New England Patriots: Picks and predictions for the NFL playoff games

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 17: Rex Burkhead /
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New England Patriots

Divisional Round


#4 Kansas City Chiefs at #1 New England Patriots

Surprise, surprise, the New England Patriots will get their chance to avenge their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs from week 1. The 42-27 loss was terrible, and the national media was calling for the end of the Patriots dynasty. There is no way that the Chiefs will score 42-points again though.

New England’s defense has improved greatly, allowing no more than 30-points since week 4. They held opponents to under 10-points in 4 games this season, and under 20-points in 10. That improved defense will be the difference.

Alex Smith has had a great season for the Chiefs, but he’s still just a game manager. New England will choose to take away either Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, or Travis Kelce, and will force the others to make plays. Matt Patricia will have this D ready to go, and the offense should be able to score just enough to push the Patriots into the AFC Championship Game once again.

Prediction: Patriots 28, Chiefs, 20

#3 Jacksonville Jaguars at #2 Pittsburgh Steelers

The visitor for the AFC title game will come down to the surprising Jaguars or the heavy-favorite Steelers. Pittsburgh is loaded offensively with LeVeon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Juju Smith-Schuster, but AB is still questionable at this point. Jacksonville knows that they would need one of their best defensive efforts of the year to contain Pittsburgh.

Jacksonville’s offense is not strong enough to carry them to a victory, and in the Pittsburgh cold, I think it will be tough for them to move the ball consistently. A defensive score could go a long way in this one, and in overtime, Blake Bortles should at least be able to get his field goal kicker into place to kick a game-winner.

Prediction: Jaguars 24, Steelers 21 (OT)