Happy Friday, yinzers, and welcome to the weekend.
There are now 8 teams left in the annual NFL tournament and that means four Divisional Round playoff games will take place over the weekend. The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in what figures to be a game played in very cold conditions. If things go right for the home team on Sunday, they’ll play in the AFC Championship game next weekend and likely against the New England Patriots.
On the surface, the Steelers will have a very healthy team on Sunday and that includes wide receiver Antonio Brown returning to the field for the first since he injured his left calf in the Week 15 home loss to the Patriots. The team should be well-rested as well thanks to their bye last week.
On Saturday, we’ll get to sit around and watch the Atlanta Falcons play the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tennessee Titans play the Patriots. After the Steelers play the Jaguars on Sunday, the New Orleans Saints will play the Minnesota Vikings. I plan on eating 100 wings over the course of the next two days and perhaps a bowl of chili or three.
As usual, I have five questions for yinz to answer in the comment section below this post and I hope to see several participants. Have a great and safe weekend and we look forward to covering a full weekend of NFL playoff football for you on the site.
Peace and love, peace and love and Go Steelers!
1 – True or false: Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will combine to have more total yards from scrimmage than Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has passing yards. – 5 points
2 – Without going over the actual number, how many total combined individual snaps will fullback Roosevelt Nix, tight end Vance McDonald and backup tackle Chris Hubbard all play Sunday against the Jaguars? First place gets 10 points, second place gets 5 points.
3 – The over/under for total points scored in Sunday’s game between the Steelers and Jaguars is 41. Will it go over, under or push? – 5 points
4 – Two-parter: Will Bell get the franchise tag from the Steelers during the offseason and will he ultimately sign a long term extension prior to training camp opening?
5 – Correctly pick the winners of all four Divisional Round playoff games this weekend for 10 points.
Question 1 – Wildcard weekend is over & there are only four NFC teams left. The 9 votes for the Rams and 1 for the Falcons are now void. If we use the votes as a guide; Steelers Depot respondents, consider the Falcons (1) as least favored to make it to the Super Bowl. Then 2 seed Eagles (4) who must go with Nick Foles at quarterback. The 1 seed Vikings (6) are the runner up with the Saints (14) the overall favorite. The Vegas Insider differs making the Vikings a 27/20 favorite to win NFC championship followed by Saints 11/4; Falcons 15/4 & Eagles 4/1. Note to the hedgers who picked two teams. You will get half a point if one of your selections win the NFC.
Question 2 – Two of the six coaching vacancies have been filled. Mike Munchak’s name was associated with the Arizona Cardinals. As I type, reports are coming out that Pat Shurmur is the favorite to be named their head coach. 29 (88%) of respondents predicted that Munchak would not land a head coaching position this season. This seemed to be as much about the wish to retain him as the offensive line coach right and the feeling that he may not really desire the spot as anything else. In any case; no points for this question.
Question 3 – The Jaguars 10 -3 victory over the Bills threw most folks in a tizzy. The median response was 177 points – 25 points off. 28 of 33 respondents were eliminated for being over the 152 points scored on wildcard weekend. A first-time respondent to the Friday Night Questions, kakello34 took honor by predicting 151 points and the whopping 10 points for this question. The five points for next closest but under was defender4040 at 146. Kakello34 leaped from the 140th person to score a point this season to 37th place. Defender4040 climbed from 60th to 35th place.
Question 4 – 28 of 33 respondents do not view the ESPN story about discord among the Patriots to be a major story. The main take away was that this was a minor distraction at most that will not affect the Patriots play on the field. However, there was mainly wishful thinking that it was signal that the evil empire era was coming to an end soon.
Question 5 – 28 of 33 respondents would give Le’Veon Bell the $14.54 million franchise tag. Some conditioned it on whether Ben Roethlisberger was coming back or winning the Super Bowl this year. Others pointed out the need to restructure other contracts to afford Bell. Yoi, I’m more worried about this coming Sunday at the moment.
Bonus – The 10 folks that took Georgia probably could taste victory when Tua Tagovailoa was sacked out of field goal range in overtime. But no. The NCAA’s version of the evil empire prevailed as a freshman back-up quarterback completed a 41-yard touchdown pass to give 20 Steelers Depot respondents a point on the 2017 Friday Night Questions scoreboard.
With the Chiefs loss in the wildcard game; no one scored a point in Week 17’s question about who was most likely to beat the Patriots. The Titans were not named by anyone. Just Weeks 1 (q5 teams in AFC championship) & 12 (q5 team most scared of to be answered Sunday either Jaguars or none if Steelers win by spread or more) have answers still to be determined.
Leaderboard after Wildcard Week:
1st Place – Alan Tman with 39.5 points (see no worries)
2nd Place – Darth Blount 47 with 36.5 points (lost ground but still close)
3rd Place – DirtDawg1964 with 36 points (creeping up on Darth)
4th Place – (tie) Jeff McNeil, Marcel Chris Chauvet & Josh Cummings with 33.5 (who in this pack is going to make a move)
7th Place –LucasY59 with 33 points
8th Place (tie) Reader783, SJT63 & Matt Manzo with 32 points (snowmen)
11th Place – Chris92021 with 31.5 points (slips behind the snowmen)
12th Place – (tie) heath miller & Jaybird with 30.5 points (slid by Pittfan)
14th Place – (tie) Pittfan & Phil Brennenman II with 30 points (Phil gaining; Pitt lagging)
16th Place – J. with 28.5 points (steady no change; losing time to make a move)
17th Place – Kevin Schwartz with 27.5 points (trading places with the horse with no name)
18th Place – NONAME with 27 points
19th Place – Beaver Falls Hosiery with 26 points
20th Place – Ted Webb with 25.5 points (Keeping SkoolHouseRoxx off leaderboard … for now)