Monday, January 7, 2019

2018-19 NFL playoff predictions (Part 2 - Divisional)

Welcome to part two of my 2018-19 NFL playoff predictions! A dismal one for four on the Wild Card games; the Colts-Texans game was the only correct prediction. Let's hope for better outcomes in the Divisional games!

Let's go.


#1 Kansas City Chiefs vs. #6 Indianapolis Colts
The odds are stacked against the Chiefs. They were first overall in the AFC, have the top-ranked offense in the league, have six Pro Bowlers on the squad, and have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

Wait, what? How could any of that possibly count against the Chiefs?


The Arrowhead Curse.

The Chiefs haven't won a home playoff game in twenty-five years. And lest we forget, the Chiefs were up 21-3 before they collapsed and lost to the Tennessee Titans 22-21 in last year's playoffs.

Andrew Luck and the Colts stand to unleash another upset, but don't expect the Chiefs to simply give up, Arrowhead Curse or not.

Prediction: Colts win, 21-20.

Result: Chiefs win, 31-13.

Comments after the game:


Yes, the Chiefs finally won a playoff game at home. It took twenty-five years, but the Arrowhead Curse is now history.


#2 New England Patriots vs. #5 Los Angeles Chargers
Tom Brady and the Patriots are fortunate they're not playing on the road. The team was 3-5 in road games this season, but a perfect 8-0 at home. The Chargers, however, will be eager to deliver a shocking upset against the Patriots. The closest upset in shock value was the Broncos win over the Patriots in the 2015-16 AFC championship game.

How can the Patriots defeat the Chargers? Simple.

Don't play like the Baltimore Butterfingers.

Prediction: Patriots win, 31-24.

Result: Patriots win, 41-28.

Comments after the game:
We turn now to incredible highlights of the Chargers:

The Chargers came alive in the second half, scoring twenty-one points and holding Tom Brady and the Patriots to six points - a pair of field goals. The Chargers insist they have no knowledge of the five touchdowns and thirty-five points they surrendered in the game's first half.


#1 New Orleans Saints vs. #6 Philadelphia Eagles
Against all odds, the Eagles smashed through the brick wall at Soldier Field. Unfortunately, destroying one wall revealed a much stronger wall beyond, one made of solid steel and barbed wire around Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Eagles cannot rely on another last-second miracle to save them this time. Drew Brees and the Saints have regularly posted thirty-plus, forty-plus, and one time even fifty-plus points on the board. The Eagles have no room for error; one mistake and the Saints will extinguish the Eagles. Lest we forget the Eagles were on the losing end of a 48-7 demolition inflicted by the Saints back in November.

Nick Foles will make a valiant effort, but he will not be able to break through the New Orleans wall.

Prediction: Saints win, 41-21.

Result: Saints win, 20-14.

Comments after the game:
There will be a new Super Bowl champion.

The Eagles exploded out of the gate, intercepting Drew Brees' first pass of the game and going on to score fourteen points in the first quarter. The Eagles weren't in the mood to repeat last week's last-second heroics, they wanted to build a huge lead and crush the Saints.

For the first quarter, the strategy worked.

Then the Eagles disintegrated.

Drew Brees and the Saints roared back from a fourteen-to-nothing deficit, extinguishing Nick Foles and punching through the Eagles defense. Foles surrendered two costly interceptions, the latter of which effectively sealed the Eagles' fate.

The Saints shake off the demons from last year's devastating last-second defeat against the Minnesota Vikings, and advance to the NFC Championship game against the Rams.


#2 Los Angeles Rams vs. #4 Dallas Cowboys
The Rams boast one of the deadliest offenses in the league, on par with the high-scoring Saints. Small comfort, however, when memories of last season return: the Rams were the deadliest offense last year and it didn't help when they crashed and burned against the Atlanta Falcons. They will not have such problems this time around.

The Cowboys were fortunate that the Seahawks wasted time in the Wild Card game on a hopeless running game. The Cowboys will not enjoy that luxury again.

Prediction: Rams win, 35-20.

Result: Rams win, 30-22.

Comments after the game:
The Cowboys were prepared to stop the Seahawks running game last week, but they were completely unprepared for the Rams running game this week. C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley II both ran for over 100 yards and combined for three touchdowns, decimating the Cowboys.

The Cowboys continue to suffer from the reverse Arrowhead curse; they have not won a playoff game on the road since 1993. The Cowboys started the game strong by scoring the first touchdown, but they just couldn't stop the Rams, especially in the second quarter.

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