NFL Divisional Playoff predictions

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New district assignments for prep football have been released.

As publicly predicted here last week, all four road teams were winners in the Wildcard round of the NFL playoffs. The four wins lifted my season mark to 153-107 (.588), which is far from glorious but much better than the winning percentage four losses last week would have created.

Another four road wins is not inconceivable, but is far more unlikely.

Let’s get to it …

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
Saturday, Jan. 16
Kansas City at New England, 3:35 p.m. CBS
Sooner or later something is going to have to give. Either steady Alex Smith and the red-hot Chiefs will finally be brought to bay or Tom Brady and the somehow-surviving-all-those-injuries Patriots will, at last, have their bluff called. New England is coming off a bye, but had lost their previous two and only twice — week one against the Steelers and week seven against the Jets — have they beaten a team with more than nine wins. So long, Pretty Boy … KANSAS CITY 27-20.

Green Bay at Arizona, 7:15 p.m. NBC
Arizona simply destroyed Green Bay a few weeks ago and it is difficult to see what has changed since then. Aaron Rodgers beat Washington largely thanks to broken plays and creating on the scramble, but that did not work against the Cardinals in their most recent meeting and it will not this time, either … ARIZONA 31-17.

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Sunday, Jan. 17
Seattle at Carolina, 12:05 FOX
Put simply, Seattle should not be in this game. If any team has lived a charmed life the past two years it is the Seahawks, who were gifted a Super Bowl appearance last year and have now been gifted a playoff win this year. Yes, the team is dangerous, but so are the Panthers, who will wait to spit up all over themselves next week … CAROLINA 26-17.

Pittsburgh at Denver, 3:40 CBS
It appears as if both team are going to enter this game with quarterbacks playing at less than 100 percent health. Two factors will weigh heavily in Denver’s favor: If Antonio Brown cannot play or is not at full effectiveness, and Brock Osweiler has proven far more dangerous than Landry Jones should either squad have to fall back on reserves. With a fully healthy team Pittsburgh would be an easy choice, but (sorry, Bill) the Steelers are simply too brittle … DENVER 24-16.

Last Week: 4-0. Season: 153-107 (.588).

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