clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL Playoffs: Predicting the divisional round

After a weekend full of blowouts, we have some interesting matchups this upcoming weekend.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Last week I predicted the super wildcard weekend and outside of putting too much trust into Joe Flacco and the Browns defense, I nailed the rest of the picks.

On Saturday, Stroud and the Texans dropped 45 points on the Browns and the Dolphins predictably struggled in the cold at Arrowhead and fell to the Chiefs. On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys predictably went one-and-done in the playoffs and fell to the suddenly impressive-looking Packers, and the Lions and Rams had the game of the week with the Lions pulling out a one-point win. Finally, on Monday, the Bills dug out from the snow and defeated the Steelers and the Eagles continued their late-season collapse and fell to Baker Mayfield and the Bucs.

This weekend, we have some very interesting matchups. On Saturday, we have the rising Texans travel to Baltimore to take on the number one seed Baltimore Ravens and Jordan Love and the Packers traveling out west to take on the number one seed San Francisco 49ers. On Sunday, the Lions will host another home game against Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Divisional Round concludes with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs heading east to take on the Buffalo Bills.

Here are the four teams who I believe will advance to the AFC and NFC Championship Games and move one step closer to the Super Bowl.

Houston Texans(4) vs. Baltimore Ravens(1)

This is going to be a fun one. The Texans won their regular season finale game to advance into the postseason and then followed that with an impressive blowout victory over the Browns. Now, they head east to take on the well-rested number-one seed Baltimore Ravens. The likely MVP Lamar Jackson has not played in two weeks and will enter this game fresh and ready to go vs. a battle-tested Texans team.

This is a classic matchup between a well-rested one-seed going against a hot and battle-tested team that is firing on all cylinders. It has all the makings of a potential upset and I am leaning towards that. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud has looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the league this year and first-year head coach DeMeco Ryan has his team playing hard. The Ravens are a good team but they may struggle with rust and fall behind the Texans early. We saw the Texans pass rush take over vs. the Browns and I think they’ll pressure Lamar early and often.

Winner: Texans

Green Bay Packers(7) vs. San Francisco 49ers(1)

The Packers continued their late-season rise with a surprising upset over the Dallas Cowboys this past weekend and now will take on the Super Bowl favorites the San Francisco 49ers.

I like what the Packers have going for them. They have a young offense full of playmakers who are only going to get better. However, I do not think their team as a whole is good enough to defeat the 49ers. Barring a Brock Purdy collapse that we saw vs. the Ravens, I think the 49ers will win this one, but it’ll be tight. Christian McCaffrey will be the difference maker and show that he’s the true MVP of that offense.

Winner: 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers(4) vs. Detroit Lions(3)

The Bucs pulled the upset vs. the Eagles in the wildcard weekend finale and continued their late-season spiral. Meanwhile, the Lions won a nailbiter at home vs. the explosive Rams and now will host their second straight game and take on the Buccaneers.

I am going to be honest, I don’t think this one will be close. The Lions have too many weapons and speed on offense and will put up points at will vs. a suspect Bucs defense. Their run game will have plenty of success and I see both David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs finding the end zone in this one. The Lions are a dangerous team and will be advancing the the NFC Championship game.

Winner: Lions

Kansas City Chiefs(3) vs. Buffalo Bills(2)

The Chiefs easily defeated the Dolphins in the frigid conditions this past weekend. Tu’a struggled to throw the ball in the cold, their speed was impacted by the frigid temperatures, and their banged-up defense was no match for Mahomes and the Chiefs run game. The Bills had their game postponed because of extreme weather conditions but eventually sent the Steelers and potentially head coach Mike Tomlin packing. Now, the two rivals will face off once again in the postseason.

There is some bad blood between these two teams and this will be Patrick Mahomes first road playoff game of his career. The Bills mafia will be loud and Josh Allen and the rest of the team will look to defeat the Chiefs once again. They beat them earlier in the year after Kadarius Toney lined up offsides erasing a potential game-winning touchdown and sent Patrick Mahomes into the biggest temper tantrum we have seen in quite some time.

In the end, I have the Bills winning this one. They’re the hot team right now, they will be at home, and they will not have issues in the cold weather like the Dolphins did. Watching Mahomes and the Chiefs be eliminated will be glorious.

Winner: Bills