I am going to continue on with what I started last weekend and put out there how I feel each game will end up. This includes the winner and guess of final score.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
The defending Super Bowl champions, led by the most playoff-tested quarterback and coach in the league, are back in action. The Patriots have done this 12 times in the last 13 years, the whole time with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The last time the Patriots have gone a season without winning a playoff game was in 2009, when they fell as a one-and-done to the New York Jets.
The Chiefs are also likely going to be without their top wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, while the Patriots’ top two wide receiver weapons Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman will be banged up. The possible rain in the forecast could also sap the offenses further, so look for a lower score.
There are a lot of health variables here, but I think when fully healthy, the Chiefs are the all-around better team. They went 11-5 against a schedule that was a true test, which included seven games against teams that were in the playoffs this year. It is true that in the last round, they faced a weaker Houston Texans team. However, they didn’t just beat them; they obliterated them and dominated on offense, defense and special teams.
Meanwhile, the Patriots went 12-4 while playing half of their games against the NFC East and AFC South, two divisions that are as soft as a pillow.They only beat one team that I would consider a quality opponent and that was the Steelers in Week 1, back when their receivers and running game had no health issues.
I definitely want Tom Brady as my quarterback in pretty much any playoff game. However, any good quarterback could be stopped by a defense as great as the Chiefs’ defense in the playoffs, especially in the rain. I will be pulling the trigger on the upset here.
Chiefs 20, Patriots 17
Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals
We have a rematch of a game that happened back in week 16. It was a forgettable game for Green Bay. They lost 38-8 and did pretty much everything wrong.
The worst part of Green Bay’s performance during that game seemed to be on the offensive line. They surrendered eight sacks and looked beaten on pretty much every play.
Last week, Green Bay redeemed themselves by rediscovering their offense against the Redskins in a convincing victory. However, the Redskins are not a strong team on defense and have not been really at any point this year. Stepping up against the Cardinals will be an accomplishment on a completely different level.
We can’t overlook that the left tackle for the Packers, David Bakhtiari, is playing for the first time since week 15. That will help a lot. But the Cardinals solid defense has had no significant injuries since the last game against Green Bay, where they dominated. The injury to star defensive player Tyrann Mathieu happened in week 15. The team has playmakers everywhere, as five different guys sacked Aaron Rodgers. The secondary, led by cornerback Patrick Peterson, is also one of the best in the league.
The Packers rebounded nicely last week, but it is back to reality for them as they go from facing arguably the weakest team in the playoffs to arguably the strongest one.
Cardinals 31, Packers 24