Wild Card Weekend was insane, and both #6 seeds pulled off big upsets, but can they do it again? We are now at the ‘Elite Eight’ stage of the NFL Playoffs, and the teams that got a week of R&R now have to fight on to the Conference Championship games. Who is going to get one step closer to immortality? Let’s find out with my 2019 NFL Divisional Round picks.
Last Week’s Playoff Picks: 2-2
Indianapolis Colts (10-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
Wow, the Colts knocked the Texans’ teeth out in the first half of last week’s game, quickly going up 21-0 and preventing Houston from scoring up until the 4th quarter. The Colts now go to the loudest stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs and second year phenom and MVP favorite Patrick Mahomes. The last time these teams played, the Chiefs blew a 31-10 lead, and let Andrew Luck come back in an insane 2013 wild card game. As I stated in my Wild Card predictions last week, the Kansas City Chiefs have only won a single divisional round game since they won the Super Bowl back in 1969, and that’s a thought that’s lingered in my head, but the Chiefs have too much firepower to sputter and be a ‘1 & done.’ This game is going to be a shootout between two generational gunslingers, and will come down to whoever has that last shot in the chamber. While it’d be great to see Luck lead the Colts to the AFC Championship, the Chiefs are going to win this game thanks to Pat Mahomes throwing for a ridiculous amount of yards and TDs.
Dallas Cowboys (10-6) @ Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
The Dallas Cowboys have won their third playoff game since they won Super Bowl XXX against a very good Seahawks team, who didn’t go down without a fight. The Boys came to play this postseason, and last week Dak proved that he needs an extension. Unfortunately, tragedy struck as WR Allen Hurns destroyed his ankle while getting tackled, I wish you nothing but the best in your recovery. Now the Cowboys travel on the road to take on the Los Angeles Rams, who have a high powered offense. The Rams have looked very mortal over the past month, suffering 2 ugly losses to the Bears and Niners as Pro Bowler Jared Goff reverted to his rookie form and the Rams have looked very mortal, but they’ve had an extra week to get in sync against a very good Dallas defense. This game will be a battle between two of the best running backs in the NFL, Todd Gurley and rushing champ Ezekiel Elliot, and whichever RB has the better day, that team will likely advance to the NFC title game. As much as it pains me to say it, I’m going to pick the Dallas Cowboys to pick up the upset over the LA Rams and make their first NFC Championship game in 23 years. God have mercy on us all.
Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) @ New England Patriots (11-5)
After playing a sloppy game against the Baltimore Ravens, the Chargers go on the road once again to take on the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots. The Chargers this year have been dominant on the road, posting an 8-1 record including last week’s playoff win. Their only loss on the road this year in a cross-town showdown against the LA Rams. The Patriots have been undefeated at home this season, despite boasting one of the weakest rosters they’ve had in years. Gronk hasn’t exactly been himself, with his second worst season of his career in terms of catches and yards, and a career low 3 touchdowns. The last time the Pats played the Chargers, the Patriots beat them 24-21. Another statistic, is that none of the remaining AFC QBs have ever beaten Tom Brady, including Philip Rivers, who is 0-7 in his career. The Patriots haven’t lost a home playoff game since 2010. This is the toughest game for the Patriots, because the Chargers have a very explosive offense with guys like Keenan Allen, a still reliable Antonio Gates, and Melvin Gordon. The strength of the Patriots is supposed to be their passing game, but they’re playing a team who can not only match, but out play them through the air. This game won’t be easy by any means, but I’m going to pick the New England Patriots to edge out the Chargers, and make their ninth straight AFC Championship appearance.
Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) @ New Orleans Saints (13-3)
The legend of Nick Foles continues to grow as the defending Super Bowl Champions scraped out a victory in Soldier Field thanks to Cody Parkey whiffing on a game-winning field goal attempt. Both teams tried to piss the game away, but Nick Foles found his clutch gene and threw a game-winning touchdown pass in the closing seconds. Now they have another tough test ahead of them as they travel down Bourbon Street to take on the #1 seeded Saints. In Week 11, Philly traveled down to the Superdome and were absolutely thrashed, 48-7. As we’ve discovered last year, and last week Nick Foles is a beast in the playoffs, besting the league’s top defense 2 years in a row (Minnesota last year, and Chicago this year). Even with a banged up secondary, the Eagles defense looked solid, but let’s not forget that Chicago didn’t have a top tier offense. Now they’re playing Drew Brees with a banged up secondary. I’m sorry Eagles fans, but the legend ends here for Nick Foles, as the Saints advance on to the NFC Championship.