NFL Divisional Round Analysis and Predictions

Well I went 2 for 2 last weekend, and I’m hoping I can do better this weekend. This weekend has some solid matchups and if the games are as exciting and suspenseful as last weekend, it’ll be way worth the watch. Can the Titans slow down the Ravens offense? Can Mahommes light up the Texans defense and suppress the Watson magic? Can Rodgers pull another miracle against the depleted Seahawks? Can the Vikings pull of another shocking upset against the 49ers? Let me break things down for ya

VIKINGS (10-6) @ 49ERS (13-3)

Many have given the Vikings little to no chance to win this game. The 49ers have been amazing this season and have been one of the top teams in the league. The 49ers have had nothing but close games to finish out the year though. Their last 5 games were decided on the last play of the game. Their hoping things wont come to that this week. Both teams have top 10 rushing offenses and they both are tied for 5th in sacks this season. This game will see two very evenly matched teams look to establish the run to feed off of play action while getting plenty of pressure on the other side of the ball. The Vikings are coming off an upset win over the Saints and are lethal with Dalvin Cook in the backfield. These Vikings do so well in adjusting their defensive game plan from week to week, and this week they have a strong chance of pulling another upset if they can stop the run and nullify the Niners play action offense.

BOLD PREDICTION: Dalvin Cook runs for more yards than the 49ers pass for. This game will see a tough time for passing. Both teams rely heavily on the run to establish the pass. They both will see some success in this game running but Cook will be the biggest success story on the ground in this one. The Niners defense is 17th against the run and he’s coming off a 94 yard and 2 TD game against the 4th ranked Saints defense. I think he’ll rush for more than the Niners pass for and will do way more than enough to open up their passing game a bit.

SCORE PREDICTION: VIKINGS 23 49ERS 20

TITANS (9-7) @ RAVENS (14-2)

The Lamar led Ravens are playing back in the spotlight again as the red hot Henry and his Titans come into town. This game will see some heavy running and some great success doing it. Derrick Henry is an absolute menace outside the tackles and we all know the Ravens will look to continue their historic offensive rush attack in the playoffs. Tannehil has been sensational this season against the blitz, sporting a 120 passer rating against it, and he’ll need to tap into that as he’s facing a defense that blitzes more than any other team. Henry will get his touches and have his success as the Ravens major defensive weakness is tackling in space, and we know the Ravens cant be contained on offense for long. The key to this will be the QBs. Lamar has to go vertical downfield to keep the defense guessing and Tannehil will have to convert the run success into some passing success. The question will be which QB can make the most of the run and perform the best in the spotlight.

BOLD PREDICTION: THERE WILL BE A COMBINED RUSHING TALLY OF OVER 300 YARDS. A stat like that would be nothing new to a Ravens team that averages 200 yards a game. Henry is a beast in his own right, and remember what I said earlier, he thrives outside the tackles and the Ravens defense struggles in space. He will get over 25 touches and turn in a 150 yard game and the Ravens multidimensional rush attack will have well over that. Which run heavy unit will prevail?

SCORE PREDICTION: RAVENS 34 TITANS 20

TEXANS (10-6) @ CHIEFS (12-4)

This game features two of the most electric young QBs in the game. The Texans will get back Fuller after getting Watt back last week. Watt’s return paid dividends for Houston, as he and Mercilus combined for 13 pressures. The only area where Watt looked shaky was against the runs outside. That wouldn’t bode well against some faster opponents, which the Chiefs have plenty of speedy options. Look for the Chiefs to runs plenty of outside pitch plays and WR sweeps. The Texans are going to have to open up the run game and let Watson work his magic. Watson has easily one of the most dangerous passing weapons in the league, and gets his 2nd option back this week. They average more than 5 points more a week when Fuller is in the lineup. Fuller relieves pressure from Hopkins and opens up the threat down field. Watson will certainly play well having all his options, so long as his line can hold up this week. Against Buffalo they missed many assignments in the blocking scheme and Watson was forced to run a season high 14 times. They need to win the battle upfront and allow Watson to utilize the return of Fuller.

BOLD PREDICTION: WATSON AND MAHOMMES COMBINE FOR OVER 700 YARDS AND 8 TDS. This game will be a shootout with these special gunslingers at the helm. Watson gets his full WR group back so he should be looking to exploit the secondary and make his energizing brand of magic. Mahommes is a bit of a magic man himself and has one of the fastest WR groups at his disposal. Look for him to try and take the top off this defense.

SCORE PREDICTION: TEXANS 38 CHIEFS 34

SEAHAWKS (11-5) @ PACKERS (13-3)

The matchup of Rodgers vs Wilson is sure to be a chess match up wits, crazy passes, and playmaking finesse. This will prove to be another exciting dual in this playoff rivalry. The Seahawks are coming off a game where they looked rough blocking with Duane Brown and the d-line didn’t get consistent pressure against a shaky Eagles team. This time around they are facing a strong o-line that protects one of the best playmaking QBs in history. They need to slow down the Packers’ run game, and Russ needs to be the best player on the field once again. The Packers are going to have to get to Russ. Russ has a tendency of playing not up to his standard against Green Bay. A unit that has added the QB menace Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith. They also need to use their superior run attack. The Packers run game has the advantage over the Seahawks who rely on an old Beast Mode and the rookie in Homer.

BOLD PREDICTION: RODGERS AND WILSON COMBINE FOR 5 TOTAL TURNOVERS. This game has 2 solid pass attacks backed up by solid coaching regimes. They will game plan to attack and throw the two hall of fame QBs off their game. Look for both sides to rush often and contain the scrambling passers and force turnovers in any way possible.

SCORE PREDICTION: PACKERS 20 SEAHAWKS 16

There we have it, I’ve made my picks and bold predictions and I hope to build on a better week last week. If things work out like I have predicted, we will see an exciting Championship round of a regular season matchup where Jackson destroyed Houston, and a divisional battle between the Pack and Vikings for a hell of game. Thank you for reading and let me know your thoughts. Be sure to share with any football fans you know. Check in next week for my Championship round predictions.

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