Prime Time Sports Talk’s Staff Picks for NFL Divisional Roundby Andersen Pickard January 11, 2020 0 comments
10 of Prime Time Sports Talk’s NFL experts came together to share their picks ahead of what is sure to be an eventful divisional round of the playoffs.
Kyle Porch: 1-for-4
Ryan Potts: 1-for-4
Celeste Sabin: 2-for-4
Jayton Washington: 3-for-4
Joe Heller: 3-for-4
Andersen Pickard: 1-for-4
Chris Totaro: 1-for-4
David Taylor: 0-for-0
John Devereaux: 0-for-0
Alex Jordan: 0-for-0
Brian Wolf: 0-for-0
Minnesota Vikings (6) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1)
Ryan Potts: 49ers 27, Vikings 20
Minnesota and Kirk Cousins winning a playoff game is a great story, but the 49ers have too many game-changers on offense and defense. Expect a late game-winning touchdown to propel the 49ers to the NFC title game.
Celeste Sabin: 49ers 36, Vikings 31
I’m going with the Niners for this game. They have the momentum to keep winning and will have the home-field advantage. However, I do think it will be a close game and will keep us on the edge of our seats until the last possession.
Jayton Washington: 49ers 27, Vikings 17
The Vikings are hot and coming off a huge upset last week but that won’t happen again this week. It’s hard to decide which way to lean on the spread so I’d take the 49ers on the moneyline this week in addition to a big win.
Joe Heller: 49ers 27, Vikings 24
Kirk Cousins will make a crucial mistake. Jimmy Garoppolo will lead his team to the winning score late in the fourth quarter with help from George Kittle.
Andersen Pickard: 49ers 34, Vikings 30
While I am quite confident in the 49ers here, I do expect it to come down to the wire. In fact, I wouldn’t even be shocked if the Vikings were leading with 10 minutes to go before the Niners pull ahead.
Chris Totaro: 49ers 27, Vikings 24
The Vikings ran through the Saints’ defense with ease. The 49ers’ defense is a different beast, and Kirk Cousins will need to step up like he did last week. I’m taking the 49ers in a close game, but if the Vikings’ defensive line can rattle Jimmy G, don’t be surprised if there’s an upset.
David Taylor: 49ers 26, Vikings 17
Can Captain Kirk lead another upset victory? Not this time.
John Devereaux: Vikings 24, 49ers 17
This matchup will shock many with the outcome. The Minnesota Vikings will go into the bay and take home the win. Kirk Cousins and the Vikings defense are more experienced in the playoffs compared to Jimmy Garropollo and the 49ers.
Alex Jordan: 49ers 28, Vikings 24
The Niners won the NFC West and are the best team in the NFC. The Vikings are the second-best in the NFC but won’t be able to stop the Niners, who have lost just three games all season.
Brian Wolf: 49ers 27, Vikings 24
Kirk Cousins earned his first postseason victory Sunday afternoon, and that will be his only one in 2020. Jimmy G and the 49ers will host the NFC Championship after a 27-24 victory over the Vikings.
Tennessee Titans (6) vs. Baltimore Ravens (1)
Ryan Potts: Ravens 31, Titans 27
Derrick Henry appears to be unstoppable, but the Ravens have their benefit of also being unstoppable. Both teams should have great offensive performances, but it is time for Lamar Jackson to get his first playoff win.
Celeste Sabin: Ravens 28, Titans 15
I really don’t give Tennessee much chance at winning this game. I know that Tannehill and Henry have been on point lately and have contributed to the success of the Titans in the postseason, but I just don’t see them beating Lamar Jackson and the 14-2 Ravens.
Jayton Washington: Ravens 30, Titans 13
The Ravens will punish the Titans this weekend. Baltimore will jump out on top early here and dominate the entire game. Even with a 10-point spread, the Ravens should cover.
Joe Heller: Titans 31, Ravens 24
The Ravens come out just a bit out of sync. Another big game by Derrick Henry (150-plus yards on the ground) leads the Titans to a second upset playoff win in as many weeks.
Andersen Pickard: Titans 24, Ravens 20
I’ve received a lot of grief for this one, but I am quite confident the Titans will pull off the huge upset here. Derrick Henry should run crazy while Lamar Jackson will play decent football … but not good enough.
Chris Totaro: Ravens 38, Titans 17
The Ravens are on a 12-game winning streak and haven’t lost since Week 4. They seem nearly unbeatable at this point. The Titans will have to do what they do best: hand the ball off to Derrick Henry. For them to win this game, Henry will have to have a monster game and Tannehill will have to play a perfect game. This won’t happen against the Ravens’ stout defense.
David Taylor: Ravens 23, Titans 17
Lamar Jackson rules this rushing-heavy matchup. Jackson might even catch a touchdown pass in this one.
John Devereaux: Ravens 28, Titans 23
What worries many about the Ravens is that the offense hasn’t played a down since Week 16. Luckily, they will be facing a defense that is just mediocre and has trouble stopping the run. I have Lamar Jackson winning the first playoff game of his career, but don’t expect a blowout.
Alex Jordan: Ravens 38, Titans 34
The Ravens will win. The Ravens have won 12 straight and have the best record in the league. Baltimore also has Lamar Jackson, who is one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Brian Wolf: Ravens 27, Titans 17
The Titans will continue to pound the ball with Derrick Henry and limit the number of snaps Lamar Jackson gets. Greg Roman will call another spectacular game, advancing the Ravens to the AFC Championship game with a 27-17 victory.
Houston Texans (4) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (2)
Ryan Potts: Chiefs 34, Texans 17
Despite losing the first matchup, the Chiefs have improved dramatically since Week 6. The Texans have been floundering on the brink of collapse in recent weeks, and Patrick Mahomes will deliver the death blow.
Celeste Sabin: Texans 22, Chiefs 18
I am definitely going against the grain by siding with Houston.
Jayton Washington: Chiefs 28, Texans 24
Mahomes will put on a clinic but the Chiefs’ weak defense will keep this game close. Vegas has lost its mind by listing the Texans as 9.5-point underdogs. I’ll take those points all day.
Joe Heller: Chiefs 34, Texans 30
This game will be a classic shootout. In the end, I have more confidence in Patrick Mahomes than Deshaun Watson late in the game.
Andersen Pickard: Chiefs 27, Texans 24
I wouldn’t be immensely surprised to see the Texans pull off an upset, but I still have to go with the Chiefs because it seems like everything is in their favor. However, it will be interesting to see what J.J. Watt does to the Kansas City offense and if the Chiefs’ defense can keep up their dominant performances.
Chris Totaro: Chiefs 30, Texans 24
The Texans will absolutely need to start better than their dreadful start against the Bills. Luckily, they have Deshaun Watson, who has a knack for keeping his team in the game. The Chiefs have already dropped one at home against the Texans, but don’t expect that again. I’m expecting some sort of comeback engineered by Watson in the final quarter, but Mahomes will have a day against the Texans’ defense.
David Taylor: Chiefs 31, Texans 20
Andy Reid is a magician when it comes to making it to conference championship games. A well-rested Patrick Mahomes sends the Texans home.
John Devereaux: Chiefs 33, Texans 28
This game could go either way. Mahomes could have an explosive game and they could win by two scores or more, or the Chiefs’ defense could crash and the Texans win in a shootout. I’ll have the Chiefs winning because they are at home and Mahomes will be well-rested for a possible shootout.
Alex Jordan: Chiefs 40, Texans 25
The Texans beat the Chiefs in the regular season. However, the Chiefs have a slightly better team and Patrick Mahomes as their quarterback. It will be tough for the Texans to beat the Chiefs again and they won’t be able to do it as the Chiefs will prevail.
Brian Wolf: Texans 31, Chiefs 27
What type of impact will J.J. Watt be able to provide in the second week of his comeback? The return of Will Fuller V will open up the passing game for Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans pull off the upset, 31-27.
Seattle Seahawks (5) vs. Green Bay Packers (2)
Ryan Potts: Seahawks 23, Packers 20
In my only upset of the week, Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll should get the win. The running game is shoddy, but Wilson has enough magic in his arm and two legs to lead the Seahawks to yet another playoff win.
Celeste Sabin: Seahawks 31, Packers 29
I’m going with Seattle despite Green Bay does having home-field advantage. Seattle will carry the momentum they’ve had all season combined with the return of Lynch to beat Rodgers and his Packers at home. It will be a close game, though.
Jayton Washington: Packers 24, Seahawks 17
This game is a toss-up and will be the best game to watch this weekend because it will be a great battle between two elite quarterbacks. I’m going with the Packers, though not because of Rodgers, but rather the Packers’ defense, which will win this game for them.
Joe Heller: Seahawks 24, Packers 20
I expect another big game from D.K. Metcalf. Marshawn Lynch will score the winning touchdown from two yards out in the waning moments, setting up a third matchup with the 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
Andersen Pickard: Seahawks 27, Packers 17
While it is a No. 5 seed vs. a No. 2 seed, it should not be treated that way. In fact, the Seahawks seem better fit than the Packers to be dubbed No. 2. Of course, the seeding does not matter once opening kickoff soars through the air.
Chris Totaro: Packers 34, Seahawks 24
Winning a playoff game at Lambeau Field is not an easy task, especially when the Packers have had two weeks to prepare. With Russell Wilson at quarterback, it’s tough to ever count the Seahawks out, but I’m not sure if their offensive line will be able to contain Za’Darius Smith and co.
David Taylor: Packers 28, Seahawks 10
Aaron Rodgers passes for two touchdowns and Aaron Jones runs all over the Seahawks. Russell Wilson cannot save Seattle this weekend.
John Devereaux: Seahawks 27, Packers 24
Can Aaron Rodgers keep his team afloat in the playoffs? No. Rodgers has not been the clutch Aaron Rodgers this year as the team has been very reliant on the talent of running back Aaron Jones. I have Russell Wilson pulling off a huge upset against Green Bay, but just like in Seattle fashion, it will take a last-minute drive by the offense to win it.
Alex Jordan: Packers 28, Seahawks 20
The Packers will win because of Aaron Rodgers’s playoff history and the Seahawks won’t be able to stop Aaron Jones. The Seahawks are 8-1 on the road this season but there aren’t many matchups that favor them against the Packers.
Brian Wolf: Seahawks 24, Packers 21
Russell Wilson has found a new favorite target in rookie D.K. Metcalf. Look for that combo to keep it rolling in Green Bay. Seahawks win another road playoff game, 24-21