It was almost a perfect weekend with regards to picks until the Washington Redskins decided they wanted to let Aaron Rodgers take over the game. All they had to do with hang on to James Jones’ unnecessary hoodie and not get confused with Randall Cobb carrying the ball. Kirk Cousins made some mistakes that were indicative of his play in recent weeks, but not enough good happened once they got up big to stay up. Anyways, this weekend should yield a few good matchups and a few more that aren’t necessarily what we expected we might see a few short weeks ago had these exact teams made it this far.
Kansas City at New England. The Patriots are finally ready to trot out a healthy-ish offense and a defense that has been playing well even with their missing parts (plus one with Chandler Jones). Ball control will be key for the Chiefs as they will try to deploy both Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware and hope for some more big plays on special teams. This might be a tricky game for Tom Brady. Or it might be another deep run in the playoffs. Patriots 31, Chiefs 21
Green Bay at Arizona. With a rested defense ready to play with Tyrann Mathieu and an air attack ready to let loose, Arizona has a chance to repeat their earlier victory of the Packers. But Rodgers seemed to get it going when called upon and the defense made enough big plays to keep the team in it. A run game will be very important to keeping up with the Cardinals, but scoring points will be tough to come by. Cardinals 30, Packers 27
Seattle at Carolina. This might be the best matchup of the playoffs. It might feature the two best teams. And yet Seattle needed a lot of luck just to be in this position. It’s win or go home and Cam Newton has put the Panthers in position to win nearly every time out on the field because of that very desire. Can Russell Wilson make plays with his arm AND his feet? Finding running lines will be difficult against this stacked defense, but finding open receivers may be just as difficult with Josh Norman on the other side of the ball. Panthers 27, Seahawks 24
Pittsburgh at Denver. It might not matter which version of the Broncos offense shows up on Sunday. They have the kind of defense built for the playoffs. To add insult to injury, Antonio Brown has been ruled out after experiencing concussion-like symptoms and DeAngelo Williams will also be missing (not to mention Le’Veon Bell from the beginning of the season). Even assuming Ben Roethlisberger is at full strength (which he won’t be), it would be tough to expect the Steelers to keep up with a mediocre run game and receivers that aren’t able to get open with ease. If Markus Wheaton can step up then things might get interesting. Broncos 33, Steelers 28