KIAN’S CALLS: Playoff time in the NFL


GET READY: Workers prepared TFC Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for wild card game between Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks Jan.10.

Kian Marghzar, Staff Columnist

An NFL regular season full of injuries and questionable officiating is over and teams are ready for the playoffs, so I’m ready too! I will predict every game and elect a Super Bowl 50 champion. Here goes nothing:

Let’s start in the AFC. With both the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots getting the top two seeds, they’ll get the first week of the playoffs off and look to get healthy.

The 3rd-vs.-6th seed matchup is a contest between division rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers were cursed with injuries this season, as their starting running back Le’Veon Bell tore his MCL. The Bengals also lost a key player: Pro Bowl quarterback Andy Dalton.

The Call: Steelers edge out the Bengals in a close one. A.J. McCarron won’t be enough for the offensive firepower that is Big Ben and Antonio Brown.

The 4th-vs-5th seed game pits the Houston Texans against the Kansas City Chiefs. Winners of 10 in a row, the Chiefs are the hottest team in the NFL.

The Call: The Texans, winners of the weak AFC South division, may have home field advantage, but will get blown out by the hot Chiefs.

The Wild Card match-ups in the NFC are intriguing as well. The 3-6 game is the Minnesota Vikings vs. the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks never seemed to find a groove with Tight End Jimmy Graham, who they basically traded their entire offensive line for. The Vikings have somehow won their tough division behind Adrian Peterson, one of the top RB’s in the league.

The Call: Seahawks. Russell Wilson has been the best quarterback in the NFL in the past seven games: his passer rating is over 130 and has nearly 80 percent completion percentage on the third down! These are historic numbers that must be recognized, especially for a QB who lost both his starting and backup running backs. Marshawn Lynch is also expected to play, which is always a boost.

The 4-5 matchup looks to be ho-hum, the Washington Redskins against the Green Bay Packers. Washington won the poor NFC East, while the Packers had a strenuous season due to QB Aaron Rodgers having the worst season of his career.

The Call: Packers beat the Redskins because Rodgers is still Rodgers and Coach Mike McCarthy is in charge of play calling.

After the wild card games comes the Divisional round. In the AFC, the Broncos will face off against the Steelers. Denver has one of the league’s best defenses, and will slow down Pittsburgh in the Mile High city.

The Patriots will face the Chiefs in a game with a cold and hot team. Hobbled by injuries, the Patriots have lost four out of their last six games, and Alex Smith and the Chiefs will look to extend their win streak to 12 in this game.

The Call: Kansas City upsets the Patriots in Foxborough. The Patriots just have not been on their game lately, and will fall to the red-hot Chiefs.

In the NFC, the Carolina Panthers will face off against the Seahawks. The Panthers have won all but one of their regular season games, while Seattle has struggled throughout the season. This game will be a big matchup between the league’s top quarterbacks, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson.

The call: Seattle beats Carolina. The Panthers had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL, playing a total of three playoff teams as opposed to Seattle’s nine games against playoff-level teams.

The last game would be the Arizona Cardinals vs. the Packers. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has created a system for injury-prone QB Carson Palmer to shine into a Pro-Bowler, which is why Arizona will defeat the Packers.

The call: Arizona beats the Packers.

Semi-final Call: Conference match-ups will be the Chiefs against the Broncos. Whoever plays quarterback for the Broncos will defeat the outmatched Chiefs. Denver’s defensive all-stars and offensive tempo are too good. Also, Arizona will beat the Seahawks in the best non-Super Bowl game of the postseason.

Final Call: Super-Bowl: Cardinals 24, Broncos 17