NFL Divisional Round

NFL Divisional Round

By Ian Shimizu, Reporter

NFLChiefs (11-5) at Patriots (12-4)

The Chiefs come in as the hottest team in the NFL winning their last 11 and looking dominant in their 30-0 Wildcard thrashing of the Texans.The Pats get a huge boost as Julian Edelman, Dont’a Hightower, and Chandler Jones all return to the lineup. They will be at their strongest since Thanksgiving, when they were dominating. The real matchup: Chiefs defensive front vs the patchwork Patriots o-line. Brady will be forced to throw quick passes and should get sacked at least a few times. Julian Edelman’s return is huge and expect him to get his usual monster targets and catches. The Chiefs will have to work out a game plan that will get their not so great offense going. I don’t see them scoring more than 20 points against a stout Patriots defense. Alex Smith throws for no more than 200 yards and they can’t get their running game going. Tom Brady doesn’t turn it over 6 times, leading to a Patriots victory. Patriots: 19-17


Packers (10-6) at Cardinals (13-3)


The Packers managed to beat one of the hottest teams in the NFL last week. Their reward for that is playing a team that harassed them 38-8 and scored two defensive touchdowns on them. While the Packers offense finally got it going last week, the Cardinals offense should be the bigger story. They were the best offensive team in terms of yards this season, with David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown making possibly the most stacked offense in the league. Even after losing Tyrann Mathieu, their defense has remained rock solid. They were blown out by the Seahawks in week 17, but they get the win here, harassing Rodgers yet again and giving Carson Palmer his first playoff win. They sack Rodgers at least 3 times and he turns it over 2 times. David Johnson goes off again. Cardinals: 31-20


Steelers (10-6) at Broncos (12-4)


This game will come down to Big Ben and Antonio Brown’s health. With DeAngelo Williams already out, the Steelers will have an extremely tough time with the Broncos top defense regardless. Even if Ben and Antonio do play, I don’t see them winning. Peyton Manning has a good game, in one of his last as a pro, throwing for 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Broncos get the best revenge possible, riding their defense to a low scoring win. Broncos: 20-12


Seahawks (10-6) at Panthers (15-1)


This has got to be one of the hardest picks to ever make for anyone. Cam Newton and Russell Wilson are very similar quarterbacks, and are both so good they cancel each other out. The Seahawks have the 2nd best defense and the Panthers have the 6th best. Heck, even that cancels out. Josh Norman and Richard Sherman are easily the top 2 cornerbacks in the league right now. They both have very good defensive lines. They are almost copies of each other. The thing that could be the difference is the Seahawks bad offensive line. The Panthers should have no trouble getting to Wilson. With that being the main difference, Cam Newton shows why he should be MVP, and the Panthers beat the Seahawks again. Panthers: 23-21