Friday, January 13, 2017

Revenge is a dish best served cold or warm: NFL Divisional Playoff predictions

All four divisional round games this weekend are rematches from earlier in the season. My heart's telling me one thing, my brain another. Your actual mileage may vary......


Houston @ New England (Saturday, CBS): The oddsmakers, noting that the Evil Empire pitched a 27-0 shutout earlier in the season, also at Gillette Stadium, made the Patriots a 15 1/2 point favorite. Please. Houston QB Brock Osweiler has beaten the Pats before----while with Denver. There's no reason to think he can't do it again. New England didn't have Tom Brady the first time (suspension), and you can bet that there are some Texans supporters who think their team wasn't just outplayed on a Thursday night in September, but screwed. I didn't see the game that night, so I can't judge. Very few outside of New England believe the Patriots can win without some kind of shortcut. I'd rather see a more competitive game, but I won't be watching. Why should I?

The pick: Patriots, 27-17.

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City (Sunday, NBC): In October, the Steelers blew out the Chiefs. Because of that, the homestanding AFC West champs are a 1 point favorite, the diametric opposite of their likely next opponent. It's guaranteed to be tight. Kansas City gets defensive lineman Justin Houston back from injury, and that may make all the difference in the world. As much as I'm a Steelers fan from way back, I can't see them beating KC a 2nd time.

The pick: Chiefs, 28-24.


Seattle @ Atlanta (Saturday, Fox):
This is the time of year when the Seahawks are at their most dangerous, regardless of where they're playing. They'd like nothing better than to get to their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years, and a possible rematch with New England, whom they beat earlier this season, handing the Patriots one of their two losses. You don't sleep on Atlanta at home, but I can't see the Falcons overcoming Seattle's defense.

The pick: Seahawks, 24-20.

Green Bay @ Dallas (Sunday, Fox): The absolute game of the week. In October, the Cowboys came to Lambeau Field and had a field day with the Packers. This time, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack are on a 7 game winning streak, headed to the Temple of Excess in Arlington. Cowboy rookie Ezekiel Elliott knows all about the post-season environment, having won a national title with Ohio State two years ago. This will be another tight seat-squirmer, right down to the wire and the kickers.

The pick: Cowboys, 44-41. Yes, they'll light up the scoreboard all day long.

Of course, I could be wrong.

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