It doesn’t get any uglier than our NFL playoff predictions from a week ago: Every single wild-card matchup went the opposite way. Who knew Cody Parkey would find the upright and the crossbar again? Enough said, and we’re moving on.
Maybe there is a chance to salvage something of this in trying one more time to pick winners in the NFL postseason. We’re going to give it a go now, using what we know to hopefully save face.
And if we go 0-4 again this time, we are quitting while we are way behind.
Divisional Round Redux (January 12-13):
- Indianapolis at Kansas City: Everything points to the Chiefs winning this game at home, and then you realize what the Colts just did to a solid Texans team on the road. That throws a wrench into the predictive works here. In the end, it comes down to this—there’s no way the Indy defense is stopping the K.C. offense, and while the Chiefs defense isn’t going to stop Andrew Luck, either, the K.C. defense did do enough to help the club to a plus-9 mark in turnover differential in 2018. Will Patrick Mahomes get butterflies in his first playoff start? We doubt it.
Chiefs 44, Colts 35.
- Dallas at Los Angeles: The Cowboys were just 3-5 on the road this year, and they were lucky to beat the Seahawks last week at home. The Rams are very healthy after their playoff bye week, and this has the potential for being a blowout. The new version of the Dallas Triplets is one year away from reaching its full potential.
Rams 38, Cowboys 17.
- Los Angeles at New England: The Patriots are favored by four points at home, which is not a lot. On a neutral field, they’d be almost even money, and when you remove the bettor bias in favor of New England, well … draw your own conclusions. Did the Chargers defense play the game of its season in shutting down the Ravens offense last week for almost the full game? Perhaps. Is Tom Brady more of a challenge to defend than Lamar Jackson? Probably. But something tells us this Los Angeles squad is different than previous Chargers teams. This game could go either way, and the result would not surprise us. Therefore, we will surprise you with the pick.
Chargers 27, Patriots 24.
- Philadelphia at New Orleans: When this game happened in the regular season, the Saints won, 48-7. While the score will not be so lopsided this time, we think the Eagles shot their wad last weekend in Chicago, and again, the defending champs are darn lucky to be here, all Nick Foles pluck aside. This New Orleans team means business, and it’s a healthier roster. On paper, this is also the most-lopsided matchup of the divisional round. It is hard to see anyone stopping the Saints offense and Drew Brees in the Superdome. This ain’t Mitch Trubisky, after all.
Saints 38, Eagles 20.
Conference Championships Redux (January 20):
- Los Angeles at Kansas City: The rubber match arrives. And let’s be honest—the only reason the Chargers won in the regular season at Arrowhead Stadium was because of the officials. That game was really poorly officiated at the end, giving the L.A. offense repeated chances to score and win the game. That won’t happen this time around. However, again, we like the difference that the Chargers defense can make in this matchup. This is not taking anything away from the Chiefs, but sadly for Andy Reid, this just feels like it’s Philip Rivers who emerges victorious here.
Chargers 37, Chiefs 34.
- Los Angeles at New Orleans: The Saints won the regular-season version of this game, 45-35, in early November, and something tells us the Rams have been itching for a rematch ever since then. But we are going to stick with our original prediction here, since nothing has changed in the NFC picture like it has in the AFC picture. We are just going to project a bit more offense in this game than we did last week.
Saints 34, Rams 31.
Super Bowl LIII Redux (February 3)
Los Angeles (A) versus New Orleans: We think this is the Chargers’ time to shine after decades of disappointment. This is where Rivers redeems himself and makes it clear he truly has always been superior to Eli Manning. The L.A. defense won’t stop Brees, but it will limit him enough to escape with a victory. No NFL team from Los Angeles has won the Super Bowl since the Raiders in 1983, but all that is about to change. Watch the City of Angels become a football town going forward and forever.
Chargers 31, Saints 28.
Check back on February 4 for the NFL wrap-up piece. Enjoy!