Eight teams remain in the NFL playoffs and will battle it out in the divisional round this weekend. A pair of 6 seeds will take on the top teams from the conference, while Houston will look for its first ever conference championship appearance and the Seahawks will take on the Packers in Lambeau.
Saturday, January 11th 4:35 PM: #6 Minnesota Vikings @ #1 San Francisco 49ers (-7)
Jimmy Garropolo will be making his first ever playoff start against Kirk Cousins and Vikings. Minnesota pulled off a huge upset against Drew Brees and the Saints in New Orleans last weekend and will try to knock off another 13 win team this weekend. Dalvin Cook played a huge part in the Vikings win and Kirk Cousins was solid while proving the haters wrong who said he could not win in prime time. Both Stephon Diggs and Adam Thielen are expected to be active for this game which gives the Vikings big play ability. However, the 49ers have a great defense and a balanced offense and have played great all year with the exception of a loss to the Falcons. Their other two losses came against Baltimore and Seattle and were very close. George Kittle has been a game changer this year and the best tight end in the league. I think the 49ers are a very well rounded team and it will be tough to slow them down. Minnesota already pulled off one upset in the playoffs but I don’t see them pulling off another won. San Francisco is simply the superior team. The 49ers win 27-16.
Saturday, January 11th 8:15 PM: #6 Tennessee Titans @ #1 Baltimore Ravens (-9.5)
Lamar Jackson got his first playoff start in last year’s playoffs, and will now be looking for his first playoff win as a starter as the Ravens take on the Titans. Tennessee is coming off an upset win against the Patriots, and hope to keep the moment rolling in Baltimore. Ryan Tannehill was not very effective but a solid defense and a monster game by running back Derrick Henry helped the Titans to victory. They will once again need the defense and running game to step up against the Ravens. Baltimore’s offense has been tough to stop this year with the dual threat of Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram. However, I think Titans coach Mike Vrabel will put together a great game plan on defense to slow down Lamar Jackson. The Ravens haven’t played a meaningful game in a long time and could be vulnerable to rust. I think the Titans keep the momentum rolling and pull off a big upset in Baltimore. Tennessee wins 21-20.
Sunday, January 12th 3:05 PM: #4 Houston Texans @ #2 Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5)
This game will be a battle of two young and exciting quarterbacks as Deshaun Watson and the Texans take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Texans went into Kansas City and beat the Chiefs earlier this year, so they will not be afraid in the rematch. Deshaun Watson was the hero last week to get the Texans to this point after pulling off a big comeback against the Bills in the wild card round. Houston also has J.J. Watt back on defense after missing most of the season and being limited in last week’s game. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes is no stranger to the spotlight after coming within an overtime period of the Super Bowl last year. The Chiefs have great weapons on offense with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, and the defense has been playing better as well. I don’t see the Texans beating the Chiefs in Kansas City twice this season since the Chiefs are the more talented team. I think Kansas City has the clear coaching advantage as well. Chiefs win 31-19.
Sunday, January 12th 6:40 PM: #5 Seattle Seahawks @ #2 Green Bay Packers (-4)
Unlike the first game of this day, the Seahawks and Packers have veteran quarterbacks who have each won a Super Bowl and have lots of playoff experience. The last time these teams matched up the playoffs was the 2014 NFC Championship, with the Seahawks pulling off a stunning victory in overtime. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have been up and down at times this year, but running back Aaron Jones had a great season and Rodgers has still been good enough to keep Green Bay competitive. The defense has improved from previous years as well. Seattle took down the Eagles in Philly last week to get to this point and Russell Wilson has been one of the better QBs this season. Seattle has lost both of its running backs to injury but brought back Marshawn Lynch to rekindle some of the old magic. I think this will be a close game since both of these teams are evenly matched, but Green Bay will win 26-23.
Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments down below.