Here are my NFL divisional round picks:
Patriots 27 Chiefs 17
I don’t think this is going to be another Patriots divisional round blowout (2012 Texans, 2013 Colts), but I do believe the Pats will get the victory. The weather may be a factor in this one, as cold rain is expected at some point in the day. This will be much closer to a defensive slugfest than an offensive shootout, but getting Julian Edelman back will help Tom Brady and company do enough to outscore Alex Smith. I just don’t see how Smith is going to score more than 17 points against a Patriots defense that is also getting healthy at the right time.
Cardinals 30 Packers 26
It was only a mere three weeks ago when the Cardinals absolutely destroyed the Packers at home, but this time around Aaron Rodgers will keep the game much closer. Rodgers played very well in Green Bay’s wild-card win over the Redskins, but going up against Arizona is a completely different animal. Hopefully Carson Palmer and company have put that horrific Seahawks loss in week 17 behind them, because if they show up like they did in that game, the Pack will run away with this one. However Palmer will get back on track and punch their ticket to the NFC championship.
Seahawks 20 Panthers 19
I honestly don’t think I have had to pick a game this close since last year’s Super Bowl. While I never completely bought into the Panthers hype during the regular season, I can acknowledge that they are a very good team, and they won’t go away quietly this postseason. However with all of that said, I’m rolling with the more experienced playoff team in the Seattle Seahawks. This game will be a battle of the defenses, and when I think which offense can squeak out more points, I begrudgingly have to say Russell Wilson‘s Seahawks will. I am not a Wilson fan in the least, but he has better weapons around him, and he has been in this situation before. We’ll see what happens.
Steelers 17 Broncos 16
This pick is based solely on the ineptitude of one Peyton Manning in the playoffs. Big Ben obviously has a bad shoulder problem, and when your offense is built on throwing the deep ball (especially going up against a defense like this), that injury could be a big problem. But on the other side of the ball we have the biggest choker in the history of sports, and I think that outweighs Ben’s injury. Manning’s offense won’t do much all day, and they will once again have to rely on the defense to bail them out. I say the Steelers make one big play late and Peyton chokes once again.
(I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Broncos win with their offense only scoring like 7 total points. Their defense is that good, and Ben’s injury might be pretty significant.)
Update: With no Antonio Brown, I’m changing my pick. Broncos 23 Steelers 16