After a Wild Card Round that was full of upsets and surprising results, it’s time to advance to this year’s Divisional Round matchups in the NFL playoffs.
With the 49ers hosting the Vikings and the Ravens hosting the Titans on Saturday, two six seed teams that barely made the playoffs will have the opportunity to pull off a shocking upset at the homes of the NFC and AFC’s top seeds, respectively.
On Sunday, the high-flying Chiefs will host the AFC South winning Texans before the Packers take on the Seahawks in what is the weekend’s biggest toss-up matchup.
Let’s have a go at predicting the results of these games.
#1 Baltimore Ravens vs. #6 Tennessee Titans
The Ravens are the prohibitive favorites to win the AFC Championship and the hottest team in football, having won their twelve games. Lamar Jackson is the Ravens’ quarterback and the likely NFL MVP, and their defense has been much improved since acquiring Marcus Peters to shore up its secondary.
Could the Titans and leading NFL rusher Derrick Henry, who already pulled off a huge upset of the Patriots, shock the world and knock off Baltimore? Count me as skeptical. The Titans have played well lately, but the Ravens are just too good.
Pick: Ravens 30, Titans 17
#2 Kansas City Chiefs vs. #4 Houston Texans
The Kansas City Chiefs will play host to the Texans on Sunday in a matchup of two of the league’s most impressive quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes missed two and a half games in the middle of the season, coinciding with the Chiefs’ weakest stretch of the year. However, since then, they have looked all the part of a juggernaut.
The Texans have a great quarterback of their own in DeShaun Watson, as well as a duo of impressive wide receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. We just think their defense is too weak to stop the Chiefs’ passing attack, though.
Pick: Chiefs 38, Texans 20
#1 San Francisco 49ers vs. #6 Minnesota Vikings
You like that?! Kirk Cousins and the Vikings pulled off a big upset of the Saints in the Wild Card Round, and will now have the chance to knock off the NFC’s top seed in the Niners.
San Francisco, built around arguably the league’s most dominant defense and a balanced offensive attack with a trio of quality rushers and Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, won’t be tough to topple, though. The Vikings’ pedestrian offense will have a tough time moving the ball against SF, and we just think they don’t have enough to challenge them.
Pick: 49ers 24, Vikings 10
#2 Green Bay Packers vs. #5 Seattle Seahawks
The tightest matchup of the weekend is probably this battle between the Packers, who finished the year 13-3 largely on the strength of a great record in tight games, and the Seahawks, who finished 11-5 due to their great record in close games!
So, we can probably expect a close game, right? Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will have home-field advantage, but could the magic of Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson, who have already combined to bring a Super Bowl to Seattle, be enough to upend them? We’ve got the Seahawks winning a shootout, the only upset of the weekend.
Pick: Packers 30, Seahawks 31