Russell Wilson | Aaron Rodgers
© Joe Nicholson | 2018 Nov 15

Russell Wilson | Aaron Rodgers © Joe Nicholson | 2018 Nov 15 Content Exchange

Pro Football Weekly's divisional-round Handicappers Corner, with odds provided by BetIndiananews.


Hub Arkush:

The 49ers didn’t just fall into the NFC’s No. 1 seed, they’ve been the best team in the NFC pretty much from Day 1. The Vikings' win last Sunday in New Orleans was super impressive, but they’ve been inconsistent throughout the year. The one area in which Frisco struggles is stopping the run, so Dalvin Cook may be able to keep the Vikings in this one, but Minnesota’s offensive front is no match for the 49ers pass rush, and it won’t be at all surprising if the 49er ground game wreaks havoc on the Viking defense — if they can neutralize Linval Joseph and get to the second level. Though Kirk Cousins showed up last week, I trust Jimmy Garoppolo more, even if it his first postseason action. 49ers 23, Vikings 20

Arthur Arkush:

Super impressive victory by the Vikings in New Orleans, where Kirk Cousins exorcised his demons and Minnesota won its biggest individual matchups against a really good Saints team. But the Niners are every bit as good as Minnesota and New Orleans — and Kyle Shanahan just might be the difference. This time, Coach of the Year favorite Kyle Shanahan and the Niners’ defensive front — the best unit in this contest — will be too much for the Vikings. 49ers 24, Vikings 16


Hub Arkush:

I didn’t see the Titans getting here, but the warning signs around the Patriots were screaming and this isn’t the surprise the Vikings are. That said, the Ravens are the best team in the NFL right now, and while Derrick Henry may be the best antidote in the league to Lamar Jackson – feed Henry all night long and keep Jackson on the sidelines – I can’t see how the Titans’ ‘D’ handles Jackson when he is on the field. And if they over-commit to trying, Mark Ingram and/or Gus Edwards will make them pay. Give Mike Vrabel a ton of credit for knocking off his mentor and the G.O.A.T., but handling Belichick and John Harbaugh back-to-back is too much to ask. Ravens 34, Titans 23

Arthur Arkush:

Running matters in January, exhibit A. The stylistic contrasts between these two powerful run-first teams will be fun to see. Ultimately, I think Baltimore’s offense is the most difficult to prepare for — and defend — in football, and imagine doing so one week after preparing for Tom Brady and the lifeless Patriots. Tennessee just might have slayed a dynasty, but Lamar is the NFL’s biggest giant now, and he’ll secure playoff win No. 1 before his first MVP. Ravens 28, Titans 16


Hub Arkush:

Houston had 92 yards of total offense and trailed 16-0 with a little more than six minutes left in the third quarter before coming back to beat Buffalo. It was a hell of a comeback and super impressive, but if they try that formula in Kansas City, this one will be over at halftime. The Texans are clearly a better defense with J.J. Watt on the field — even if he’s only 80-85 percent, which is where he’s at — but that was good enough for Buffalo’s struggling offense. It won’t be for the Chiefs. The other big issue for Houston here is the Kansas City defense found something(s) somewhere around Week 10 or so and has been a different unit. They may not bring the heat Buffalo did with 7 sacks, but I do expect Frank Clark, Chris Jones and Co. to have their way with that leaky Texans front. Chiefs may put this one away early. Chiefs 34, Texans 20

Arthur Arkush:

Our best wishes go out to Bears fans everywhere forced to live their worst nightmare all over again. If it makes them feel any better, at least the other 2017 first-round quarterback their team reportedly fancied a couple years ago will be the first to host a conference title game? In all seriousness, any concerns we may have over a Chiefs offense that’s lost a bit of potency of late are offset by the strides of their playmaking ‘D.’ Chiefs 28, Texans 20


Hub Arkush:

This is the only one this weekend that’s a coin toss for me. The Packers absolutely earned the second seed, but I don’t think there’s any way they’re one of the four best teams in the NFL. On the other hand, the Seahawks were winning games with mirrors a good part of the season before losing Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny went down, leaving the cupboard bare at running back and dropping three of their last four entering the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, Davante Adams and Kenny Clark are each capable of taking this game over for the Packers, and Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, Jadeveon Clowney and Booby Wagner can do the same for the ‘Hawks. Whoever emerges from that group will dictate the winner, and in Lambeau my gut tells me Rodgers will be the one who takes over in the closing moments. Packers 24, Seahawks 23

Arthur Arkush:

I hate to be so chalky this weekend, and there are few good reasons to expect that the old Aaron Rodgers is reappearing Sunday night at Lambeau, yet even the notion it could happen adds a bit of juice for the Packers. What’s been so impressive about is how they haven’t needed the old Rodgers, and the way Za’Darius Smith, Kenny Clark and their offensive line are playing up front right now, I trust his supporting cast at home now more than Wilson’s. Packers 24, Seahawks 21


Hub Arkush: 0-4 / 0-4

Arthur Arkush: 2-2 / 2-2

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