Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots
The Chiefs extended their win streak to eleven games with a 30-0 victory over the Houston Texans in the first round of the playoffs last week. The Chiefs have shown a tremendous amount of consistency during their win streak. The defense has been stingy and quarterback Alex Smith has been very steady. The Patriots stumbled into the playoffs with two consecutive losses, and likely won’t be playing at full strength. While wide receiver Julian Edelman is expected to return after missing seven games with an injury, tight end Rob Gronkowski is dealing with knee and back injuries. However, with QB Tom Brady at the helm, the Patriots are always dangerous in the playoffs.
Pick: Patriots, 24, Chiefs, 20
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals
During their 35-18 victory over the Washington Redskins last week, the Packers were finally clicking. The Packers had a slow regular season, but QB Aaron Rodgers and co. appeared to be on the same page in the first round of the playoffs. The Cardinals have one of the league’s most well-rounded rosters and can win relying with heavy volume passing or rushing. QB Carson Palmer is one of the top signal callers in the league and has been fantastic throwing the deep ball all season. The defense is one of the top units in the league. In Week 16, the Cardinals defeated the Packers 38-8.
Pick: Cardinals, 30, Packers, 21
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers
This game features two of the top young quarterbacks in the league: Russell Wilson and Cam Newton. Wilson has been on a tear recently, but is facing an elite defense. Newton and the Panthers went 15-1 in the regular season and are the #1 seed in the NFC. When these two teams colliding in Week 6, the Panthers won 27-20.
Picks: Panthers, 27, Seahawks, 20
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
The Steelers are banged up following their 18-16 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Star WR Antonio Brown and running back DeAngelo Williams have already been ruled out and QB Ben Roethlisberger is questionable. Meanwhile, the Broncos played very well with QB Peyton Manning back in Week 17, had a bye week, and have home-field advantage.
Pick: Broncos, 27, Steelers, 13