With the Wild Card weekend in the rearview, it is time for the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs. The top 2 seeds from each conference got their bye week and should be rested up. They will face the winners of the Wild Card. Each team that won during the Wild Card was the home team. This week, however, Green Bay, Houston, Pittsburgh, and Seattle will all be on the road. In the AFC #4 Houston will go up north to #1 New England and #3 Pittsburgh is off to #2 Kansas City. On the NFC side #4 Green Bay will face #1 Dallas and #3 Seattle will travel to #2 Atlanta. All of these games are rematches from earlier in the NFL season, which should make for some interesting games.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
To kick off the Divisional round is a great NFC matchup. The #3 Seattle Seahawks go down south to play the #2 Atlanta Falcons in what might be the most heated game of the weekend. These teams met in week 6 of the regular season in arguably one of the best games of the season. The Seahawks edged the Falcons with the score 26-24, but not without controversy. Richard Sherman had hands on Julio Jones that could have easily been called pass interference but was not. It should also be mentioned that this game was in Seattle where the Seahawks went 7-1 but on the road went 3-4-1. Either way, this game kicks off a great weekend but I see Atlanta getting by with a close win.
The late game on Saturday is up in Foxborough between the #4 Houston Texans and the #1 New England Patriots. This game is a rematch from week 3 but with one major difference. Tom Brady will be in the lineup this time and has been red hot this season. This is a bad scenario for Houston as they lost 27-0 earlier in the year to the Pats 3rd string QB. That fact, mixed with the extremely inconsistent play from all of Houston’s quarterbacks means the Texans are in trouble. One good thing for Houston is their defense and their pass rush, which may be their only saving grace. They can hope to pressure Brady but the Patriots will win by at least 14.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
The first game on Sunday is set to take place between #3 Pittsburgh Steelers and the #2 Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. This has shaped up to be a very interesting matchup as Pittsburgh has all of their offensive weapons on the field. The key thing is that their defense is playing at the best they have all season. On the Chiefs side, they had the bye week to rest up. They also come in with one of the most balanced offenses and a defense that has been firing on all cylinders for the last half of the season. This will be a much different game than the week 4 blowout for two reasons. The Chiefs have gotten much better since their loss. This game is in KC as well where the Chiefs are a very good team at that. Another big concern for the Steelers is their quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger was injured in the wild card game and was seen in a walking boot. It has been reported that he is will play and it is only a sprain, but it may still have an effect come Sunday. I suspect this game will come down to a field goal, but both teams can win in this one.
The final Divisional game of the weekend might be the most exciting too. The red hot #4 Green Bay Packers are going to Jerry World to take on the #1 Dallas Cowboys. This game has a lot of interest as the Cowboys have been the best team all season, but they are facing arguably the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers. The last time these teams met in week 6 the Cowboys went into Lambeau and won 30-16. One big difference between then and now is the emergence of some Green Bay defense. The Cowboys are a tough matchup for any team. This is because of Zeke Elliot and the way he can run the ball. I see this game being a shootout with a ton of points scored even without Jordy Nelson. I think the veteran puts the rookies in their place, 45-35 in favor of Green Bay. This pick could easily go for the Cowboys as well especially with the season they’ve had. The Boys have a lot of upsides and I expect to see them in the same place next season.