Wild card weekend was one of the best opening weekends of playoff football we’ve seen in a while. We’ve seen comebacks and upsets in the wild card round. Now that the first weekend of the playoffs ended, it’s time to look ahead to the divisional round. After what we saw this past weekend, we are hungry for more great games. The divisional round is set up to be another great weekend in the NFL.
NFL Divisional Round Preview
Titans vs Ravens
The Tennessee Titans are coming off a big upset against the New England Patriots in Foxborough. Derrick Henry was the deciding factor as he ran for 182 yards and a touchdown on his birthday and Ryan Tannehill made throws when needed. They will look to keep rolling and stop Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens are coming off a bye so they will be well-rested. Jackson is coming off of a regular season where ran for 1,206 yards and threw for 3,127 and 36 touchdowns. Nobody has found a way to stop him and if they did, they would have to worry about running back Mark Ingram. He has run for over 1,000 yards and ten touchdowns. The defense has played a big part in this team’s success as well. The Titans will have their hands full but if they can find a way to slow down Jackson, they will be in good shape. This is a very interesting match in many ways.
Texans vs Chiefs
Like recent Houston Texans playoff games, it wasn’t pretty but they got the win. They were down 16-0 to the Buffalo Bills and looked out of it. They couldn’t get anything going but Deshaun Watson stepped up and J.J. Watt got to the quarterback a lot. They came back to win 22-19 in overtime. They now have a date with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City.
This will be a tough game for the Texans. In years past, they haven’t been able to prove they have what it takes to be a real contender. Houston has never been to a championship game in their history. They are hoping that they can get Watt to continue getting at the quarterback and that the offense finds something out sooner rather than later. The Chiefs offense is one of the most prolific in the league and the defense has been getting better down the stretch. The Texans have had trouble with this combination in the past but if they step it up on offense and expose that Chiefs defense like teams have in the past, they will have a real shot.
Vikings vs 49ers
Nobody except the fans and staff gave the Minnesota Vikings a chance to beat the New Orleans Saints on the road but they did it. Fans got to see the Kirk Cousins they have always wanted and had a healthy Dalvin Cook which was key. The defense showed up as well and they need to keep that up as they face another tough opponent in the San Francisco 49ers on the road.
The 49ers bring a really good offense led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle. They also have weapons like rookie Deebo Samuel and veteran Emmanuel Sanders. The offense will be tough to stop but if the Vikings keep the defense up, it will be tough to move the ball. The defense has slipped a little down the stretch for the 49ers but they can attack hard when needed. Nobody will give the Vikings a chance yet again but we saw what they did against the Saints, who many thought were better than the 49ers.
Seahawks vs Packers
These two teams meet yet again. Both the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks have had great battles over the years, both in the regular season and in the postseason. The last time these two teams met the Seahawks came back to win in a thrilling NFC Championship Game in the 2014 season. The difference is that this game will be played at Lambeau Field.
The Seahawks are coming off a sloppy win over the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, which is where they rise. The Seahawks have been inconsistent on both sides of the ball but have still gotten wins. Russell Wilson has led the team all season and he will be the difference-maker. Marshawn Lynch has given them a spark ever since returning. The Packers on the end have been winning but winning ugly and they are ok with that.
Aaron Rodgers is having a good season but a breakout start has emerged on offense that’s running back Aaron Jones. He had over 1,000 yards rushing and has 19 total touchdowns. The defense has looked steller led by pass rushers Za’Darius Smith (13.5 sacks) and Preston Smith (12 sacks). The Packers will look to find some rhythm on offense and keep up the play on defense. The Seahawks need the offense to perform throughout the game and the defense to keep it close. A clash between two out of division rivals will be very fun to watch.
A Fight Until The End
The Playoffs are a different animal in football so it doesn’t matter what happens in the regular season, it matters what you can do in one moment on a big stage. All of these teams both in the AFC and NFC have a lot of talent and it will be shown in the divisional round. We have a couple of teams who’ve never won a title and a couple who have a good history in the playoffs. It will be a very interesting weekend no matter what happens.
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