NFL Divisional round playoff predictions

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Ready…set…go…

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (-5)

The Seattle Seahawks’ road woes are well documented, so it’s not too much of gamble to ride with the Atlanta Falcons this week. Seattle’s defense is missing Earl Thomas, which puts added pressure on the defensive line to make Matt Ryan’s time in the pocket miserable. To make matters worse for Seattle, the Falcons are balanced on offense: great running game along with a passing attack led by an MVP candidate at quarterback. (We all know how the league loves its quarterbacks – well, except if you are Cam Newton.) Seattle’s defensive effort last week could focus in on Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ passing game. This strategy will obviously not work against the Falcons. The Falcons will score plenty of points. Can the Seahawks match the total?

Upset chance?

Slight.

Atlanta’s defensive line will not draw comparisons to the Rams or Cardinals unit, and those are the type of defensive lines that give Seattle fits. Russell Wilson may actually have time to do “Wilson things”.

Even so, too much offensive firepower from the Falcons.

Winner: Falcons (-5)

Houston at New England (-15)

The Patriots are the best team. They have the best coach, the best quarterback, the best cheating system or process to produce quality football teams. Does it really matter that they don’t pressure the quarterback well? No, it doesn’t; especially, when the opposing quarterback position is manned by Brock Osweiler. Heck, teams may should just sit back in coverage and let him throw. Why bother putting the time and effort in to rush the passer when he’ll probably just gift wrap passes to the opposing team on his own?

Upset chance?

Uhm..no. This is one of those times Houston fans, where you need to score points with the significant other and go do whatever he or she wants to do while this game is played.

Winner: New England (-15)

Pittsburgh at Kansas City (-1.5)

Has there ever been another team in this era perfectly content to run 13 plays and settle for field goals besides the Kansas City Chiefs? Sure, the Chiefs want to score touchdowns, but as long as they get 3 yards here, 5 yards there, all is well. As much as I admire Alex Smith and perseverance, the playoffs usually belong to the players that bring the pizzazz (old-school word of the day). Guess which team possesses those type of players? Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown all play for the Steelers.

Upset Chance?

You betcha

The Steelers will win the “big plays versus grinding drives” match up.

Winner: Pittsburgh (+1.5)

Green Bay at Dallas (-4.5)

Speaking of stars, one team features the star as the logo on their helmet, and the other one has a quarterback who possesses all the stereotypes superstar quarterbacks get labeled with – talented, cocky, dates a movie star, and the list goes on and on. Is there a way where both of these teams take the “L”? No, I’ll guess I’ll have to settle with one.

Both teams have superb offenses. Defense, eh, not either team’s strength. Green Bay’s secondary has been decimated with injuries. Fortunately for them, Dallas plays more of a ball-control style of offense.

Upset Chance?

Most signs point to a Dallas win, but Dallas will turn the ball over a couple of times as they are counting on two rookies (Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot) to carry the offensive load. While Prescott has played well this season, there is no way he is out playing Aaron Rodgers, and playoff games usually come down to which team has the better quarterback play. Green Bay will capitalize on the Dallas mistakes with Aaron Rodgers making big-time plays.

Winner: Green Bay (+4.5)



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