the Minnesota/New Orleans matchup. Neither one of us sees any real reason to pick the Vikings in this one. The Saints offense has been excellent – Michael Thomas broke the receptions record, just for example – and the defense, while inconsistent, can be a force. Meanwhile, the Vikings are struggling with injuries to key players like RB Dalvin Cook, so it seems like a stretch for them to really compete here. Expect this to be the biggest point differential of the weekend.

And our differing opinions?

I like Buffalo to go into Houston and pull off the road upset. This Bills team might be a surprise, but they deserve to be here. Their defense in particular has been incredibly impressive – one of the best units in the NFL. And quarterback Josh Allen is a big play waiting to happen. I’m guessing that the Bills will win the turnover battle, which will ultimately make the difference. But the Texans have a playmaking QB of their own, one Stella thinks is going to have a huge game. She respects the Bills D, but she thinks Deshaun Watson can overcome that considerable obstacle. Plus, J.J. Watt is coming back; even if he’s limited on the field, just his presence will elevate the entire Houston defense.

The weekend’s final game sees a matchup between Seattle and Philadelphia. I’m going with the road Seahawks here, though I don’t feel super confident about it. Seattle’s really banged up. Like, REALLY banged up; they coaxed Marshawn Lynch out of retirement because they ran out of running backs, for the love of Pete. But they still have Russell Wilson and their defense, while far from the dominant force of years past, is plenty competent. And their opponents are dealing with plenty of health issues of their own. Stella’s going with the home team here, even though the Eagles are, by record, the worst team in the postseason field. She’s not confident in her choice, but she’s also not confident of the viability of the Seattle offense without a strong running game. Even if Chris Carson comes back, he’ll be limited; without the run, the Seahawks are vulnerable. She thinks that this has a chance to be a leveling-up of sorts for QB Carson Wentz; she has a hunch that a career-definer of a game is a possibility.

And that’s that. Wild Card picks in the books.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Saturday, Jan. 4

BUFFALO at Houston

Tennessee at NEW ENGLAND

Sunday, Jan. 5

Minnesota at NEW ORLEANS

SEATTLE at Philadelphia

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STELLA’S PICKS

Saturday, Jan. 4

Buffalo at HOUSTON

Tennessee at NEW ENGLAND

Sunday, Jan. 5

Minnesota at NEW ORLEANS

Seattle at PHILADELPHIA

Last modified on Friday, 03 January 2020 06:27

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