Playoff Prediction: NFL Divisional Round

Joseph Zimbler, Staff Writer

Right now the NFL is about to start its second round of playoffs, the Divisional Round. The first week was pretty exciting, with most games coming down to the last drive or two. Now, of the 32 teams that started the season, only eight remain, but only one can win the Super Bowl. This is how I predict this round of the postseason will pan out.

 

The first game is the American Football Conference (AFC) No. 1 seed New England Patriots playing the No. 5 seed Tennessee Titans. This is a simple one, and I believe that Tom Brady and the Pats will just destroy Marcus Mariota and the Titans. Mariota is nowhere as good a quarterback as Brady, which will ultimately be the deciding factor. There is no way the Patriots are losing to the Titans, even though Brady has at times looked unlike his usual self this year as a result if being 40 years old.

Predicted Final Score: Patriots 32 Titans 24

 

The next game is with the National Football Conference (NFC) No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles against the No. 6 Atlanta Falcons. The Eagles are the first one seed to be an underdog to a six seed, and rightfully so. When MVP candidate Carson Wentz went down, backup quarterback Nick Foles has not been good enough to lead the Eagles to the promised land. The Atlanta Falcons are also on a mission to avenge their horrendous defeat from last year when they lost a 28-3 lead to lose to the Patriots.

Predicted Final Score: Eagles 17 Falcons 24

 

The third game is with the AFC No. 3 seeded Jacksonville Jaguars at the No. 2 seed Pittsburgh Steelers. Earlier this season, the Jaguars, led by their ferocious defense, thrashed the Steelers and won 30-9. Ben Roethlisberger threw five picks in that game. I think that, while the Jaguars have one of the best defenses in the NFL, the Steelers will still beat them because of the lack of quality play at the quarterback position. Blake Bortles is atrocious; last game he only had 87 passing yards, not even a full field. Some people say that he has become a dual-threat quarterback out of thin air after rushing for a career high 88 yards. However, Bortles has never run the football, and this was nothing but him being scared to throw the ball.

Predicted Final Score: Steelers 27 Jaguars 17

 

The final and most interesting game is the NFC No. 4 New Orleans Saints at the No. 2 Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have been one of the NFL’s biggest surprises this season. When starting quarterback Sam Bradford went down in week one, and their other promising quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was not yet back from injury, journeyman quarterback Case Keenum was forced to take the reins, and he hasn’t looked back. The Vikings also sport the arguably the best defense in the league. The Saints, however, have an amazing man under center of their own in Drew Brees, and fantastic two-headed rush attack led by Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, and a good defense. This will be a close one, but I think that the Vikings defense will be the deciding factor.

Predicted Final Score: Vikings 27 Saints 23