The NFL divisional round fixtures take place this weekend with a host of exciting match lineups. With the reigning Champions, the New England Patriots already eliminated from this competition; a new Super Bowl Champion will be named this season. As a result, NFL fans worldwide will be keeping their eyes on what transpires this weekend. It is, therefore, high stakes for every team involved. Here is a preview of all the games taking place this weekend.
San Francisco 49ers VS. Minnesota Vikings
The 49ers finished the regular season on top of the NFC West Division with an impressive 13-3 win-loss record in what was an excellent campaign for the team from San Francisco. They also wrapped up their regular season with two impressive wins over the Los Angeles Rams (34-21) and the Seattle Seahawks (26-21). They are odds-on favorites to win this game and book a place in the NFL Conference Championships. Their statistics from the regular season also make a strong case for them going into this game. They averaged 29.2 points per game, thus amassing 479 total points in the regular season. They also made 56 Touchdowns. They will be significant competition for their opponents this weekend. Much of their success in the regular season was down to the performance of some key players who were very influential. Some of these players the Vikings should be wary of include Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo who recorded the highest passing yards in the team (3,978), Running Back Raheem Mostert (722 Rushing yards), Tight End George Kittle (1,053 receiving yards) and Linebacker Fred Warner (118 tackles). These four could once again make the difference in this game.
The Vikings, on the other hand, had to record a 26-20 overtime win over New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card Round last weekend to advance to this round after finishing as runners-up in the NFC North Division with a 10-6 record. They will be prepared to withstand the threats of the 49ers. Last weekend’s victory saw them score three touchdowns with the likes of Safety Kirk Cousins recording the highest passing yards with 242 while Running Back Dalvin Cook recording the highest rushing yards with 94. Safety Harrison Smith also made 11 tackles. In all, the Vikings made 40 Rushing Attempts, 74 Offensive Plays, and 22 1st downs. It is evident from these stats that they certainly won’t be pushovers in this game and could cause several problems for the 49ers.
Prediction: 49ers VS. Vikings- 21-15
Baltimore Ravens VS. Tennessee Titans
The Ravens were perhaps the best team in this season’s NFL regular season. They finished the regular season as AFC North Division winners with an impressive 14-2 record. Their dominance this season has been primarily due to the remarkable performances of Quarterback Lamar Jackson, who broke several NFL records and won various individual accolades. His stats this season were incredible as he led his team’s leaderboard for the highest passing yards (3,127) and rushing yards (1,206). He could have a say in the outcome of this game. In terms of team stats in the regular season, the Ravens scored 529 points averaging 33.1 points per game and also recorded a total of 64 touchdowns. They also made 1064 Offensive Plays. They are also absolute favorites for the Super Bowl in the absence of the Patriots. It will difficult to bet against them winning this game, but they must do away with complacency.
The Titans caused perhaps the biggest shock of the century by eliminating the dominant reigning Champions, the Patriots in their Wild Card Round game last weekend despite finishing second in the AFC South Division with a 9-7 record. They will be a dangerous and tricky opposition for the Ravens this weekend. Last weekend’s game saw them record 19 1st downs, 40 rushing attempts averaging 5.0 yards per rush. The Titans’ stats were lower than that of the Patriots. These stats mean they can certainly win this match without being at their absolute best.
Prediction: Ravens VS. Titans- 26-22
Kansas City Chiefs VS. Houston Texans
The Chiefs won the AFC West Division with a 12-4 record and a winning percentage of .750. They also ended the regular season strongly with six consecutive victories, which they will be looking to add to and also advance to the next round when they play the Texans this weekend. In all, the Texans scored 451 total points averaging 28.2 points per game, 50 total touchdowns, and 350 1st downs. They also made 375 rushing attempts and 576 passing attempts.
Just like their opponents this weekend, the Texans were also the winners of the AFC South Division with a 10-6 record and a .625 win percentage. However, they had to overcome the Buffalo Bills in overtime last weekend to advance from the Wild Card Round to this round. Deshaun Watson was influential in that game and could pick up from where he left off. In all, the Chiefs scored 22 points and two touchdowns in that game and could also take this game into overtime.
Prediction: Chiefs VS. Texans- 26-22 OT
Green Bay Packers VS. Seattle Seahawks
The Packers clinched the NFC North Division with a 13-3 record. They recorded 376 points, averaging 23.5 points per game. They also recorded 44 touchdowns. The focus will be on the trio of Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Running Back Aaron Jones, and Wide Receiver Devante Adams to get the team over the line this weekend and take one step towards the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks comfortably beat the Philadelphia Eagles 17-9 in the Wild Card round to set up this mouth-watering encounter. They had finished the regular season as runners-up in the NFC West Division. A repeat of last weekend’s performance could undoubtedly raise eyebrows and make them “dark horses” for the Super Bowl this season.
Prediction: Packers VS. Seahawks- 24-22 OT