Evan’s (and Owen’s) Guide to All Things NFL – Divisional Round Playoff Picks

Welcome to a postseason installment of Evan’s Guide to All Things NFL! Today, reporter Owen Hewitt is chipping in as well as we project the outcomes of this weekend’s NFL playoff matchups.


Colts @ Chiefs (-5.5) (O/U 57):

Evan: As a proud Andrew Luck fantasy owner and believer in all things Marlon Mack, it has been fun to root for this Colts squad all season. That being said, the Chiefs have embarrassed opponents on a semi-regular basis, and I think they’ve had plenty of time to rest up for this divisional round matchup. Andy Reid finally has the pieces in place to win in the playoffs on a regular basis, so I see this year being a great opportunity for Kansas City to make a deep run in the postseason. Of course, the Chiefs looked slightly shaky in the last few weeks of the regular season, so I’ll take the Colts to cover the spread and bet on the Chiefs winning by a field goal.

Owen: As much as I’d love to make fun of the Chiefs for their constant playoff failures in recent years, going 1-10 in the playoffs since 1994, I’m picking Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to inch their way past the Colts on the way to the AFC Championship game. If the Chiefs can focus on a weak Colts secondary that Blaine Gabbert put up 165 passing yards against, then they’ll win the ballgame, mostly based on the fact that Patrick Mahomes is much better than the Blaine Train. Chiefs by 10.


Cowboys @ Rams (-7) (O/U 49.5):

Evan: The Rams may have disappointed in the playoffs last season, but this year they proved that their offensive explosion of 2017 was not a fluke. Sean McVay deserves a playoff win, and I think he’ll get one. The Cowboys have been impressive, but I think their defense will fall short against a high-octane offense like that of the Rams, and I doubt this game will be as close as Cowboys fans would like. I think the Rams will win and cover.

Owen: If every good Bears team has to be called “The Monsters of the Midway,” can we as a collective start to call every good Rams team “The Greatest Show on Turf?” If there’s any team in the league that can outpace the monster that is playoff Dak Prescott, it’s a Rams team that I’d struggle to describe as anything other than explosive. It’ll be a shootout, but if the Rams can establish the run game early with Todd Gurley and use McVay’s playcalling to put Leighton Vander Esch and Co. on their heels, then they’ll move on. I’m taking the Rams by 14.


Chargers @ Patriots (-4) (O/U 47):

Evan: The Chargers were predictably sluggish against an elite Ravens defense in the Wild Card round, but still handled them well apart from the last five minutes of play. Of course, a late-game meltdown is never a good sign and for that reason I worry about the Chargers’ chances. But this is a team that can flip the script on a mediocre performance from the week before and come out firing on all cylinders against a considerably weaker Patriots defense. I think the Patriots will be caught off guard by the Chargers’ ability to control the game, something the Chargers have been especially good at on the road, and New England will be left playing catch-up. I think the Bolts not only cover, but win.

Owen: This is the Old Man Bowl – Tom Brady and Philip Rivers combined age is 78. 78 years ago was 1941. Notable things that happened in 1941: The Pearl Harbor Attacks, The release of Disney’s Dumbo, The first ever NFL Championship game between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants at Wrigley Field. Back to the present, the aging QB battle of Rivers-Brady should be an interesting one, but ultimately this game will come down to how effective Melvin Gordon III can be on the ground coming off of his injury. I’ll take the Chargers as the winners in Foxboro, keeping the Chargers’ undefeated streak outside of Los Angeles alive.


Eagles @ Saints (-8) (O/U 50.5):

Evan: By the grace of a lineman’s fingertip, the Eagles are back in the divisional round, and I’m excited to see what they can do. Unfortunately, they realistically aren’t going to be able to accomplish a lot against the Saints. Picking this to be a blowout would be understandable even without considering the 38-point loss the Saints handed Philly earlier in the season, but with that in mind, I can’t realistically say the Eagles have a chance. Obviously the Saints will win, and obviously they’ll cover. But I think they could easily win by 25 points or more.

Owen: The Eagles are lucky to be here, which sounds like an insult at surface level, but in the playoffs sometimes it can be better to be lucky than good. The only reason I’ll even consider taking the Eagles here seriously is the magic that is Nick Foles, who somehow turns being a decent backup into being a Super Bowl MVP during the winter, is starting. That said, I still think that the Drew Brees to Michael Thomas connection, complemented by Alvin Kamara out of the backfield, will just be too much for the Eagles’ secondary to handle. I’m feeling NOLA by 17.