How are you enjoying the NFL playoffs so far? Welcome to the next round of the NFL playoffs, which is the Divisional Round and we have four games that could be closely contested. Last week in the Wild Card Round, my record was 2-2 making my overall record drop to 62-47 and in the process my winning percentage dipped from 57.1% to 56.9%. Let’s see how I fare this weekend with these four games and hopefully I can correct predict the NFL conference championship games. Let’s Get Started!!
The first game to be played will be Saturday around 4:30 as the Kansas City Chiefs travel to face the New England Patriots for the right to go to the AFC Championship game. The Chiefs are the hottest team in the NFL seeing they have won 11 games in a row, which includes the 30-0 route over the Texans last week. With Jeremy Maclin questionable for the game with a severe ankle sprain and their offensive coordinator, Doug Pederson being on the verge of being the new Eagles coach, will that play a role in this game? If there’s one team that really needed a bye week it was the Patriots because damn near everyone on the team is nursing some kind of injury. From Tom Brady, Gronk and a few others nursing injuries, can the Patriots muster enough offense against this stingy defense to pull out the win. This should be a close game and in the end I think the Patriots will win it on a field goal!
Patriots Win 20-19
The late game on Saturday night will see the Green Bay Packers travel to face the Arizona Cardinals to see who advances to the NFC Championship game. The Packers are coming off probably their most impressive game all season last week in Washington as they blew out the Redskins in the Wild Card round. The Cardinals will be a much tougher task because it was about a month ago when Arizona blew out these Packers by 30 points. The Cardinals were arguably the hottest team in the NFC, but on the final game of the regular season they were blown out by their division rival, Seattle Seahawks. Will that have any effect on the Cardinals in this game? Before that game, Arizona was clicking on all cylinders because the defense, offense and the emergence of David Johnson lifted this team. This game will be better than the previous, but I still think the Cardinals will win it.
Cardinals Win 31-21
This is the first game on Sunday and it’s a rematch from earlier in the season as the Seattle Seahawks visit the Carolina Panthers for the right to play in the NFC Championship game. The Seahawks come into this game as they’re winners of 7 out of their last 8 games thanks to a high-powered offense and the defense looking like their old selves. They received great news this week as it seems like Marshawn Lynch will make his return from injury after being out the last couple of months. On the other hand, we have the top seed in the NFC, the Carolina Panthers who finished with a 15-1 record lead by a stout defense and probable league MVP, Cam Newton. The Panthers should get their running back Johnathon Stewart back from injury for this game also. The Panthers beat this same Seattle team on the road earlier this year, but it’s hard to beat a team twice in the same year, but the Panthers have the defense to do it and I believe they’ll eek out the victory to advance to the title game.
Panthers Win 20-10
Last and definitely not least, we have the final game of the Divisional round as the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Denver Broncos in another rematch from earlier in the season. The Steelers limp into this game after a brutal match-up last week against division foe, the Cincinnati Bengals. Pittsburgh have so many concerns on the offensive side of the ball from how effective will Big Ben be with his shoulder injury and will Antonio Brown even play because he suffered a bad concussion towards the end of the game last week. The Denver Broncos seem like they’re as healthy as they ever have been coming into this game. The final game of the regular season it seemed like they were going to lose, which would’ve meant they wouldn’t have enjoyed the luxury of the bye week. With so many uncertainties regarding the health of the Steelers, there’s no way I’m picking against the Broncos to win and host the AFC Championship next week.
Broncos Win 31-20
My NFL Championship Game Predictions:
New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos
Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers