Steve Believes: Wild Card Weekend 2019-20

Due to router problems that occurred on October 11, 2019 and weren’t resolved until October 17, 2019 coupled with a very busy movie assessment schedule, I had to resort to doing my NFL predictions in the Quick Hitters post format. 

But now that I’ve taken a bit of a break from assessing movies, along with being caught up in both predictions for Weeks 6 through 17 and my Impact Players Of The Week write-ups for that same span, I’m now back to doing my predictions in the Steve Believes format. And as for what the topic on this page is, well it’s my 2019-20 NFL postseason predictions, with Wild Card Weekend being the focus.

Last postseason, I went 3-8, as I only got the Indianapolis Colts over the Houston Texans correct, along with the Kansas City Chiefs over the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Rams over the Dallas Cowboys. And of course, that record was a stark contrast to my 2018-19 regular season record of 162-92-2.

                                                               This season, my regular season record was slightly better, as I went 164-91-1. And hopefully, I can do better than 3-8 this postseason.

                                                               Below via the bullet points, bold text and additional plain text, you can see my predictions for this season’s Wild Card Weekend:

  • #5 Buffalo Bills Vs. #4 Houston Texans-After splitting their Week 15 and Week 16 road contests against the Pittsburgh Steelers (win) and New England Patriots (loss), the Bills’ shot at the AFC East went up in smoke and ensured that they could be no higher than fifth in the AFC playoffs. As for the Texans, their shot at the number three seed in the AFC instead locked them in as the fourth seed of the conference, as the Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-21 in their early Sunday afternoon tilt. The Texans had a late Sunday afternoon game against the Tennessee Titans, in which they rested quite a few of their players. During the Bill O’Brien era, the Texans are 1-2 on Wild Card Weekend, with their most recent game being a 21-7 loss against the aforementioned Colts. For the Bills, it’s their second playoff game in 20 seasons, with their most recent game being a close 10-3 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars. As for which team that I think will win this game, well I think it will be the Texans in a hard fought 17-10 victory. The Bills have been a nice story this season, but they’re not quite ready to make the first step towards postseason success.
  • #6 Tennessee Titans Vs#3 New England Patriots-In the late Sunday afternoon games of Week 17, the Titans needed a win to get in. And with the aforementioned Texans resting players in that aforementioned game, they took advantage, thanks mostly to 2019 league rushing champ Derrick Henry, as his three rushing touchdowns provided the final margin of victory for his team. As for the Patriots, they blew a golden opportunity to get a much-needed first round bye, as they lost against the Miami Dolphins in the final seconds at the fortress known as Gillette Stadium. Now they have to play on Wild Card Weekend for the first time in 10 seasons. These two met during the Divisional Round two seasons ago, which resulted in a 35-14 Patriots win. However, the defending champs aren’t the same offensively as they were during that Divisional Round matchup. Plus, the Titans have a way better head coach heading into this game in Mike Vrabel, whereas they had a lame-duck head coach in Mike Mularkey heading into that game. I know that it’s foolish to count out the Patriots given their history. However, they are heading into the postseason trending downwards and don’t have the benefit of a week off to turn it around. Their season will end in this round as it did 10 years ago, with the Titans running all over them similar to how Ray Rice and the Baltimore Ravens did. Yep, I have the Titans delivering the knockout punch against the champs. Expect Derrick Henry to punish the Patriots early and often.
  • #6 Minnesota Vikings Vs#3 New Orleans Saints-The Vikings were in a similar situation, as a Week 16 win against the Green Bay Packers could have put them in decent position of getting the NFC North division title. However, they lost that game and proceeded to rest players during their Week 17 loss against the Chicago Bears. As for the Saints, their 42-10 rout of the Carolina Panthers wasn’t enough, as the Green Bay Packers stole their Week 17 game against the Detroit Lions, along with the San Francisco 49ers beating the Seattle Seahawks in the 256th and final game of the season. And because of both of those outcomes, the Saints have to play on Wild Card Weekend instead of having a week off. The fact that they don’t have a first-round bye, along with how the past two postseasons have ended will motivate the Saints that much more. So with that being said, I have Sean Payton’s bunch routing their way to victory.
  • #5 Seattle Seahawks Vs. #4 Philadelphia Eagles-For the fourth time in the Russell Wilson era, the Seahawks open up on the road during Wild Card Weekend. They are 2-1 in such games. As for the Eagles, they got hot at the perfect time, with four consecutive wins to finish a game ahead of the Dallas Cowboys for their second NFC East division title in three seasons. The Seahawks are in a similar boat as the Patriots, as they have an embarrassing loss (Arizona Cardinals) on their resume, along with blowing an opportunity at a higher seed (third) in the NFC. And unlike the Patriots, they have to open on the road as a five seed instead of getting a home game on Wild Card Weekend as a three seed. With Philadelphia being somewhat depleted, this game suggests a Seahawks upset victory. However, finishing the regular season strong matters and that’s something that the Eagles did. I know it’s foolish to count out the Seahawks, based on who their quarterback is. However, the lack of a dominant pass rush for Pete Carroll’s bunch, along with how they are coming into the playoffs are two things that are far too glaring to overlook. So with that being said, I like the Eagles in a close one. Expect Fletcher Cox and his cohorts on the defensive line to impose their will in this game.

Well those are my predictions for Wild Card Weekend. Tune in next week to find out how I did, as well as my predictions for the Divisional Round. So until then, so long everybody and happy 2020!