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NFL PLAYOFFS: DIVISIONAL ROUND SUNDAY

After a WILD Wild Card Weekend, what craziness will the Divisional Round bring us?

Packer Fans by Mike Morbeck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

NFL PLAYOFFS: DIVISIONAL ROUND SUNDAY


Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Well, Wild Card Weekend was certainly wild. We saw four really good, exciting games last weekend and now we move on to the Divisional Round.

The two teams I predicted before the season to go to the Super Bowl were bounced out by lower-seeded teams. The Patriots couldn’t stop Derrick Henry at all and couldn’t really move the ball on offense. Drew Brees, unfortunately, looked very pedestrian and the Saints ran into a Vikings defense that definitely came ready to play. So now, I don’t know who the hell will be in the Super Bowl. But I can tell you who I think will win this weekend, so let’s get to it!


Texans at Chiefs

You know what I’ve noticed about the Houston Texans…they always get off to terrible starts in the playoffs. And that can’t be good against an offense as good as the Chiefs.

Houston Texans and the Curious Case of the First Half

So last weekend, the Texans were held scoreless in the first half. Last year in the playoffs you know what happened to the Texans? They were held scoreless. In the 2015 playoffs, they were held scoreless not only in the first half but the entire game when they lost in the Wild Card round 30-0 to the Chiefs. In the 2012 playoffs, the Texans scored just nine points in the first half against Andy Dalton and a Bengals team who were lucky to be in the playoffs.

The first half has been a struggle for the Texans in recent playoff games. They absolutely cannot start that poorly against this Chiefs team. Otherwise, this will be a blowout.

This Could Actually Be A Blowout

A game with Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson is like a Bears fan’s nightmare. Because these are two stud quarterbacks that the Bears passed over in the NFL draft. But this may also be a tough watch for Texans fans too.

The Texans defense played well last week, but they also faced a limited offense led by a quarterback who was playing his first career playoff game. Now they play arguably the best offense in football. The Texans have the worst red-zone defense in the NFL, they’re 29th against the pass, and 25th against the run. The Chiefs have the 5th ranked passing offense and they don’t turn the ball over as they are tied for the 3rd least giveaways in the league. The Chiefs are also the best offense on 3rd down in the league, with a 47.6% conversion rate. Basically, this Texans defense will have its hands full.

Things Are Different Now

The last time these two teams played, the Texans won 31-24. But the Chiefs’ defense has improved significantly since then. Their defense up front has been doing a better job at getting after the quarterback and their secondary has turned things around too. The Chiefs are the 8th ranked pass defense in the league and they’ve only allowed 19.3 points per game.

In addition, it was Tyreek Hill’s first game back, and Patrick Mahomes was dealing with an ankle injury at the time. But now the Chiefs are healthier, their defense is playing better, and they’ve won their last six games coming into these playoffs – so they’re hot.

So Who Wins?

I think this is a terrible matchup for Houston, and this could very well be the blowout game of the weekend. Kansas City is hot, they are playing their best football, and if the Texans get off to their usual slow playoff start, then they will be in a world of hurt. Deshaun Watson is great, but if the Texans start off slow, Watson will not be able to keep up with Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. Kansas City wins convincingly. Chiefs win 40-24.


Seahawks at Packers

The Seahawks barely got by the Eagles last week. But here’s the problem – the Eagles were already banged up, they lost Carson Wentz to a concussion before the end of the first quarter, and a 40-year old backup came in, competed, and still almost beat the Seahawks. Seattle caught a major break when Wentz went down. I’m not so sure Seattle even wins the game if Wentz plays the all four quarters.

Let it Snow

The forecast for this game at Lambeau Field currently calls for about 20 degrees with slight wind. But it’s the night before the game that could be the real problem, and the two teams may have to get their shovels out for this one.

The night before the game, the forecast calls for TEN INCHES OF SNOW and there is a Winter Storm Warning in effect. In other words, this game is going to be SO FUN TO WATCH. It also probably gives the Packers the edge because…you know…they’re used to this shit.

Wilson’s Struggles at Lambeau

Believe it or not, Russell Wilson is actually winless in his career at Lambeau Field (0-3). Actually, Wilson struggles overall against the Packers. In seven career games against them, he has thrown 10 interceptions, which is the most he’s thrown against a single opponent.

The Packers are 3rd in the league in turnover differential (+12), 3rd in the league in interceptions, and 7th in the league in takeaways. The Packers defense may not be the best in the league, but they do have some serious playmakers and can make offenses pay. You take that along with a shit ton of snow and frigid temperatures, and Wilson may be in for a rough evening.

Can Seattle Get Their Run Game Going?

In last week’s game against the Eagles, the Seahawks rushed for a total of 64 yards on 26 carries. But 45 of those yards and 9 of those carries all came from Russell Wilson. Marshawn Lynch and Travis Homer each rushed for no more than 1.2 yards per carry. The run game is a problem. Without Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise, the Seahawks are going to once again ask Wilson to come in and save the day. But I don’t know if he will be able to do it this time in Green Bay.

So Who Wins?

I haven’t really been sold on the Packers all year, but I just can’t imagine the Seattle pulling this one-off. The Seahawks are completely dead in the backfield, and they caught a major break against a Philly practice squad last week. I like how Green Bay has been running the ball lately, and I think their secondary will keep D.K. Metcalf in check; who had a huge game against the Philadelphia secondary. The thing is, however, Green Bay’s secondary is a major upgrade from Philadelphia’s. I don’t think Metcalf has nearly the type of performance he had last week.

I think this game will be very close, but the Packers are healthier, they have a better defense, and they’re rested at home. Seattle has done a lot of traveling and they are just too banged up for me to pick them in this game. I know it is hard to bet against Russell Wilson, but to be honest, the Seahawks are lucky they even made it this far. Packers win 19-17.

Enjoy the games!

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