The Minnesota Vikings and quarterback Kirk Cousins proved a lot of critics wrong by stunning the Saints in the Wild Card round last week. They will have their work cut out for them as they face the San Francisco 49ers, the top team in the NFC. The Niners had the top offense in NFC, scoring 479 points in the NFC due to the play of Jimmy Garoppolo. The Niners have relyed a lot on the power play of tight end George Kittle. On top of this, the 49ers defense is among the best in the NFL. Nick Bossa has become a dominant pass rusher in his rookie season. The lone weakness is that San Francisco could be vulnerable to the run, which Dalvin Cook could take advantage of. However, with the 49ers offense being able to control the game, Cook’s run game will be reduced.
The Tennessee Titans had the most shocking win last week, beating the Patriots and ending their hope of a second straight Lombardi Trophy. The Baltimore Ravens were the NFL’s top team in the regular season, posting a record of 14-2. With the play of Lamar Jackson, the likely NFL MVP, the Ravens led the NFL in points scored this season with 531. However, last season Jackson struggled in his first postseason experience fumbling three times. Jackson had improved by leaps and bounds, and those nerves should not exist for him this time around. The one concern could be rust as the Ravens top players are playing for the first time in three weeks after resting in Week 17 and having a bye last week. This could open the door for Tennessee, especially if Derrick Henry can repeat his performance from last week. Expect this game to be close, with perhaps the kicking game making the difference, which will allow the Ravens to advance.
It took nearly three quarters for the Houston Texans to get going last week, as the Buffalo Bills dominated, building a 16-0 lead. The Texans were able to rally and win in overtime, but with some key players banged up and injured, it is hard to imagine they could provide much of a challenge for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Texans did win in Arrowhead Stadium in the regular season, but at the time, the Chiefs were going through hard times and dealing with injuries and a tough early schedule. Following their bye week, the Chiefs finished strong winning their last five games impressively to get the second seed and the valuable bye week to the Divisional Round. Refreshed again, expect the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes to be at their best, which means nothing but bad news for Houston.
The Seattle Seahawks were one yard away from winning the NFC West as their two meetings against the 49ers were among the best games in the NFL this season. A win over the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field could see round three between the NFC West rivals with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The Seahawks have excelled on the road all season, winning seven of eight in the regular season and beating the Eagles last week in Philadelphia. The Packers benefited from an easy schedule, as they faced the Chiefs without Patrick Mahomes. That win over the Chiefs and two wins over Minnesota were their only wins over winning teams. The Seahawks with Russell Wilson are not a good matchup for Green Bay, who has long lost their sense of invincibility at Lambeau Field. Look for the Seahawks to take control early and win the game to set up a classic NFC Championship battle.