Here are my predictions for the second round of the playoffs.
GREEN BAY (4) VS COWBOYS (1)
This matchup is intriguing because we have the Cowboys, who have been playing well with a rookie quarterback, against a Packers team that ended the season strong with a seasoned veteran. Dallas has to play mistake-free with Dak Prescott under center. The rookie has been tremendous all year and has matured very well this season. Prescott must avoid the turnovers and be able to find his big-time players, especially Jason Witten and Dez Bryant. Ezekiel Elliot and the offensive line will give the Packers’ front seven a challenge in maintaining the pace of the game.
Aaron Rodgers has been here before and he appears to be the most dangerous player in the playoffs right now. The running game will hope to counter the Cowboys’ attack but it may once again come down the passing game. Jordy Nelson is out which means we have to see more Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. Still Rodgers can make a lot of plays despite the obstacles. Despite the Cowboys beating the Packers earlier this year, this is a different Packers team. They are the most dangerous team out in the NFC.
This game will come down to third down conversions, limiting turnovers and controlling the pace of the game. This is going to be a close one, but the hot Packers will take this one.
PACKERS WIN 34-26
STEELERS (3) VS CHIEFS (2)
The Steelers beat the Chiefs 43-14 earlier this season. All signs point to them having that still big potential offensive explosion. Ben Roethlisberger says his foot is fine and the Steelers boast the best back (Le’Veon Bell) and the best receiver (Antonio Brown) in the league. But the offense still has some kinks they need to fix and that will be problematic against a Chiefs team that can frustrate any offense. The Chiefs defense, led by Eric Berry, could make the passing game tough for Pittburgh. The linebackers will be a challenge as well.
But on the other side, the Chiefs offense can’t match with the Steelers. Alex Smith doesn’t turn the ball over but he isn’t much of a big play quarterback. The play makers like Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill give the Chiefs some unpredictability. Andy Reid doesn’t seem to ever lose after a bye and this is no different. Look for a methodical approach from the offense to slow the pace and limit the Steelers’ time of possession. The Chiefs are so balanced that they have the the advantage over the Steelers.
Do the big play makers for the Steelers match the Chiefs’ overall roster? I don’t think so. It’s going to be a close one in a game with some unpredictable weather.
CHIEFS WIN 24-20