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The Student News Site of Saint Xavier High School

Xavier News

The Student News Site of Saint Xavier High School

Xavier News

NFL Divisional Round Predictions

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(Photo courtesy of David L Selby)

After a thrilling Wildcard Round, eight teams remain in the hunt for a conference championship. With a lot on the line this week, here are my predictions for the NFL Divisional Round.

Ravens vs. Texans (Ravens 34 – 22)

The Baltimore Ravens have been the most dominant team in the National Football League this season. They have won every game against teams with a winning record by at least two touchdowns, highlighting their offensive and defensive prowess. Although tight end Mark Andrews has been nursing an ankle injury, he has been designated to return, which will strengthen their already formidable offense. Defensive back Marlon Humphrey’s calf injury could be a potential weak spot in their defense.

The Houston Texans, who thrashed the Cleveland Browns 45-14 in the Wildcard Round, have shown significant improvement since their earlier 9-25 loss to the Ravens. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud’s debut playoff performance was impressive, but their running game might not be strong enough to keep the Ravens’ defense on its toes. Overall, I predict that the Ravens will win this matchup based on their consistent performance throughout the season.

Packers vs. 49ers (49ers 31 – 13) 

The San Francisco 49ers have proven to be one of the most explosive offenses in the league when they are at their best. The team, coming off a bye week with a fully healthy roster, is poised to dominate the Green Bay Packers. I don’t see how the Packers will be able to keep up with the Niners’ electrifying offense.

Jordan Love and the Packers’ offense came out firing on all cylinders against the Dallas Cowboys. Their offense found success both on the ground and through the air, while the Dallas defense seemed to struggle to find an answer. The Green Bay defense started the game strong but appeared to lose some momentum in the second half. Although the Packers’ defense is good, it’s not quite at the same level as their offense, which will ultimately cost them the game against the 49ers.

Buccaneers vs. Lions (Lions 27 – 10) 

The Detroit Lions, after a 32-year playoff drought, won their first playoff game and I believe they will win their second against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their defense, despite letting up 23 points, managed to hold one of the league’s best red zone offenses to three field goals, showcasing their defensive strength. Detroit’s offense also performed well, but regardless of their performance this Sunday, their defense will be the key to their NFC Championship aspirations.

The Buccaneers demolished the Eagles on Monday night, but I don’t think they will be able to replicate that success against the Lions. While Tampa Bay had no significant injuries from the game, Detroit’s defense is a different beast from the Eagles’. Two of Tampa Bay’s three touchdowns came on slant routes that the Eagles failed to defend against, due in part to missed tackles. The Lions’ defense is known for being sound and disciplined, and I expect them to make fewer mistakes than the Eagles did.

Bills vs. Chiefs (Bills 30-27)

The Buffalo Bills defeated the Kansas City Chiefs earlier in the season, igniting their hopes of clinching a playoff spot. Not only did they make the playoffs, but they secured the second seed in the AFC, giving them home field advantage over the Chiefs. The Bills have all the momentum going into this game, and I expect them to continue playing at their high level.

The Chiefs have scraped through to the divisional round, but it hasn’t been a smooth ride since their earlier loss to the Bills. Patrick Mahomes has been a consistent force, but Travis Kelce’s underwhelming performances could be a weak spot in this game. If the Chiefs are to have any hope of winning, they will need Kelce to have a standout performance.

About the Contributor
Patrick Masterson, Staff Writer
Patrick Masterson is a varsity lacrosse player. Patrick also enjoys watching the Baltimore Ravens, Louisville Cardinals and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He is also a Star Wars advocate, and his favorite movie in the series is "Revenge of the Sith". Another interesting milestone about him is that he is notoriously known for catching the biggest bass at Sawmill Lake in Indiana.
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