Encrotchment: Playoff Edition, WILD CARD ROUND, with Eddie Gobbo

You and Me, Less Than Zero

Alright. Cue the sad music.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Your Roadie Training begins today.

Oh wait. Wrong speech. Let me start over.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We’ve entered the third, and final, act of our journey together: the NFL Playoffs! The glorious time of the year where family, friends, work, school, religion and social obligation are all put on the back burner for us to focused on what really matters: Games we have no control over played by people who ultimately don’t give a fuck about us.

Encrotchment drops every Friday from here on out.

You’ll get a full analysis of my picks to win each week, as well as a few other choice nuggets from my football brain of brains.

Let’s make these next several weeks together count. Remember what’s looming after this: the horrible baseball/pro wrestling/Guns N' Roses season.

Without further ado, hit my entrance music, Mom.

KC and the Sunshine Carpet Cleaners

KC vs. Houston: Saturday, 4:35 p.m.

Just kidding. This is my real entrance music.

Those of you that know me know I’m obsessed with rotisserie chicken.

I buy one every week from the grill section at my local Mariano’s.

When you buy anything from said section, you get the choice of a Texas BBQ sauce (spicy, more kick) or a Kansas City BBQ sauce (sweet, sort of tastes like McDonald's BBQ sauce).

So, the two BBQ sauces go it this weekend, in their own Open Pit of under-the-radarness. I plan on eating a gyro during the game, and being neutral with a tzatziki.

Let’s put this game in perspective:

Remember when you we’re lying awake in bed in paranoid fashion wondering if your girlfriend’s costume (slutty Carly Fiorina) this year would be too controversial for your office Halloween party? Well, that’s the last time the Chiefs lost a football game. Hard to believe.

The Chiefs are entering the playoffs on a 10-game winning streak; a streak I find fathomless considering how unexplosive the Chiefs are as a team. But yes, I did check their record, and they did in fact win those games. And even crazier then that, they’ve been winning without Jamaal Charles, who for my money may be the best RB in football, and for sure is the heart and soul of this team. Can you imagine how good they’d be with Charles going into this game? Andy Reid is my resounding pick for Coach of the Year this year for all the above reasons.

The Chiefs should be licking their chops at this first round match-up. They do have to go on the road, yes, but match up insanely well against this team, considering they are basically carbon copies of each other (Control the Football, Furious Defense). The KC and Houston defenses actually rank 4 and 5 in the league, respectively, in sack totals, which ultimately will help decide this game. QB pressure, takeaways and turnovers are the things to look out for in this one. I have more faith in Alex Smith’s ability to sling the ball and make smart decisions under pressure, and thus confidently give the nod to the Chiefs in this one.

PICK

Reid-ing Rainbow

Side note: KC is my out-of-nowhere pick to sneak in to the Super Bowl this year. It starts with this first round game, which for the reasons above, they should handle easily.

Who’s saying they can’t equally stifle a beaten-up New England on an uncharacteristic skid the following week, or go to Denver and beat the arch-rivals they know so well on the back end?

Just clean the carpets and leave, KC, and everything will be fine.

Pitt Stop

Cincy vs. Pitt: Saturday, 8:15 p.m.

As night falls on America come Saturday, we get a nice little match-up between the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL’s Allison Janney, The Pittsburgh Steelers.

Arguably, this game will serve as a horrible culmination in a season that had all signs pointing to an AFC North changing of the guard.

The Bengals locked up the division early on and stockpiled a lot of wins in the process. However, pivotal late season losses lead to them being forced to play in the Wild Card round. As luck would have it, stud QB Andy Dalton is expected to return from injury next week. Until then, A.J. McCarron is responsible for leading the team to victory. McCarron has a 2-1 record since replacing Dalton at QB. His only loss came two weeks ago in overtime to the Denver Broncos on Monday Night. It’s appropriate that said loss is what’s essentially keeping the Bengals from chilling at home this week while their QB heals, and having to play a win-or-go-home game against their rival instead.

The Steelers have one of the worst passing defenses in all of football. In other words, their secondary blows. This will help the Bengals spread the field even behind their backup QB. That said, the Steelers easily have the ability to run with the Bengals if it comes to a shootout.  

The key to this game is likely two-pronged: Can the Steelers establish a run game, allowing them to open up and play to arguably their best strength, the passing game. At least for this week, Pittsburgh can’t rely on vet DeAngelo Williams to help in that department. Williams’ replacement (brace yourself), Fitzgerald Toussaint (good name, great picture), will be responsible for that.

This is a HUGE game for the Bengals franchise, who haven’t won a playoff game since Marvin Lewis became coach a decade ago. I said at the beginning of the season that Lewis had to bring home a playoff win this year or else he’d be fired. Oddly enough, Lewis’ boys can probably lose yet another playoff game from a fifth straight year and Lewis will still keep his job. The age-old saying of not losing your job to injury applies here, even if Lewis was not the one getting injured. 

All that said: If by some chance A.J. can pull out a win, this will be a HUGE win for the Bengals franchise and ultimately McCarron’s career. A win for McCarron would turn him into big trade bait come the 2016 offseason. It would only make sense for Cincy to trade McCarron, who has no way of usurping Dalton as starting QB anytime soon, for a proven weapon on a team in desperate need of a QB moving forward.

Pick

Cincy keeps it close, Pitt prevails

Darlene Is Somewhere, and Pissed

Minni vs. Heroin Town USA, Sunday, Right After, and Before, The Big Bang Theory

I hate the show The Big Bang Theory. I mean I watch it every day, I know everything about it, I love its characters, and am genuinely invested in it, but I fucking hate it!

Big Bang Theory Gossip:

For those of you who don’t know, the hot blonde on the show and David from Roseanne were actually dating each other for awhile in real life.

I was happy for David when I heard of the news because I once pissed next to him before at Wrigley Field. I’m two inches taller. Same exact penis size.

Eventually, she dumped him and married some douche. I can only assume a relationship with Darlene was rekindled for a short period of time...

...before she kicked him out of the apartment for not finishing his pages of their comic book on time.

Anyway, the hot blonde (Kaley Cuoco) recently divorced her aforementioned husband and is newly single. Now homeboy is back in the picture. The two have been “hanging out” a lot together and EVERY Hollywood gossip force is trying to peg them as dating once again. Sort of an art-imitating-life sort of thing.

I sort of get the same vibe with the NFL and their desire to pin the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks together again this year, after the steamy relationship we witnessed between the two in the NFC Championship last year.

As luck would have it, for the two teams to cross paths again, it will have to be once again for the NFC Championship.

But alas, SEVERAL games have to be won by both teams before we get to see this rekindling of sorts. Said games start Sunday with the Hawks traveling to Minnesota to play the unlikely NFC North division winners, the Vikings.

Dumbasses of America are uniting over this game, swearing up and down Seattle is going to win in a blowout. Even the Vegas lines are warped (Seattle is a 6.5 point favorite on the road?).

Now, don’t get me wrong: these dumbasses have done their homework. Just a short month ago, the exact same game happened, and Seattle won by 31 points. Yikes, that was a rough one.

However, will weather, unlike the first contest, play a role in this one? This game wont be played on a crisp late November day. It’s going to be FREEZING cold on Minny on Saturday night.

Ultimately, it’ll be Seattle’s goal to force punky, inexperienced QB Teddy Bridgewater to beat them with his arm. The Seattle secondary will ultimately best Bridgewater, like they’ve been known to easily do with QBs of equal caliber and experience. But that’s not to say Minnesota’s D, which seems to be peaking at this point, won’t take the same strategy with Russell Wilson’s play, and succeed. With frigid climates in mind, I see this reverting to a ground game/defensive battle. I give the edge heavily to Minnesota if it does, behind Adrian Peterson, their stellar defensive line, and most notably taking into consideration Seattle’s inferior O-Line. Remember that guy Seattle traded for Jimmy Graham, who’s injured by the way? He’s a Pro Bowl Center named Max Unger. He would have thrived in a game like this. This is where that risky, not-broke-but-we're-fixing-it anyway trade will come back to haunt Seattle.

Pick

No Relationships/No Rekindling, Minnesota

Skin Flick

Skins vs. Losers, Sunday, 4:40 p.m.

The Redskins are one of those stereotypical teams that entered the season as the fourth favorite to win their division only to end up winning it. Happens all the time in pickup basketball. They got by with a little help from their friends, as Joe Cocker would say -- injuries, crumbling coaching staffs, cosmic disarray -- but also helped themselves along the way too. Props to coach Jay Gruden for rolling the dice with Kirk Cousins at the beginning of the season and it paying huge dividends on the back end.

Meanwhile, as unlikely as the Skins are playing, the Packers are matching them in the unlikeliness department. The Packers suddenly have an inept offense and are losing games they should being winning on auto-pilot, most notably last week to Minnesota with the division on the line. This kid was none to thrilled with the result.

Your favorite sportswriter knows how this young man feels. He too wasn’t pleased with the result of the tickets he got under his tree for the Packers/Bears division title game back in 2013.

Go to hell, you spoiled brat.

By the way, I have a new nickname for Aaron Rodgers: Erin Rodgers, cuz he’s playing like a girl. Haha. LOL. ROLF-ing.

Now, even though the Packers didn’t clinch the division last week, is it the worst thing for them to head to DC and play a team with no playoff experience, when they themselves have a boatload?

I want to pick the Skins this week, but you really can’t bet against a great offense going cold for upwards of a month straight without righting the ship when it’s win or go home.

I look at the Packers' lagging season being heavily tied to the fact that their offense has been pit against legit defenses in a lot of games. Their two biggest statement losses, if you will, came against the number one and number two defenses in all of football, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. Meanwhile, they lost to the upper-tier Minnesota defense this week.

Meanwhile, how many bunk-ass defenses have the Skins played against all year? Matter of fact, how many bunk-ass teams in general have the Skins played this year? Since the bye week, the Skins are 6-3. Those six wins all came against teams that finished with under-.500 records. One of the losses came against a Dallas Cowboys team that eked out an overtime win, and the other two came against New England and Carolina in blowout fashion.

Pick

The Pack Skin Heads.

Unknown

We know all the stories:

-He showed up to practice drunk this week.

-He was spotted in Vegas the night before a game.

-He was not at the game this Sunday.

-He was cited for driving with expired plates this week.

-He assumes he’ll play for the Cowboys next season (???)

But this can’t end the Johnny Manziel Cleveland Browns farewell tour without a big payoff, can we?

Prediction:

He falls of the face of the earth, and is missing for the entire NFC/AFC Championship week, as well as Super Bowl media week, where everyone will be asked countless off-topic Manziel questions, infuriating every coach, player, trainer, whathaveyou.

He arises at the big game during Coldplay’s halftime performance of Coldplay and make some type of infiltration splash comparable to that of Mike Donnelly’s in the mid-'90s.

Hair to the Throne

And finally this week,

Sy Sperling is spinning on a mattress in the master bedroom of his mansion grave over this.  

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