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NFL Divisional Round Predictions

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NFL Divisional Round Predictions

Patrick Mahomes (15) avoids a pass rush from the Chargers defense: Week 9, 2018.

Patrick Mahomes (15) avoids a pass rush from the Chargers defense: Week 9, 2018.

Patrick Mahomes (15) avoids a pass rush from the Chargers defense: Week 9, 2018.

Patrick Mahomes (15) avoids a pass rush from the Chargers defense: Week 9, 2018.

Jacob Myers, Staff Writer

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AFC: (6) Indianapolis Colts at (1) Kansas City Chiefs

4:35 Saturday, NBC

The Colts beating the Texans by 14 last Saturday in Houston was one of the more astonishing feats for a team who has already accomplished so much more than expected this year. The Colts started 1-5 but won nine of their next ten, including a do-or-die game against the Titans in week 17 to make the playoffs. The Colts, then, took that momentum into the playoffs and surely beat down one of the strongest teams in the NFL – the Houston Texans, a divisional rival. That’s how the Colts got here, but what about the Chiefs? Well, thank Patrick Mahomes. The sophomore year QB is regarded as one of the most likely players to win the MVP award as well as earning a spot on the first all-pro team at his position, along with other superstar talents. Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 5-0 start before losing closely against New England on opposing turf, 43-40. However, the Chiefs didn’t finish well. The Chiefs went 3-3 in their final six games, with the three losses all coming to playoff teams. But, the question looms: who will win? Well, the Colts are red-hot and the Chiefs are an offensive powerhouse with four all-pro first team players on the offense (QB, TE, WR, OL). But at the end of the day, the winner will come down to whoever moves the ball better, and the Chiefs have the capability to do just that a slightly more than the Colts. The matchup to watch is the Chiefs offense and the Colts defense, seeing if Darius Leonard and his crew can stop the high-flying AFC regular season champs.

Final: 31-26 Chiefs.

 

NFC: (4) Dallas Cowboys at (2) Los Angeles Rams

8:15 Saturday, FOX

The Dallas Cowboys seemed to be a little overrated going into the playoffs, but a statement win against the Seattle Seahawks silenced a whole lot of doubters. On the other side, the Rams have had a monumental season. They are overall the better team, with an MVP candidate on defense in Aaron Donald, as well as offensive superstars in Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. Arguably the running back battle in this game will be the most exciting part. Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley both had great seasons, with the first leading the league in yards, and Todd Gurley leading the league in total fantasy points (a great stat to hear). Yet, here is the stat you need to hear to determine a winner: each team’s respective home/away win-loss records. The Cowboys are an abysmal 3-5 on the road this year, while the Rams are 7-1 at home. The loss came to the Eagles by seven, but still, the Rams have shown up at home throughout the year. Not even mentioning that the Cowboys are coming off of playing last week, and the Rams have had two weeks to rest and get ready. The Cowboys need their offense to fire on all cylinders to put up a fight. I’m not saying they can’t, but the likelihood is unlikely against a great Rams defense.

Final: 25-16 Rams.

 

AFC: (5) Los Angeles Chargers at (2) New England Patriots

1:05 Sunday, CBS

The moral of this section is that I think that the Patriots (this year especially) are the most overrated team in the league. My first point: division. The Patriots are in one of the worst divisions in the whole league. It’s the Patriots, Dolphins, Bills and Jets. The Dolphins always seem to get a win against the Pats every year, but the latter half of the division barely can put up touchdowns, nevertheless wins. Yes, this is the NFL and every team is great, but the Jets and Bills this year were laughing stocks who were basically picked to lose every game. My next point: talent. Tom Brady is up there in the top five players of all time –  you can’t doubt it. He is the most accomplished player, if not one of the best players. But you can’t help thinking that father time has seemed to catch up with good old Tom. But, you can’t discount playoff Tom. You can, however, discount his weapons on offense. Gronk (as you know) has his amazing games, but he can equally have just as bad ones. Julian Edelman is Tom’s only great wide receiver, and even he’s getting older and a little rustier. Josh Gordon is gone, Chris Hogan is declining, and everything seems downhill from here. Oh yeah, they’re playing the Chargers. Just as the Patriots have an uphill battle, the Chargers seem to have a flat path. A high-powered offense, a solid defense and a win against a great (and very, very hot) Baltimore team. Sure, it came with field goals, but the Pats D is significantly worse, so thinking more touchdowns instead of field goals isn’t illogical. The matchup that you should watch is the Patriots offense against the Chargers defense. Let’s see if Tom can make another miracle happen. If you’re asking me, I don’t think so. The Chargers are too much of a fight if they play their A-game. I’d rather see a close game just because I don’t want to see a blowout. And let’s be honest, another Patriots Super Bowl would not be a fun thing.

Final: 35-33 Chargers.

 

NFC: (6) Philadelphia Eagles at (1) New Orleans Saints

4:40 Sunday, FOX

Thanks, Cody Parkey. I really wanted to see the Bears win the Super Bowl, but of course, Nick Foles had to lead the Birds to yet another playoff win, defying every odd against him. It’s easy to say that the Eagles got lucky because of Parkey’s miss (or block, either way), but they have earned it. They held a normally pretty good Bears offense to a very little point and did just enough to win against a very good team.  But, the Eagles aren’t the number one seed and favored to win by 80% according to ESPN. That team is the Saints, and that team will win. I am very well aware that the Saints have struggled recently, but a two-week break gives the Saints the upper hand. They’re ready, they’re healthy, and Drew Brees is having one of the greatest seasons in his whole career. The Saints have the edge on offense, defense, special team, water boys, team colors, and everything else. But can anyone stop Nick Foles? That is the question we are all looking forward to answering this weekend. The last game of the divisional round and the weekend will end with a “Who Dat?” and a Saints win.

Final: 26-18 Saints.

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NFL Divisional Round Predictions