NFL : DIVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND
By Leo Haggerty
Before we get to my prognosticators for the Divisional Championship Weekend, let’s take a quick review of my Wild Card Weekend picks. It didn’t start well but finished strong.
Lost both Saturday games but flipped that completely for two wins on Sunday. Both of the victories, the Chargers over the honestanding Ravens and the visiting Eagles sliding by the Bears, were road dog wins. The two defeats, the Texans losing to the underdog Colts in Houston and the Seahawks succumbing to the Cowboys in Dallas, were a home favorite as well as a road dog.
One glaring fact that did come out of the four Wild Card Weekend contests was that the quarterback, with the exception of the Seattle game with Dallas, that had the most playoff experience emerged victorious. Let’s see if that trend continues this weekend.
In Charleston for daughter-in-law’s birthday party. Will give explanations shortly. Enjoy.
Indianapolis (+5) loses to KANSAS CITY
Ok, I didn’t learn my lesson last week when it comes to playoff experience of the quarterback but that may not be the overriding force in this contest. Chiefs playing at Arrowhead with, arguably, the loudest fans at an outdoor venue. Also, the weather will be iffy at best and Colts are an indoor team. Two big pluses for Kansas City. If Mahomes doesn’t turn the football over and give Indy short fields it could be a blowout. I think all of the above comes to fruition. KC, 38-24, and the Chiefs move on to host the American Football Conference final.
Dallas (+7) loses to LOS ANGELES RAMS
This is a strange tilt to predict. Cowboys are playing their best football of the year. Rams are struggling in the last quarter of the regular season but had the week off to get ready. More big pluses for Los Angeles is they’re at home and and Blue & Gold remember the egg they laid in last year’s post-season opener. Failure is a great teacher and the guys from the West Coast will not have a repeat performance. LAR, 30-20, with Gurley eclipsing the century mark on the ground.
NEW ENGLAND (-4) loses to Los Angeles Rams
OK, I know I’m going out in a limb here but I think this is the year the torch gets passed in the AFC. Pats Brady is starting to show his age and Gronk, along with other New England stalwarts, have slowed down considerably. Bolts QB Rivers is playing at an MVP level and, in my mind, the Chargers are the most complete team in the National Football League. One thing is for sure. We will find out if we put the Patriots out to pasture or not. LAC, 26-24, with a late stop to seal the deal.
Philadelphia (+8) loses to NEW ORLEANS
I make no apology for admitting that I grew up a Philly fan. If you cut me, I bleed cheesesteak. Now, if you didn’t know that, you see why it pains me to pick the Saints. I’ve can’t come up with a scenario where the Birds shut down a rested Drew Brees in The Big Easy. I really wish I could but I can’t. It will be closer than when New Orleans blew out the Eagles in the regular season but the result will be the same. NO, 27-21, and the Nick Foles magic comes to an end.
Well, the only thing left to do is watch how these four games play out. Meet you at the TV.