NFL Picks - Divisonal Round

Before we get to the picks for this week I wanted to touch on a couple of factoids that I find pretty interesting. If you don't think you'll feel the same you can simply skip down to the games, but I'd really appreciate it if you didn't. I mean, we've come this far together, the least you could do is trust me when I need you most ... Anyway, as you may have heard, four of the eight remaining starting quarterbacks were #1 overall draft picks, but it's also worth noting that the other four are all Super Bowl winners. So clearly, the pedigree of these signal-callers is high. Another seemingly coincidental tidbit plays directly into the NFL's year-long celebration of Super Bowl history. Rematches of the big game have been highlighted throughout the season, and the odds that we see a Super Bowl repeat in number 50 are pretty good. In fact, of the 16 possible Super Bowl match-ups, nine of them would be rematches of past title games. Not only that, but every remaining team has at least one past Super Bowl opponent left in the field. Fascinating stuff, right?!? Why are you making that face? Fine, I'll move on.


Kansas City @ New England

When last these squadrons met, the Chiefs decimated the Patriots 41-14, a final tally that had some calling for Jimmy Garoppolo to replace Tom Brady as New England's starting quarterback; and for once it wasn't just Garoppolo via Bill Belichick's suggestion box (Really just a paper shredder that Belichick sarcastically referred to once as a "suggestion box." Garoppolo has been submitting his two cents to it multiple times a week for over two years now). As we all know now, the Patriots' 2014 season took a turn for the better after the throttling in Kansas City, but perhaps there are lessons we can learn from that contest. Then again, perhaps not. I don't have a copy of the game handy, so who knows? If I had to guess about this one (and I do, that's mostly the point here) I'd say that a healthy-ish New England team will be the ones that finally stop the Chiefs' impressive winning streak.

Patriots 27-17  

Green Bay @ Arizona

This is NBC's final broadcast of the season, meaning it's the last time we'll get the privilege of hearing Cris Collinsworth on the mic until August. But fear not, he's here with us right now to break down this interesting match-up:

Hmm, seems like CriColl got a bit off topic by the end there, but I tend to agree with him. While there may be some early rust for the Cardinals, I think they'll overcome whatever the resulting deficit is and get the win.

Cardinals 31-24


Seattle @ Carolina

After dominating the Vikings last Sunday, the Seahawks move on to a Divisional Round game on the road, a scenario that has been the bane of this franchise's recent existence. Since 2003, when Seattle started making the playoffs with regularity, their playoff record is 12-8. Over that same stretch, their record in Divisional Round games on the road is 0-4. So, not great. But that was then, this is now (a phrase that you can use in any non-time travel situation with absolute certainty) and since Russell Wilson has been quarterback the Seahawks have only played in one such game, an agonizingly close loss to the Falcons in which Wilson piloted a 21 point fourth quarter comeback to take the lead with less than a minute left. In other words, the challenge before Seattle does not seem as insurmountable as it may have in the past. Now, is beating a 15-1 Panthers team who hasn't lost a home game all season going to be easy? Probably not. But I don't think it will take a miracle, or pixie dust, or some sort of magical ointment either. Although, the magical ointment couldn't hurt. I'm not saying you have to use a ton; in this case, a little dab'll do ya.

Seahawks 23-16  

Pittsburgh @ Denver

This is a tough one to pick because of all the unknowns going in. Will Ben Roethlisberger play? If so, how effective will he be? What type of performance will we see from Peyton Manning? Who really shot Kennedy? Why did The General used to have a penguin with him in those car insurance commercials?  Look, not all of my questions have to do with this game in particular, but the ones that do are extremely pertinent to the outcome. I get the feeling that Roethlisberger will play, but his performance will be hampered by his injured shoulder and the Broncos' top-notch defense. As for Manning, he won't be great, but he won't have to be.

Broncos 20-17


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