I did not get the NFC games right this past weekend. So, I am starting the post season 2-2. Not too bad, but I will try to improve on that this weekend.
Indy is looking pretty good. Honestly, I do not think that Houston was prepared. Seattle did not get on track early enough and just ran out of time. Dallas moves on. The Chargers proved that they belong. Baltimore now understands why rookies do not do well in their first playoff games. Chicago. MAN! Heart breaker. Philly looks like they might make it back to the final dance. Great wild card games though. Here is what I believe will play out this weekend.
AFC DIVISIONAL GAME
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS vs KANSAS CITY CHIEFS:
The Colts are no strangers to meeting the Chiefs in the playoffs. As a matter of fact, they are 4-0 against the Chiefs in the playoffs. Two of those wins were in Kansas City. The Chiefs defense is not awful. It is the secondary that Andrew Luck should be successful against. This will give Eric Ebron and Mo Alie-Cox plenty of targets. Indy’s offensive line should give Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins a clear path for running the ball. The Colts defense will have to play their A-game against the pass. Also, they have not allowed a running back to get 100 yards this season. Finally, Indy has nothing to lose. They were not even expected to get this far this season.
Kansas City has one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the league in Patrick Mahomes. He is throwing to Tyreek HIll who had 87 receptions for 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns; and Travis Kelce who has 103 receptions for 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns. The loss of running back Kareem Hunt hurt. Spencer Ware and Damien Williams have filled in nicely though. Ware has been out with a hamstring injury for the past few weeks, but should be returning for this game. Defense for the Chiefs has not been exceptional, but they are tied for the top spot in sacks. Their front seven will be going up against an offensive line that has only allowed 18 sacks this season. A challenge for Kansas City.
This is going to be a close game and could come down to the wire. Indy has the more rounded team on both sides of the ball. KC has the true offense advantage with Patrick Mahomes behind center. Andrew Luck will have to play smart and take advantage of every weakness that the Chiefs show. History is with the Colts.
NFC DIVISIONAL GAME
DALLAS COWBOYS vs LOS ANGELES RAMS:
Dallas has been proving themselves quite worthy of being in the post season. It is their defense that will keep them in the game for the most part. Their ability to stop the run is key against a team that loves to run. Demarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and Byron Jones have managed to be effective in holding teams to 3.8 yards per carry and stopping teams in the red zone. This does not take away from the offense though. Ezekiel Elliott and a receiving core led by Amari Cooper has challenged the best of defenses. Dak Prescott may find himself on the run if his offensive line cannot contain the Rams’ Aaron Donald. The opportunity to get back at the Rams for the loss they were handed in week 4 in 2017 is alive and kicking.
Having two weeks off makes a big difference. Let’s hope it is for the good. The Rams need to get past one win and further into the playoffs to be taken seriously in the post season. Jared Goff was not that great the last few games of the season. Hopefully, this is not indicative of how he will play this game. His favorite person to hand off to, Todd Gurley, should be back 100%. Throwing out to Robert Woods is another plus. The offensive line is going to have to step up to protect Goff in order for him to get the ball down the field. The Rams run defense might get them caught up. They are not very good against the run. Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, and Michael Brockers are amazing, but they have not been up against a team that likes to run the ball as much as Dallas does with Elliott. The pressure will be on them.
The Rams will be faced with a few challenges that could cost them the game if they do not address them during the game. They need to defend better to keep Elliott at bay. They will need to extend the coverage on Cooper and Prescott to keep the ball from coming down the field. Dallas has a bit more of the advantage here. They have an elite run defense that can stop Todd Gurley, who will be a big part of the Rams game plan. They even have a great pass defense that will give Goff a run for his money. Coaching will be a big part of the scheme as well. Sean McVay is looking to progress in post season play and Jason Garrett is trying to possibly keep his job in tact. A close game is what this will be. Almost to close to call.