Tuesday, January 7, 2020

2019-20 NFL playoff predictions (Part 2 - Divisional)

Welcome to part 2 of my 2019-20 NFL playoff predictions! Two for four on my Wild Card predictions - who would have thought that two legends of the game, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, would bow out of the playoffs in the first round?

Let's see what the Divisional games will deliver.


#1 Baltimore Ravens vs. #6 Tennessee Titans
There's a buzzsaw in the AFC, and it's called the Baltimore Ravens. After a sluggish start to the season, the Ravens have obliterated all opposition, posting twenty-plus, thirty-plus, forty-plus, even fifty-plus points on the board. The Ravens by far have the deadliest offense on the league with 531 points scored, and they are easily the top Super Bowl contender in the playoffs.

That said, even the most impressive records guarantee nothing. Just ask the New England Patriots or the Carolina Panthers.

The Tennessee Titans are fresh off stunning the reigning Super Bowl champions, and they are eager to unleash another shocking upset. Do the Titans have what it takes? If the Ravens can't stop the Titans' weapon of mass destruction called Derrick Henry, another upset could be in the works.

An upset is unlikely, but don't count the Titans out.

Prediction: Ravens win, 35-28.

Result: Titans win, 28-12.

Comments after the game:



First the Patriots fall, and now the Ravens - both to a sixth-seeded Titans squad! But lest we forget, this Titans squad's weapon of mass destruction was unleashed without mercy tonight. Chemical weapons, biological weapons, and even nuclear weapons are nothing compared to Derrick Henry. Henry even threw a touchdown on a trick play! The Titans are now the most red-hot team in the AFC; the Texans and the Chiefs are watching the aftermath of this game with unease. Home field advantage means nothing when your opponent is the Tennessee Titans.

The Ravens, meanwhile, capped off an incredible season with an abysmal rout. Lamar Jackson could only wield so much magic before it all burned out. The Ravens turned the ball over on downs four times, threw two interceptions, and fumbled and lost the ball once. And that doesn't even include all the dropped passes by the Ravens. A Super Bowl contender no more.

The Titans advance to the AFC Championship!


#2 Kansas City Chiefs vs. #4 Houston Texans
The Kansas City Chiefs avoided the Wild Card round thanks to the Miami Dolphins, so Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the squad are well rested for a Divisional home battle, but perhaps not against the opponent they expected. The Chiefs wanted revenge for last year's AFC championship loss against the Patriots, but the Titans denied the Chiefs their revenge. Instead, the Chiefs will have to settle for DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans. The last time these two teams met in the playoffs was four years ago, when the Chiefs embarrassed the Texans 30-0 in the Wild Card round.

The Chiefs enter the playoffs on a six-game winning streak that dates back to Week 11. The Chiefs have the momentum heading into this contest, but the Texans have momentum as well, roaring back from a 16-0 deficit against the Buffalo Bills to win 22-19 in OT.

One other problem: the Arrowhead Curse. True, the Chiefs won at home last season in the Divisional round, but then promptly lost the AFC Championship at home.

Still, the Arrowhead Curse shouldn't be a problem this time.

Prediction: Chiefs win, 34-24.

Result: Chiefs win, 51-31.

Comments after the game:

I expected a Chiefs victory.

I did not expect a victory achieved like that.

The Chiefs were an extraordinary train wreck in the first quarter, surrendering twenty-one points off huge mistakes. For that first quarter, it seemed the Texans would replicate the Titans' magic and oust another top AFC team.


The Chiefs exploded into a cannonball on fire in the second quarter and never looked back, scoring fifty-one points after that disastrous first fifteen minutes of play. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense never lost a beat, demolishing the Texans' defense with extreme prejudice.

The Texans, meanwhile, forgot that you need to play sixty minutes, not just fifteen. Another year, another playoff journey ends in disaster for the Texans.

The AFC path to the Super Bowl will go through Kansas City - again!


#1 San Francisco 49ers vs. #6 Minnesota Vikings
The San Francisco 49ers may be the number one seed, but they're not taking this upcoming game lightly. The Minnesota Vikings completed the unthinkable: they defeated the New Orleans Saints, a 13-3 Super Bowl contender, on the Saints' home field. All bets are off now.

The 49ers enjoyed a hugely successful season after spending much of the 2010s in the basement of the NFC West. They are clearly the NFC's top Super Bowl contender - could a rematch with the Ravens be in the works?

But that is a future problem. The current problem for the 49ers is the Minnesota Vikings; the Vikings already defeated one 13-3 team, so what's to stop them from taking down another?

The 49ers need an excellent performance if they want to stay off the list of playoff upsets. That said, Jimmy Garoppolo has proven himself in the regular season, and now it's time to prove himself in the playoffs.

Prediction: 49ers win, 28-21.

Result: 49ers win, 27-10.

Comments after the game:

We turn now to live footage of the Minnesota Vikings:

All that hype surrounding the Vikings' Wild Card victory over the Saints extinguished in under a week.

The Vikings were demolished today. O-line shredded, running game about as effective as running into a brick wall, and non-stop three and outs. The Vikings seemed to start the game strong but then fell silent by the second half.

The 49ers had an excellent performance today; there was a moment of concern after an ugly interception thrown by Jimmy Garoppolo, but the 49ers never broke down.

The NFC path to the Super Bowl will go through San Francisco!


#2 Green Bay Packers vs. #5 Seattle Seahawks
If an upset happens in the Divisional round, this is probably where it will happen. The Seahawks have many key injuries and they beat an even more injured Philadelphia Eagles squad in the Wild Card. That said, the Seahawks have Wilson, Metcalf, Lockett, and Lynch (BEAST MODE). The Seahawks need a perfect effort by the offense; the defense is already on shaky ground and being held together with duct tape.

The Packers enter the playoffs on a five-game winning streak, but aside from a win over the Vikings, none of those teams made the playoffs. Sounds like a similar story to the Eagles: enter the playoffs on a winning streak with a large asterisk next to it.

The Seahawks should emerge victorious if all goes as planned.

Prediction: Seahawks win, 24-20.

Result: Packers win, 28-23.

Comments after the game:

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