2019 NFL Divisional Playoffs Preview
Russell S. Baxter
2019 NFL Divisional Playoffs Preview
By Julie Voigt and Russell S. Baxter (VIBE)
Special to Pro Football Guru
The chase for the Lombardi Trophy continues this weekend with four more postseason games on the way to deciding the champion of the 2019 NFL season.
Last weekend, three of the four road teams came up with wins. And there will be no repeat for the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots – knocked out by the upstart Tennessee Titans. The Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks also came up with victories away from home, while the Houston Texans rallied from a 16-0 point second-half deficit to defeat the Buffalo Bills in overtime.
Now each conference’s top two seeds are in action. Will all four of those clubs prevail this weekend?
Hence, here is PFG Vibe’s somewhat-unique look at the AFC-NFC Divisional Playoffs. Julie Voigt (VI) and Russell S. Baxter (BE) offer their quick analysis on each contest (All times ET).
NOTE: Win-loss records include playoffs.
Saturday, January 11
Minnesota Vikings (11-6) at San Francisco 49ers (13-3), 4:35 pm
VI: With a win, Mike Zimmer’s team will reach the NFC title game for the second time in three seasons. But in order to do that, they have to defeat the number one seed in the NFC. The 49ers’ strong offense has been very successful this season and Kyle Shanahan’s team has been led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
BE: The Vikings’ patience on offense last week at New Orleans paid off in a big way. That and coming up with two takeaways from a Saints’ team that had committed an NFL single-season record low eight turnovers in 2019 came in handy. The Niners’ defense has had its issues the last nine games and this is the club’s first appearance in the playoffs since 2013. Will experience be a factor?
Tennessee Titans (10-7) at Baltimore Ravens (14-2), 8:15 pm
VI: The number-six seed Titans will face off against the number-one seeded Ravens. Baltimore has put on a season-long show season – led by quarterback Lamar Jackson. But the Titans are coming off a win vs. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at Foxborough.
BE: The highest-scoring team in the league with the NFL’s best record and a quarterback who led the NFL in TD passes and set a new record for rushing yards by a player at his position. That’s a tall order for Mike Vrabel and company as they look to follow up their aforementioned dethroning of the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots. Meanwhile, the Ravens bring a 12-game winning streak into this clash.
Sunday, January 12
Houston Texans (11-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (12-4), 3:05 pm
VI: Another AFC South team advancing to the divisional round alongside the Titans is the Texans. Houston advanced after defeating the Buffalo Bills last weekend in the Wild Card playoff in overtime. Houston defeated the Chiefs during the regular season, 31-24, at Kansas City. Can they make it two wins at Arrowhead Stadium this season?
BE: In that aforementioned seven-point win, the Texans rallied from a 17-3 first-quarter deficit. Last week, Bill O’Brien’s team came back from 16 points down to beat the Bills in overtime, 22-19. This is a different Kansas City team that started the season looking for its defense. Andy Reid’s club has allowed a combined 69 points in its last six contests – all wins.
Seattle Seahawks (12-5) at Green Bay Packers (13-3), 6:40 pm
VI: The Seahawks will go back on the road and this time to the land of dairy (and snow) to take on the Packers. Green Bay has lost just once at home all season while Pete Carroll’s club is now 8-1 away from home this season, including last week’s wild card victory at Philadelphia.
BE: Talk about consistency? The Seahawks won two games at Philadelphia this season by the identical final score (17-9). Now Pete Carroll and company head to Lambeau Field looking to cool off a Packers’ club that has won its last five outings. It’s a premier quarterback match-up between Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. But could Green Bay running back Aaron Jones be the difference maker?
Julie Voigt (@JulieNoted_PFG) and Russell S. Baxter (@BaxFootballGuru) are the co-founders of @pfgVIBE. Julie is also an NFL feature writer for SI Pro Football Guru, while Russell writes for FanSided, NFL Spin Zone and Elite Sports NY.