Grant Cohn: Which NFL teams will win this weekend

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What do you do every year the 49ers don’t make the playoffs?

You watch the playoffs anyway. You predict which teams will win each weekend. And you root for yourself to be right. It’s a fun game.

Last weekend, I picked the Colts, Cowboys, Eagles and Ravens to win their playoff games and each team won except the Ravens. Which means I predicted 75 percent of the games correctly. Made my weekend. Let’s see if I can do better.

Here are my picks for the divisional round:

Saturday, 1:35 p.m.: Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs have the No. 1 offense in the NFL, a young quarterback (Patrick Mahomes) who threw 50 touchdown passes this season and may win the MVP award, plus an extra week to prepare than the Colts. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has a career record of 20-4 after a bye week, including playoff games.

But,Reid’s post-bye-week record since joining the Chiefs in 2013 is merely 4-3. And the Chiefs had a first-round playoff bye two years ago, and still lost at home the following week to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Reid’s playoff record with the Chiefs is just 1-4.

Historically, he loses big games. This season, the Chiefs were 2-4 against playoff teams.

The Colts aren’t just a playoff team — they’re the hottest team in the league. They have won 10 of their past 11 games, and they have Andrew Luck, who may be the best quarterback in the AFC. He finally seems confident in his throwing shoulder after missing all of 2017 with a posterior labrum tear.

The Colts also have a defense that has allowed just 15.5 points per game since Week 7, and a rushing attack that has averaged a whopping 129 rushing yards per game during that time. They’re a complete team.

The Chiefs are not complete. Their defense has given up 26.3 points per game (ninth worst in the NFL), because it struggles defending the run. It has given up five yards per carry, second worst in the NFL.

The Colts will run the ball at will on Saturday — they may have the league’s best offensive line. And they have a running back, Marlon Mack, who runs over defenders like a Mack truck.

And they have a head coach, Frank Reich, who has won big games in the NFL as a head coach, an offensive coordinator and a quarterback.

I pick the Colts.

Saturday, 5:15 p.m.: Dallas Cowboys at LA Rams.

Only one team has a worse run defense than the Chiefs, and that’s the Rams. They have given up 5.1 yards per carry this season. On Saturday, they will face Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who led the league in rushing this season. He will play well.

But the rest of the Cowboys’ offense may not. The Cowboys have scored just 17.4 points per game on the road this season and their road record is 3-5. Meanwhile, the Rams have scored have 37.1 points per game at LA Memorial Coliseum and their home record is 7-1.

The Cowboys simply may not have enough offense to win.

Cowboys third-year quarterback Dak Prescott plays well in Dallas, but on the road this season he has thrown eight touchdown passes, five interceptions, and his quarterback rating is just 85.6. Nothing special.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff’s home passer rating is 116.7. And Rams running back Todd Gurley is fresh. Hasn’t played since Week 15.

I pick the Rams.

Sunday, 10:05 a.m.: LA Chargers at New England Patriots.

The Patriots were undefeated at home during the regular season and have won four straight playoff games in Foxboro.

The Chargers must fly across the country and play an early game for the second weekend in a row. Doesn’t seem fair.

But the Chargers are tough. Their record this season is 8-0 when they’ve had to fly. And they’ve won serious road games against serious teams, such as the Ravens, Steelers, Chiefs and Seahawks.

The Chargers are better on the road than at home.

And they’re better than the Patriots. Flat out. The Chargers were 12-4 during the regular season — the Patriots were 11-5. But the Patriots will host this game because they finished first in the weak AFC East, while the Chargers finished second in the difficult AFC West.

Quarterback Philip Rivers is better than Tom Brady right now. Rivers is 37, and his passer rating on the road this season is 104.7. Brady is 41, and his passer rating at home this season is 101.

The Chargers also have a strong running game that averages 4.8 yards per carry on the road.

The Patriots’ defense has given up 4.7 yards per carry at home. And it has recorded just 30 sacks total during the regular season — tied for second fewest in the league. The Patriots are more vulnerable now than they’ve ever been with Brady and Bill Belichick.

I pick the Chargers.

Sunday, 1:40 p.m.: New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is 4-1 in the playoffs, and his career postseason passer rating is 105.2. Phenomenal. The Eagles always play better with him than with Carson Wentz, the injured starter.

Last season, Foles pulled off the greatest upset in Super Bowl history by beating the Patriots. And last weekend, he pulled off another giant upset by beating the Bears, who were 5½-point favorites. They had a historically great defense.

But the Bears’ offense wasn’t dangerous. It scored only 15 points against the Eagles. Now, the Eagles have to face the Saints, whose offense is extremely dangerous. It averages 34.1 points per game at home. The Eagles haven’t scored more than 34 points in any game this season.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ passer rating is 133.2 at home. On Nov. 18, he played the Eagles in New Orleans and threw four touchdown passes and posted a quarterback rating of 153.2. A perfect rating is 158.3.

The Saints won 48-7.

Granted, Foles didn’t play. Wentz was the Eagles quarterback and he threw three picks. Foles should perform better this Sunday. But he won’t play better than Brees. Brees may be the best quarterback in the world, and he’s having the best season of his career.

I pick the Saints.

Now, I’m a Saints fan and a Colts fan and a Rams fan and a Chargers fan until the end of the weekend. Those are the rules.

Grant Cohn covers the 49ers and Bay Area sports for The Press Democrat and in Santa Rosa. You can reach him at

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