Superman > Dab. (Photo Credit: Getty Images / Otto Greule Jr)

 
This weekend’s playoff matchups are pretty amazing. Every game is intriguing, and every team is worthy of SBL. Sidenote: I really wish the NCAA would instill a 16-team playoff (at least 8 teams). I still can’t understand why they haven’t figured it out. Four teams voted into a BS bracket is not a “playoff”. If human votes can eliminate a team that is top-10 worthy, then it’s a flawed system — plain & simple. This is why NFL is boss, and always will be. Anyway… on to the Divisional games.

The NFL Divisional Playoffs start at 4:35pm on Saturday with the Chiefs @ Patriots, followed by the Packers @ Cardinals (8:15pm). The Sunday games are Seahawks @ Panthers (1:15pm), followed by the Steelers @ Broncos (4:40pm). Buckle up, buckaroos.

 

DIVISIONAL ROUND:

Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots (-5)
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Over/Under: 42.5
Temperature: 45°
Wind: 7-12 mph
 
 
 
We all know that Kansas City hasn’t lost a game since Week 6, at which point they were 1-5 and seemingly dead in the water. Before we talk about their hot streak, lets take a look at those 5 losses:
31-24 vs Denver (home), 38-28 vs GB (away), 36-21 v Cincy (away), 18-17 vs Chicago (home), and 16-10 vs Minnesota (away). Three bad L’s in that group: Chicago, Green Bay, Cincy. That said, Green Bay & Cincy ARE tough road games. Losing to the Bears at home, however, was inexcusable. Denver (7pt loss) is an upper-tier team, and Minnesota (6pt loss) is a tough road game. All in all, a very respectable 1-5 … if that’s possible.

Now lets look at their performance during their 11-game win streak. The most impressive thing to me (besides not losing for 3 months) is — they’ve either won every game by a TD+, or they’ve CRUSHED. This isn’t a team that’ll be blown out or psyched out by Foxboro/Brady/Belichick (all of which are very intimidating in January). The Chiefs are a perfectly balanced wrecking ball, and the Patriots are going to have their hands full.

All that said, I think New England finds a way to eek this game out. I can’t see Brady pulling a one & done this year. He’s finally getting his guys back, and they’ve had time to rest & prepare. If it does rain, it will NOT favor the Patriots. So NE fans should hope for dry weather. With Maclin out, the Chiefs’ offense will be powered by 2 explosive RBs, and Kelce all day; with a smothering defense on the other side of the ball. The Patriots don’t have a running game. They’re all Gronk, WR slants, and RB screens (which are executed by the 2nd greatest QB of all time, but whatever). It’ll be close, so I love a KC cover here. If the Chiefs D-line puts steady pressure on Brady (4+ sacks and some knockdowns), I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chiefs pull off the upset.

Voodoo’s picks:
Against the spread: Kansas City +5
Straight up: New England
Over/Under: Over 42.5
 
Mike Procopio’s picks:
Against the spread: New England -5
Straight up: New England
Over/Under: Over 42.5

 

 

Green Bay Packers @ Arizona (-7)
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Over/Under: 50.5
Temperature: 60°
Wind: 3-8 mph
 
 
 
I have no idea what to make of these Packers. Through mid-October, they seemed to be destined for no less than a spot in the NFC Championship game. Fast-forward to this weekend, and many of us are surprised that they beat the goddamn Redskins. Rodgers misses Jordy Nelson more than any receiver he’s ever missed. Cobb has been disappointing as a quasi-#1. James Jones ran out of gas in Week 6. Davante Adams has been plagued by injury all year, and is likely out with a knee injury for this game. Eddie Lacy has been a major letdown.

How does this all add up? Will the Packers actually pull this one out? Unfortunately (for my very close Packer fans) — NO. Arizona should win this one without much drama. Green Bay might make it respectable (10-pt loss), but Arizona is already one of the toughest places to play. The Cardinals are explosive on every side of the ball, and I don’t see how the Packers can keep up. I do like the overs to hit, though. I’m feeling a 38-27 Cardinals win.

Fantasy Note: If the Packers have any shot of winning this game, they’ll need to run the hell out of James Starks, and throw about 10-15 screen passes to James Starks. He would be the equalizer in a monumental upset. If you’re playing in DraftKings/FanDuel, I’d start him in every format.

Voodoo’s picks:
Against the spread: Arizona -7
Straight up: Arizona
Over/Under: Over 50.5
 
Mike Procopio’s picks:
Against the spread: Green Bay +7
Straight up: Arizona
Over/Under: Under 50.5

 

Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers (-3)
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Over/Under: 44
Temperature: 43°
Wind: 7-12 mph
 
 
 
This is probably the most intriguing game of the weekend — it’s a complete coinflip. The Seahawks shouldn’t even be playing this week, which probably makes them even more dangerous. They find a way to feed upon their own strokes of luck, and it’s as perplexing as it is annoying. On top of that, they are simply built for playoff football. Take your pick: Russel Wilson, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman… they’re all winners. Wilson is the ultimate winner — even in his college days, he routinely willed his team to victory. I can’t think of many other QBs I’d rather have leading my team (sans the SB XLIX pick at the end of the game). That defense is so ruthless that nobody even needs to write about it anymore. So… on to Carolina.

The Panthers have had an amazing season. They flirted with perfection prior to laying an egg against the Falcons. It was probably a good thing that they lost that game, simply because they are a flawed team that wouldn’t have been able to handle the added pressure of continuing a perfect season. So score a positive for the Panthers. They pulled a few very impressive wins out of thin air this year, one of them being a game against the Seahawks — in Seattle — in Week 6. That was probably the most notable of their clutch victories. They know how to close, and THAT can’t be ignored.

As I said in the opener — this game is a coinflip. These teams are built very similarly: both have mobile QBs, clutch ability, fill-in-the-blank RBs, unexpectedly hot/streaky WRs, and very disruptive defenses. Carolina has the advantage at TE. Seattle has the advantage in playoff experience and thus, the mental edge. I expect a 20-17 type of game, with Seattle coming out on top. Can’t wait for this one.

Voodoo’s picks:
Against the spread: Seattle +3
Straight up: Seattle
Over/Under: Under 44
 
Mike Procopio’s picks:
Against the spread: Seattle +3
Straight up: Carolina
Over/Under: Over 44

 

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos (-7)
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Over/Under: 39
Temperature: 34°
Wind: 4-9mph
 
 
 
There are a few VERY important questions hanging over this game: Is Antonio Brown playing? How healthy is Big Ben? Is DeAngelo Williams coming back? Well… Antonio Brown is extremely doubtful to clear the concussion protocol in time for the Broncos game, so that’s a huge strike against the Steelers’ chances… Big Ben would never sit — he’s a tough SOB. So yes, he’ll play… As far as DeAngelo goes, he’s 50/50.

Even if Big Ben plays, it won’t matter. The Steelers have lost too many playmakers to make a dent in that stout Denver D. If Antonio Brown & DeAngelo miss the game as expected, the Steelers will almost solely rely on Martavis Bryant. He has the size, speed, and strength to dominate a game, but can he crack that D by himself? Quite the stretch. If their key guys sit, you’re looking at an easy Denver win. And the Broncos should feel fortunate, because that Steelers offense is relentless when they’re healthy. The Steelers D is pretty ordinary, so the Broncos will be able to move the ball pretty easily, and put up some points. Bottom line: This is a tuneup for the Broncos’ AFC Championship game.

Voodoo’s picks:
Against the spread: Denver -7
Straight up: Denver
Over/Under: Under 39
 
Mike Procopio’s picks:
Against the spread: Pittsburgh +7
Straight up: Denver
Over/Under: Under 39

 
 
POSTSEASON RECORD:
Voodoo Brown:
Straight Up: 3-1
Against the Spread: 0-4
Over/Under: 3-1

Mike Procopio:
Straight Up: 4-0
Against the Spread: 3-1
Over/Under: 2-2

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Voodoo Brown
Voodoo Brown started playing fantasy football way back in 1994 — when you had to manually add up scores with the Monday edition of USA Today (yes, that’s how it was done). Since that time, he has amassed 16 championships and 7 runner-ups, with most of his success coming after 2003 (avg. participation of 2-3 leagues per year). These accomplishments are evidence that Voodoo steadily adjusts to the ebbs & flows of the ever-changing fantasy landscape. It’s a different game now than it was in 1994 — hell, even 2004. Rarely finishing as a doormat, Voodoo’s teams are always in the mix. If you want any roster or lineup feedback, you can message him at vb@voodoobrown.com, or hit him up on Facebook or Twitter (@VoodooBrown)

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