The Chant predicts the NFL playoffs: Who moves on?

Emmett Schindler and Michael Smith

After the wild card round of the NFL playoffs consisted of no upsets, the best teams can play the expected outcomes, with the number one seed playing number four and the number two seed playing number three. These games generate high expectations in excitement with all eight teams eager to reach the Super Bowl.


#4 Houston Texans vs #1 New England Patriots

The Texans, coming off an impressive win against Oakland, want to come into Foxborough and show the Patriots they came to play. Obviously, the Patriots have different plans. New England leads the all-time series against Houston, winning six out of the seven  times they met, as well as beating them earlier this season 27-0 without Tom Brady. If the Texans even want to make a dent in this game, they need to get to Brady early, not giving him the ability to get off his quick passes. Also, Brock Osweiler’s performance this year has yet to match his contract, so he needs to step up as a leader to move on to the next round. The Patriots can put this one away easy and early if they continue to play like the rest of the season. Look for them to utilize halfbacks Legarrette Blount and Dion Lewis early in the game to get the ball flowing in the run game. In the end this should culminate in another Patriot’s domination.

PREDICTION: New England: 31, Houston: 13

#3 Pittsburgh Steelers vs #2 Kansas City Chiefs

While Pittsburgh dealt with the Dolphins on Sunday, Kansas City earned the chance to relax and wait a round to see their first opponent. The Chiefs impressed this season, winning one of the toughest divisions in the NFL with a squad mixed with veterans and young elite. Their defense stood among one of the best in the league, scoring eight times alongside the special teams and tying for the NFL lead in turnover margin, with an explosive offense that can let loose at any moment. Despite all this, the Steelers pose a major threat with a better offense than the Chief’s. With the top running back and arguably the top receiver in the league in Le’veon Bell and Antonio Brown, Kansas City will have their hands full trying to cover the Steelers’ stars. Earlier in the season, these two teams faced off in Pittsburgh, with the Steelers easily taking the win, 43-14. This came as a surprise to every NFL fan as no one expected a blowout. Since Kansas City gets to host the playoff matchup, expect a much closer game, but the same outcome. The Chiefs simply do not have the firepower to take out the Steeler offense or put up enough points to hang in there. Pittsburgh looks to move one game closer for their attempt at their seventh Super Bowl.

PREDICTION: Pittsburgh: 24, Kansas City: 14


#4 Green Bay Packers vs. #1 Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay enters the game on a seven game win streak, running the last six games of the season to win the division and thrashing the Giants 38-13 in the Wild Card round. Dallas, on the other hand, rolled through most of the regular season behind one of the most dominant offensive lines in football history, a spectacular rookie running back, a god send of a fourth round rookie quarterback, and a defense that consistently excelled under Monte Kiffin the last couple years and can pin back its ears and eat up opposing offensive lines in passing situations. The Cowboys, after dropping their first contest against the Giants in week one, exploded and ripped off 11 wins, scoring in the high twenties and thirties and rarely giving up more than two touchdowns. Dak Prescott, the team’s rookie quarterback, secured his role as the future of the franchise; rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott put up 1500 yards and led the league in rushing almost out the gate. The two earned Pro Bowl nods even on a down season for super star receiver Dez Bryant. The Packers, in contradiction, looked out of the playoffs after a five game losing streak that pushed many to question Aaron Rodgers and his spotty play and head coach Mike McCarthy’s ability, especially after getting stopped 47-25 by an abysmal Tennessee Titans team. However, the team exploded through the rest of the season, ripping off six straight and yanking the NFC North from the Lions in week 17.

PREDICTION: Green Bay: 28, Dallas: 17

#3 Seattle Seahawks vs. #2 Atlanta Falcons

This matchup pits one of the league’s most experienced playoff and best defenses against a high flying offense, young defense, and a coach and team with almost no playoff experience. Sports fans know how this one ends: the Seahawks have a top five quarterback, one of the league’s best corners, and despite the loss of hall of fame safety Earl Thomas, the front seven, plus strong safety Kam Chancellor, can match any team in the league. The Falcon’s defense adapted to the loss of top corner Desmond Trufant, but this young group of defensive backs will have their hands full dealing with Tyler Lockett, Jimmy Graham, and Doug Baldwin and an aggressive running game. This Falcons defense will deal with more of a threat than many credit the five point underdog Seahawks with, but this could easily turn into a shootout, especially with the vertical speed the Falcons receivers present and the absence of Seattle’s deep ball eraser. Although Seattle has struggled on the road this season, plenty of opponents present more of a challenge for visitors than the Dome.

PREDICTION: Seattle: 32, Atlanta: 24