Steve Believes: 2019 Divisional Round

  • Indianapolis Colts Vs. Kansas City Chiefs. As I predicted, the Colts went into NRG Stadium to beat the Houston Texans for the second time in 27 days. They now face the number one seed in the Chiefs, the team whom Andrew Luck defeated for his first ever playoff victory. Plus, the Colts have contributed to a third of the Chiefs’ playoff losses at Arrowhead Stadium, as they defeated them in the Divisional Round during both the 1995-96 and 2003-04 seasons. However, they didn’t have face to the likes of Patrick Mahomes in either of those games nor did they face a three-headed monster in Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Chris Jones in the latter of those two games. Look for this game to be similar to the Chiefs’ Week 6 matchup against the New England Patriots, except in reverse, as I see Mahomes leading the Chiefs on a drive that ends in a Harrison Butker buzzer-beating field goal.
  • Dallas Cowboys Vs. Los Angeles Rams. Thanks to Ezekiel Elliott getting his second career 100-yard rushing game in as many postseason games, along with getting timely defensive stops, the Cowboys head out to Hollywood to take on the Rams. As for the Rams, they won two in a row to overcome their late-season funk against the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles, the latter of whom handed the Rams their only home loss during the regular season. However, Todd Gurley was battling a knee injury during that game and had to miss the past two games as a result of that. But the rest should benefit him, because I see a fresh Gurley being a dual-threat against the Cowboys as both a runner and receiver. Plus, look for the Rams to load up against Ezekiel Elliott and force Dak Prescott to beat them. I like the Rams in this one.
  • Los Angeles Chargers Vs. New England Patriots. Familiarity bred a different outcome last week, as the Chargers made adjustments against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens vaunted rushing attack, by allowing a grand total of 90 yards in the 23-17 victory. Plus, their pass rush also came up big with seven sacks, the last of which was a game-ender by Uchenna Nwosu. Philip Rivers had a very pedestrian day passing the ball, as he only had 154 net passing yards via 22 completions. However, look for that total to improve against a mostly inept Patriots pass defense. The Patriots have been a big bugaboo for the Chargers, as they are 0-7 against them with Tom Brady as the starter during the Philip Rivers era. However, I see that coming to an end, as Joey Bosa & the Chargers pass rush will be the difference in this one. Chargers to end the Patriots’ season and possibly their run of dominance.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Vs. New Orleans Saints. The team that was left for dead back in Week 14 has flipped the switch to reel off four wins in a row, the last of which was a thrilling 16-15 victory against the Bears. As for the Saints, some late-season struggles could be a telltale sign of what their postseason will result in. Plus, the Eagles are out for revenge against that 48-7 blowout loss that the Saints inflicted upon them back in Week 11. This game won’t be that lopsided. As a matter of fact, the team that won the first game won’t win the rematch, because I see the Eagles going into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to deal the Saints their first ever home playoff loss in the Drew Brees-Sean Payton era. And why am I going out on such a limb? Well, Nick Foles will pick apart the Saints secondary and Fletcher Cox will wreck the Saints’ entire game plan.