After a Wild Card Weekend that saw the road teams dominate, the top seeds are set to enter the fray for the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. Three of the four road teams won last week but the going is about to get a lot tougher. New Orleans, the Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City and New England combined to go 28-4 at home during regular season.
The Divisional Round kicks off on Saturday as the Chiefs face red-hot Indianapolis. The Colts knocked off Houston last week, 21-7, and as impressive as Andrew Luck's comeback has been, the story for this team lately has been the defense. That unit will need to be at its best once again as it takes on the league's No. 1 offense in Arrowhead Stadium.
The scene then shifts to the West Coast where the Rams host the Cowboys in a matchup of division champions. Dallas edged Seattle last week but faces an even more potent offense (and better pass rush) this weekend. Todd Gurley and others have had some extra time to rest and recover from some nagging injuries but the Cowboys have plenty of momentum and confidence on their side.
On Sunday, the Chargers look for a second straight road victory on the East Coast when they take on the Patriots. Los Angeles' defense dominated Lamar Jackson and Baltimore for all but the final nine minutes of last week's AFC Wild Card game, racking up seven sacks and forcing three turnovers. Tom Brady's certainly no rookie but Joey Bosa, Melvin Engram and company are capable of making his life just as miserable. Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon and the offense will need to find a way to make some plays as well, as Bill Belichick's teams are 19-3 at home in the playoffs during his tenure.
The weekend concludes with the Eagles taking on the Saints in the only regular-season rematch of the Divisional Round. New Orleans destroyed Philadelphia 48-7 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome back in Week 11 but that was with a less-than-100-percent Carson Wentz (back soreness) at quarterback. This time it will be Nick Foles looking to create more postseason magic but the Eagles' defense also will need to continue its recent strong play against the high-powered Saints. And don't forget, if not for the "Minnesota Miracle" last season these two teams would have met in the NFC Championship Game.
So which teams will come out on top during the Divisional Round? Athlon's own Rob Doster (@AthlonDoster), Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven) and Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR), along with AthlonSports.com contributor Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer), predict the winners for every game this weekend:
NFL Divisional Round Predictions
Wild Card Weekend*
*Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland in Week 1 and Minnesota vs. Green Bay in Week 2 both ended in ties.