Yeah, I’ll admit it. I missed out on the last two weeks of the season as I got swept up in a bunch of traveling and holiday festivities. But I finished the regular season with a pretty good record for my picks though! I went 89-58, but now I’m back on a clean slate for the NFL playoffs!
These are exciting times my friends. I am looking forward to these playoffs because not only can I just kick back and relax watching these games knowing that I won’t have a stroke over my Steelers playing in it, but I have no idea who’s going to come out of this in the end.
And that’s exciting.
It at least seems to me that the Saints are probably the favorite to win the Super Bowl. After all, they were probably the best team in the league all year. Even still, I think they were exploited a bit against the Cowboys and my Steelers this year. And then I have no idea who is coming out of the AFC. To me, there is no clear, heavy favorite coming out of that conference.
The Saints, Rams, Patriots, and Chiefs all have first round byes and so we will not see them play this weekend. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to see some crazy good games on Saturday and Sunday!
GET EXCITED! THE PLAYOFFS ARE HERE! ARGGGHHH!
Ok, now that that’s out of my system. On to the picks!
Regular Season Record: 89-58
Playoff Record: 0-0
Colts at Texans (Saturday @ 4:35PM ET)
Remember when the Texans started the season 0-3? Better yet, remember when the Colts started the season 1-5? ONE AND FIVE! Everyone wanted Frank Reich out, including these guys:
Not so fast Five Reasons Sports Network…not so fast.
Because then the Colts would go on a 9-1 run and all the Frank Reich hate was expunged, and you all of a sudden go from Five Reasons’ hatred for Reich to this guy:
Oh man hahaha….that’s awesome. Burned.
Anyway, sometimes it’s not the best team who wins the Super Bowl, but the hottest team going into the playoffs. And that team may very well be the Indianapolis Colts right now.
There aren’t too many quarterbacks who are having a better season than Andrew Luck, and I think the Colts could arguably have the best offensive line in the league.
You must protect not just your house…but your quarterback too!
Luck has been sacked this year just 18 times. Deshaun Watson? Try 62. So Watson plays under a lot more pressure and we may see that in this game. Houston is talented on that defensive line, but I think the Colts’ offensive line is a tough matchup for them; not to mention, the Colts’ o-line is completely healthy for this game.
While Houston’s defensive line is a force, I do believe the secondary is questionable. As a matter of fact, Houston’s defense is one of the worst in the league at giving up big plays downfield, so if the Colts o-line can buy him some time, I expect Luck to make some big plays that could be the difference-maker in this matchup.
If the Texans are going to win this game, their secondary will have to show up in a big way, and on offense, they need to protect Watson and give him time to make plays. As for the Colts, discipline on defense will be huge. Indy is 30th is penalty yards allowed on defense. I think if the Colts can run the ball effectively as well, that will open up for some big plays for Luck downfield.
These two teams have split with each other this season, and the two games have a combined score of 58-58. I expect this to be a great, close game. Both these teams have exceeded their expectations in a big way this season, but I think the Colts are the type of team you do not want to face right now. Indy is hot, and I think they pull off the upset on the road to move on to face the top seed Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round. Colts win 27-24.
Seahawks at Cowboys (Saturday @ 8:15PM ET)
The Seahawks actually led the league in total rushing yards this season (2,560) and were 4th in the league in yards per attempt (4.8). Unfortunately for Seattle, Dallas is pretty good against the run.
But where I give the edge to Seattle is at the quarterback position. Dallas has a good defense, but they are actually very similar to Houston in which they both have great defensive lines, but don’t have all that great of secondaries.
Dallas has been great at home this year (7-1) but if you’re giving me a choice between Pete Carroll and Jason Garrett in the playoffs, I’m taking Pete Carroll. And if you’re giving me a choice between Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson in the playoffs, I’m taking Russell Wilson every day and twice on Sundays.
I think this will be a close game, but I think the Seattle defense will cause trouble for Prescott. Seattle is 1st in the NFL in turnover differential, and they have the least giveaways out of any team in the league at 11. I think that will be the difference-maker in this game. Seattle will take care of the ball, and provide enough pressure to Dak Prescott. I also expect Russell Wilson to make enough big plays and seal the victory on the road. Seahawks win 26-17.
Chargers at Ravens (Sunday @ 1:05PM ET)
There are only four teams in the league who had a better road record than their home record this season: The Giants, Redskins, Saints, and Chargers. So even though they have to fly across the country for this playoff game, the Chargers have been road warriors (7-1) who can play with anyone at any place.
The last time these two teams played each other, the Ravens embarrassed Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense. Rivers was held to just 181 passing yards with 0 TDs and 2 INTS, and the Chargers posted just 51 total rushing yards in the game.
Chargers are all about the payback
However, the Chargers lost to the Chiefs in Week 1, but came back to beat them in Week 15. The Chargers lost to the Broncos in Week 11, but then came back to beat them in Week 17. The Chargers lost to the Ravens in Week 16, and so what do I think is going to happen the second time around?
That’s right, I think the Chargers will bounce back and beat the Ravens.
The key here for the Chargers is to stop the run, because no way will Lamar Jackson beat you through the air. Even in the first matchup against LA, Jackson was very pedestrian, throwing 12-22 with 204 yards and a TD. If you’re the Chargers, you have to stop the run and make Jackson beat you with his throws.
I think Rivers and the Chargers will make the right adjustments as they had done so much of the time throughout this season, and play much better this time around. I like them to get a big statement win on the road and potentially, assuming my Colts pick is right, make a trip to Gillette Stadium to face Tom Brady and the Patriots in what would be a hell of a playoff game to watch. Chargers win 33-21.
Eagles at Bears (Sunday @ 4:40PM ET)
The Bears are the best defense in the NFL, and opposing quarterbacks post a league-low QBR of 50.8 against this Chicago defense. But also, at the same time, this is in fact a post-December Nick Foles, when he can be at his finest. So this is certainly an intriguing matchup. Nick Foles has done some crazy things in this league, including beating Tom Brady in last year’s Super Bowl, so he won’t go down without a fight here.
This may sound obvious, but the Bears will only go as far as Mitch Trubisky can take them. If Trubiksy plays well, this team is in good shape and can make a serious run. The Eagles defense allows 288.7 receiving yards per game, which is the 3rd worst in the league. With a questionable and inconsistent Eagles secondary, this may turn out to be a favorable matchup for Trubisky.
I think Foles has enough magic to take this game into overtime, but in the end, the Bears defense will get the best of the Eagles and pull off a low-scoring, tight victory. Bears lead the league in takeaways, and that might be the difference-maker in the game, and I believe Trubisky does just enough against an iffy Philly secondary to survive the upset at home. Bears win in OT 17-14.
So if I nail my predictions, the Divisional Round games will look like this:
Chargers at Patriots
Colts at Chiefs
Seahawks at Saints
Bears at Rams
Enjoy the games!
- / 1 year ago
To me, Rachel Nichols is the personification of posting a black square on Instagram.