Last week’s Wild Card weekend started off the NFL playoffs with a bang. In the first year with 14 playoff teams, 12 of which were in action on opening weekend, fans got to see something that almost never happens: all of the 5 and 6 seeds won on the road.
That fact seemingly was glossed over a bit by the playoff expansion, as both 7th-seeded teams lost to the 2 seeds. The Buffalo Bills outlasted the Indianapolis Colts, while the New Orleans Saints ensured that Mitchell Trubisky and an 8-8 Chicago Bears team with a stagnant offense would go home early.
These results set up 1 v. 6 and 2 v. 5 games in both conferences this weekend, and Acme Packing Company’s picks are in for all four contests.
The top-seeded Green Bay Packers host the sixth-seeded Los Angeles Rams on Saturday to open up the Divisional round, and APC’s writers are clear on our expectations for the opening game: we expect to see a Packers victory. A win over the Rams would send the Packers to the NFC Championship for the second straight season, but it would be the first time that game would be played at Lambeau Field during Aaron Rodgers’ career as the starting quarterback.
Who we expect them to play, however, is much less certain. APC is almost evenly split on the Sunday evening contest between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superdome. Tampa actually holds a slight 5-4 edge in our picks as of publishing, despite the Saints winning both divisional matchups in the regular season by double digits.
However, that was before Drew Brees’ broken ribs, which appear to still be affecting him somewhat. New Orleans managed just 21 points last Sunday against the Bears, while the Buccaneers come in having scored 30 points or more in four straight games. If APC’s prediction for Saturday comes to pass, Packers fans can kick back and watch these two teams battle it out on Sunday with the comfort of knowing that the winner will have to play in chilly temperatures in front of a few thousand of their fellow green and gold-clad brethren.
On the AFC side, the story is much the same. The 1-6 game is a near-sweep, with all but one writer picking the Kansas City Chiefs to hold serve against the Cleveland Browns. The Buffalo Bills are the popular pick to advance from Saturday night’s game, however, holding an edge over the fifth-seeded Baltimore Ravens.
Check out our picks below and let us know what you think the Championship Game matchups will be!
What will the matchup be in the NFC Championship Game?
This poll is closed
Packers v. Saints
Packers v. Buccaneers
Saints v. Rams
Buccaneers v. Rams
What will the matchup be in the AFC Championship Game?
This poll is closed
Chiefs v. Bills
Chiefs v. Ravens
Bills v. Browns
Ravens v. Browns