January 3, 2019

The NFL Playoffs Are Here

The 2018-2019 NFL Playoffs are finally here.  This weekend, the Wild Card round kicks-off with three regular-season rematches and the return of the Defending Super Bowl Champions.

Preview: Game 1

This weekend’s first matchup features the AFC South Champion Houston Texans (11-5) and their division rival Indianapolis Colts (10-6). The Colts are entering the playoffs having won nine of their last ten games and four in a row. Andrew Luck has been the Comeback Player of the Year and has carried his team through the second half of the season.  The Texans on the other hand have been a consistent team all year long led by Quarterback Deshaun Watson, Wide Receiver Deandre Hopkins and former Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt.

When: Saturday, January 5th – 4:35pm EST

Where: NRG Stadium - Houston, Texas

TV: ESNP / ABC

Predication: The two games between the Texans and Colts this year were decided by 3 points – each team won 1 game on the road. Expect this to be another tight matchup, and the road team (Colts) coming up victorious may not be that big of a surprise the way Andrew Luck Has been Playing. Colts win by 4.

Winner plays: AT Kansas City Chiefs or New England Patriots

Preview: Game 2

The second matchup of Wild Card weekend is a rematch of the Week 3 game between the NFC East Champion Dallas Cowboys (10-6) and the Seattle Seahawks (10-6) in which the Seahawks defeated the Cowboys 24-13.  Both of these teams have been flying under the radar for most of the season doing just enough to get bye and squeeze into the Playoffs.

When: Saturday, January 5th – 8:15pm EST

Where: AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas

TV: FOX

Prediction: These could be the two worst teams in the Playoffs, but expect them to come out and put on a show at Jerry World. The Cowboys are favored by 1 point (-1) BUT – I’ll take the Seahawks.

Winner plays: Los Angeles Rams or New Orleans Saints  

Preview: Game 3

The third game of Wild Card weekend is a rematch of the electric week 16 game between the AFC North Champion Baltimore Ravens (10-6) and the Los Angeles Chargers (12-4). These are two of the hottest teams in the NFL right now, and if the week 16 matchup is any indication of what is to come, fans are in for a classic.

The Baltimore Ravens who are (6-1) since replacing former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco with Rookie Lamar Jackson may be the most exciting team in football right now. Jackson has jumpstarted the offense which has controlled all seven games in which he has played. The Defense is playing up to its #1 ranking in the league. Most notably – the Ravens defense came up huge to force turnovers in each of their last two games that propelled them to victory and put them in the Playoffs.   

The Los Angeles Chargers were considered one of the top five teams in the league throughout the entire season. After going on a run late in the year which included victories against the Broncos, Steelers, Bengals and Chiefs, the Chargers proved they were going to be a viable contender.

When: Sundary, January 6th – 1:05pm EST

Where: M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore, MD

TV: CBS

Prediction: Although the Ravens are hot – and favored at home by two and a half points (-2.5) – the magical run for Lamar Jackson will be coming to an end this week. It is extremely difficult for a team to beat an opponent twice in one season – and expect the Chargers to learn from their week 16 loss and execute an effective game plan against Jackson and the Ravens. Chargers by 8.

Winner plays: AT Kansas City Chiefs or New England Patriots

Preview: Game 4

The final game of Wild Card weekend has the Defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) visiting the NFC North Champion Chicago Bears (12-4). Expect this to be the most tough nosed game of the Wild Card round.

The Eagles have been playing Playoff football for six weeks now and seem to be energized with backup quarterback and last years Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles back in the lineup.

The Chicago Bears have been absolutely dominant all season long. Khalil Mack has brought back a taste of the ’84 Bears and the offense has managed games to perfection. The Bears are playing with more swagger than any other team in the NFL, celebrating every win at CLUB DUB.

When: Sunday, January 6th – 4:40pm EST

Where: Soldier Field – Chicago, IL

TV: NBC

Prediction: This will be the best game of the weekend. The Bears are five and a half point favorites (-5.5) at home but St. Nick and the Eagles look to be on the same path as last year. Eagles by 14.

Winner plays: AT Los Angeles Rams or New Orleans Saints  

Check back next week to see how your team did and take a look at the updated Playoff Schedule.