Colin Cowherd offers up his picks for the 2018 NFL Playoffs. Find out which teams he likes to play in the Super Bowl this season.
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- Here we have the NFL playoffs coming up, and everybody knows who is in the playoffs, right? The wild card is this weekend, so you're going to get Tennessee at Kansas City, and Buffalo at Jacksonville as the Steelers and Patriots just wait around. And in the NFC, it's much more interesting-- Carolina at New Orleans, and Atlanta at the Rams as the Eagles and the Vikings just sit around.
But I was looking-- it's very interesting-- the quarterback list, this year, in the NFL-- in the playoffs-- is remarkable. Just listen to the quarterbacks. I'm not going to list the top three-- Mariota, Alex Smith, Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, Nick Foles, Jared Goff, and the wildly uneven Cam Newton. I mean, it's Nordstrom Rack. A couple of big names-- Brady, Brees, Big Ben, and then just a bunch of nonsense. It's the weakest final 12 of quarterbacks in years, in the NFL. I mean, there are some guys here, like Marcus Mariota, Tyrod Taylor-- you wonder if their teams wouldn't get rid of 'em tomorrow if they had the chance-- Blake Bortles, Nick Foles-- a backup. So is Case Keenum.
So I looked at this, and it went back to last year, and we know that quarterbacks run this league. We know that quarterbacks run this league, right? In fact, last year, the best quarterback won every game in the playoffs. Now, you're going to say, whoa, whoa, whoa! Matt Ryan beat Aaron Rodgers. No, on that day, Matt Ryan had an MVP season, a better offensive coordinator, better receivers, better o-line, better running backs, and Aaron Rodgers was sick as a dog that day. Do you remember that day when Aaron Rodgers came up before the game, and you looked at him, and he looked like he lost 15 pounds? He was walking death. On that day, Matt Ryan had a better year, and was a better player in that moment. Aaron Rodgers was sick-- temperature over 100-- team beat up-- didn't have the weapons, and it was, by far and away, Matt Ryan's greatest year-- he was MVP. That's the only one you could say the best quarterback didn't win. That's the only one, and in that instance-- at home-- those weapons-- that coordinator-- not sick-- Matt was better than Aaron. He was.
So as you look at all these quarterbacks, I'm going to pick the playoffs based just on the head-- the quarterback-- the name-- the face. I'll put him on screen, and we'll go wild card. We'll go divisional. We'll go conference championship. We'll go to the Super Bowl. All right, fair enough? So let's just start, on the left, with the wild card. Who is better, Marcus Mariota or Alex Smith? Alex Smith is a better quarterback. I'll take Alex Smith and Kansas City to win. Then at the bottom, it's Tyrod Taylor against Blake Bortles. Well, we flipped a coin on this-- passer rating is higher-- mobility better-- Tyrod Taylor.
Let's go to the NFC wild card. Cam Newton against Drew Brees. Drew Brees is obviously the better quarterback. Matt Ryan-- Jared Goff-- this year? Jared Goff's the better quarterback. Go look at Matt Ryan's quarterback passer rating and his completion percentage, touchdowns, picks in his last five games. Right now, Jared Garcia better quarterback. Then we go back to the divisional round reseeded in the AFC. Tom Brady against Tyrod Taylor. You take Brady. Big Ben against Alex Smith. You take Big Ben. You go to the NFC Divisional Round. Well, it's Drew Brees against Nick Foles. You would take Drew Brees. And it's Jared Goff against Case Keenum, and there's no question, you'd take number one pick, Jared Goff.
So now, let's go to the conference championships. Brady against Big Ben. You take Brady. Goff against Drew Brees. You'd take Drew Brees. Super-bowl Tom Brady against Drew Brees. You would take Tom Brady. So those are my playoff predictions. I'm going to stick with this. This is my 2018 NFL playoff head bracket. Just look at the quarterbacks. The best quarterback, last year, won every game. If you look simply at who is under center, I believe this is how it turns out.
The toughest decision I had, by the way, in our room this morning-- what was our toughest one, Greg? It was Bortles against Tyrod Taylor. So I'm going to even predict that's going to be one of the closest games because Bortles did have a stretch this year. For about six weeks, he was really good. Primarily because he had a great running game. Tyrod Taylor-- a little higher passer rating-- certainly more mobile. I'm going to go with Buffalo. That was the one, I'm like, oh, no, no. I'm going to go with Buffalo beating Jacksonville. So there you go, and I'll put my prediction against anybody. I'm going to put that prediction against-- I feel, actually, really good about it.
WOMAN: OK. You should.
COLIN COWHERD: Very, very excited.
WOMAN: It's kind of creepy.
COLIN COWHERD: Why-- you've said that twice now.
WOMAN: No, no, no, it just creeps me out. Just-- there's a lot of people's faces there.
COLIN COWHERD: OK, it's weird, but it's effective.