Front 4: NFL Divisional Round

We’re down to eight! Four teams from each conference remain as they attempt to punch their ticket to Super Bowl 51 in Houston. With four matchups on this weekend’s slate, the Front 4 team will debate who they believe will walk away from each game victorious. Before we get to their predictions, let’s take a look at how they fared last week and of course the overall standings as the season nears its end.

Wild Card Round: 

Daisy: 7                                                                          Daisy: 47

Carlos: 6                                                                        Ryan: 46

Ryan: 5                                                                           Carlos: 46

Kyle: 4                                                                             Kyle: 44

Texans@Patriots

urlDaisy: Patriots

Despite the Texans having the league’s top defense, I don’t think there’s any shot that they can go into New England and beat Tom Brady. The Pats are just better. Unfortunately they’re on their way to another Super Bowl appearance.

Carlos: Patriots

The Patriots are going to win this game rather easily because they have Tom Brady who is just stockpiling wins and championships at this point. 3500 yards and 28 touchdowns for a guy who missed four games is pretty darn impressive. The Texans defense has been good, but the Patriots have too much experience and too much power to overcome.

Ryan: Patriots

The Patriots beat the Texans 27-0 in week 3 this season with their third string quarterback. Add in Tom Brady and subtract JJ Watt and you have a game where a 15-point spread will be covered.

Kyle: Patriots

The Texans were able to figure things out for a week and pick up a playoff win against the Carr-less Raiders, but Brady and Belicheck will be in the driver’s seat this weekend as they end the Texans’ dreams rather easily.

Steelers@Chiefs

Daisy: Steelers

The Steelers head into this one with Big Ben nursing an injury, but that won’t hold this team down. When they’re clicking, they’re unstoppable. I think the Steelers steal one on the road.

Carlos: Steelers

The Chiefs were able to secure a bye in the playoffs, but their defense is ranked 24th in the league and their offense was ranked 20th so there is room for improvement. They weren’t lights out, but they have a good quarterback in Alex Smith and a good coach in Andy Reid. Good won’t be enough when it comes to Le’veon Bell. I see Bell running all over the Chiefs defense that was ranked 26th in rushing yards allowed. Antonio Brown and Big Ben are also too much for that defense to handle. There are too many weapons to stop and the Steelers are coming in hot on an 8-game winning streak.

Ryan: Steelers

I want to go Chiefs here, especially with news that Big Ben in a walking boot earlier in the week, but the Steelers just seem to get better and better each week (like the Packers). I’m not going to overthink this game and go Steelers. I can’t wait for the last second Tyreek Hill punt return, a la Desean Jackson against the Giants, to ruin this pick for me.

Kyle: Steelers

In the first match up between these two, the Steelers routed the Chiefs 43-14 thanks to an early onslaught. The Steelers got out to a 22-0 lead in the 1st quarter thanks to a KC fumble, muffed punt and interception from Alex Smith. Pittsburgh would go on to score 36 unanswered points to start the game and KC never stood a chance in what was probably their worst game of the season. The Chiefs will obviously want to use that game as motivation especially at home and I think they will come out with a better gameplan, but ultimately this game might come down to whichever team wins the turnover battle. I’ll take the Steelers to come out on top because of the 3 B’s: Ben, Bell and Brown. 

Seahawks@Falcons

Daisy: Falcons

The Falcons have looked great all season and I think Matt Ryan and the squad will show why they’re in the playoffs and why they were the second best team in the NFC.

Carlos: Falcons

We all know that Seattle has a great defense, but they are dealing with injuries. To add to that, they are playing on the road. That’s too many obstacles to overcome especially against a Falcons offense that was on another level this season as they scored 33 points per game which was best in the league.

Seattle can hang in there especially if Thomas Rawls has another big game. Against the Lions he set a franchise playoff record with 161 rushing yards. Atlanta was ranked 17th in rushing yards allowed so it could come down to Seattle establishing a running game, but my money is still on Atlanta. Ironically, Matt Ryan’s only playoff win came in 2012 against the Seahawks.

Matt Ryan

Ryan: Falcons

I don’t like trusting the Falcons in the playoffs, but I think this game turns into a shootout and the Seahawks won’t be able to match the Falcons offensively. If Earl Thomas was playing, I’d probably go Seahawks, but it’s a huge loss to play without him. Matt Ryan’s only playoff win has come against the Seahawks so hopefully he can do it again this year.

Kyle: Falcons

This is a tough one to predict because it pits the Falcons’ high-powered offense against the Seahawks’ lights-out defense. If this game was in Seattle, I would’ve taken the Seahawks, but this game will be indoors allowing Matt Ryan to play in comfortable conditions which could lead to plenty of scoring even against the Seahawks defense. He threw for 335 and 3 touchdowns against the Seahawks in Seattle earlier this season so I expect even better numbers in Atlanta.

Packers@Cowboys

Daisy: Cowboys

This is the most intriguing game of the weekend because both of these teams are pretty evenly matched up and are both coming in hot. It’s going to be a close one, but the Cowboys are home and will come out victorious to prolong their great season. 

Carlos: Packers

Not only are the Packers red hot, but they also have the experience. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks not only in the game now, but maybe all time. He has already won a Super Bowl and just looks unstoppable. The Cowboys are scary because of Dak, Zeke and the offensive line, but this team is young. They’re playing rookies at the QB and RB positions and that might hurt them. These teams are evenly matched so it should be a close game, but ultimately I see Aaron Rodgers leading the Packers to a win on their final drive.

Ryan: Packers

The Cowboys are the best team in the NFC, but the playoffs are all about who’s hot and Aaron Rodgers is on fire right now. Meanwhile, on the other side, Dallas is starting two rookies and as great as they’ve been it’s hard to pick rooks over A.A.Ron Rodgers. Also…Dez didn’t catch it.

Kyle: Cowboys

I don’t know if anyone can stop Aaron Rodgers right now. He put up 33 points against a Giants defense that was on a tear. The Cowboys defense has played well, but it’ll be extremely difficult to slow down the Packers offense. It should be interesting to see how Dak and Zeke perform in their first playoff games and the Cowboys will likely need huge days from both men if they want to move on to the Conference Championship. I could see this going either way, but I’m going to stick with dem boyz. 

Highest Scoring Game?

Daisy: Seahawks/Falcons

I am really banking on both of these quarterbacks to just go back and forth with touchdowns this week. The Seahawks have a tendency to show up in the playoffs so I think they’re going to try their best to keep up with the Falcons.

Carlos: Seahawks/Falcons

Atlanta is going to come out swinging. They want to prove they belong and Matt Ryan wants that second playoff win. The Seahawks are good on defense, but they are limping in with injuries. That being said, Seattle won’t just sit and accept a loss. They’re going to go down swinging and they’ll need to establish the running game to complement Russell Wilson in order to produce points. I see this being a back and forth battle.

aaron_rodgers_2014Ryan: Packers/Cowboys

Each team has offensive weapons that are borderline unstoppable in Elliott and Rodgers. Even if each team had an above-average defense (neither does), I would still expect those two to put up big numbers.

Kyle: Packers/Cowboys

We all know what Aaron Rodgers is capable of. We’ve also seen what the Cowboys’ stacked offense can do. This could be a back and forth game that might come down to the wire with both teams trading punches.

Will Zeke or Bell Have More Rushing Yards?

Daisy: Le’Veon Bell

I usually pick Zeke to out-run most backs, but I think Le’veon Bell has a better chance getting through the Chiefs defense than Zeke does against the Packers. Zeke will have still have a great game, but I just trust Bell more at this point. 

Carlos: Bell

I’m going with Bell because the Chiefs don’t have the greatest defense against the run. They were ranked 26th in rushing yards allowed with 122 rushing yards per game. Zeke will have to run against a better run defense that is ranked 8th and only allows 95 rushing yards per game.

Ryan: Bell

Big Ben is in a walking boot, but the Steelers will probably be fine without him at 100% because of Bell. Le’Veon is on fire and is coming off a 167-yard performance in the Wild Card game. Zeke is a monster, but the Cowboys might find themselves behind with a rookie QB under center.

Kyle: Ezekiel Elliott

Both Bell and Zeke lit up their opponents in their matchups against the Chiefs and Packers earlier in the season, but I’m leaning toward Zeke since he’ll be playing in better conditions. He rushed for 157 yards in Green Bay and now he gets to face that same defense indoors in Dallas.

Who Will Have More Passing Yards Between Brady, Big Ben, Rodgers and Ryan?

Daisy: Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan has been brilliant this season and I’ll keep faith in the better Ryan. 

Carlos: Tom Brady

Brady is on a mission to win another Super Bowl. The Texans were ranked 2nd against the pass this season so it won’t be easy for Brady, but he is able to just break down any defense and do as he pleases. I don’t see Houston playing with much spunk in this one which will lead to an onslaught from Brady and company.

Ryan: Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers is the best QB facing the easiest matchup of the four. I learned the hard way to never bet against Rodgers and I won’t make that mistake again.

Kyle: Matt Ryan

The Falcons have flown somewhat under the radar this season even though they finished with the 2nd seed in the NFC. If they lose to Seattle at home, it will really make people forget about their impressive offensive season. I think Matt Ryan has his best playoff game to set up a match-up with Dallas.

Which Running QB Will Have the Most Total Yards?

Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson or Alex Smith

russell_wilson_vs_vikings_november_4_2012Daisy: Russell Wilson

Out of the three QBs in this question, Russell Wilson has the most favorable matchup. I think Russell will definitely be able to throw the ball and use his feet to pick yards on the run as well.

That being said, I think Dak still plays well despite the evidence of past rookie quarterbacks in the playoffs. I think he will continue to play well especially with the team he has around him. He doesn’t seem to get flustered and Nothing makes him nervous… not even girls.

Carlos: Wilson

Wilson will need to be mobile and electric if the Seahawks have any chance to win so I am counting on Russell Wilson to make big plays including big runs that will complement the passing game. Plus, of the 3 quarterbacks, Wilson is facing the weakest defense which is the Falcons that was ranked 25th in the league.

Ryan: Wilson

Betting on Russell Wilson in the playoffs is a smart thing to do and I like to pretend I’m smart. Dak is great, but still a rookie and Alex Smith is effective, but not going to fill up the scoresheet. Wilson all day.

Kyle: Alex Smith

Andy Reid, Alex Smith and the Chiefs had an extra week to prepare for the Steelers(assuming they expected them to beat the Dolphins) and Reid has proven that he uses the extra time to the best of his ability. I think this bodes well for Smith who will rack up yards in small bunches, but I think those bunches eventually lead to a solid day for the veteran quarterback. 

Will the Texans/Patriots Game Be Decided By Less than 16 Points?

Daisy: Yes

Yes, I believe the Texans can keep this from getting out of hand, but only because of their defense. I mean you guys are representing the AFC South. Please don’t make us look worse than we already are. 

Carlos: No

As I said before, Tom Brady is on a mission to win. He is still mad about the suspension and it shows in the way he plays every week.

Ryan: No

Tom Brady vs. Brock Osweiler. One puts up a lot of points while the other does not.

Kyle: Yes

The only way this happens is if the Texans protect the ball. They CANNOT afford to turn the ball over and if they don’t they may be able to keep the game close because their defense is that good.

Closest Game?

Daisy: Packers/Cowboys

Both teams are coming in hot and like I said earlier, this will definitely be the most intriguing game of the weekend.

Carlos: Packers/Cowboys

This game has the ingredients to be a classic. You have a red-hot Super Bowl champ in Aaron Rodgers and you have great rookie playmakers in Zeke and Dak. It’s a tough game to predict and those kind of games usually make for close games.

29739017656_d3982146b9_b

Ryan: Seahawks/Falcons

The Falcons are the better team, but they aren’t great in the playoffs. The Seahawks are money in the playoffs. That’ll make for a close game that will hopefully come down to the final possession. We gotta get interesting playoff football at some point, right?

Kyle: Packers/Cowboys

With Aaron Rodgers you can expect fireworks. Fireworks usually means late game heroics so I’ll go with the Packers/Cowboys.

Tiebreaker: Which Team Will Gain the Most Total Yards?

Daisy: Cowboys

Carlos: Falcons

Ryan: Patriots

Kyle: Steelers

Do you agree with the Front 4 team’s predictions? Be sure to comment below to let us know who you think will be one step closer to the Super Bowl!

Author: Kyle Boris

Writing my future

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