Saturday, January 12, 2019

TransGriot 2018-19 NFL Playoff Predictions- Divisional Round

No thanks to the Texans forgetting they had a playoff game to play, a partially blocked game winning field goal, and the road teams winning three of the four wild card round playoff games, I laid an 0-4 egg in my wildcard weekend playoff predictions.

Let get busy getting back to .500

Saturday Playoff Games

#6 Indianapolis Colts (11-6) at #1 Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) at 3:35 PM on NBC

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The Colts (boo hiss) ended the Texans season in large part to them rushing for 200 yards and being nearly perfect on third down.   But they face a another challenge in playing in a snowy Arrowhead Stadium against the presumptive NFL MVP in Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes will be in his first playoff game, Luck his eighth.   What will also in the back of KC's minds are being sick and tired of hearing about what happened the last time they faced the Colts in the playoffs. 

The Chiefs built a huge 28 point lead in that January 4, 2014 game lead, only to fall to Indy 45-44 after Luck and crew executed the second largest comeback from a playoff deficit in NFL history.

With the weather condition I don't think you'll see 99 points scored in this game.

The Colts are on a roll, the Chiefs have been one of the best teams in the AFC all season.  They are  well rested and ready to defend their snowy turf.

The Chiefs to end Indy's season and advance to the AFC title game

#4 Dallas Cowboys (11-6) at #2 Los Angeles Rams (13-3)at 7:15 PM CST on FOX

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The Saturday night game is an NFL classic matchup between two teams that have frequently bumped heads in the playoffs .

The Cowboys won their first playoff game in four years when they eliminated the Seahawks at Jerry World, but now they have to head to the Left Coast to play the Rams in this divisional round game in
LaLa Land. 

While the Rams and Cowboys, this is the first time they have done so in Los Angeles since 1985 when I gleefully watched Eric Dickerson run over around and through them for 248 yards in a Rams blowout divisional round win.  In fact, the last time the Cowboys won a road playoff game was in 1993 up I-5 in San Francisco.

While the Cowboys have shown a propensity for shutting down high powered offenses this season, they have also had a problem scoring in the red zone.

That will bite them in the behind today..  Rams to advance to the NFC championship.

Sunday Playoff Games

#4 Los Angeles Chargers(13-4) at  #2 New England Patriots (11-5) at 12:05 PM CST on CBS

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The Chargers had to sweat out a late fourth quarter run by the Ravens before they secured the win, and now they step into Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Patriots.

It'll be a clash between future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Phillip Rivers, and the Chargers have been one of the best teams in the league all season.   New England hasn't been their usual dominant self , but it may finally catch up to them in this game.

It's hard to pick against Brady and Belichick in Gillette Stadium, and the fact that Philip Rivers has never bested Brady in the playoffs.   That streak has to end sometime, and I'm listening to my instincts like I failed to do last weekend and going for the upset. 

The Chargers to move on to the AFC title game

#6 Philadelphia Eagles (10-7) vs #1 New Orleans Saints (13-3) at 3:40 PM CST on FOX

It's the only one of the four divisional round games that is a regular season rematch and being played indoors

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The defending champion Eagles are only back here in the Mercedes Benz Superdome because of  Treyvon Hester's partial block of a game winning field goal that bounced off the upright and crossbar at Soldier Field and agonizingly for Bears fans ended their season.

The Saints spanked that behind 48-7 back in Week 11, and  the Eagles since then have been in desperation playoff mode for several weeks now.  They have had to scratch and claw and get lucky breaks at times just to get into the playoffs and have the opportunity to defend their crown.

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But once again, they are playing the Saints in NOLA, where they are even more dominant than they are outside of it.   This is also Drew Brees' best shot at returning to a Super Bowl , and he's motivated after falling short last year. 

Nick Foles' playoff magic gets a voodoo curse placed on it called the Saints defense

The Saints go marching into the NFC Championship game after winning what won't be a blowout.

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