Due to my finals week and the holidays right after, I didn’t write about the last couple Pats games, not much happened to change their future so I’m just going to skip to the playoffs.
Colts at Texans: The matchup of healthier than past seasons, AFC South rivals. Lead Andrew Luck and his now functional right shoulder the Colts bounced back from a bad start to the season and somewhat quietly ripped off a stellar ½+ of the season to make the playoffs. The defense has undeniably stepped up compared to the last few seasons lead by breakout rookie sensation Darius Leonard. The Texans are healthy too. Deshaun Watson had a great bounce-back season after tearing his ACL during his rookie season and J.J. Watt is healthy and still pretty good. Deandre Hopkins had an unbelievable season, not dropping a single pass. These defenses are somewhat similar statistically, but the Colts offense is more productive and features a more diverse attack. Colts win
Seahawks at Cowboys: Russell Wilson is really good. Pete Carroll did a good job this year taking this revamped defense and keeping it somewhat on par with past Seattle defenses. The emergence of Chris Carson really helped this offense become less predictable than just a Russell Wilson show. Dallas’ defense has also been better than expected this season, Ezekiel Elliott had another superb season behind a good offensive line. Seattle’s offense brings a more diverse attack somewhat similar to the Colts and they have a defense with the ability to contain a somewhat suspect Dallas offense. Seahawks win.
Chargers at Ravens: I kind of feel bad for the Chargers, they have the second-best record in the AFC and they have to play a road playoff game in the first round because they’re in the same division as the Chiefs. The ravens had a slow start under Joe Flacco then once Lamar Jackson became the starter the Ravens went 6-1 and controlled their destiny by beating the Browns to win the division and knock the Steelers out of the playoffs. The Chargers offense hasn’t been the same recently, Phillip Rivers has looked bad and star running back Melvin Gordon doesn’t seem to be 100% healthy. The Ravens defense is elite, and they have a killer rushing attack. This one is a toss up for me, but my gut says Chargers if they can see and replicate some of the success the Browns had last week against the Ravens. Chargers win
Eagles at Bears: Nick Foles came back and lead the eagles to the playoffs, giving them a chance to defend their title. (hypothetically, if the eagles win the super bowl again do the eagles trade Wentz? Because at that point it can’t be a coincidence that the team is performing better with Foles.) The Eagles defense is not the juggernaut it was last season when it carried them through the playoffs. Lead by my coach of the year pick, Matt Nagy and dominant preseason acquisition Khalil Mack, The Bears defense is tops in the NFC, no matter how you spin it. The Bears also have a complimentary offense that can run the ball with the best teams to wear out opponents, old school, smash-mouth football style. They also can throw the ball to good receivers and the swiss army knife Tarik Cohen, also Trey Burton is a good double pass tight-end/quarterback. Bears win.