NFL Weekly Predictions: Divisional

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional. Check out the odds for the Super Bowl 2020.

Minnesota @ San Francisco (-7)

The Vikings upset the Saints 26-20 in overtime in the Superdome, shattering the Super Bowl dreams of the home team. Dalvin Cook rushed for 2 scores, and Kirk Cousins was mistake-free in winning his first playoff game.

"Fittingly," Mike Zimmer said, "the game ended on a play in which no pass interference was called. I'm sure that's of no consolation to the Saints. Apparently, officials calling Saints playoff game would rather not be 'hands on,' even when players of the Saints opponents are.

"I've had my share of disappointment in this league, so I can certainly relate to the plight of the Saints. I mean, having your season end suddenly in the playoffs on a controversial call, two years straight, in the Superdome, no less? That's gotta really hit close to home.

"Kirk finally has that monkey off his back. 'What kind of monkey?' you may ask. Well, Kirk tells me it's a 'macaque,' and he says all the haters can suck it."

The 49ers host their first playoff game since 2012, a season that culminated in their Super Bowl XLVII loss to the Ravens.

"I'm looking to follow in my father's footsteps," Kyle Shanahan said. "No, I don't want to single-handedly destroy the Redskins franchise. I want to win multiple Super Bowls. And, if we beat the Ravens in the process, maybe I can also be like my father and shatter the dreams of Robert Griffin III.

"I can promise we're going to pressure Kirk Cousins like he's never been pressured. And there's two things he can do about it — nothing, and like it. And, just as a courtesy, we'll get his opinion, by asking, 'You like that?!'"

The Vikings strike first with an early field goal, but the 49ers take the lead on a long TD screen pass to Raheem Mostert. The San Fran pass rush gets to Cousins late, and Richard Sherman seals the victory with a pick-6. He is then interviewed on the field after the game by former 49er Michael Crabtree, and Sherman vociferously questions the talent of Erin Andrews.

San Francisco wins, 27-16.

Tennessee @ Baltimore (-8½)

The Titans upset the Patriots 20-13 in Foxboro, led by Derrick Henry, who rushed for 182 yards and a touchdown.

"Derrick is a load," Mike Vrable said. "Call him the 'Motherload,' because he's the mother of all loads. For opposing defenses, stopping Derrick is an uphill battle, because he's always running downhill.

"Could that have been Tom Brady's last game? I'm sure Tom was thinking, 'It wasn't supposed to end like this.' Now, if he's looking for a better ending, he should tag along with Robert Kraft on his next trip to the Orchids of Asia spa. Kraft's last 'ring' might be a human trafficking one.

"As for the Ravens, we know we have to find a way to stop Lamar Jackson. He can run and he can pass. Ask any of those teams that passed on him in the 2018 Draft. They'll tell you they'd give an arm and a leg for Lamar's arm and leg."

The top-seeded Ravens host the Titans with designs on reaching the AFC title game for the first time since the 2012 season.

"We won the Super Bowl that season," John Harbaugh said. "That was back when Joe Flacco was 'elite,' or at least was for three playoff games.

"If we lose to the No. 6 seed, it would be disastrous. I'm not sure what could be worse for this franchise. Maybe if some bloody clothes covered in deer antler spray were found in an elevator at the Cobalt Lounge in Atlanta, that would probably be worse. Or, if we signed Antonio Brown to run our social media platforms.

"Our first order of business is stopping Derrick Henry. Do we fear anything about Henry? Only the price he'll command on the open market.

"But we figure he'll get his yards one way or another. Heck, we'll give him 182 yards, if it means the Titans score only 2 offensive TDs, like they did in New England. In other words, we're going to dare Ryan Tannehill to beat us."

Ravens win, 24-20.

Houston @ Kansas City (-9½)

The Texans stormed back from a 16-0 second half deficit to shock the Bills 22-19 in overtime. Deshaun Watson passed for 247 yards and a touchdown and also added a rushing score.

"Deshaun made some huge plays," Bill O'Brien said. "None bigger than his 34-yard pass to Taiwan Jones after avoiding a sure sack. That play changed the course of the playoffs, and likely history. The magnitude of that play resonated from here to Taiwan.

"Don't think Deshaun's elusiveness is something that comes to him by accident. He works hard on it, every day, whether at practice or at home. In fact, every room in his house is an 'escape room.'

"We have our work cut out for us, in Arrowhead Stadium facing Patrick Mahomes. That place has been verified as the loudest stadium in the NFL. It's so loud, Paul Finebaum can't get within a mile of that place on game day."

The Patriots' Week 17 loss to Miami gifted the Chiefs a bye, and a win over the Texans would put Kansas City in the AFC championship game for the second consecutive year.

"We completed an undefeated record in the AFC West," Patrick Mahomes said. "And we outscored AFC West opponents 145-45. So, like Andy Reid in the 1973 'Punt, Pass, and Kick' competition, we dwarfed the competition.

"With the Patriots elimination, there's only one 'Cheetah' left in the playoffs, and that's Tyreek Hill. Tyreek can score from any point on the field. Trust me, we love to see him 'take it to the house,' and there's little that can stop him, except maybe restraining orders.

"We really wanted a rematch with the Patriots. We feel like we have the defense that could have stopped the Patriots offense this time. Of course, there are 30 other teams in the league that could make that same claim.

"But good luck to Tom Brady wherever he ends up next season. Tom said on Instagram that he still has 'more to prove.' That's just him being modest. Tom has nothing to prove. In fact, the last time he had anything to prove, it was his innocence in the 'Deflate-gate' scandal."

Chiefs win, 27-23.

Seattle @ Green Bay (-3½)

The Seahawks beat the Eagles 17-9 in Philadelphia, powered by the Russell Wilson to D.K. Metcalf connection. Wilson passed for 325 yards and a TD pass to Metcalf, who hauled in 7 passes for 160 yards.

"D.K. and Russell played great," Pete Carroll said, "but I'd like to 'target' Jadeveon Clowney for his efforts on defense. He made an impact, mostly on Carson Wentz's head. That's why we traded for Jadeveon — for his 'upside.'

"We plan to increase the workload of Marshawn Lynch. And he's all for it. Marshawn said he wants the ball at least 25 times. That's called 'carrying the load,' and that's something the Packers can certainly appreciate. You remember Eddie Lacy? 'Carrying the load' was keeping Eddie on the roster for those last two years."

The No. 2-seeded Packers are rested and ready after a bye earned with a 13-3 record.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd win 13 games in my first year," Matt Lafleur said. "And I've had some wild dreams, but nothing that would compare to those of Rex Ryan.

"Aaron Rodgers may be approaching the twilight of his career, but he's still got it. By 'it,' I mean 'one Super Bowl.'

"We'd like to congratulate former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy on getting the head coaching job in Dallas. I hear he stayed at Jerry Jones' house during the interview process. For anyone wondering, McCarty made it home all right. Some believe he may have even made it to third base. That wouldn't surprise me at all. The Cowboys haven't won a Super Bowl in 23 years; Jerry's been looking for anyone to fill his 'glory hole.' So, by the end of the night, Mike was probably 'all in.'

"But is McCarthy that much of an upgrade from Jason Garrett? Jerry must think so, because he even made Mike's bed; now Jerry has to sleep in it."

Seahawks win, 24-22.

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