NFL MAILBAG- Divisional Round WEEKEND EDITION!

It’s the Divisional Round baby! As always, Matt Drufke- who watches none of the games- has so many questions. Fortunately, Fancy Boys Football experts Brendan Andreasen and Jack Baker do and are usually happy to answer some of them. Let’s mailbag.

And then there were 8. I think the most impressive performance of the weekend was turned in by the Baltimore Ravens, but not in a way you would expect. We talk about Lamar Jackson all the time, and with good reason, but the Ravens defense held Derrick Henry to only 40 yards, his lowest total of the season. As a frame of reference, the dude ran for 250 yards, literally, a week ago. How did the Ravens do this, and is their defense the key to going deep in the playoffs?

Brandon – Never underestimate a well coached team. The Ravens are a model franchise in terms of drafting, player development, and coaching to strength. They have a philosophy they stick to. They draft players that fit the scheme they play. It’s an entire organizational approach that makes them a winning team, and if they play like this the rest of the way, they can hang with any team in the league.

Jack – The Ravens defense did a great job, but the offense also did a good job keeping the Titans off the field and not letting them get into a rhythm. They converted 7/13 third downs and taking the lead in the third quarter meant that the Titans couldn’t get into their devastating drive killing offense in the fourth quarter when Henry does the majority of his damage. It was a great win for Baltimore and good payback for last year’s embarrassing loss.

With the Bears 21-9 loss to the Saints, we officially say farewell to their season. It was a typical loss for the Monsters Of The Midway, where a solid defensive effort was not enough as their offense failed to make any real headway, especially in the second half. I’ll allow you to say whatever you want about this team, and then answer this: Who was the Bears’ MVP this season?

Brandon – The Bears were a bad team masquerading as a competent team. Their offense is in disarray and they don’t even pretend to have an identity. When you draft poorly, you have to make free agent signings. When those free agent signings suck (looking at you, Robert Quinn), then you have nothing. This team is bad and in typical Ryan Pace fashion, has no cap room to make a move. By letting Allen Robinson go, they are effectively allowing their offense to go from bad to Jets bad. You never want to be Jets bad. The fact that, as I type this on Monday afternoon, Ryan Pace hasn’t been fired, is a goddamn disaster.

Roquan Smith was the team MVP, but being the MVP of this team is like being King Fuck Boi. It’s not really a compliment. 

Jack – The worst part about the Bears season is that it’s going to end with Ryan Pace once again looking for a new QB. The Bears just do everything wrong. Your new GM should choose his head coach, and together they should choose their QB of the future, but that’s just not how this team operates. Ryan Pace has already proven he can’t evaluate QBs and Matt Nagy has proven he can’t develop them, or build an offense that plays to their strengths. But yet, both are very likely going to be back next year and setting back that new QBs development for a year just like they did when lame duck John Fox was given Trubisky or when new GM Phil Emery was given a coach he didn’t want in Lovie Smith.

Akiem Hicks was the Bears MVP because he embodied everything about their team, a lot of talk, sometimes good production mixed with inexplicably undisciplined bad decisions and a big contract.

Tom Brady is 43 and going to play another playoff game in a career which has been defined by post-season success. I, on the other hand, am 41 and if my knees stay bent for too long, they will pop and it’s a little painful. How much of Tampa’s success is Brady? And should I see a doctor about my knees?

Brandon-You are getting old and don’t sleep in a hermetically sealed tube at night to provide the most optimal oxygen to your joints. I would start taking calcium pills and an occasional Ibuprofen never really hurt anyone.

Tom Brady is still going because he mastered the art of falling into the fetal position like a dork the moment someone got close enough to hit him. He has the most weapons he has ever had. I don’t think there is any doubt he comes back next year to ride with this core of Wide Receivers.

Jack – Tom Brady has a very talented team around him and probably drinks the blood of children to give him strength. His TB-12 method is a bunch of pseudo science bullshit and his continued health is just proof of the placebo effect. He has a great collection of pass catchers to throw to, and offensive line to keep him upright, and knows the refs will throw a rough flag if anyone touches him. We can only hope Cameron Jordan takes his head off this weekend.

Last week, Brandon did very well in predictions and went 4-2, where Jack went a very disappointing 2-3. However, much like Shakira teaches us in her smash banger “Try Again”, neither of you are going to give up or give in. So, make some predictions: Rams-Packers, Saints-Bucs, Chiefs-Browns, and Ravens-Bills? Also, Jack, how could you pick Washington last week after dedicating your life to hating the NFC East?

Brandon-Three more weeks. I just keep telling myself that.

Packers, Bucs, Chiefs, Bills. Those aren’t the fun picks, but it sets us up for a great championship weekend!

Jack – The only thing I hate more than the NFC East is Tom Brady, well that and these Shakira questions. I’ve got the Packers, Saints, Chiefs and Bills.

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