2019 NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions

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.

Prediction: Chiefs

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.

Prediction: Cowboys

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.

Prediction: Patriots

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.

Prediction: Saints

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2019 NFL Wild Card Playoff Predictions

Happy New Year Everyone! The tumultuous time that was the 2018 Regular Season is over, and now it’s time for the “Adult Swim.” Yes, 12 teams remain and will battle it out for a chance at immortality. The road to the Super Bowl just reached its rockiest parts while on the home stretch to the ship. It’s time to see whose season will come to an end this weekend with my predictions for the 2019 Wild Card Weekend.

First, let’s look at the teams that earned a First-Round Bye.

New Orleans Saints (13-3)

The Saints started out the year on a white-hot 8 game winning streak thanks to dominance from Drew Brees and standout running back Alvin Kamara. This season had Drew Brees break Peyton Manning’s passing record, and miss his 13th consecutive 4,000 yard passing season by a mere 8 yards. The Saints defense was middle of the pack, but their offensive dominance and precision more than made up for their defense’s shortcomings. The Saints are poised to make a Super Bowl run, and the road to the Lombardi runs through Bourbon Street. Good luck trying to win in the Superdome.

Saints play the winner of Seattle @ Dallas, or Philadelphia if they win

Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)

For the third straight year the Kansas City Chiefs have won the AFC West, and are the #1 seed in the AFC for the first time since 1997. The Chiefs offense exploded with second year phenom Patrick Mahomes, who went on to throw for 50 TD passes and 5,000 yards in his first year as a starter. The Chiefs are looking dominant, but the playoffs have not exactly been kind to Kansas City. The Chiefs have won only three playoff games in the last TWENTY. FIVE. YEARS. Kansas City hasn’t won a divisional playoff game since Joe Montana was their QB, and that was the only one they’ve won since 1969. Let’s hope that Pat Mahomes can be the guy to finally end their playoff woes and make the Chiefs a superpower again. Hell, he may even be able to end the drought in KC.

Chiefs play the winner of Chargers @ Baltimore, or Indianapolis if they win

Los Angeles Rams (13-3)

The Rams have had two different looks in 2018. Over the first 12 or so games, they were 10-1 and their offense were putting up insane numbers, including 2 instant classics against the Minnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs (which is the greatest game ever played). Then once December hit, the Rams looked like a very different team. They’ve lost 2 very ugly games to the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles, then won their last 2 games against the Cardinals and Niners, which wasn’t saying much. The Rams get a week of rest, and should get their act together in the playoffs. The Rams have way too much talent to be one and done in the playoffs.

Rams play the winner of Seattle @ Dallas, or Chicago if they win

New England Patriots (11-5)

For the eighth consecutive year, the New England Patriots have earned a First-Round Bye in the playoffs. Pardon me if I sound shocked at this revelation. People are saying that Tom Brady’s in a slump, but he went out and had a surprisingly quiet 4,300 yard passing season. Yes, he threw 11 INTs this year, which is the most he’s thrown for since 2013, but he’s still playing well. The Patriots have been looking mortal on the road. Bizarrely this season, the Patriots were 8-0 at home and 3-5 on the road, and a road playoff game could be the key to beating the Evil Empire. Tom Brady has only played in 6 road playoff games IN HIS CAREER, posting a 3-3 record. Tom hasn’t won a road playoff game since 2006 against an upstart Philip Rivers. In his last 3 road playoff games, he’s lost them all at the hands of his rival Peyton Manning, once in Indy, and twice in Denver. The Patriots have a strong chance of making the AFC Championship, because they could play a Texans team with a bad O-Line, or the Chargers, who have looked mortal recently. Regardless, good luck beating the Pats at home, because the Pats have only lost 5 playoff games at Foxborough, in almost 60 years.

Patriots play the winner of Los Angeles @ Baltimore, or Houston if they win

Last Week’s Score: 14-2

Regular Season Score: 161-95

Now, on with the playoffs!

NFC Wild Card Game: Seattle Seahawks (10-6) @ Dallas Cowboys (10-6)

The Seahawks have had a very quiet 10-6 season, thanks to a surprisingly decent run game, and good defensive play. Like the Cowboys, they were 4-5, then went on a 6-1 run to sneak in the playoffs. Despite their defensive play, the Seahawks have relied on Russell Wilson to carry them to the postseason once again. The Dallas Cowboys have had a very ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ year. At the trade deadline, the Cowboys were 3-5 and everyone thought they were dead in the water. Then, Dallas traded a First-Round pick for Amari Cooper, then went on a 5 game win streak and played like they meant business (aside from a week 16 shutout against the Colts). Dak threw for 3,885 yards this season and really matured as a passer, while Ezekiel Elliot nabbed his second rushing title in three seasons. Although there’s a strong chance of Russell Wilson shenanigans, I’m going to pick the Dallas Cowboys to win their second playoff game in 23 years and move on to play the Saints in a high profile rematch.

Prediction: Cowboys

AFC Wild Card Game: Indianapolis Colts (10-6) @ Houston Texans (11-5)

Nobody thought the Colts would’ve made the playoffs at the beginning of the year. They were 1-5, with bad play on both sides of the ball. Then all of the sudden, Andrew Luck led the Colts on a 9-1 run to finish 10-6 and earn a playoff berth. Now, they go on the road to face a familiar foe in the Houston Texans, who have looked very mortal. Their offensive line has looked really weak, and their defense hasn’t been as dominant as they have been in the past, but still rank 12th overall. This is going to be another tight playoff game, but I’m going to pick Andrew Luck and the Colts to nudge by the Texans, then get ready to get blown out at Arrowhead.

Prediction: Colts

AFC Wild Card Game: Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) @ Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

In a rematch from week 16, the Baltimore Ravens host the Los Angeles Chargers. Both of these teams have turned it on late in the year, especially the Baltimore Ravens. After Joe Flacco hurt his hip, Lamar Jackson took over after the bye week and led the Ravens on a 6-1 record to finish 10-6. They haven’t been throwing the ball a whole lot, but have been just playing old school, smash mouth football. Run the ball down opponent’s throats, and play killer defense. The Chargers have won 5 of their last 6 games, and despite the slump in the run game, Philip Rivers has done more than enough to keep LA alive, and prove that he’s an elite QB. This is going to be a close game, but I’m going to go with the Baltimore Ravens to get the W, and head on to Foxborough.

Prediction: Ravens

NFC Wild Card Game: Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) @ Chicago Bears (12-4)

For the second year in a row, Nick Foles will lead the Philadelphia Eagles into the postseason, and he has a tough test ahead of him on the road against the Chicago Bears. I’m a bit worried for Nick Foles, because he got knocked out of last week’s shutout win over the Redskins, but Doug Pederson says that Foles will play. The Eagles are true underdogs this year, barely squeaking in the playoffs and the question on everyone’s mind is, “can they pull it off again?” They still have many key defensive players from last year, it’s just that the secondary fell off a cliff. Last year, the Eagles had a top 10 unit, this year they rank 23rd, giving up 366.2 yards a game. Now they play the Chicago Bears, who rank 21st offensively, but have the NFL’s 3rd ranked defense. Since the Bears traded for Khalil Mack, the defense immediately got better. Mack has been nothing short of dominant, immediately making the Bears from an afterthought into a playoff team. I sure don’t wanna be Nick Foles right now. He’s going into frigid Chicago, against that defense with banged up ribs. Yeah, this is gonna be ugly. I’m going to pick the Bears to win a tight defensive contest and get ready for a rematch against the LA Rams.

Prediction: Bears

 

2018 NFL Divisional Round Predictions

Wild Card weekend is in the books, and it was certainly surprising to say the least. The Chiefs choked away yet another playoff game and now they’re looking to move on from Alex Smith. Who is going to advance on and get one step closer to the Super Bowl? Let’s find out with my picks for the NFL Divisional Round.

NFC PLAYOFF GAME: Atlanta Falcons (10-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

The reigning NFC Champions have a tough defensive test ahead of them with the Eagles. They have the league’s top rushing defense which means that Matt Ryan is going to have to use his arm to win, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Philly’s offense isn’t an issue with Nick Foles at the helm. They haven’t clicked at all and the only reason they’ve held on to the top seed is because of that defense. I’m sorry Eagles fans (not really), but here’s where your luck runs out. Have fun watching the Super Bowl while trying to get the pope to bless Carson Wentz’ knee.

Prediction: Falcons 24 Eagles 10

AFC PLAYOFF GAME: Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6) @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The last time these teams played, Big Ben was questioning his future. He threw 5 picks against the league’s best pass defense as the Steelers got annihilated 30-9. I don’t think that’ll happen again. The Steelers are a different animal in the playoffs. Now that they have a healthy Antonio Brown, the Steelers could pose a threat. This is where Blake Bortles starts go suck it up and ost the Jags the game. I’m picking the Steelers to get some redemption against the Jags, and get ready for the trip to Foxborough.

Prediction: Steelers 31 Jaguars 20

NFC PLAYOFF GAME: New Orleans Saints (10-6) @ Minnesota Vikings (13-3)

The last time these two teams played in the playoffs, it was in the Superdome and Brett Favre threw a game-sealing pick. This time around, they’re playing in Minnesota. The Vikings have the league’s #1 defense and are looking to dominate the playoffs. The question lingering in everyone’s mind is “When will the “Super Bowl Curse” take effect?” No NFL team has ever played in the Super Bowl when the game is in their home stadium. The Vikings could be the team to do it. They have a hot offense, and a crushing defense. That defense is going o b the factor that wins them this game. I’m picking the Minnesota Vikings to win this game, and be one game away from going to the Super Bowl.

Prediction: Vikings 28 Saints 24

 

AFC PLAYOFF GAME: Tennessee Titans (9-7) @ New England Patriots (13-3)

Saying the Titans are an underdog is an understatement. They’re traveling to Foxborough and take on the favorite to win the Super Bowl. They somehow beat the Chiefs last week, but the wrath of Brady is going to be too much for the Titans to withstand. I’m making the easiest decision of the week and picking the Patriots to make their seventh consecutive AFC Championship appearance.

Prediction: Patriots 38 Titans 7

NFL Wild Card Playoff Predictions

The regular season is done, and now we have only the best of the best left. There is still a long road to the Super Bowl, and it starts with Wild Card weekend. This edition of the NFL Playoffs is pretty historic. For the first time since 1967, the Packers, Cowboys, Niners, Redskins or Giants have all missed the postseason. Also, for the first time this millennium, the Buffalo Bills have made it to the playoffs. Dreams will be crushed for some teams, and hope will live on for others. Who will head to Foxborough next weekend? Let’s find out with some Wild Card picks.

Last Week’s Score: 8-8

Regular Season Score: 172-84

First, let’s look at the teams that were fortunate that were able to get the first round bye.

New England Patriots (13-3)

Was it any surprise that the Patriots have home-field advantage? The road to the Super Bowl runs through Foxborough. The Patriots haven’t played in a wild card game since 2009, and it looks to stay that way for a while. If KC wins, then Belichick would love for a chance to get some vengeance for Week 1. The Chiefs would pose the best chance for making the Pats a one and done team, something that hasn’t happened since 2010.

Patriots play the winner between Kansas City and Tennessee, or Buffalo if they win

Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

In a fraction of a second, the Eagles went from Super Bowl favorite to an afterthought. Eagles fans lost faith in their offense without Carson Wentz. The Eagles are 2-1 since their star QB went down, and they’ve all been ugly, close games. If any of these teams are one and done, The Eagles would be a safe bet.

Eagles play the winner between New Orleans and Carolina, or Atlanta if they win

Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)

The Steelers unsurprisingly also nabbed an extra bye week. This was crucial because the Steelers NEED a healthy Antonio Brown if they’re going to have any chance of a Super Bowl run. If the Steelers play the Jags again, they better hope Ben shows up and doesn’t throw five picks. The Bills pose an interesting threat if Shady plays. There isn’t a word on whether or not AB will be healthy for the divisional round, but let’s hope he is.

Steelers play the winner between Kansas City and Tennessee, or Jacksonville if they win

Minnesota Vikings (13-3)

No team has ever played in the Super Bowl if the game takes place in their stadium. The Vikings look to be the team that could make that feat. The Vikings have the league’s best defense, and a dark horse MVP candidate in Case Keenum. The Vikings are my pick to be the NFC’s representative in the Super Bowl.

Vikings play the winner between New Orleans and Carolina, or LA if they win

Now let’s get on with the playoff picks!

AFC Wild Card: Tennessee Titans (9-7) @ Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

It saddens me that the Titans have made the playoffs. Despite what their record says, they are vastly overrated. Their offense and defense are mediocre. Demarco Murray won’t be playing this week and this gives Derrick Henry a chance to shine. Alex Smith got a little bit of rest last week because the Chiefs already clinched the playoffs. The Chiefs rebounded after a horrid middle part of the season, and are on a four game winning streak. The Chiefs lack of defense could make this game close, but not close enough. I’m picking the Chiefs to advance in the playoffs.

Prediction: Chiefs 31 Titans 24

NFC Wild Card: Atlanta Falcons (10-6) @ Los Angeles Rams (11-5)

For the first time since 2004, the Rams are in a playoff game. The last playoff game they played, they got blown out by Michael Vick and the Falcons 47-17. Will history repeat itself here? This is interesting because it features two high profile offenses going head to head, and defense won’t be that much of a factor. The Rams have the highest scoring offense in the NFL, averaging 29.9 points per game backed by MVP candidate Todd Gurley. The Falcons snuck into the playoffs thanks to a Seattle loss. Atlanta’s offense, had taken a decline from last year. They put up 22.1 points per game and have the 8th ranked total offense. This is going to be a shootout and will come down to who has the ball last. I’m picking the Rams to win this game, and head on to the frigid dome in Minneapolis.

Prediction: Rams 41 Falcons 35

AFC Wild Card: Buffalo Bills (9-7) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)

They did it! The Bills made the playoffs! And in other good news, the world hasn’t ended. The Bills are the biggest underdog in the AFC, and the road to the Super Bowl won’t be easy. They have to play the Jags, who have the top passing defense and the Patriots in the divisional round. The Bills have a chance, if Shady plays. The Bills have a top 10 rushing offense, averaging 126 yards per game. That could pose a challenge for the Jags, who have the 21st rushing defense. They give up 116.3 yards per game, and this gives the Bills a chance. The Bills defense won’t do them any favors. They have the 29th ranked rush defense, giving up 124.6 rushing yards per game, and the Jags have the top rushing offense. Oh no. I’m afraid the clock has struck midnight for the Bills. I’m picking the Jaguars to win this game, and make a push for the AFC title.

Prediction: Jaguars 38 Bills 20

NFC Wild Card: Carolina Panthers (11-5) @ New Orleans Saints (11-5)

For the third time this season, the Panthers will clash against the Saints. Carolina’s defense has carried them to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. However, the Panthers’ offense isn’t lighting the league on fire like they did in their Super Bowl run. Carolina may have lost to Atlanta, but so did the Saints, so that levels the playing field when it comes to momentum. They split the series this year, and the saying is “It’s hard to beat the same team twice” (unless you’re playing Cleveland). This is the first time these two teams are playing each other in the postseason, and this should be an entertaining game. I’m picking the Saints to win, and they’ll most likely head on to Philly in the divisional round, and possibly make an NFC Title game appearance.

Prediction: Saints 34 Panthers 20