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2019 NFL playoff predictions: Which teams definitely, absolutely, without a doubt will survive wild card weekend

Who will advance? We know... at least that’s what we think.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

[UPDATE: We were up and down with our picks yesterday, let’s see if our predictions work better on Sunday]

The 2018 NFL playoffs are finally upon us! And even though the New England Patriots will not yet enter the tournament courtesy of their second seed in the AFC, they and their fans will still keep a close eye on the next two days worth of action. All in all, four games will be played during the NFL’s wild card round...

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys

Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens

Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

...and we are here to tell you which teams will advance. Without a doubt. Book it. We are 100% confident in our choices — although we are not all on the same page as you can see. Anyway, here are the Pats Pulpit picks for this weekend’s slate of games:

Pats Pulpit playoff predictions

Game Bernd Rich Alec Marima Brian Oliver Matt Michael Doug Ryan K. Ryan S. Pat Chris Consensus
Game Bernd Rich Alec Marima Brian Oliver Matt Michael Doug Ryan K. Ryan S. Pat Chris Consensus
Colts at Texans Colts Texans Texans Texans Colts Texans Texans Texans Colts Texans Texans Colts Texans Texans (9:4)
Seahawks at Cowboys Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Cowboys Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks (12:1)
Chargers at Ravens Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers Ravens Chargers Chargers Ravens Ravens Chargers Ravens Chargers Chargers Chargers (9:4)
Eagles at Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears Eagles Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears Eagles Bears Eagles Bears (10:3)

According to our picks, the wild card round winners will be the Texans, Chargers, Seahawks — with the biggest margin of victory — and Bears. If this were to happen, New England would host Houston, a familiar opponent and one that was already beaten earlier this season, in the AFC’s divisional round next week.

But what is the rationale behind those picks? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Colts at Texans

Bernd Buchmasser: While the Texans play at home and field one of the NFL’s best defenses, Andrew Luck and company will come into the game as one of the league’s hottest team’s at the moment. The most interesting battle to watch, and the one potentially deciding the contest, might be the one between Houston’s offense and Indianapolis’ emerging defense. I’m siding with the latter to win it.

Rich Hill: Texans win at home in a nailbiter.

Alec Shane: I see this one coming down to the wire, and if it was in Indy, I’d pick the Colts here. But the Houston D will do just enough to stymie Luck and company to send the Texans to New England for yet another Divisional Round showdown.

Brian Phillips: Better OL: IND. Better DL: HOU. Better QB: IND. Pick: Colts.

Oliver Thomas: Texans — Both great stories with Comeback Player of The Year candidates under center and Coach of the Year candidates on the sideline. It’s a former Patriots bowl, as well.

Matthew Rewinski: Giant asteroid. JK. Houston, I guess? Indy has the edge in offensive DVOA, Houston has the edge in defensive DVOA (shocking, I know), if Houston can take care of the ball (big IF for Deshaun Watson, I know) and get a couple gamebreakers on defense (not quite as big an “if”), they should be able to slug this one out the way they want, not the other way around.

Doug Moore: While the Texans have been impressive and have been on quite the tear since their early season struggles, the Colts have been as equally (if not more) impressive. After starting 1-5 in their first six games, they finished the season going 9-1. Their offensive line has given up the least amount of sacks in the NFL and their defensive has vastly improved under first-year defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Even though they are the away team, the Colts carry a lot of momentum coming into this game and I believe they pull off the upset in Houston.

Ryan Keiran: Houston has the superior talent.

Ryan Spagnoli: Texans in overtime, 27-24.

Seahawks at Cowboys

Bernd Buchmasser: The Cowboys are playing at home and have a solid defense, but they barely survived in a mediocre NFC East and probably don’t have the offensive firepower to survive long in the postseason. Going against a Seahawks team that has run the ball well and plenty of big-game experience in its ranks, Dallas’ run will find an end this weekend.

Rich Hill: Seahawks win comfortably against Dallas.

Alec Shane: The Seahawks might be the most dangerous team playing this weekend, and the Cowboys are pretenders. Seahawks win this one going away.

Brian Phillips: Better OL: DAL. Better DL: SEA. Better QB: SEA. Pick: Seahawks

Oliver Thomas: Seahawks – No team rushed for more yards this season than Seattle, or passed the ball less. How will that go against a young, sudden defense that’s conceded 3.8 yards per carry? We’ll find out.

Matthew Rewinski: Seahawks. Seattle’s rushed for 150 yards or more in every game except one going back to WEEK 4 and they’ve had 3 200+ rushing yard games in that span too. Remember when we thought Seattle might have a top-3 pick in the draft this year? That was awesome.

Doug Moore: Another team with a late season resurgence, the Seahawks travel to Dallas on a 6-1 record over the final seven weeks of the season. Russell Wilson had another strong second half of the season and they have one of the top run offenses in the league (NFL leading 160 yards per game. Their defense has been middle-of-the-road (17th in pass yards per game, 13th in run yards per game) unlike in previous years with the “Legion of Boom”. For Dallas, they too finish the season with a strong second half at 7-1. They also have only one loss at home this season. Ezekiel Elliott led the league with 1,434 rushing yards and was tied for 2nd with 11 runs of 20+ yards. His play and how Seattle responds to it will be the key to this game. In the end, I believe Dallas continues their winning ways at home behind their offensive line and star running back.

Ryan Keiran: Dallas is a fake team who isn’t good.

Ryan Spagnoli: Seattle, 28-20, Dak chokes in playoffs.

Chargers at Ravens

Bernd Buchmasser: The Ravens have a great defense but their offense is a mixed bag to say the least. Despite going at home, the Chargers should therefore have the upper hand: they have the offensive firepower to successfully move the football and they have the defensive quality to make life hard for a talented but inexperienced Lamar Jackson.

Rich Hill: Chargers win on the road in a high-scoring affair.

Alec Shane: If the Chargers can get up two scores early, the Ravens aren’t built to come back from being down via the passing game. I think they’ll be able to move the ball and ride an early lead to victory and a trip back to KC for the second time this year.

Brian Phillips: Better OL: BAL. Better DL: BAL. Better QB: LAC. Pick: Ravens

Oliver Thomas: Chargers — I’ll give the edge to Philip Rivers, despite Baltimore holding his side to 10 points and 232 yards of offense in Carson, Calif. on Dec. 22. He’s in the “tournament” for a reason.

Matthew Rewinski: Chargers. Spare me your “they haven’t won a playoff game in ____ years!”. They haven’t had a team this balanced in a decade either. Speaking of balance, the offense gets all the love in LA, but Derwin James didn’t win PFF’s Defensive Rookie of the Year because he can make a mean mac & cheese, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he ruled at that too. Melvin Ingram remains criminally underappreciated.

Doug Moore: This has the makings of a very exciting game. The Chargers have been led by the terrific play of Philip Rivers and their defense this season. But while Los Angeles’ defense has been impressive, the Ravens’ has been even more dominant. They gave up the the fewest total yards per game and second fewest points per games this season. And they have also had a resurgence in the last quarter of the season behind the electric rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. This game is shaping up to be a defensive match-up and it will come down to who can do more on offense. In Baltimore and riding a 6-1 record over the final seven games, I think the Ravens ultimately take this game.

Ryan Keiran: The Chargers are the more complete team.

Ryan Spagnoli: Baltimore, 24-17

Eagles at Bears

Bernd Buchmasser: You may have heard this one before: the Eagles enter the postseason with momentum on their side and backup Nick Foles under center. This year’s team, however, lacks the talent from last year’s. Going against a well-rounded Bears squad on the road will therefore be a tough job for the reigning world champs.

Rich Hill: Bears knock out the reigning Super Bowl champions.

Alec Shane: Philly doesn’t have it in them for another championship run, especially if the first stop is Soldier Field. Bears win in a low scoring game.

Brian Phillips: Better OL: PHI. Better DL: PHI. Better QB: PHI (playoff Foles!). Pick: Eagles

Oliver Thomas: Bears – Chicago has won nine of its last 10 games. And the likes of Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack don’t make for an enjoyable day at the office.

Matthew Rewinski: Bearsssssss. Honestly it’s impressive Philly’s even here in the playoffs again to begin with, this Bears defense can break games (and quarterbacks) open by themselves, their 4 losses this year were by 1, 3, 7, and 3 points, and 2 of those games went to OT. They’re putting up points at the same rate as the Chargers and Seahawks (26.8 ppg), and the offense doesn’t even have to be perfect and they went 12-4. Also, Akiem Hicks, we miss u.

Doug Moore: The reigning Super Bowl champions just barely made the playoffs, fitting in as the #6 seed behind the great late-season play of Nick Foles. Their next hurdle might be the toughest they have faced in some time. They come into Chicago and face arguably the best defense in the league led by Khalil Mack. And on top of that, Chicago boats an array of offensive weapons in Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen that will go up against a Philadelphia secondary that has been ravaged by injuries this season. And with Mitchell Trubisky playing better as of late (five touchdowns, zero interceptions over last three games), the Bears are going to be a tough team to face no matter their opponent. I believe the Cinderella story of the Eagles will come to an end at Soldier Field.

Ryan Keiran: The Bears defense is too good.

Ryan Spagnoli: Philly 33-16, Foles rolls again.