Saturday, January 14th at 4:30 PM: #3 Seattle Seahawks at #2 Atlanta Falcons (-6.5)
The Seahawks travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons in a regular season rematch won by Seattle 26-24. Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman lead a Seahawks team that will be without Earl Thomas who suffered a season ending injury mid-season. Meanwhile, the Falcons are healthy and rested and Matt Ryan will be looking for his first playoff win since he beat the Seahawks back in 2012. The Falcons offense has been outstanding all season long as likely MVP Matt Ryan and superstar Julio Jones lead an offense that averaged an NFL best 34.8 points per game and only used one starting offensive line combination all season. However, the veteran Seattle defense will not be intimidated as they are no stranger to big playoff games. I think Atlanta’s defense will play well in this game and contain Wilson while the offense goes to work and puts up points in a 30-17 Atlanta win.
Saturday, January 14th at 8:15 PM: #4 Houston Texans at #1 New England Patriots (-16)
Houston travels to New England as the biggest playoff underdog since 1998. These teams met back in Week 3 where a Jacoby Brissett led Patriots team throttled them 27-0. Now the Patriots have Tom Brady and a much improved defense that has rested and had two weeks to prepare for a Texans team without their best player in JJ Watt. The Patriots are simply far superior in every aspect of the game: offense, defense, special teams, and coaching. Jadaveon Clowney will have to have some monster hits on Tom Brady or a major injury will have to occur for this game to even be close. Patriots advance 34-10.
Sunday, January 15th at 4:40 PM: #4 Green Bay Packers at #1 Dallas Cowboys (-4.5)
The red hot Packers roll into Big D to take on rookie sensations Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, and a Cowboys team that finished with the best record in the NFC a year after going 4-12. The Cowboys won the regular season matchup by Green Bay has won 7 straight games after steam-rolling the Giants last week and will be looking for revenge. Aaron Rodgers won’t have Jordy Nelson this game but has been incredible during the second half of the season and into the playoffs. The Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliot easily led the NFL in rushing as a rookie behind a dominant offensive line and Dak Prescott will try to take advantage of a Green Bay secondary that has shown flaws by getting the ball to the trio of Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Cole Beasley. The Cowboys may be the more talented team but Green Bay is on a roll right now and knows how to win in the playoffs. Packers win it 28-24.
Sunday, January 15th at 8:20 PM: #3 Pittsburgh Steelers at #2 Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5)
The closest matchup in terms of the spread is also a game that was the biggest blowout of the 4 rematches from the regular season. The Steelers steamrolled the Chiefs 43-14 early on in the season but Kansas City played very well down the stretch, stealing the division from Oakland in the last week to earn a bye and home playoff game. Pittsburgh has been hot as well winning 8 straight behind their star trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Leveon Bell, and Antonio Brown. However, the defense has been very bad at times and I think Kansas City’s offense can make big plays with receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. Justin Houston and KC defense will do enough to slow down Big Ben as the Chiefs win 27-21.
Let me know your predictions in the comments down below!