NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND PREDICTIONS

After an eventful Wild Card Round, the NFL Playoffs marches on. Four teams (Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles) move on to the Divisional Round. They will meet the other four teams (Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams) who all earned a bye week. This weekend is sure to be a wild ride. All four games will be highly competitive. But, only four teams can advance. Who will the winners of each game? This article will predict the winners. Let’s start with the NFC Divisional games.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

Saturday, January 12th

3 Dallas Cowboys vs. 2 Los Angeles Rams

The Cowboys earned a victory against the Seattle Seahawks to advance. Their dangerous running game proved to be a separator as star RB Ezekiel Elliot led the way with 137 yards. The Cowboys run defense dominated, only allowing 73 total yards last week. The Rams look to match Super Bowl expectations. Their offense is much more dangerous than the Seahawks. MVP candidate Todd Gurley’s health is in question but he will play. His contributions will be important to open up the passing game. However, the Rams defense has not lived up to the hype. They have a tough time stopping the run, ranking 23rd in rushing yards allowed. But, all-pro DT Aaron Donald will prove to be a nightmare. They must contain Elliot and prevent the Cowboys from controlling the clock. The Rams have the more talented team between the two. The Cowboys are more gritty. But, the Rams have home field advantage. This game will be close a close one.

Winner: Los Angeles Rams

Sunday, January 13th

6 Philadelphia Eagles vs. 1 New Orleans Saints

The Eagles survived against the Bears, QB Nick Foles came up big once again and lead a comeback. The Eagles will face a dangerous Saints team, who is arguably the best team in the NFL and a popular Super Bowl Pick. The Saints offense has always been great, especially at home. Their defense has been at its best in recent memory, especially against the run. The Eagles struggled to run the ball last week. The Saints are better overall by a mile. The Eagles have struggled all year and barely made it out of the Wild Card Round. Unfortunately, their title defense will come to a premature ending

Winner: New Orleans Saints

AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

Saturday, January 12th

6 Indianapolis Colts vs. 1 Kansas City Chiefs

The Colts continued their winning ways by dominating the Houston Texans last week. The Colts march into Chiefs territory where they will face MVP candidate QB Patrick Mahomes and the high-powered offense. Mahomes will be the best QB the Colts faced all year. The only question about the Chiefs is their defense. Their defense is ranked 31st overall in the NFL. The Colts defense have played well, but they have not faced many teams who were great offensively. The Colts lost games against teams who were ranked within the top 15 in offense (Patriots, Texans) This game can go either way. The Chiefs have the slight advantage due to experience.

Winner: Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, January 13th

5 Los Angeles Chargers vs. 2 New England Patriots

The Chargers silenced doubters last week with a convincing win over the Baltimore Ravens. Now, they will go against the Patriots, who have a knack of showing up in big games. QB Tom Brady remains potent, showing no signs of slowing down. Offensively, the two teams are close. The separation comes in at defense, where the Chargers are top five versus a Patriots team who tends to give up a lot of yards. History suggests that the Patriots should win. Brady is a playoff wizard and head coach Bill Belichick is a master planner. But, this year is different. The Chargers are much better and are more confident. The Patriots rule over the AFC will end.

Winner: Los Angeles Chargers

Stacey Collier II