Divisional Round

Writer: Zarvea McArthur

Coming up this week in the NFL we have some power packed games on the schedule, all of which I’m excited for. Here’s why:

The first game we’ll see will be this Saturday when Andrew Luck and the Colts play Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs at home. With the Chiefs having one of the worst defenses but the most potent offenses in the NFL, and the Colts coming in hot winning 10 out of their last 11, I’m picking the Colts to win 24-21. At the time I’m writing, this the snow is coming down in Kansas City, and that’s gonna be a factor in favor of the Colts, who have a very good rushing attack with Marlon Mack in the backfield. Moreover, with the Chiefs not having Kareem Hunt I don’t see how the Chiefs can stop the Colts offense. On the other hand, I don’t see a way the Colts defense can stop the offensive juggernaut that is the Chiefs offense unless their defense plays like how they played versus the Texans with them shutting down Deandre Hopkins, along with Darius Leonard having 13 tackles. The Colts are gonna need that type of performance once again to win this tough game.

The night game for Saturday is the LA Rams vs the Dallas Cowboys. I’m picking the Rams to win this game 28-24 because of their solid defense. The Rams will be able to shut down the league's leading rusher, Ezekiel Elliott, and they will make the Cowboys essentially a one dimensional team. Unfortunately, I don’t have faith in Dak Prescott. I know he is an amazing playmaker but he is too inaccurate downfield and they are gonna need to throw it over the top to beat the Rams. For the Rams, they just need to get going early: get Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods involved early against that secondary that Dallas has, along with utilizing the second place rusher Todd Gurley, who is coming back with fresh legs after missing two weeks. However, they cannot forget that Dallas linebackers Jalen Smith and Vander Esch, an incredible duo who can get to the ball quick and get players on the ground. This game is going to be a very rugged and hard fought game.

To kick off football Sunday we have the LA Chargers playing Tom Brady and the Patriots. Though Philip Rivers hasn’t beaten Tom Brady yet, I expect this trend to run its course. The Chargers have the best overall team between the two, and I expect that Chargers defense to hit the ground running and apply pressure to Tom Brady with that insane pass rush Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa provide, having 7 sacks on Lamar Jackson last week. This combined with the weaker pass attack that the Patriots have with Edelman and Gronk not being as productive as they were in the past looks good for the Chargers, but Tom Brady is still unpredictable in the playoffs, so we cannot exclude that. As for the Chargers’ offense, Philip Rivers has two obstacles in his way. First, being the defensive genius he is, Bill Belichick is going to use cornerback Stephon Gilmore to cover Rivers’ number one, Keenan Allen. But what about the rest of the offense? With Hunter Henry being activated and Mike Williams being a very good #2, I don’t see how the Chargers won’t take advantage of this offensive juggernaut. The Patriots, on the other hand, are gonna have a very difficult time moving the ball against this defense, but with them having Tom Brady still manning that offense I can’t just let it slide that they don’t have the greatest quarterback to play the game. I predict that the Chargers will win 21-14.

For the final Sunday matchup, the game we’ll be seeing is a rematch of the Saints and the Eagles. I have the Saints winning this game 35-21. The Eagles’ offense is being led by Nick Foles, but the problem that the Eagles have is their running game. In comparison to the Saints, their running game is seemingly non-existent, with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram leading the saints on the ground. The Eagles have an excellent receiving core however, with Alshon Jeffery being Foles favorite target. Now, the Eagles’ defense has shown up in recent games, but with a beaten and battered secondary, they are going to have a very hard time keeping Brees from slinging the football all over the field. For the Saints what they need to do to win this game is to get into the end zone early and let those fans in New Orleans become a factor. Also, Drew Brees needs some time to dissect that weak secondary on the defensive end, and they have to contain Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery as well put some pressure on Nick Foles. With the lack of a running game, the Eagles are essentially one dimensional. The Saints are undefeated at home, and I expect to too keep that streak going

Now let's get excited and watch some NFL football!