Last week I exuded optimism after basking in the glow of the holiday season. Now, after Monday's CFB National Championship game, I've come to a dark realization: we only have three and a half weekends of football left in the 2017-2018 season (the Pro Bowl only counts as a half because no one really watches it anyway).
Think about that. In less than a month, we will be in the midst of February with nothing but cold weather and crappy holidays holding us over until the thankful bliss of June that brings warm weather and the glimmer of hope knowing that football is right around the corner.
I'm not sure I'll make it. Sure, March Madness breaks up the monotony a little bit, but I don't think I'm prepared for it. Unless your team wins the Super Bowl, the period between early February to the middle of June can be bleak. Let us all have the courage to be strong in the difficult times that lie ahead.
(Home team in bold; Thursday lines)
Kansas City (-5.5) over Indianapolis
Yes, the Colts looked dominant in the first half against Houston last week. Yes, they are riding a five-game win streak. Yes, they do have talented players that could give the Chiefs problems.
But let's not overestimate this Indy team. They stomped on the Texans early, but at no point did they put their boot on Houston's throat and seal a victory. I, for one, never felt like Houston was truly out of the game. A few more smart plays and they could have been right back in the game.
Kansas City has been one of the best teams in the NFL all year. It's hard to imagine them losing at home to a team who has simply exceeded already low expectations.
Dallas (+7.5) over Los Angeles
Let's get one thing straight: I think Los Angeles wins this game. They have the talent, they're at home (although LA really doesn't provide any home field advantage), and they have Sean McVay. There's really no excuse for them to not come out on top.
However, I do think Dallas covers the spread because LA isn't exactly hot heading into the postseason. Jared Goff has struggled and Todd Gurley has been limited for at least three weeks to preserve his health. There will probably be some bumps in the road for this talented but young team.
They are still better than Dallas though and, despite early struggles, will be able to head to the NFC Championship game.
New England (-4) over Los Angeles (C)
Yes, I understand the narratives. Tom Brady is old, the Patriots aren't what they used to be, Bill Belichick doesn't have it anymore, blah blah blah. This has literally been the same storyline every year for the past half decade. It's tired, it's old, and it's almost always wrong.
That doesn't mean that this will be a cakewalk for the Patriots. This is a talented Chargers team who has faced adversity this season and come out on top. But the Patriots have a wealth of experience that the Chargers do not. I am still convinced that the Chargers are a fraud team who will crumble when it counts. Sunday is their chance to prove me wrong.
New Orleans (-8) over Philadelphia
With all the hype surrounding Nick Foles and the Eagles, we have seemingly forgotten that the Saints were arguably the best team in the NFL this year. They dominated in all phases of the game, to the point where they had two weeks off after clinching home-field advantage prior to week 17. The Eagles have talent and have shown an unbelievable grittiness to get where they are and have a shot at another Super Bowl crown. But the Saints have Drew Brees, Sean Payton, and the most talented New Orleans roster in almost a decade.
The Philly storyline is nice, but let's not get ahead of ourselves with believing they can walk into the SuperDome and come out on top. The Saints will be hosting the NFC Championship in just over a week.