The opening weekend of the NFL playoffs was fun, but this weekend’s divisional round of games look even more appealing.
A streaking Indianapolis squad roll into Kansas City where you know the whole town is pretending there’s nothing to see here when it comes to recent playoff struggles.
Veteran Phil Rivers leads his well-rounded LA Chargers into Foxboro, where everyone can see this New England team is not quite right, but beating Tom and Bill is always a nearly impossible task.
The Bayou plays host to an intriguing clash when the reigning champs, led by Saint Nick Foles, tackle the Saints – who literally had the Lombardi Trophy and a trolley full of cash put in front of them as motivation this week.
Lastly, an away game almost becomes a home game for Dallas as they roll into the LA Coliseum for a shot at the Rams.
Let’s go inside each match-up;
DALLAS at LA RAMS
– Battle in the trenches;
The Dallas offensive line versus the LA defensive line. Whoever wins this contest likely wins the game. Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Dante Fowler Jr and Mike Brockers will try disrupt everything Dallas attempts on offence. It will be Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith and La’el Collins’ job to prevent that from happening.
– Slowing Coop;
Amari Cooper has breathed life into the Cowboys offence. Since his trade everything has improved and few receivers have played better than he. Getting him going will be Jason Garrett’s primary objective which will mean Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib will be responsible for quieting the Cowboys high-flying weapon.
TIP: Rams 38, Cowboys 30
EAGLES at SAINTS
– History repeated;
On November 18, New Orleans torched Philly in a 48-7 rout. Since then, Nick Foles has resuscitated the Eagles season which was in ICU multiple times. Last week, Foles was magnificent when it mattered but can he replicate his late-game heroics at the Superdome in NOLA..
– A quarter of a mill;
Saints coach Sean Payton waltzed into a team meeting this week carrying two things. One was the Lombardi Trophy to show his boys exactly what they were playing for but the other was quite unique.
Payton carted into the meeting room $275,000, telling his team, ‘if you want this, win three f****ing games.’ The move could become legend should the Saints win it all.
TIP: Saints 28, Eagles 20
COLTS at CHIEFS
– QB v QB;
Andrew Luck is the comeback player of the year. Sorry JJ Watt (and anyone else who has claims to the award) but Luck’s rapid rise to elite status, again, has directly coincided with the Colts ascension. Mahomes has been phenomenal. Greater than any of us could have anticipated but he needs to lead from the front in the playoffs. His fifty touchdowns mean nothing now, KC need him to throw a few more this weekend.
– Slowing down Tyreek and Travis;
Tyreek ‘The Cheetah’ Hill and Travis Kelce are two of the NFL’s deadliest offensive weapons. Hill has forget-about-it speed and Kelce is a match-up nightmare for safeties, corners and backers.
Mahomes will be slinging the rock so these guys will get opportunities to make plays. Can Indy slow them down or will it be an offensive onslaught…
TIP: Chiefs 35, Colts 24
CHARGERS at PATRIOTS
– Old man v older man;
Phil Rivers has been an excellent – if underrated – quarterback for a decade. Tom Brady is Tom Brady. Rivers is 37 and TB is 41. It’s amazing these two guys are still playing so well. Rivers seemingly has a better supporting cast but Brady has Gronkowski, Edelman, Michel and Belichick on his side. And, did I mention, Brady is Brady so doubt him at your peril.
– Melvin the Man;
Melvin Gordon is a rare talent, both carrying the ball on the deck as well as making things happen in the passing game. He’s a touchdown machine and can be the thing the Patriots cannot stop. Should he get going early, the Chargers offence might roll and not even Tommy Terrific can keep up.
TIP: Patriots 27, Chargers 24
Enjoy your divisional football.