In terms of wins and losses, I went 0-for-4 in my Outrageous Wild Card Predictions last weekend. Just because my picks were wrong, doesn’t mean the outrageous didn’t occur. In fact, I can’t remember a crazier weekend of NFL playoff games in my life. A missed chip shot, a meltdown and a shutout all stole the headlines during Wild Card weekend.
The Divisional Round features the eight teams that were really the class of the league for most of the year. Unlike last weekend, however, all four home teams are favored in the next round. That alone opens the door for the outrageous to happen. So what does this weekend have in store for us?
Outrageous Predictions for NFL Divisional Round
Denver wins, but Manning can’t finish
I have a tough time seeing the Steelers move the ball against the Denver defense, especially without a solid running game. The problem is, I’m not sure Peyton Manning is going to be on target, and the Bronco offense will sputter as a result. Look for this game to be close heading into the fourth quarter, when Gary Kubiak has to once again make a change at the quarterback spot to pull out a victory. Brock Osweiler steps in and hits one of the many throws Manning couldn’t make all day to win the game by one score.
There won’t be a single touchdown pass thrown in the Seattle-Carolina game
There will be offense, which will produce points. Most of that, however, will be due to the mobility of the two starting quarterbacks — not their arms. These defenses will be stingy against the pass in the red zone, forcing both offenses to keep it on the ground to punch it in. It’ll be dives, pitches and designed quarterback runs doing all of the damage in a game that will be decided by no more than a field goal.
Packers win by two scores
It looked like Aaron Rodgers found his mojo again against the Redskins — and that’s not a good thing for Arizona. The Cardinals are the sexy pick by many to get to Santa Clara, but this young team hasn’t had the pressure of being the favorite against a quarterback who has made a championship run on the road before. Green Bay Tight end Richard Rodgers will be big in the middle of the field, as he’ll have space to run with the attention Arizona’s corners will pay to the wide receivers. Look for the Rodgers-to-Rodgers connection to yield at least 120 yards and two scores en route to the Packers pulling away late.
Kansas City loses by the same score the Chiefs won by last week
New England is now healthy on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs were always going to struggle running it against the Patriots. Now, it’s looking like if wide receiver Jeremy Maclin plays, he’ll be nothing more than a decoy. Look for Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins to cover and take away tight end Travis Kelce, essentially taking away Alex Smith’s security blanket. When New England has the ball, it’s back to business as usually with short passes out of the backfield to James White, quick slants to a healthy Julian Edelman and darts down the middle of the field to Gronk. Oh, and lets not forget New England’s new hammer in the backfield, Steven Jackson, who has had a couple of weeks to get settled in and learn The Patriot Way. This will be a slow, methodical beatdown.