NFL Weekly Predictions: Divisional

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Indianapolis @ Kansas City (-5½)

The Colts raced to a quick lead at Houston and beat the Texans, 21-7, to advance to the divisional round at Kansas City. Andrew Luck passed for 2 touchdowns and the Colts defense stifled Deshaun Watson.

"I thought we dominated both lines of scrimmage," Frank Reich said. "Our offensive line kept J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney off of Luck, and our defensive line did the same thing that Houston's offensive line did — made Watson fear for his life. Somewhere, David Carr is remembering fondly how good he had it.

"Colts owner Jim Irsay had some kind words to say about us after the game. Of course, it sounded like the ramblings of a madman. Jim on a soap box is almost as bad as Jim on painkillers.

"In other news, T.Y. Hilton won't be wearing a clown mask to Arrowhead Stadium. Let's face it, there's no room for clowns on football teams, or so say the Steelers."

The Chiefs will ride the arm of Patrick Mahomes and the leadership and innovation of Andy Reid, who looks to win the Super Bowl in his 14th playoffs as a head coach.

"I know my playoff failures get more attention than my playoff successes," Reid said. "But don't forget, I took the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl in 2004. I think Patrick can take me one step further with his arm. I'm so looking forward to him being one of the two quarterbacks that I've seen 'hurl' in the Super Bowl.

"Patrick is a generational talent. I'd been looking for a quarterback like him for my entire career. By golly, it took way too long to find him. And that's the only 'wait' problem I'll acknowledge.

"Patrick's arm strength is second to none. But let's not discount his accuracy. He completed 66% of his passes in the regular season. And I expect him to be even more accurate in the playoffs. I predict Patrick's precision will be surgical, and I expect removal to be surgical as well, of this bothersome growth on my back. People tell me it's a monkey."

With the Chiefs geared up to stop the Colts run attack, Indy surprises them by rushing down the field thanks to a precise, short passing game. Two Adam Vinatieri field goals give the Colts a 6-0 lead, and they maintain the lead well into the second half. But Mahomes jump starts the Chiefs running game with several long scrambles, then leaves everyone speechless when he hits Travis Kelce with a behind-the-back touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, giving K.C. a 1-point lead.

But Luck drives the Colts into field goal range, and Vinatieri nails a 52-yard field goal as time expired. Colts win, 26-24.

In a post-game interview, Luck utters the words "fudge," "son of a biscuit," "shoot," "gosh darned," and "sufferin' succotash" before sheepishly apologizing.

Dallas @ Los Angeles Rams (-7)

The Cowboys rode the heroics of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper to a 24-22 win over the visiting Seahawks. It was just the second playoff win of Jason Garrett's nine-year head coaching career.

"My coaching record speaks for itself," Garrett said. "But it has the quietest voice of all coaching records, and it whispers in Jerry Jones' ear 24 hours a day. I'll say this: I'm undefeated in games in which I had to win to keep my job.

"Dak, Ezekiel, and Amari carried us. We call those guys the 'Big Three.' In the Cowboys glory days of the 1990s, the 'Big Three' was Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin. Incidentally, Irvin's personal 'Big Three' were his sexual assault allegations. On the other side, the Rams have the 'Big III.' That would be Todd Gurley III. Gurley can do it all — run, catch passes, pick up blitzes. He's truly a 'III-down back.' For us to have any chance to win, we need to make sure Gurley is a 'III-yards per carry back.'

"We're confident our offense can move the ball on the Rams defense. The Rams have what we call a 'suspect defense.' Of course, a 'suspect defense' in Dallas means something entirely different. It means you have a defense consisting of several suspects in various crimes. Luckily, Jerry Jones doesn't need a lawyer to plead ignorance."

The Rams are looking to take the next step in the playoffs after an early exit last year. Sean McVay knows the Rams need solid play on both sides of the ball to be successful against a dangerous Dallas unit.

"Our offense needs to be clicking," McVay said. "We like to call our offense the 'Greatest Show on Turf.' Unfortunately, the teams we play consider their own offenses the 'Greatest Show On Turf' when they go against our defense.

"Luckily, our defense features Aaron Donald. He's the best interior defensive lineman in football, bar none. When he's described as a 'man among boys,' they're not talking among his peers, they're talking on his own defense. But Wade Phillips gets upset when you criticize his defense. When Wade gets upset, he gets 'Bummed,' which means he spiritually contacts his late father Bum, likely by utilizing some Tom Brady/Alex Guerrero witchcraft, and discovers a simple adjustment to the game plan that eases his mind."

The Cowboys have the offensive line to run on the Rams, and they do successfully, but the Rams counter by flooding the Dallas defense with crossing patterns, which opens up room for Gurley later.

Rams win, 29-24.

Los Angeles Chargers @ New England (-4)

The Chargers defense came out swinging at Baltimore, shutting out the Ravens in the first half on the way to a 23-17 win. L.A. sacked Lamar Jackson 7 times and forced 3 turnovers, while Philip Rivers guided the offense to a seven-minute advantage in time of possession.

"Gus Bradley devised a fantastic game plan," Rivers said. "He put 7 defensive backs on the field to keep Jackson in check. For the life of me, I can't think of another team ever employing as many 'spies' to help them win a game.

"Anyway, Gus hasn't made a quarterback look that clueless since his days as head coach in Jacksonville. But our defense doesn't deserve all the credit. Kudos to the Baltimore offense, for refusing to diverge from a game plan that was clearly not working. It seems that 'Marty-Ball' is back. And still unsuccessful."

The Patriots are in the divisional round for the ninth consecutive year and look to advance to their eighth-straight conference championship game.

"We're three steps away from our sixth Super Bowl championship," Tom Brady said. "That's 9 more steps away than Josh Gordon is to sobriety.

"We're very confident after a bye week. We've all had an extra week to get healthier for the stretch run. Now, we may not be totally healthy, but players for this franchise have historically proven that they can perform at their best, even when injured. Aches, pains, pulled muscles, broken bones; the pain from those won't stop a Patriot from displaying his fortitude. We call that phenomenon 'Throbbing manhood,' and it's was first made fashionable by Zeke Mowatt back in 1990.

"I look forward to challenging Philip Rivers, but only on the field, and certainly not in a battle of sperm count. He's giving Antonio Cromartie a run for his money. Like Cromartie, Philip has to count his children on three hands. Unlike Cromartie, he can count their mothers on one finger.

"Rivers' played in the 2007 AFC title game with a torn ACL. Everyone is aware of his resolve, but his grit is matched by his competitiveness. Philip loves to talk trash. In short, everyone has one of two opinions of Rivers. Either you think he's a tough son of a bitch, or just a son of a bitch."

Chargers win, 25-23.

Philadelphia @ New Orleans (-8)

The Eagles upset the Bears at Soldier Field, taking the lead on Nick Foles' 2-yard TD pass to Golden Tate with 56 seconds left, then surviving a last-second field goal miss by Chicago.

"While Eagles fan are ecstatic," Doug Pederson said, "Chicago natives are depressed. Most are blue. R. Kelly? He's yellow.

"Nick is at it again. He's feeling it. He's in the zone. He's in a groove. Most importantly, he's in the lineup. We've got a saying in Philadelphia. It goes like this: 'Nick Foles is trustworthy.' Carson Wentz is truss-worthy.'

"We knew we were underdogs against the Bears. I even heard our win probability before the game was roughly the same as the Chicago murder rate. In the end, Bears kicker Cody Parkey almost became a statistic."

The Saints are well-rested as the Eagles come to town, looking to avenge a 48-7 loss at the Superdome in Week 11.

"We won big," Sean Payton said, "and it was easy. Thus, the 'Big Easy.' I hear the city of Philadelphia is preparing for a possible divisional round celebration by lubing up light poles. Thus, the 'Big Greasy.'

"We certainly know the Eagles are motivated. And what's a better motivational factor than vengeance? How does the saying go? 'Revenge is a dish best served at a climate-controlled temperature?' Of course not. Anyway, we're confident we can manage Foles and the Philly offense. If we can't stop them cold, we can certainly stop them at room temperature.

"We're not looking past the Eagles, but anything less than a Super Bowl win will be a disappointment. Our Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XLIV was the greatest moment in Saints history. But there have been other memorable moments. That's why, to commemorate those other moments, I'm offering a $5,000 bounty to anyone who can bring me the other half of Tom Dempsey's right foot."

Saints win, 30-24.

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