On Sunday, the #1 Seed Dallas Cowboys will host the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium. The #2 seeded Kansas City Chiefs will host the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium. No disrespect to the Chiefs and Steelers but the Cowboys vs Packers should be the primetime matchup, not the other way around. As of now, the NFC will kick off at 4:40 and they AFC at 8:20.
Below is my Sunday Divisional Playoff Preview and Prediction.
(10-6) Green Bay Packers @ (13-3) Dallas Cowboy: In the NFC, the Cowboys were the hottest team from start to finish. The Packers were the hottest team in the 2nd half of the season, winning their last six games. Green bay has scored 30 or more points in 5 straight contests. 4 out of the 5 teams, Seattle, Detroit, Minnesota and the New York Giants were all considered to be dominant defenses at one point during the season.
Over the past 8 games, Aaron Rodgers has been the best quarterback in the league. He has thrown for 22 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions. The Packers haven’t had a consistent running game all season long but they use the pass to set up the run. There is no “Gound and Pound” with Green Bay. They have used backs by committee. Ty Montgomery is a converted wide receiver who is now their featured go to guy and Christine Michael was acquired from Seattle just a few weeks ago.
The Cowboys thought their season was lost when 4-time Pro-Bowl selection, Tony Romo, was injured in the pre-season. They went 13-3 with A rookie QB in Dak Prescott and rookie RB in Ezekiel Elliott. If I were a betting man, I would guess Elliott and Prescott will finish 1 and 2 in the Rookie of the year race. Elliot led the league in rushing with 1,631 yards and Prescott made big plays when he had to. On the year. he had 23 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. On defense, the Cowboys are led by Sean Lee. The whole NFL talks about Carolina’s Luke Kuechly, but for my money, Lee is just as good of a linebacker. He had 145 tackles on the season.
This is going to be a battle of which team will impose their will. The Cowboys want to do what they have done all season long, run the ball, keep opposing offenses off the field and control the clock. They will have success, running against a Packers defense. GB is good on third and long pressuring the QB but average the rest of the time. The Packers want to play up-tempo and let Rodgers make plays. I think both teams will score and both teams will be successful in implementing their game plan. The Packers must be aware of Dak’s running ability. Look for defensive coordinator Dom Capers to make Prescott make a crucial mistake in the game.
Rodgers hasn’t lost in 6 weeks and he is not only playing like the MVP, he’s playing like one of the greatest of all-time. Over the past 7 games against the Cowboys (6 starts), Rodgers is 169 of 247 (68.4%), 1,797 yards, 11 TD’s and 1 interception. He should outplay the Cowboys defense…Packers survive and advance to the NFC Championship
Green Bay 31 Dallas 27
(11-5) Pittsburgh Steelers @ (12-4) Kansas City Chiefs: If the Green Bay Packers are the hottest team in the NFC, the Steelers are the hottest team in the AFC. Pittsburgh has won 8 straight games including last week’s blowout win of the Miami Dolphins 30-12. Kansas City needed the final few weeks in the division to clinch the #2 seed in the AFC.
Prediction: These two teams couldn’t be more opposite. Ben Roethlisberger is a gunslinger who thrives when the play breaks down and creates on the fly. Alex Smith is about as robotic as a player can be in today’s NFL. The Steelers Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are the best dual threat in football. For the past few seasons, they have both been in the top three in rushing and receiving. In week 4, Pittsburgh defeated Kansas City 43-14. I expect the game to be close and watch for the Chiefs, Tyreek Hill, to score a special teams touchdown. 90% of the time I go with the better quarterback. Andy Reed is a good coach but when was the last time he won a big game he wasn’t supposed to win? Reed will turn a program around but there is a reason why he hasn’t won a Superbowl in 18 years.
Steelers win 24-20.
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