Monday - Jan 21, 2019

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THE PROGNOSTICATOR: Divisional Round

Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator, may its bark be worse than its bite. The Progno managed to pick all the winners correctly last week and we expect to continue the run this week. 8-0 here we come! If you are curious about who you will be watching in the Super Bowl this year you can get your Patriots and Falcons jerseys dusted off and ready for the big game. The path for the Patriots is a little easier thanks to their home field advantage throughout. What is left in the NFC for teams is tough this year. Seattle is the weakest team remaining in the NFC and Atlanta should get by them this week, the Packers could surprise in Dallas which would give Atlanta another home game but if Dallas does get by Green Bay, the spotlight will be bright on Dak Prescott and if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that you have to lose before you can win in the NFL. It’s Matt Ryan‘s time to shine and shine he will. We are not picking a Super Bowl winner quite yet, the Patriots vs. the Falcons will be one for the ages, with a lot of scoring and a dramatic finish, but that is as far as we are taking it for now. Enjoy the games!

 

Passing Rushing
Team Score Team Score
GB 264 DAL 122
SEA 261 PIT 118
ATL 259 NE 107
PIT 253 ATL 105
DAL 249 SEA 104
KC 238 KC 103
NE 234 HOU 103
HOU 217 GB 94

How to read the table: The table shows how a team will do Passing and Rushing in the upcoming week of the NFL. Red is HOT, Yellow is WARM, White is NORMAL, Light Blue is COLD and Dark Blue is FREEZING COLD. Play players from teams that are Red and Yellow, avoid players from teams that are Light or Dark Blue and expect average days from teams that are White.

All times are Eastern
 

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons – Saturday 4:35pm
If you have been a steady reader of The Progno you will know that this is one of the very few publications that is sour on the Seahawks and their chances this season. It is uncanny how often the balls have bounced their way this year, the game changing missed calls and beyond that, the cupcake matchups they have enjoyed. Now don’t get me wrong, are the Seattle Seahawks a playoff caliber team? The answer is a resounding, “YES!” but they have more holes this year than ever and the Falcons will do a good job of exploiting the weaknesses of the Seahawks. Having said all that, the Seahawks are peaking right now and they will be a much tougher competitor this week than likely any other week this season. Expect good games from all your Seahawks both in the air and on the ground as the Atlanta defense continues to have issues. Where this game will be won or lost will be when the Seahawks are on defense and exactly how they cover Julio Jones. Many seem to think that Richard Sherman will just shadow Jones but that has not been how the Seahawks play, Sherman takes a side, not a player, and it would cause chaos in their secondary if they switched to “man” from “zone”. It explains why Julio Jones played so well last time these teams met as the simple answer is, it is impossible to cover Julio Jones all of the time. Without Earl Thomas at safety, the Seahawks can still compete just fine against many teams but the Falcons are not one of them. Expect for the Falcons to score early and then rely on their ground game to grind out the clock. Seattle will perform well in the air too but a lot of their gains will be in garbage time. There will be four offensive explosions this week and two of those four teams are playing in this game.

 

Favorite: Atlanta Falcons by 4.5
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 31 – Seattle Seahawks 21
Category Advantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers

Houston Texans at New England Patriots – Saturday 8:15pm
I realize the Patriots are the heavy favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, ‘ye ole’ Progno is also picking them to represent the AFC. I also realize that the Houston Texans are starting Brock Osweiler. But a 16 point spread against by some metrics, the best defense in the AFC? I thought it was supposed to be defense that wins championships? A quick check of the lines this morning shows it now at -17 at the MGM Mirage in Vegas (but holding steady at -16 everywhere else.) Maybe there’s a New England Lobster Convention in town at the Mirage this week? The Texans coaching staff has a heavy dose of Bill Belichick assistants over the years including head coach Bill O’Brien, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and they even have Patriots stand out linebacker Mike Vrabel as linebacker coach. There is a familiarity between these two teams due to all the coaching overlaps and that will help the Texans to compete. The main problem for the Texans though is that the Patriots defense is playing as well as they have in possibly years, have their own claim to being the best defense in the AFC by yet other metrics and there is that pesky Tom Brady character that just seems to like to win.

 

Favorite: New England Patriots by 16
Prediction: New England Patriots 27 – Houston Texans 17
Category Advantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday 1:05pm
I bet you thought that when I mentioned that there would be four offenses that explode (in a good way) that the Patriots would have been one of them? They aren’t. Add the Pittsburgh Steelers as the third. This game is about as close to even as a game can get. The Steelers are hot-hot-hot right now and the Chiefs are at home with a solid team of their own. This one comes down to the final seconds to decide a winner, the Steelers will run and throw with authority but the Chiefs at home will dominate all the intangibles like special teams play, time of possession and the Chiefs also win the turnover battle. The Steelers will do enough to win on offense but will it be enough to counteract all the other phases of the game that the Chiefs will win? It is truly a coin flip.. that falls the Chiefs way.

 

Favorite: Kansas City Chiefs by 2
Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 27 – Pittsburgh Steelers 24
Category Advantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys – Sunday 4:40pm
Which brings us to the fourth and final offensive explosion of the week — Aaron Rodgers. The Packers will not be able to run the ball as well as the other three offensive explosions but they won’t need to, with Aaron Rodgers leading all quarterbacks this week in a stellar effort. The loss of Jordy Nelson due to a cheap hit that went uncalled hurts Green Bay perhaps even more than they know. The Cowboys are well balanced and will be ready for a very tough challenge as the Packers are playing tremendous football right now. Where things fall apart for the Packers is when they try to handle Dallas’ offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott as the Cowboys will be rumbling this week on the ground. It comes down to Dallas’ ground game vs. Aaron Rodgers heads up and while that is a tough fight to pick, the Cowboys at home with some extra weapons like Dez Bryant and Jason Witten add up to just too much “star power” for Green Bay to cover. Rodgers will heave his hail-Mary’s, he’ll roll out for dramatic across the field completions and he’ll buy so much time in the pocket that he could change a dollar and still make the completion but when the games get big, it takes more than one to win them.

 

Favorite: Dallas Cowboys by 4
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 30 – Green Bay Packers 24
Category Advantage
Rushing
Passing
Offense
Interceptions
Fumbles
Turnovers

About Tony Holm

Founder and President of FantasySharks.com. Five-time nominee for the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Started publishing fantasy content on the web in 1993 and hasn't stopped yet.