Wildcard weekend is over and now we are on the divisional playoff rounds and one week closer to the SuperBowl. I personally think that the Atlanta/Seattle and Dallas/Green Bay games will be nail bitters. Which is needed after all of the blowouts last weekend. My game of the week is the Cowboys vs. the Packers. Will this be when the rookies fold under pressure, or will Aaron Rodgers do his “discount double check” all over the field and out perform the rookie quarterback Dak Prescott?
Atlanta Falcons 31 – Seattle Seahawks 17
The last time the two faced off Seattle won 26-24, but Atlanta was able to make a come back though their electrifying passing game. Seattle has to ask themselves can they cover the deep middle without Earl Thomas? We all know Atlanta’s offense can put points up on the board. They lead the league with 540 points this season along with Matt Ryan having one of his best seasons yet. He is in the running for the MVP, but can Atlanta’s defense make any stops? If the game comes to a shootout I don’t think Russell Wilson will be able to keep up.
New England Patriots 23 – Houston Texans 13
The Patriots completely dominated the Texans in Week Three 27-0 with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback . Tom Brady is back and I’m not sure how well that will work out even with the Texans top-ranked defense. For them to slow down Brady and Pats they have to stop the short quick passes. Also if the Texans can get to Brady then New England will have an issue. I don’t think the problem will really be defense but offense instead for the Texans. Now Brock Osweiler surprised me last week against the Raiders but he still didn’t put up real starter numbers. The Houston defense will keep the game close but I think Brady will be able to pull away late in the game with Osweiler not really being able to put up points.
Dallas Cowboys 28 – Green Bay Packers 27
This is going to be the battle of the year. Dez Bryant is coming back for his catch and the Cowboys look to get their first playoff win in a long time. Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot will be making their first playoff appearances. So far they have preformed well under pressure but this is a different kind of pressure. Aaron Rodgers has been unstoppable in the past eight weeks and he did not disappoint against the New York Giants. He had four touchdowns against a good Giants defense. The Cowboys aren’t as good as the Giants on defense but the Packers don’t have much defense either even though they where able to make stops against Eli Manning and company. This will but a close game either way and might just be a upset.
Pittsburgh Steelers 26 – Kansas City Chiefs 20
This game will be decided on how well the Chiefs defense will be able to slow down Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. All three put on a show against the Miami Dolphins, which was a blowout. That was the first time all three players where healthy together in the playoffs. Kansas City’s defense finished the season ranked 24th overall and 26th against the run. That should be music to Bell’s ears. The Chiefs did lead the NFL in takeaways with 33 and they have a pretty good pass-rush. Big Ben cannot force throws to Brown or the Chiefs will make him pay for that. The Steelers have improved on the defensive side of the ball causing three turnovers against the Dolphins last week. The game should be close but I think the Steelers offense has one two many weapons for the Chiefs to handle.