Divisional Round Preview

(Via NFL.com)

The NFL playoffs roll on as this week the Divisional round matchups take center stage. The number one seeds Chiefs and Packers respectively will begin their quest to the Super Bowl after some much-needed rest. The rest of the teams are hoping their wildcard win will help spark a deep playoff run and get to the big game. All the games this weekend will be very entertaining and it would not surprise me if there were any upsets. Another weekend of great football is upon so let’s break down the matchup.

(Via Packers.com)

#1 Green Bay Packers vs. #6 LA Rams

This week the best defense in the league will take on one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL at Lambeau field. The Rams boast the number one defense in terms of yardage vs Potential MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers who threw for 48 touchdowns on the year. Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald have anchored the Rams defense being able to disrupt opposing offenses with their ferocious pass rush. Aaron Donald has dominated the line of scrimmage this season with 13.5 sacks and Jalen Ramsay has one interception on the year. The Packers have dominated on offense with Davante Adams having arguably the best season by a receiver scoring 18 touchdowns this year and 1374 yards. The Rams offense with an injured Jared Goff will try to keep pace with Rodgers and company despite the Cooper Kupp injury. The Packers' defense isn’t one to sleep on with some stars like Jaire Alexander and Za'darius Smith. I think the Packers' offense will be too much to handle for the Rams but if the Rams can get pressure on Rodgers and force mistakes there could be an upset.

Prediction - Packers 28 Rams 17

(Via Ravens.com)

#1 Buffalo Bills vs. #5 Baltimore Ravens

This game is all about the young quarterbacks Lamar Jackson vs Josh Allen who both have had successful seasons to this point. Lamar Jackson threw for 2,757 yards, 26 touchdowns, rushed for just over 1,000 yards, and led the Ravens to an 11-5 record. Josh Allen threw for 4,544 yards, 37 touchdowns, rushed for under 500 yards, and led his team to a 13-3 record. Jackson is coming off of his first playoff win and looking to add another one on the road in Buffalo with possible snow. Josh Allen is looking to send the Bills to the conference championship for the first time since 1993. With the forecast predicting snow, this game could come down to who runs the ball better. Two things travel well in the playoff in the NFL, Defense, and the run game. The Ravens have both a potent running attack with Jackson, JK Dobbins, and Mark Ingram that can take over a game. The Bills are a pass-first offense but that doesn't mean Allen can’t make things happen with his legs. Ravens were able to hold leading rusher, Derrick Henry, under 50 yards and they can do the same to the Bills. This game will come down to if Allen can get the passing attack going against a strong Ravens secondary. I think even on the road or the weather The Ravens will find a way to win.

Prediction - Ravens 24 Bills 21

(Via NFL.com)

#1 Kansas City Chiefs vs. #6 Cleveland Browns

The defending champions come into this game well-rested against an underdog Browns team riding high after their playoff upset. Kansas City will be tough to beat at home but after the last week, the Browns are flying high with all the confidence in the world. Patrick Mahomes is coming off of yet another MVP caliber year with 38 passing touchdowns and leading the Chiefs to a 14-2 record. The Browns have been struggling with Covid outbreaks but made the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. Their first game was memorably upsetting the favored Steelers in easy fashion 48-37 to advance to the divisional round. The Browns are one of the few teams left that have the firepower on offense to keep pace with the Chiefs and can pull off the upset. The running back tandem of Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb could be a problem for the Chiefs. If the Browns can sustain long drives and keep Mahomes off the field this could be a very interesting game. I don’t think anyone can keep up with the Chiefs' offense and they will be ready after a week of rest.

Prediction - Chiefs 35 Browns 24

(Via USA Today)

#1 New Orleans Saints vs #5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Round 3 between Brady vs Brees will take center stage as the game of the week for the divisional round. The Saints have dominated the Buccaneers this season in both matchups while being able to shut down the loaded Tampa offense. New Orleans' pass rush has been dominant and it showed in the last meeting, which ended 38-3 Saints. The Saints boast a top-five rushing defense as well which doesn’t bode well for Tampa. On the other side, Tampa is boasting the greatest playoff performer of all time in Tom Brady who now has the offense clicking on all cylinders. Antonio Brown has come alive the past few weeks with the injury to Mike Evans allowing for more snaps for him. Ronald Jones is questionable and will be key to Tampa’s rushing attack as will Leonard Fournette. Tampa will get back star linebacker Devin White off the Covid/Reserve list which is huge against the Saints offense. The New Orleans offense with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas returned from the Covid list as well which helped in a victory over the Bears. The saying is, “It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season,” and this weekend it will be put to the test. Despite the love I have for Tom Brady, I do not believe the Buccaneers have an answer for the Saints' pass rush. New Orleans will be playing very motivated with this more than likely being Drew Brees's last playoff run.

Prediction - Saints 27 Buccaneers 24

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