The elite eight are ready to square off. The NFL Divisional round kicks off today after seeing all four round wins take victories in the Wild Card round. Three out of four games this weekend are rematches from the regular season. The Scrum crew all went 2-2 in wild card weekend and hopes to provide separation this week. Read to the bottom for this week’s staff picks.
Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) @ New England Patriots (12-4) Saturday 4:35 P.M. Kickoff
Is there a team hotter than the Kansas City Chiefs right now? Winners of 11 straight including a 30-0 blowout of the Houston Texans to kick off Wild Card Weekend, which was the third largest shutout victory by a road team in NFL history. The Patriots, however, essentially limp into the playoffs losing two straight. They were the two seed and had a first round bye, something they used to get healthy. The Patriots have won 5 of the last 7 games against the Chiefs, but the last time these two teams met the Chiefs crushed the Patriots 41-14 on September 29, 2014. This will be the first time these two teams will face each other in the playoffs.
Green Bay Packers (11-6) @ Arizona Cardinals (13-3) Saturday 8:15 P.M. Kickoff
Last week, Green Bay really seemed to find themselves on both sides of the ball after struggling mightily for the past few weeks. The offense struggled early then showed life, and defensive front really came alive and sacked Kirk Cousins 6 times in route to their 35-18 win over the Redskins. The Arizona Cardinals are one of the best teams in the league right now and the play of Carson Palmer has been above and beyond expectations this year. Palmer set franchise records in yards (4,671), touchdowns (35), and passer rating (104.6). These two teams met during the regular season and the Cards waxed the Pack 38-8. This is their third time meeting each other in the post season and they have split 1-1.
Seattle Seahawks (11-6) @ Carolina Panthers (15-1) Sunday 1:05 P.M. Kickoff
The Seahawks are very happy to be in this game. They had a poor offensive start in freezing weather conditions, and then escaped the jaws of defeat when Minnesota missed a 27 yard field goal. The Panthers have found ways to win all year, pretty or not, as evident by their record. These two teams match up great against each other as both teams have mobile quarterbacks and great defenses. These two teams met back in week 6 where Carolina scored two late touchdowns to beat the Seahawks 27-23. The Seahawks, however, won the previous 4 meetings between the two teams, including a 31-17 victory in last year’s Divisional round. This is the third meeting between these two teams in post season play; the Seahawks have the previous two.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-6) @ Denver Broncos (12-4) Sunday 4:40 P.M. Kickoff
Coming into the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers were the team that nobody wanted to play in the playoffs. They beat the Bengals 18-16 in a wild contest last week, but saw Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown join DeAngelo Williams on the injury list. The good news is Big Ben will play. The bad news is he will be without Brown and Williams. Denver’s secondary is really good and not having Brown for the game is going to hurt. The Broncos gave the reigns of the team back to good ol’ Peyton Manning last week, who is trying to make another title run as retirement creeps up on him. The Steelers beat the Broncos 34-27 in week 15 after the Steelers stormed back with 24 unanswered points to close out the game. This is the 8th time these two franchises will clash in post season play, and Denver holds the slight edge 4-3.
Divisional Round Picks
Chiefs@ Packers@ Seahawks@ Steelers@
Patriots Cardinals Panthers Broncos
Brooks Roland Patriots Cardinals Seahawks Broncos
Ed Greene Chiefs Cardinals Panthers Broncos
Hanna Watkins Patriots Packers Panthers Steelers
Liz Churchville Chiefs Cardinals Panthers Steelers
Ryan Adams Chiefs Cardinals Seahawks Broncos
Stephen Joy Patriots Cardinals Panthers Broncos
The Pug Patriots Cardinals Panthers Broncos
Trevor Grout Chiefs Cardinals Seahawks Steelers
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