NFL Playoffs 2019: AFC, NFC Schedule, Odds and Predictions

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2019

Philip Rivers will attempt to lead the Chargers past the Patriots in the divisional playoffs.
Philip Rivers will attempt to lead the Chargers past the Patriots in the divisional playoffs.Nick Wass/Associated Press

The New England Patriots don't get to the Super Bowl every year, but to NFL fans who are tired of all the attention paid to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, it may seem that way.

However, the divisional playoffs belong to the Patriots, as they have won their past seven games at this stage.

All of those games have been at Gillette Stadium, as New England almost always finishes as one of the top two seeds in the AFC.

Their most recent loss in the divisional playoffs came at home to the New York Jets following the 2010 season. Nearly all of the divisional-round victories that have followed have been one-sided, although the Baltimore Ravens had them on the ropes in at this stage following the 2014 season.

The Los Angeles Chargers appear to have an excellent shot of beating the Patriots on their home field. Philip Rivers leads the potent Los Angeles offense, and Keenan Allen is capable of tearing up the New England secondary.

While the Patriots once again won the AFC East and have the No. 2 seed in the conference, this does not appear to be a signature year for Brady and the New England offense.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski has just three TD receptions this year, and the loss of Josh Gordon may make it difficult to keep up with the Chargers, especially if Los Angeles gets off to an early lead.

The Patriots are four-point favorites, per OddsShark, but we like the Chargers to register the upset and move onto the AFC title game.


Divisional-Round Schedule

All times ET

Saturday, January 12

No. 6 Indianapolis Colts at No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs, (-5.5), 4:35 p.m., NBC 

No. 4 Dallas Cowboys at No. 2 Los Angeles Rams, (-7), 8:15 p.m., Fox 


Sunday, January 13

No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers at No. 2 New England Patriots, (-4), 1:05 p.m., CBS 

No. 6 Philadelphia Eagles at No. 1 New Orleans Saints, (-8), 4:40 p.m., Fox

Point-spread information courtesy of OddsShark.

In addition to the broadcast networks, all playoff games can be viewed on FuboTV.


Indianapolis at Kansas City

The Kansas City Chiefs are the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs and have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, but they could have a bit of a problem in this game.

The Indianapolis Colts won nine of their last 10 regular-season games to earn a spot in the playoffs, and they humbled the Houston Texans  21-7 in their wild-card game.

Andrew Luck is the primary focus of the Indianapolis offense, and he threw 39 TD passes during the regular season. His performance was notable considering he missed all of the 2017 season with a shoulder injury.

The Colts' hot streak is not all about Luck's proficiency. The Indianapolis offensive line has been stellar, and the defense has been dominant.

This could make life difficult for the Chiefs, who lost two of their last three games. Kansas City's defensive deficiencies are an issue, as they rank 31st in the league in yards allowed.

The Chiefs have lost 11 of their past 12 playoff games, including their last six at home. Kansas City is a 5.5-point favorite, but we are going with the underdog Colts to win and cover.


Dallas at L.A. Rams

The Dallas Cowboys emerged as NFC East champions, and they survived their wild-card meeting with the Seattle Seahawks, but now they must travel to face the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams were a dominant team in the first half of the season, but their offense slowed a bit in the second half of the season. Additionally, the Rams have struggled on defense, particularly when attempting to stop the run. The Rams have allowed 5.1 yards per carry, and that's the worst mark in the league.

That number has to be music to Ezekiel Elliott's ears, because Elliott is coming off a 137-yard effort against the Seahawks. If Elliott could put 137 yards up against Seattle, he could easily go for 150 yards or more against the Rams.

The Rams are at home with Jared Goff under center, and he is going to have to be at his best in this game. Goff threw 32 TD passes this year, but just six of those TD passes came in the final five games of the season.

If Goff can get off to a sharp start, the Rams should be able to win and cover the seven-point spread at home. However, if Goff struggles at the start, the Cowboys should have an excellent chance of pulling off the upset.

The prediction here is that the Cowboys pull off the upset and advance to the NFC Championship Game.


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Philadelphia at New Orleans

The Philadelphia Eagles were left on the side of the road in a heap after they were overwhelmed 48-7 by the New Orleans Saints in their Week 11 matchup at the Superdome

The Eagles have stepped it up since then, winning their last three regular-season games and then beating the Chicago Bears on the road in the wild-card playoff game.

Philly is a better team than it was after Week 11, when the Eagles fell to 4-6 and appeared to have no chance at making the playoffs.

They bounced back with quarterback Nick Foles, who has filled in for the injured Carson Wentz.

Taking on the Saints on the road is a huge assignment for the defending Super Bowl champions. Drew Brees has had a brilliant year and is an MVP contender.

The Eagles defense slowed the Bears' offense in their wild-card game, but doing the same to Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas is another story.

The Saints are much more explosive than the Bears, and they are eight-point favorites over the Eagles.

New Orleans has had a brilliant 13-3 season, and while we don't expect the Saints to beat the Eagles by 41 points again, they will win and cover the spread.


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