NFL Playoff Preview

Written by Ryne Brown

Another great NFL season has come and gone, which always seems to be over quicker than it started. We have had some amazing games this year. It’s only fitting that some of the best games we’ve had this year will be on showcase again. Each Divisional playoff game features a rematch of a game we’ve seen before this season. If it’s any indication of before, we all should be in for a great weekend.

Today myself and Cory will be taking a look at this weekends AFC and NFC playoff games and breaking down each game, then making our picks for who will be moving on to the AFC Championship and NFC Championship. Let’s get to it!

AFC Divisional Round

Houston Texans vs New England Patriots

Brock Osweiler looks to lead the Texans into Foxboro this weekend to attempt what few have done. Send Tom Brady and the Patriots out of the Playoffs. In Week 3 of this year the Patriots, who were without Tom Brady due to the infamous deflategate, shut out the Texans in Foxboro 27-0. As the number one seed in the AFC, the Patriots are coming off their Playoff bye week and look more than ready to battle a Texans team who beat a Derek Carr-less Oakland Raiders team last week 27-14 at Houston. The Patriots will be without their Tight End Rob Gronkowski due to injury, but that still leaves Tom Brady. Tom Brady and his offense are going up against a Texans defense who’ve allowed an average of 20.1 points a game. For the Texans to win this game, Osweiler will have to keep the turnovers on offense low, something we haven’t seen from him this season. It’s hard to go against the Patriots especially giving the way the Texans have played this season, but we still look forward to the matchup Saturday night at 8:15 ET on CBS.

Picks

Ryne: Patriots

Cory: Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Kansas City Chiefs

Steelers fans will be waving their yellow towels in Kansas City Sunday afternoon hoping to see the organization make a 16th appearance in the AFC Championship game since 1970. The Chiefs defense has been the best in the league this year in interceptions(18), fumble recoveries(15), and takeaways (33). With the Steelers coming off a 30-12 Wild Card win over the Dolphins last week, “Big” Ben Roethlisberger will need to utilize Running Back Le’Veon Bell against a Chiefs defense who is ranked 26th is most rushing yards allowed this season. Although the Chiefs have someone else to worry about this Sunday, the elite Wide Receiver Antonio Brown. One of the keys to winning this game for the Chiefs will be for Cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Phillip Gains to shut down the passing game along with the ever impressive SS Eric Berry. For the Chiefs this game, the need to continue what’s been working for them all season long, and that is relying on the arm of Alex Smith who has got his team back into the playoffs for the second year in a row. The last time these two met was Week 4, the Steelers won the game 43-14. This game is sure to be another battle and a lot closer than last time. You can catch this matchup Sunday at 1:15ET on CBS

Picks

Ryne: Steelers

Cory: Chiefs

NFC

Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan. Russell Wilson. Two of the greatest QB’s in the game right now will look to keep both of their teams from going home this Saturday in what will be one of the best games of the weekend. Matty Ice as he’s known around the league, has had a MVP worthy season hitting close to 5,000 passing yards this season. Ryan currently only has 1 playoff win in his career, which came against the Seahawks in 2012. As the leagues 2nd overall offense, the Falcons will have their work ahead of them against an always tough Seahawk defense which includes the ever charismatic Richard Sherman. Seattle is no stranger to the Playoffs, since Head Coach Pete Carroll took over in 2010 they’ve had an 8-4 record in the post season including back to back Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014 led by QB Russell Wilson. The last time these two met back in early October, it was another close game with a score of 26-24 with the Seahawks taking the win in Seattle. Matt Ryan will look to do what he did last time against them, and that’s try to get wideout Julio Jones the ball as much as possible. Russell Wilson will look to get the ball to his RB Thomas Rawles who has already broken former Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch single postseason game rushing record last week against the Lions. In a game that will be just as close as the first, we can’t wait to see this matchup Saturday afternoon at 4:15ET on FOX

Picks

Ryne: Falcons

Cory: Falcons

Green Bay Packers vs Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys has had one of the best seasons this year since the early 90’s when the likes of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin lead Dallas to numerous playoff wins in their time with the organization. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel “Zeke” Elliott look to continue their amazing rookie season by getting Dallas their first playoff win since 2009. The offensive line in Dallas is the best in the league but a Green Bay defense which still has the amazing pass rusher Clay Matthews as a threat. Dallas will need to get the passing game going early with Dez Bryant and other wideouts Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. Setting up the passing game early and letting Dak get into a rhythm will make it that much easier for Elliott to continue his running dominance who came close this year to breaking Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record. On the other side of things, the “Bad Man” Aaron Rodgers has been on a hot streak since week 9 against the Tennessee Titans having thrown 0 Interceptions and thrown for an average of 2 TDs per game since then. When Rodgers is on a streak like this, it’s hard to stop him. Although it looks like he could be without wideout Jordy Nelson this weekend, threats still remain in Randall Cobb and young RB Ty Montgomery. The last time these two met was in Week 5 which saw the Dallas Cowboys get a win at Lambeau Field 30-16. As impressive as this Dallas team has been all year, and this is coming from a die hard Dallas Fan(Ryne), it’s hard to not remember that this team is still owned by Jerry Jones who is known for being too involved for an owner of a football team. Tony Romo is still on the roster and if Dak plays bad, I’m sure Jones will want his favorite player in the game. Dak has been outstanding this -year and Aaron Rodgers looks to be the MVP of this season. Sunday will come down to the QB’s and if they continue their hot streaks it should be a high scoring, close game. We can’t wait to catch this game Sunday at 4:15ET on FOX.

Picks

Cory: Cowboys

Ryne: Cowboys

The picks are in! We feel very confident in the picks for this weekend and we know all of these games are going to be great. Even if your team didn’t make it this year, it’s hard not to watch some of these great games which should be one for the ages. Be sure to check back with El Burrito Blog next week when we discuss the AFC and NFC Championship games.

-Ryne Brown and Cory Harkleroad

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