The playoffs are here! This weekend brings the first round of the playoff football our way with the Wild Card round taking center stage on Saturday and Sunday.
After clinching their playoff spots before the end of the regular season, both the Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans lost in Week 17 ahead of their matchup in Houston mid-Saturday afternoon. Their game is followed by the other AFC Wild Card game, as the New England Patriots find themselves in an unfamiliar place that is the Wild Card round. They host the Tennessee Titans.
On Sunday it is the turn of the AFC. A hopefully healthier Minnesota Vikings team face the task of travelling to New Orleans to take on the Saints, who slipped to the number three seed with the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers wins in Week 17. Meanwhile the 11-5 Seattle Seahawks will travel to face the 9-7 Philadelphia Eagles to try and set up a rematch with their division-rival 49ers.
Seeing that Madden lets you play real-life
matchups with up-to-date stats, ratings and rosters, let’s turn to the game to
predict the outcome of the Wild Card round.
Buffalo Bills @ Houston Texans
PAINFUL: The Texans' playoff struggles continue with a big loss at home to the Bills
This is perhaps one of the more difficult games to predict on account of the Texans inconsistency and the Bills’ track record against similarly good or better teams.
While the Texans offense was fairly consistent throughout the game, their defensive struggles reared their heads as they gave up a lot of points in bursts. The Texans managed to score a touchdown in every quarter, but in both the third and fourth quarter the defense couldn’t stop anything the Bills tried to do as they scored 21 points in each.
If Madden is correct, rookie running back
Devin Singletary is about to have a career game, with 111 yards and four
touchdowns on just 12 carries in a 45-28 Bills win.
Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots
SHOW GOES ON: The Pats' dynasty is over yet
For many, this game’s result may not seem in doubt. Despite their relative struggles in the regular season, the New England Patriots at home in the playoffs very rarely results in anything but a win, and the Titans won’t change that, right? Right. According to Madden at least.
Though the Titans are predicted to outgain the Patriots, and they don’t lose the turnover battle, they just couldn’t get in scoring position enough to make it count. Going into the fourth quarter tied at 14, the game was there for the taking, but it was the Pats who came through with two touchdowns, while blanking the Titans.
Since switching to Ryan Tannehill the Titans have been very good, but in their second playoff appearance since 2017, after a 10-year drought, they couldn’t get it done, again, on the road against the Pats.
Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints
BAYOU BEATDOWN: The Saints avenge their loss two years ago in Minnesota
At 13-3, Saints fans can be rightfully upset they don’t have a first round bye, but they can relish the opportunity to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs after the Minneapolis Miracle two years ago.
According to Madden they do just that. Convincingly. The scoring started early and never let up, while their defense shut down everything the Vikings tried to do. The Saints totaled 470 yards of offense while holding the Vikings to just 209 in their 35-10 win. Kirk Cousins couldn’t get anything going and Dalvin Cook never really had the chance to get going on the ground.
It was over before the game started and the
Vikings are left to start the new decade thinking of a painful playoff loss.
Seattle Seahawks @ Philadelphia Eagles
REMATCH: The Seahawks' win would mean a juicy rematch in the Divisional round
It is wrong that the 11-5 Seahawks have to
travel to the 9-7 Eagles for a playoff game, but such is playoff seeding that
the Seahawks are in a position to be upset. Thankfully for them, Madden doesn’t
think that is going to happen.
In fact, the game predicts Russell Wilson is going to have one of his games of the season, passing for 330 yards and five touchdowns on 24 of 27 passes. Meanwhile, the injury ravaged Eagles will manage to put up 24 points, but in reality struggle all game and perform mainly in garbage time, scoring 14 fourth quarter points.
This would be a loss fitting of the teams’ records, and would set up an excellent Divisional Round.
REMATCH: Fans will be treated to three incredible rematches from the regular season
If these results do turn out correct, the Bills will travel to Baltimore for a rematch with the Ravens; the 49ers will once again host the Seattle Seahawks in their third matchup of the season; the Chiefs will get an opportunity to beat the Patriots again, this time at Arrowhead Stadium; and the Saints will face a trip to Lambeau to square off against the Green Bay Packers.