After an interesting Wild Card Round filled with great storylines, it’s time to move to the Divisional Round. I went 4-0 in my picks last week, but so did everyone else. Let’s get into it:
Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots
While the Chiefs destroyed the Texans last weekend, the Patriots sat at home and rested. Even with that rest the health is in question for some of the major keys on offense in Julian Edelman and Gronk. Without those pieces on offense and a depleted offensive line, I’m taking the Chiefs to pull the ultimate upset in New England. On paper, it shouldn’t really be an upset because of how hot the Chiefs have been and how many injuries the Patriots have had, but it’s still Tom Brady in Foxborough.
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals
There are things that should scare Cardinals fans. Things like injuries to key defensive players such as Tyrann Mathieu, Alex Okafor and Cory Redding. Don’t lose any sleep over Aaron Rodgers, though because behind that offensive line, he is going nowhere. The offense that should scare people in this game is the 2nd highest scoring offense in the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals. The Packers don’t have enough to stop the versatility that the Cardinals have on offense. Arizona beats Green Bay.
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers
In what will end up being the best game of the playoffs, we have a few star quarterbacks carrying their team in a way nobody thought they would a few years ago. In almost every part of this game, it could be considered a toss-up. The Panthers beat Seattle in the regular season, but when a coach like Pete Carroll loses like he did in that game, he learns everything about his team and his opponent. The biggest factor in this game will be the defense for Seattle. If they play the way they did against Teddy when they play Cam, forget about it, the game is over. With the way that Greg Olson torched them last time, the focus will be on the tight end and for a team who doesn’t like to pick favorites on offense, that’s perfect. I’m taking the Panthers to win this game.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
This game could end in so many different ways. It’s probably the only real playoff game I can remember where I wouldn’t be surprised if 4 different quarterbacks finished the game. Even if Big Ben makes it back to the field on Sunday, he won’t be there for long. DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller are licking their chops getting ready to hit the finisher on the half-hobbled Steelers QB. And now without Antonio Brown, forget about it- Wade Phillips is going to unleash the dogs and that gets Denver to the AFC Championship game.
If things go as smoothly as last week for my picks, it would end up being Chiefs @ Broncos for the AFC Championship and the Cardinals @ Panthers for the NFC Championship. I like it, fairly fresh faces to introduce new storylines as we approach Super Bowl Sunday.