2016-17 NFL Playoffs- Divisional Round

I ran the table and got all four of my picks correct during the Wild Card weekend round of the playoffs, and now it’s time for the Divisional Round of the 2016-17 NFL Playoffs

All the teams remaining are division champions, and now the number one and two seeds get to play after a week off.  The teams winning in these games go on to face each other in the AFC and NFC Championship Games next week. .

Now it’s time for me to make those picks.

Saturday Games

NFC Divisional Game

#3 Seattle Seahawks (11-5-1) vs  #2 Atlanta Falcons (11-5)  3;35 PM  CST  on FOX

This Divisional Round game at the Georgia Dome is a rematch of a wild and controversial game in Seattle that Seattle pulled out late courtesy of a Steven Hauschka field goal with 1:57 left .

Atlanta’s attempt to win the game ended on a 4th down pass breakup by Richard Sherman on Julio Jones that the Falcons were screaming warranted a pass interference call.  The officials said otherwise and the game ended in a 26-24 Seahawk victory.  

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This time it’s in the Georgia Dome with higher stakes.  You can probably bet that the NFC South champion Falcons not only want some payback, they don’t want this game to be the last one they play in the Georgia Dome. They move to the new Mercedes Benz Stadium next door later this year.

The Falcons also have a lethal offense that was held in check for a half in that October 26 game by a Seattle defense that is missing key players in this rematch. .The Falcons also had a week off while the NFC West champion Seahawks were sending the Lions packing after they spanked them 26-6 ..

So who is going to win it?   Going with the Falcons.

AFC Divisional Game

#4 Houston Texans (10-7) vs #1 New England Patriots (14-2)  &:15 PM CST on CBS

This nightcap game is also a rematch, and no one outside of NRG Stadium and Harris County is even giving the Texans a chance in this playoff game. They are a two touchdown underdog.

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The AFC South champion Texans were shut out 27-0 in their previous trip to Gillette Stadium on September 22 that occurred while Tom Brady was serving a four game suspension.  It was also the game in which JJ Watt was lost for the season.  The Texans are also 0-4 against the Patriots in that stadium, including a 2013 playoff loss.

But the Texans have the number one ranked defense in the league thanks to Jadeveon Clowney staying healthy and having an All Pro season on top of it,  That gives them a chance if they can force some turnovers, they don’t turn the ball over and even get a pick six out of the dea

Unfortunately, the Texans don’t have an offense to go with that championship level defense, and the Patriots have a future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback.  .

It was a nice playoff run while it lasted.   Patriots to win this one, but you know I’ll be happy if this pick is wrong.

Sunday Games



NFC Divisional Game 

#4 Green Bay Packers (10-7) vs #1 Dallas Cowboys (13-3) at 3;40 PM CST on FOX

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This is the only playoff game in the Divisional round that isn’t a regular season rematch.   This is one in which the red hot NFC North champion Packers have won seven straight games, including their playoff win at Lambeau field last week against the New York Giants.

This matchup is also dripping with NFL playoff history  

The NFC East champion Cowboys went 8-2 after their bye week, but stumbled a bit against the Eagles in their regular season finale.  The question that will be answered is did the layoff hurt or help the number one seeded Cowboys, who are also facing the playoff debuts of rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott?

I think it helps Green bay since they have momentum.  The Packers and Aaaon Rodgers will pull this game out in an upset and save us in Houston from the spectacle of seeing the Cowboys play in the Super Bowl we’re hosting.at NRG Stadium.

AFC Divisional Game

#3 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-5) vs #2  Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) at 7:20 PM CST on NBC

This is a rematch of an October 2 game at Heinz Field in which the Steelers curb stomped Kansas City 43-14. After that game the Chiefs went on their bye week, regrouped and went 10-2 to capture the AFC West title and a season sweep of the Raiders that allowed them to grab the number 2 seed.

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The AFC North champion Steelers are on a bit of a hot streak themselves, going 7-2 after their bye week.  They have won eight straight games, including last week’s 30-12 Wild Card round playoff demolition of the Miami Dolphins .

But the rematch is in Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs aren’t the same team the Steelers rolled over in Week 4.   The Steelers do have momentum on their side.  So do the Chiefs, who got to chill and watch everyone else play during Wild Card weekend..

So who is going to win this game?   Going with the Chiefs in this one.

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