Preview of Divisional Weekend

Life comes at you fast, here we are at week 2 of the NFL postseason. The Patriots, Chiefs, Saints, and Rams join the four winners from last week. So let’s dive in with an in-depth view of each game. Colts (10-6) at chiefs (12-4)- The Colts manhandled the Texans, running all over them. Luck looks healthy and confident. The defense is playing on top of their game and this team is red hot. On the other side they will face Patrick Mahomes who is the likely MVP. He took the NFL by storm throwing 50 TDs as a first year QB! The concern for the Chiefs is all 4 of their losses were against other playoff teams and in those losses they gave up an average of 41 points in those games. Offensively the Chiefs bring the advantage, Mahomes was first in TDs with 50 and second in passer rating with 113.8. The Colts defense was 16th in passing yardage, giving up 238 yards a game. As a defensive unit the Colts gave up 21.5 points a game which was 10th in the league. The true battle will be in the trenches because the Chiefs racked up 52 sacks this year to tie for the league lead. The Colts lead the NFL by only giving up 18 sacks. The Colts line is lead by 4 Colt drafted players and 3 in the first round. Despite having more time, Luck has thrown 15 interceptions and threw another against Houston in the Wild Card round. The Colts are hot and the DBs of Kansas City have shown their struggles against good QBs, but they will do just enough for Mahomes and that high flying offense. Pick: Chiefs 35-27. Cowboys (10-6) at Rams (13-3)- Ezekiel Elliot is a monster and showed it against Seattle. The Cowboys have been rolling, winning 8 of their last nine beating the Eagles twice and Saints once. Dak Prescott claims his knee is fine and Cowboys fans better hope so. Aaron Donald against the Cowboys line could prove critical especially if Dak is feeling any kind of pain. The Rams have their own concerns with Todd Gurley, but he also seems to be healthy. The Rams put together a strong campaign with the best record in the league and losses to only the Saints, Bears, and Eagles. The Cowboys rushing defense is one of the best in the NFL as they finished 5th in yards allowing a mere 94.6 per game. The Cowboys defense allowed only 20.3 points a game putting them in sixth in that category. This clashes with Todd Gurley and the Rams potent rushing attack, they finished 3rd in yards per game with 139.4 and second in TDs with 23. Another fight will be over 3rd downs as the Rams convert 45% of theirs for 5th in the league. The Cowboys are 27th on defensive 3rd downs allowing 42.5%. The Rams defense forced 30 turnovers this season which was 3rd in the league, they finished with a turnover differential of +11 to the Cowboy’s +3. The Cowboys allowed 56 sacks this season which was second to worst. Dak needs time and Elliot needs room and they may get some, but not enough. Pick: Rams 28-20. Chargers (12-4) at Patriots (11-5)- Two of the greatest QBs of our generation will again go head to head in a playoff matchup. Both of them are running out of time. The Chargers come into this one after holding on against the Ravens. The Chargers played well, but settled for 5 Field Goals. Melvin Ingram had his way and lead the Chargers to 7 sacks. They will take that momentum to Foxborough against a strange Patriots squad. The Patriots finished with less than 12 wins for the first time since 2009. Their 5 losses this year all came against non-playoff teams. However, Tom Brady is still the QB and Bill Belichick is still the Head Coach. The Patriots rush for 127.3 yards a game which is 5th in the NFL and they have only given up 21 sacks putting them at 3rd in the league. The Chargers passing defense only gives up 228 yards per game which is 9th. The Patriots are one of the more disciplined teams, they have only been penalized 93 times for 4th in the NFL. The Patriots are tied for 3rd in interceptions with 18 and have a turnover differential of +10 which puts them in 5th. The teams are tough to separate using statistics and both have good experienced QBs. This Patriots team has too many flaws for Brady to overcome and they will add a sixth loss. Pick: Chargers 31-28. Eagles (9-7) at Saints (13-3)- Foles magic keeps on rolling and Eagles fans are cautiously optimistic about another run. After watching last year’s run it is hard to pick against Nick Foles. The Eagles come off a last second win against a good Bears team which put them at six wins in their last seven games. They will try to get revenge from the Saints for their week 11 smackdown 48-7. The Saints haven’t looked as dominant in their last few games and an extra week of rest should help them. Drew Brees put together another incredible season leading the league with a 115.7 passer rating and a 74.4 completion percentage. The Saints only allowed 20 sacks which was second in the NFL. The Eagles haven’t relied on the run this year and they definitely can’t against the Saints. The Saints were second in stopping the run only allowing 80.2 yards a game. The biggest difference between the two teams seems to be in turnovers. The Eagles have a turnover differential of -6. while the Saints are +8. It should be a good game, but the Eagles can’t win forever. Pick: Saints 27-17.

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