The NFL playoffs are in full swing, and as I write this column, the College Football Playoff National Championship is hours away from kickoff.
It’s always fun to predict how things will turn out in the sports world, and football is always a heated debate on where the wins will fall.
Getting things started, even though by time this makes it to print the game will be over, I am picking Alabama over Clemson to win the CFP National Championship. If I had to pick a score, I would go 27-24.
Clemson has a great offense with the best player in college football, quarterback Deshaun Watson, but I think Alabama falls in an early hole before taking control of the game by the end of the first half.
Alabama’s running attack wears down Clemson by the second half and the Crimson Tide’s defense forces Watson into enough empty possessions to gain separation and hold on for the win.
I will say this, If there ever were a year to go against the Tide, this might be it. Watson and Clemson’s offense are good enough to beat any team in the NCAA, but I just can’t seem to pick against Nick Saban. Just not where the smart money is.
As for the NFL playoffs, there are a few interesting matchups to watch for in the divisional round this weekend.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ and Pittsburg Steelers’ matchup highlights the AFC’s games, with the New England Patriots squaring off against the Houston Texans.
In the NFC, perhaps the best matchup to this point of the playoffs will be the Dallas Cowboys taking on the Green Bay Packers, with the Seattle Seahawks battling it out with the Atlanta Falcons in the other game.
Starting locally, the Chiefs will have their hands full in hosting the Steelers. I am giving the offensive edge to Pittsburg, with the trio of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown near the top of the list in terms of productivity at their respective positions.
Defensively, despite several injuries, I think the Chiefs head into the matchup with a much better group, which may not be as intimidating as in years past, but is still capable of forcing turnovers and getting stops against really good opposing offenses.
If Kansas City is going to win, success taking shots down field while on offense is a must. The Steelers’ offense is too explosive both running and throwing for the Chiefs to dink and dunk and expect to win. Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill need to be involved early and often. Kansas City - 20, Pittsburg - 17.
I think the Patriots roll over the Texans, with Tom Brady lighting up his former offensive coordinator’s team. Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler is bad, and the Pats are probably the most-complete team in the AFC. New England - 24, Houston - 10.
In the NFC, Aaron Rodgers has been playing like an MVP over the Packers’ seven-game winning streak dating back to Nov. 28. Seeing him back to form has me thinking the Cowboys are in for a world of hurt.
Dallas has had plenty of success this season as the top seed, but the playoffs are an entirely new atmosphere. Leaning on a pair of rookies, quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, is a gamble I don’t think will pay off. Green Bay - 24, Dallas - 14.
My favorite pick for the week is taking Atlanta over Seattle. The Seahawks have the pedigree, but I think this is the year Falcon quarterback Matt Ryan breaks through and gets his team deep into the playoffs. Atlanta - 20, Seattle - 19.
-- Lucas Davis is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @LDsportswriter.