This weekend is the divisional round for the NFL playoffs. And after a weekend of pretty close wild card games, this round should prove to be interesting. But who will win this weekend, advancing to the conference championships, and ultimately head to Atlanta for the Super Bowl? Before answering that, let’s move through this weekend’s games.
Starting off, we have the Indianapolis Colts heading to Arrowhead to face the Chiefs. In my opinion, this game is most likely going to be the best of the round. Patrick Mahomes gets to make his playoff debut after an incredible season, while Andrew Luck attempts to keep the Colts’ hot streak going after they destroyed Houston. Both quarterbacks have been playing incredibly well. Mahomes and Luck were first and second in the league, respectively, in passing touchdowns and are first and third in pass yards for the remaining playoff quarterbacks. And with offensive weapons like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, T.Y. Hilton, and Eric Ebron, these offenses will be unstoppable. This game likely will be incredibly high-scoring. However, the Colts have a better defense than the Chiefs, and that is why I think that they will ultimately triumph this weekend, heading onto the conference championship.
The next matchup sees the Dallas Cowboys heading to LA to take on the Rams. Dallas played a strong game last week against Seattle, but it was close. To beat LA they are going to have to play much harder. The LA offense, headed by Jared Goff is going to be tough for the Cowboys to manage. However, the key matchup for this game will be Aaron Donald against Dak Prescott. Donald’s 20.5 sacks in the regular season topped the league, while Prescott’s 57 sacks throughout the season made him the second-most sacked quarterback, which is what makes this matchup so important. My prediction here is that LA takes the win.
On Sunday, we first see the LA Chargers take on the dynasty of the New England Patriots. This will be another close game, in my opinion. The Patriots are consistent in the playoffs, having made it to at least the Conference Championship for seven straight years. However, the Patriots didn’t seem as strong this season as they have in the past, ending with a record of 11-5, which they haven’t done since 2008. The Chargers, on the other hand, have played an incredible season. Phillip Rivers’ 105.5 QBR for the season is impressive, their run game is strong, no matter who is on the field, and Keenan Allen is one of the league’s top receivers. With a tight-scoring game, I predict the Chargers upset and defeat the Patriots.
The last game of the weekend is the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles heading to New Orleans to face the Saints. The Eagles surprised everyone with a win last week against Chicago, and look to keep that momentum and underdog magic going. The two teams met earlier on in the season where the Saints destroyed the Eagles 48-7, but Carson Wentz was the quarterback then. Now the Eagles are in the hands of Nick Foles who rallied the team to their Super Bowl win last year. However, the Saints seem almost unstoppable. Drew Brees has been playing an incredible year with a staggering 115.7 QBR. They also dominate the run game with both Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Their defense is also strong, with them fifth in the league in sacks and second against the run. Due to this seemingly unstoppable team makeup, the Saints are going to take the cake in this one.
Given these predictions, the AFC Conference Championship will be the Indianapolis Colts facing the LA Chargers. If that is in fact the case, I see the Colts winning and heading to Atlanta. For the NFC, it would be the LA Rams against the New Orleans Saints. This would be a hard-fought game, but I think the Saints pull out the win and secure their spot in the Super Bowl. So overall prediction for the Super Bowl – the Indianapolis Colts against the New Orleans Saints, a repeat of Super Bowl XLIV.