McGon’s Picks: 2018 NFL Divisional Playoffs

Wild-Card Weekend sure was wild…

…with 3 road teams winning and all 4 covering.

The Colts were by far the most impressive team of the weekend, making a statement in the early Saturday slate. The Saturday night game was arguably the best overall, with the Cowboys winning the BTB Bowl, but the Seahawks covering in an all time bad beat (more to come on that). The Chargers completely flipped the switch from Week 16 and held on late to beat the Ravens. The final game of the weekend was not the best, but had the best ending, with the Eagles scoring late before the double post field goal from Cody Parkey. The games will be less sloppy, but hope this weekend is just as wild.

The craziness led to a few bad beats and a tough weekend to pick winners. I went 1-3, both outright and against the spread. Here’s a look back at the picks I made (correct pick in blue, incorrect pick in red):

Colts at Texans (-1.5)

My Pick: Texans 27, Colts 21

  • Final Score: Colts 21, Texans 17

Seahawks at Cowboys (-2.5)

My Pick: Cowboys 24, Seahawks 20

  • Final Score: Cowboys 24, Seahawks 22Great win for the Cowboys and great game, but gonna focus in on one of the worst beats of all time. I wagered on Cowboys ML, so I didn’t care of course, but the Seahawks went for 2 to cover instead of kick the extra point due to Sebastian Janikowski’s injury. Just awful

Chargers at Ravens (-3)

My Pick: Ravens 23, Chargers 17

  • Final Score: Chargers 23, Ravens 17Well I was right about the score… just not the teams

Eagles (+6.5) at Bears

My Pick: Bears 23. Eagles 20

  • Final Score: Eagles 16, Bears 15 Was cheering for the Eagles in hopes of sending the Cowboys to LA instead of New Orleans. Had the Cowboys lost, cannot even begin to describe how angry I would have bene that the Eagles won in the way that they did

We’re onto the second round.

Image result for were on to cincinnati

Colts (+5.5) at Chiefs

Chiefs 31, Colts 28

  • No one’s looking past the Colts any longer after their incredibly impressive 21-7 win over the Texans in Houston last weekend
  • Under first year starter Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs enjoyed their best season in the Andy Reid era, going 12-4 and clinch the AFC’s top seed
  • As incredible as their offense has been this season, the Chiefs defense has been pretty poor- advantage red hot Colts offense
  • Colts defense has been pretty great lately too, and Mahomes has had some of his tougher games against good defense
  • I have the Colts covering, but the Chiefs offense is good enough right to make up for their poor defense right now, I think they win a very competitive game by a field goal

Image result for andrew luck patrick mahomes

  • These teams last met in 2016 with the Chiefs winning 30-14 (highlights)

Image result for chiefs colts 2016

  • The last playoff matchup between these two teams, the 2013 Wild-Card, was an absolute thriller with the Colts rallying from a 38-10 deficit to win 45-44 (highlights)

Image result for chiefs colts 2013 playoffs


Cowboys (+7) at Rams

Cowboys 27, Rams 24

  • Last week was the typical blueprint for a Cowboys win: low scoring first 3 quarters led by Zeke and the defense, before scoring some points and controlling the clock with some clutch and gritty play by Dak Prescott in the 4th to seal the win
  • The Rams had an incredible season in their 3rd season back in Los Angeles, winning 13 games for the first time since 2001, a season in which they made the Super Bowl
  • While the money line pick has some heart in it, I definitely think the Cowboys will cover
  • Against the other 4 NFC playoff teams, the Rams went 2-3 outright, and 0-5 against the spread
    • They have been great this year, but the majority of their big wins have come against bad teams, while they’ve struggled with the better teams
  • The stadium is going to be loaded with Cowboys fans, and the Rams (and Chargers too) have struggled a little when opposing crowds have taken over their stadiums, such as against the Packers and Eagles
  • Ultimately, the Cowboys have improved as the season has went on, while the Rams have not. I see the Cowboys coming in with momentum from all of the reasons above and upsetting the Rams

Image result for dak prescott jared goff

  • These teams last met last season, with the Rams winning 35-30 in Dallas, a game which was seen as a coming out party for the new and improved Rams (highlights)

Image result for rams cowboys 2017

  • This is the first playoff matchup between these two teams since 1985, in which the original LA Rams beat the Cowboys 20-0 in the Wild-Card round (the teams will wear these same uniforms on Saturday)

Image result for rams cowboys 1985 playoffs


Chargers (+4) at Patriots

Chargers 24, Patriots 21

  • The Chargers returned to their dominant road selves last week, making it appear that the last time they played the Ravens was Week 1, not just two weeks prior
  • The Patriots had a “down” season, yet went 11-5, clinched their 10th straight AFC East title, secured their 9th straight first round bye, and are one win away from their 8th straight AFC title game appearance
  • This spread feels like a trap- Vegas is begging you to take the Chargers, and the public loves the Chargers as well
  • But it was the same scenario last week at the Ravens, and the Chargers won that one
  • The Patriots have a major advantage with their experience and home field, but not only does the eye test tell you the Chargers are the better team this year, but the records do too
  • Going against Tom Brady is very risky, but I feel that the Chargers are just the better team now and play better on the road. I see the Chargers winning a low scoring game by a field goal

Image result for tom brady philip rivers

  • These teams last met last season with the Patriots winning at home 21-13 (highlights)

Image result for patriots chargers 2017

  • Tom Brady is 7-0 all time against Phil Rivers, including 2-0 in the playoffs. The last playoff matchup came in the 2007 AFC Championship, with the Patriots beating the Chargers 21-12 (Rivers played on a torn ACL) to advance to 18-0 on the season (horrible memories typing that)

Image result for 2007 afc championship


Eagles at Saints (-8)

Saints 31, Eagles 17

  • Nick Foles delivered the winning TD, but the story for the Eagles last week was their defense performance and a miracle to advance over the Bears to the their second straight Divisional Round
  • The 2018 Saints were arguably as good as the 2009 Saints that won Super Bowl XLIV, winning 13 games and earning the NFC’s top seed
  • The Eagles have now played 4 must win games in a row- it has been a major physical and emotional grind for Philly the last few weeks
  • The Saints have been the best and most consistent team in the NFL this season, and while they didn’t finish the season as strong as they started, they still won 3 of their last 4 (excluding Week 17 loss) and are coming in well rested
  • This will be even tougher than the Super Bowl last season, and with the Eagles obviously not as healthy this year, I don’t see Foles doing it again
  • If the Cowboys win, I’ll be cheering for the Eagles, but see the Saints offensive fire power showing to win and cover over Philly

Image result for drew brees nick foles

  • These teams met in New Orelans in Week 13, with the Saints dominating 48-7 (highlights)

Image result for eagles saints week 13

  • These teams last met in playoffs in the 2013 Wild-Card Round, with Drew Brees and the Saints beating Nick Foles and the Eagles 26-24 in Philly (highlights)

Image result for eagles saints 2013 playoffs field goal

That’s all for the Divisional Round, be back for Championship Sunday.

In January 1996, the Cowboys won their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years. In July 1996, I was born. Can the Cowboys stun the Rams to go to the NFC Championship for the first time in my life?

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