The 2019 NFL Playoffs continue with this weekend’s Divisional Round. After some time to rest their players and get focused on a Super Bowl run, the New Orleans Saints are ready to host the Philadelphia Eagles inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Who Dat Nation has waited for far too long for this weekend to finally get here, so let it finally begin! Let’s take a look at this marquee matchup as well as the other three games this Divisional playoff weekend!
Last week I went 2-2
I told you so: Colts over Texans!
What do I know: Ravens over Chargers?
AFC - #6 Indianapolis Colts at #1 Kansas City Chiefs
Saturday, January 12th - 3:35pm CST - NBC
In an overlooked rematch of one of the wildest playoff games in recent memory, the Chiefs and Colts meet again, this time with a win taking one to the AFC title game. In that last game, Andrew Luck’s Colts won a 45-44 thriller at home over Andy Reid’s Chiefs in 2014’s Wild Card round.
32º and snow showers at kickoff in Kansas City will put to rest any thoughts of a wild shootout like we saw that day, even with Patrick Mahomes’ high octane offense rested at home. The only thing thicker in the air at Arrowhead than the snow will be the tension. The fans in attendance will be as tense and anxious as any you could imagine, considering the Kansas City Chiefs haven't won a home playoff game in 25 years, even needing overtime to win that one. Fresh on their minds is last year’s home Wild Card loss to Tennessee, where they blew an 11-point 4th quarter lead.
The Chiefs are the overwhelming favorites in the AFC and the pressure will rest heavily on their shoulders. If this game were in the cozy confines at Indy, where the tension wasn't hanging in the air like snow, KC’s offense would lead them to victory; but it isn't. Adam Vinatieri will kick the game-winner for Indy as time expires, and the Colts will be making snow angels like it’s New England in 2002. Indianapolis wins 30-28.
NFC - #4 Dallas Cowboys at #2 Los Angeles Rams
Saturday, January 12th - 7:15pm CST - FOX
This game will be a showcase of two of the best rushers in the entire league: LA’s Todd Gurley and Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott. Both Gurley and Elliott will have monster games for their respective teams as this game will be controlled on the ground and not through the air. Both quarterbacks will be under consistent pressure from these dangerous defensive fronts, not giving them much time to air it out.
The difference will come down to the Rams keeping Amari Cooper under 100 receiving yards and forcing Dak Prescott into some timely mistakes, while avoiding those same mistakes themselves. This game will be quite close and any turnovers or bad penalties will be magnified without question.
Certainly, Dallas will steal the home crowd advantage from LA’s homefield advantage, but the Cowboys just haven't been as good away from AT&T Stadium. Dallas’ defense can slow the Rams down from their usual 30+ point outputs, but not enough to win this game away from home. Los Angeles wins 28-24.
AFC - #5 Los Angeles Chargers at #2 New England Patriots
Sunday, January 13th - 12:05pm CST - CBS
This may very well be the best Chargers team Phillip Rivers has ever led. If not for Kansas City narrowly beating them out, Los Angeles would be the team with homefield advantage in the AFC this week. It may just be better this way for the Chargers though, as they are 9-0 outside of Los Angeles this season.
New England is undefeated at home this season and is as close to impossible to beat at home in the playoffs as any team. This may not be as strong a Patriots team as we have seen in recent years, but to overlook them, in Foxboro, against a team that has historically fallen flat against Belichick/Brady in these spots, would be a fools errand.
The Patriots may not be great, but they play their best at home when all the chips are on the table. The Chargers have yet to prove that they can do the same. Maybe the Chargers will prove they can do it and this is their time, but don’t bet on it. The Patriots will do what they do, win at home in the playoffs. With this win, New England will reach their eight consecutive AFC Championship Game. New England wins 24-17.
NFC - #6 Philadelphia Eagles at #1 New Orleans Saints
Sunday, January 13th - 3:40pm CST - FOX
We are all aware that the last time the Eagles came to the Superdome to face the Saints, they were defeated 48-7. Saints fans haven't forgotten that fact and Eagles fans haven’t forgotten either. The Saints are the NFL’s best team this year and the homefield advantage they earned will be key in their playoff run starting here. Philly may have looked bad in that first meeting, but that doesn't mean they are a bad team.
The Eagles have had some bad breaks this season, but they also have a lot going for them. The Eagles replaced their star quarterback with their own Super Bowl MVP quarterback from a year ago. The Eagles are supported by a very vocal and spirited fanbase. The Eagles are a proud and talented team. A team mostly media up of champions. The Eagles will not be beat by 41 points like they did in November. The Eagles will leave it all on the field this Sunday.
The Eagles will not win this game.
Sure, Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, among others, may have monster games, but it will be Mark Ingram that has the biggest performance of all, leading the Saints with a huge game. Drew Brees and Sean Payton are undefeated at home in the playoffs at 5-0. After this game is over, that record will be 6-0 as the Saints prepare to host the NFC Championship Game for the second time in franchise history. Saints win 35-21.
We move one week closer to arguably the most exciting day in sports, NFL Conference Championship Sunday. Which of these teams will represent the NFL’s final four? We’ll just have to wait and see. The most important thing is that the Saints are one of those teams! Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!