When the postseason starts, everyone’s record re-sets to 0-0. Including mine. Which is very good news.
MDS won the regular-season picks contest easily. The postseason version has only 11 games, and we’re starting from scratch.
We disagree on one game, which means one of us (probably me) will be behind by a game come Monday.
For our picks for all four games, keep reading.
Titans at Chiefs
MDS’s take: The Chiefs went through an ugly mid-season swoon, but by and large they were a good team this year. The Titans, on the other hand, got into the playoffs more because the AFC was weak than because they were really the kind of team we think of as playoff-caliber. On Saturday in Kansas City, I have a hard time seeing Tennessee pulling off an upset.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Titans 14.
Florio’s take: The Chiefs have rediscovered their offense. The Titans in many ways are still trying to find theirs. Arrowhead Stadium provides a home-field advantage that should deliver more wins than it does; it will help deliver one on Saturday.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Titans 17.
Falcons at Rams
MDS’s take: The Rams have been perhaps the most fun team in the league this year, with exciting young players on offense and defense, not to mention an exciting young coach. It’s a shame that they still haven’t really caught on in Los Angeles, but maybe a playoff win will do the trick. They should win this game handily, as they’re a better team than the Falcons on offense, defense and special teams.
MDS’s pick: Rams 32, Falcons 21.
Florio’s take: The Rams are believed to have wanted to slide to No. 4 on the playoff tree, so that they’d face the Panthers instead of the Falcons this weekend. It didn’t work out that way. The Rams may be the best team playing this weekend, but they also may be the home team most vulnerable to losing. If the Falcons can hold a fourth-quarter lead.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 27, Rams 23.
Bills at Jaguars
MDS’s take: The Bills and Jaguars were the only two teams in the league that didn’t pass the ball more than they ran it in 2017. (Buffalo had 487 runs and 476 passes, Jacksonville had 527 runs and 527 passes.) So I expect a run-heavy ballgame, probably low scoring and possibly determined by a defensive or special teams touchdown. The Jaguars’ defense should be able to hold the Bills in check, especially with LeSean McCoy injured, and Jacksonville should take this one.
MDS’s pick: Jaguars 16, Bills 7.
Florio’s take: If the “good” Jaguars show up, this should be a laugher. If the “bad” Jaguars arrive at EverBank Field, the Bills could be securing a third game against the Patriots. But Jacksonville has one thing Buffalo doesn’t — Tom Coughlin. And Coughlin will make sure that everyone knows what it takes to have success in January.
Florio’s pick: Jaguars 24, Bills 14.
Panthers at Saints
MDS’s take: This should be the weekend’s best game. Cam Newton has been up-and-down this year, but I have a feeling he’s going to be up for his first postseason game since Super Bowl 50. However, I love the potential of the Saints’ offense to put up a lot of points on the Panthers’ defense, and I’ll pick New Orleans to pull out a close win at home.
MDS’s pick: Saints 31, Panthers 27.
Florio’s take: The cliché that it’s hard to beat a team three times in the same year doesn’t really apply as strongly as many believe. It definitely doesn’t apply to this current rivalry, where the Saints know how to build and hold leads against a Carolina team that is one of the best in the conference, but not good enough to win in the Superdome.
Florio’s pick: Saints 30, Panthers 21.