THE PLAYOFFS ARE HERE! And they should be pretty good!

I love chaos. As I mentioned in the Patriots comic on Monday, the NFL playoffs lends itself to chaos. Chaos is what makes a sport watchable. Sure, excellent play is fun. But after a while, even that gets dull to watch. However nothing makes things interesting like chaos. The fact that a #1 seed could just simply have a bad day and get knocked out in one game. The fact that a highly structured chess game of a sport revolves around an oblong ball that famously becomes unpredictable once it bursts free of human control. Control is the illusion we admire. Chaos is the fuel that keeps us invested. Chaos allows us to believe. The allure of the unknown gives us hope and fills us with dread. Even the most pessimistic among us know that you never know when Chaos might strike.

Instead of doing my usual Bandwagon guide, which I think has gotten a bit stale, I wanted to focus on the aspect of football that gives me life. The unspoken underbelly of all sports spectator-ship. The wildcard. Chaos. So I’ve gone and ranked every playoff team by how much chaos I believe they bring to the table this year.  Chaos is a lot of factors. Chaos is being an underdog. Chaos is being overlooked. Chaos is turnovers. Chaos is unpredictability. The 2019 NFL playoffs are set up to be pretty solid. Outside the Ravens, nobody really strikes me as the immediate favorites to contend. Not even the Patriots.

The Titans snuck into the 6th seed on the AFC side by virtue of the Steelers fumbling away their chances late in the season. The Titans are a scrappy, gritty, punch you in the face team with the NFL’s leading rusher and literal monster Derrick Henry. Henry has found himself, and the results are terrifying. Ryan Tannehill has also found himself, and he has been unleashed. This team is hot and angry and they have nothing to lose. By sheer chance, Ryan Tannehill faces the Patriots in round 1, a team he has more experience with than most. The Patriots are flawed this season and the Titans match up well. If the Titans win on Saturday, they will have already introduced the largest amount of chaos into the playoffs as possible: making an AFC divisional round without Foxboro in it. How can anyone not be pulling for this team?
Personal team biases aside, the Eagles are absolutely an agent of chaos this year. The sheer fact that they should be blown out by the Seahawks is exactly why I actually think the Eagles are gonna win. The Eagles are broken. They are starting guys they found in the local jails at WR. But…the game is in Philly. Wentz is a complete unknown in the playoffs. The team has won 4 in a row through sheer grit and gusto. The Seahawks have to travel east, and may in fact already be overlooking them. Why wouldn’t they? The Eagles are a broken 8-8 team handed a playoff position due to sheer virtue of being the best dumpster in an alley of 4 dumpsters. This team has playoff experience. The team may be too broken to make a deep playoff push, but the complete lack of expectations may be just the chaos factor they need.
The last time the Bills were here they barely made it. This is a better team. A team we have written off due to historical failures. But this team has a defense, and defense is the best way to just fuck up other teams. If they keep the Texans from scoring, they absolutely can Josh Allen 200yard game their way into the divisional and maybe further. Plus, Frank Gore.
We’ve never seen Kirk Cousins behind center on a good team like this before. They drew the short straw and got the Saints in round one, which sucks for them, but that makes the possibility for chaos all the stronger. The Vikings and Saints are playoff cursed franchises who often have weird shit happen to them. There is no way some weird shit doesn’t happen this game.

We’ve been unusually blessed this season with a plethora of fun willy QBs who do crazy goofy shit all make the playoffs. Russ, Mahomes, Lamar, and DeSean are all true QB agents of chaos in how they play the game. Outside the joy of Watson to Nuk, the Texans are just a solid team with fairly mediocre chaos potential.
The Saints are a good to great team that somehow ended up without the bye week. By almost any metric, they aren’t that chaotic. Sean Payton may have some fun goofy shit in the playbook once or twice, but generally the Saints are just solid. The chaos comes in knowing the Saints are cursed. Every year brings a new tragic end. We can only anticipate this season’s moment of glorious chaos.
The Seahawks have been in a weird place all season where they don’t seem as good as their record indicates. But besides the confusion, Russell Wilson is the league leader in absolute bullshit.
The Ravens are the clear frontrunners to win it all. Unfortunately when you are the frontrunners and you aren’t the Patriots, things don’t always work out. Expectations are weighty. Chaos reigns. On the positive side,  Lamar Jackson has been such a fun watch all season that he himself carries this team to a new level of chaos.

This year the Mahomes flair is a little subdued thanks to Lamar taking all the shine away. While Mahomes is still fun and Andy Reid still guaranteed to fuck up a timeout, the Chiefs are just simply a good team we expect good things from. Them winning would not be a surprise.
Shanahan likes to make fun offenses, but overall the 9ers are just a really good team. Consistency is an enemy of chaos. If they still had Jim Harbaugh, they might be ranked higher.
How the fuck did this team get a #2 seed did anyone even give a shit about the Packers this year? They didn’t seem like any fun.
Despite this being the Patriots’ most chaotic year in a decade, it still feels irresponsible to give a higher rating to the league’s favorite fun-vacuum who always finds ways to be annoyingly competent. If this team makes the Super Bowl, it will simultaneously be very chaotic because they probably shouldn’t, but extremely not chaotic because that is just what this fucking team does.

Whoever you root for, prepare for some garbage refereeing that turns everything to shit!