NFL Playoffs 2017: Divisonal Round Matchups, Analysis, and Predictions
What will the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs 2017 bring us? Divisional round weekend promises to bring a ton of action and even a few surprises.
Now that we can say goodbye to the horrific Wild Card weekend, all football fans can get excited for the big matchups this weekend. This weekend in the AFC, we have the third seed Pittsburgh Steelers at the second seed Kansas City Chiefs and fourth seed Houston Texans at the first seed New England Patriots.
In the NFC, we have the third seed Seattle Seahawks at the second seed Atlanta Falcons and fourth seed Green Bay Packers at the first seed Dallas Cowboys.
All six of these teams are either playing some real good football or have been through a hot and cold streak. These games should provide a better football weekend that has many wondering who will truly advance in the grand scheme of things.
There has to be at least one team to compete with the top seeds to pull off the upset. These four games, for the most part, could really go either way but at the end of it all, only the best will leave victorious.
Let’s take a look at what the outcome of the games could be and who will be heading to the championship round next weekend.
#3 Pittsburgh Steelers vs #2 Kansas City Chiefs
This matchup has me very intrigued for what the storyline of this game is looking like between both teams. The Steelers are coming in with a ton of momentum and are playing good football. A big question is how healthy is Ben Roethlisberger going to be as he suffered an ankle injury in the Wild Card game against the Miami Dolphins.
The Kansas City Chiefs will look to get back to the championship game and finish off the journey. Alex Smith has been playing a lot better and looks to continue his consistent play. Smith will look to have a different outcome this time around from his past attempts in the postseason.
While the Steelers, on the other hand, are hoping their defense can save the day. Lucky for them, they have a very good defense that could take over a game. If the offense of the Steelers is going to be successful again, wide receivers Antonio Brown and Demarcus Ayers will need to have another big game. Also, the Steelers will need the running game to be established because the Chiefs have a very good run stop defense.
Unlike the Steelers, the Chiefs have a shaky offense that has had trouble in scoring points this season. They will need Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin to have big games. If the Steelers defense keeps them in check, it is going to be a tough game for the Chiefs.
The final score is going to be close but this will be a very tight game. The first team to get a turnover will be the winner as it will come down to which team commits the first big mistake that will determine the final outcome.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Chiefs 21
#4 Houston Texans vs #1 New England Patriots
This game has blowout written all over it unless the Texans are able to pull off a miracle. The Patriots are coming in healthy and are ready to play to extend their winning streak. The Texans, on the other hand, have struggled which is going to be interesting to see if they can keep up with the Patriots to keep it a close game.
The Texans will be with Brock Osweiler under center once again. They need him to have the best game of his career in order for this team to win. He was given a big contract and now he has to earn it and show he was worth the contract. The wide receivers will need to step up in order for them to help the offense to be productive. The Patriots defense could potentially shut them down all game along.
The Patriots beat the Texans by 27 points early in this season and look to do the same this weekend. They come in as 15 point favorites which is one of the biggest spreads for a playoff game. Tom Brady will have a to be flawless and not give any chances for the Texans to believe they could win.
The Patriots will be out to show why they are the best and Brady will have an excellent performance. I think it will be hard for the Texans to even compete in this one.
Prediction: Patriots 34, Texans 7
#3 Seattle Seahawks vs #4 Atlanta Falcons
This game can either be a very good game or it can be a very ugly low scoring one. The Falcons will need to bring their A-game in order to win and play perfect in all phases. It is going to be a very tight and hard fought game that will come down to the very end.
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The Seahawks will need to establish the running game because of it being important for the offense. In a closed dome, it will be difficult for the Seahawks to be comfortable. The Falcons defense has improved from where they were a season ago.
Matt Ryan has had an MVP type of season and he needs to continue the way he has played. He has to attack the defense of the Seahawks and make them play on their heels. He has to be very careful with passing the football because the Seahawks have a very good secondary but if he gets hot, it could prove to be the difference maker.
This game could be a very close one that could go either way. This time around could be a different outcome because a few years ago, the road team won.
Prediction: Falcons 24, Seahawks 21
#4 Green Bay Packers vs #1 Dallas Cowboys
This is the best matchup of the Divisional Round weekend and we will see an absolute slugfest. This matchup could be the best one overall depending on the outcome. It will be a classic case of which offense can outscore the other as both defenses will be in the spotlight.
The Packers will need to have Aaron Rodgers continue his hot streak to carry this team. In this seven-game winning streak, he has thrown 17 touchdowns with no interceptions. The Packers offense will need to pick it up with the possibility of Jordy Nelson being out. They were able to be successful last week but they need the consistency out of everyone to beat one of the best teams in the NFL.
The outcome of the game will be decided on turnovers and who can score at least 25 or more points to win. This will be a great game and will come down to the final minute but make no mistake about it, the Cowboys will come out on top.
Prediction: Cowboys 27, Packers 21