Tyler Julson: Predicting some bold moves, wins for this NFL season
Published 10:28 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Notes from the Sports Desk by Tyler Julson
As I write this column I can hear the rain pouring down on top of the Tribune’s roof. Sometimes the sound of rain can be soothing and help me relax, but after the long winter and wet spring we had, any type of precipitation is starting to stress me out.
I was planning on heading to the Albert Lea girls’ soccer game tonight, but it got postponed. Then I thought I might be able to go to the Albert Lea boys’ soccer game in Austin — postponed. At least now, in the fall, we have volleyball and swimming that are indoors and more than likely won’t be postponed.
I got to attend the annual Shortstop tournament Monday and it was a ton of fun. I rode around on a golf cart taking pictures and watching the two finalists battle into a playoff. If I were a better golfer, I would think about playing in it, but I’m pretty sure everyone in that tournament would golf circles around me. It’s definitely an event I will have marked on my calendar for next year.
I didn’t get to see Albert Lea’s first football game, but after talking to coach Black after the game, it sounds like the team is much improved from last year — especially offensively. The Tigers scored their two touchdowns of the game on plays longer than 50 yards and they also incorporated field goal kicking, which is something I don’t see a lot of in high school games. I’m expecting the program to see a big rise in the coming years.
For the final week of my NFL predictions, I’m going to go through the playoff scenarios I set up while predicting each division over the past few weeks.
If you’ve been following along, you might already know the playoff seedings I set up, but if not, here’s the breakdown.
NFC playoff seedings
1. Rams 13-3
2. Eagles 12-4
3. Packers 12-4
4. Falcons 11-5
5. Vikings 11-5
6. 49ers 11-5
In the wildcard weekend we’ll get a very intriguing Vikings vs. Falcons matchup. I expect the Vikings to pull it out in a close game that comes down to a big play in the fourth quarter. The Packers might make easy work of the 49ers in their first playoff game, but it’s a good season for the 49ers nonetheless, as they firmly cement Jimmy Garoppolo as their quarterback of the future.
The Vikings will meet the Rams in the divisional round, and I’m sorry to the Vikings faithful, but I predicted the Rams to make a deep playoff run a long time ago and I’m not going back on that now. I am going to pick the Packers to advance again in the other divisional round game over the Eagles. Once again, it’s going to be a very close, highly entertaining game, with Aaron Rodgers leading one of his signature late go-ahead drives.
Rodgers won’t have the magic in the NFC Championship game, however, as the Rams defense will be too much for him to handle.
AFC playoff seedings
1. Patriots 11-5
2. Chiefs 11-5
3. Jaguars 11-5
4. Steelers 10-6
5. Raiders 10-6
6. Texans 10-6
I know, the Chiefs bias is showing again, but bear with me. I read two separate articles in the last week and both authors had the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl, and they weren’t Kansas City writers either.
I really like the Texans this year; I wish I would have had them winning the division in my predictions. Either way, they would have ended up playing the Jaguars in my scenario, a game in which I think the Jaguars come out on top. In the other wildcard game, I have the Steelers beating the Raiders fairly easily. Khalil Mack going to the Bears really throws a wrench into my ACF West prediction, but it’s what I’m going to stick with.
The Patriots will oust the Steelers in the divisional round because Tom Brady doesn’t lose in the divisional round, and the Chiefs will beat the Jaguars as both teams will put on an offensive showcase.
The Chiefs will end Brady’s hopes of another Super Bowl in the AFC Championship, giving them a date with the Rams in Super Bowl 53.
As much as it pains me to write it, I predict the Rams over the Chiefs in the most watched sporting event of the year. This Rams team has potential to be something pretty special now; hopefully they don’t go out and make me look foolish.
Tyler Julson is the Tribune’s sports reporter. Contact him at email@example.com.