Welcome one and all!
It's Divisional Weekend around the NFL and if you are unaware… this is perhaps the finest weekend in sports.
The Divisional Round of the Playoffs in the NFL typically features some of its most compelling games. Three years ago there was Baltimore in Denver and we all remember how that went down. Two years ago we saw San Francisco go into Carolina and hand them a big-time loss. Last year Cowboys Nation had their hearts broken when the most obvious catch in the history of football was ruled not to be one.
Alas, Division Weekend is the most sure-fire guarantee that there is in terms of good football. There'll be some great games going on this weekend, and I'm here to tell you how they'll turn out. Let's get to the picks.
This game is very, very interesting.
Rob Gronkowski's health is a question mark, Bill Belichick had a black eye in a press conference this week… what in the world is going on in New England?!
Meanwhile the lone remaining team in the state of Missouri has some problems of their own. Jeremy Maclin is officially listed as questionable… leaving the only legitimate threat for the Chiefs left to be Travis Kelce.
The Patriots have made a living off of supreme January football, but is there any magic left there? The Chiefs have won eleven games in a row, but that has to end too doesn't it?
Ultimately the injuries in this game are a wash towards one another for me. It's the Playoffs and whenever there's a wash you always lean with the better quarterback and Head Coach.
Official Pick: Patriots Win, 27-21.
I spent some time hyping you up for the Divisional Playoff weekend up top. I promise that you're going to see what will likely be three entertaining games… and this one.
These two squared off just a few weeks ago and Arizona wiped the floor with Green Bay… 38-8.
Since then the Cardinals tapered off just a wee bit in the regular season finale to their division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Packers impressively (at least in the eyes of the national media) won a Playoff Game over Kirk Cousins and the Redskins… really “impressive,” right?
I've pounded the table throughout all of 2015 that the Green Bay Packers are a mirage of talent. They are not a good football team that only does one thing consistently – catch a parade of inconsistently common breaks. This is who they've beat this year: Chicago, Seattle, Kansas City, San Francisco, St. Louis, San Diego, Minnesota, Detroit, Dallas, Oakland, Washington.
We won't be adding Arizona to that list anytime soon. The Cardinals boast one of the league's most efficient and potent offenses. This will be a bloodbath.
Official Pick: Cardinals Win, 42-17.
This has a chance to be the best game of the season.
This will mark the sixth meeting between these two franchises over the last four years. Each of the previous five games was won by a margin of 6.2 points (which is actually inflated by a 14-point victory by the Seahawks in last year's Divisional Round).
These are two very similar teams who like to play the same kind of football. We've got two very strong and quick defenses and, with the emergence of Russell Wilson in 2015, two offenses who can go blow for blow.
Cam Newton will likely be named MVP of the 2015 season when it's all said and done, and it's going to take that kind of herculean effort to win this game. The Panthers were smiling ear to ear when it looked like Blair Walsh was going to boot the Seahawks from the dance. This is the worst possible scenario for them and they know it.
Russell Wilson has only lost one Playoff Game to an NFC opponent in his four year career. He performs best when the water's hottest (with the exception of last year's NFC Championship Game obviously) and with the Seahawks being given a new lease on life last week they'll take advantage of it.
Official Pick: Seahawks Win, 38-37.
The Denver Broncos are annoying.
I was very vocal on Twitter about how much I was against Gary Kubiak switching to Peyton Manning in the regular season finale. Brock Osweiler had earned the starting job, and Kubiak put up with more than enough bad performances from Peyton than to yank Osweiler in my opinion.
Nevertheless the annoying Denver Broncos have caught another break with a ticket to the AFC Championship Game on the line as Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams have already been ruled out of this contest. Never fear though… Ben Roethlisberger is also severely limited. Good thing the Broncos boast what is arguably the league's best defense.
I've got a Bold Prediction for this game that you'll have to come back tomorrow to see, but I just don't see how Pittsburgh sans all of their great weapons, and with a limited Big Ben, has enough to take down Denver.
It took a perfect effort from a completely healthy Roethlisberger and Antonio to beat the Broncos a few weeks ago… with so much going Denver's way this game is well in hand for them.
Official Pick: Broncos Win, 23-16.
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Who do you think is winning each game in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs? Let me know! Comment below, Email me at Roel.Ochoa.Jr@Gmail.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!