The first divisional round without the New England Patriots in 10 years should prove to be an exciting one. There are 2 teams this millenium left in the AFC who could repeat being in the big dance come February, Baltimore and Tennessee, with 3 of the teams left in the NFC hoping to get back there since the turn of the century (sorry, Vikings).
So, who is gonna get there?
BALTIMORE RAVENS vs TENNESSEE TITANS
Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, Marcus Peters & Co. have lit the NFL on fire this season with a running attack that has been it has you on the edge of your seat before every snap. Big trussss that the Ravens should win this game, but counting out Mike Vrabel’s Titans might prove to be a bad decision. The Titans have one of the hottest offenses in football since Ryan Tannehill took over for Marcus Mariota and Derrick Henry is a literal freight train. Though Tennessee was 9-7 this year, these teams are a lot closer than what most analysts will make you believe. Tannehill has the edge with a better receiving core and a solid running back, but Lamar Jackson is an absolute weapon that can cut anyone up. Both defenses match up pretty similarly as well.
While I think that Tennessee is going to give the Ravens fits, I don’t see Baltimore losing this game.
Ravens 27 Titans 21
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS vs HOUSTON TEXANS
Patrick Mahomes finally looks fully healthy again after injuring his ankle earlier in the year and they’re playing at home. There’s nothing really that good I can say about Houston except that they pulled out a win in a crazy game against Buffalo? I don’t see Houston being able to do anything on the road against KC in January.
CHIEFS 34 TEXANS 10
GREEN BAY PACKERS vs SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
With Lambeau Field drowning in snow, the Seahawks look to upset the Packers in Green Bay. The Packers have been probably the most overlooked team all year which is crazy considering they’re 13-3. The Seahawks have a shell of Marshawn Lynch back and the guy running QB for them was in the MVP running right up until the end. The Seahawks are a team that always finds some magic come playoff time and I expect them to find a little more this Sunday.
SEAHAWKS 24 PACKERS 20
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers vs MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Coming off a shocking upset in New Orleans, the Vikings look to go into the bay area and do the impossible again beating Jimmy G & Co. Unfortunately for them, outside of New Orleans they have about as much playoff juju as the Saints do and typically find ways to lose in heartbreaking fashion. I expect the 49ers hyperathletic defense to show up and show out giving us a classic Seahawks-49ers NFC Championship game.
49ers 28 Vikings 13
Who do you have advancing this weekend?
Let me know on twitter @rickautiello