• Connor Watson

Road to Super Bowl LIV - My Playoff Predictions Week 2

Divisional Weekend

Wildcard Weekend was a roller coaster opening for the playoffs, not only did it leave me with a 1-3 record in predictions, it left a lot of people scrambling to rethink their brackets and try to claw back those precious fantasy points.

Not only did the Patriots go out in round one against the Titans, but favourites New Orleans lost at home to the Vikings. Despite guessing only one game correctly, I stand by my week one prediction, that's the nature of the NFL and why we all tune in week after week.

Now, let’s see if I can do slightly better this week.

Vikings @ San Francisco

I never expected this matchup two weeks ago, I wholeheartedly thought the Saints would knock the Vikings out in the first round.

I’m reluctant to doubt Minnesota again and just follow the line from Vegas - currently 74% in favour of San Fran at the time of writing - but I truly think the 49ers will be a tougher team than the Saints turned out to be.

Out of possible matchups for the 49ers I think the Vikings will be a much tougher challenge than the Seahawks ever could be. A more fleshed out team, they’ve shaken away the doubt about being able to deliver during prime time and brought the noise on a much bigger stage.

The Vikings go into this weekend energised and the only thing stopping them are a team that has stayed calm under pressure all season.

At home with a week longer to rest, the 49ers are going to have to focus on rushing, they’ll need to pin down Dalvin Cook whilst hopefully sneaking Mostert past the stout and hardy Vikings defence.

49ers win 24 - 20

Titans @ Ravens

The titan slayer Titans now go up against the newest titan of the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens. Favourites to win the Super Bowl, on a 12 game winning streak and with a future league MVP quarterback, it really is an encore with an added punch for Tennessee.

The Patriots have been inconsistent all year, flaws in their offence leading to deficiencies in both receiving and rushing were ultimately what caused them the loss. I thought the Titans lack of experience is where they’d fall against New England, clearly, the flaws within the Patriots were more than anyone predicted.

Unfortunately for the Titans their opponent this week doesn’t have any flaws, currently on a 12-week win streak and with the likely NFL MVP quarterback, the Titans have to rely on their strengths.

They still enter this week with all the same issues I cited last, they’re inexperienced when it comes to the playoffs, obviously, that wasn’t too much to overcome in Foxboro but they now go up against a cohesive offence and defence as well as coaching genius John Harbaugh.

Ravens win 36 - 13

Texans @ Chiefs

Just like the Titans, the Texans are going to need to come out of the gate swinging, an early lead in the first quarter is their only hope of stopping the Chiefs whose energy this season has been unrivalled.

Coming off a bye week and playing at home the Chiefs are going to be entering Sunday’s game ready and refreshed. With limited injuries and Mahomes playing another stellar season, the Texans are going to have to work hard for a win.

The key to a Texan win will be to put the Chiefs on edge, shake the always level-headed Mahomes and veteran head coach Andy Reid.

Chiefs win 38 - 19

Seahawks @ Packers

It pains me to write this, but I really can’t picture a Seahawks victory in Green Bay. Once again Russell Wilson enters a game with the weight of the world on his shoulders. With gaps in the O-line, an absent backfield, and the likely hood that several key defensive players will be missing; it’s all just too much for Seattle to deal with on the day.

They’re walking into Lambeau Field and going head-to-head with Aaron Rodgers, while I think Wilson is the premium quarterback in this match-up Rodgers is playing at home with one of the most dedicated fan bases in football.

The key to a Seahawks win has to be in the first three quarters, far too many times do Seattle trial going into the 4th quarter and just manage to find the time and the opportunities to claw it back. At Green Bay, those opportunities just won’t be there, they need to play football for the entire 60 minutes, not just those last 15.

Packers win - 24 - 13

If you want to see just how well (poorly) I did with my week 1 playoff predictions, click here.