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Divisional Round Analysis and Predictions!

Published on 15 January 2021 at 22:54

This weekend's schedule of games is packed with great matchups all around. From the young quarterbacks in the AFC with Mahomes, Allen, Mayfield, and Jackson and the NFC having some veterans in Brady, Brees, and Rodgers. Two games on Saturday and two on Sunday which should be entertaining all day. Looking forward to all four games.

Rodgers and Adams connection seems like they share the same brain some times as displayed here(Photo by: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Saturday 4:35, LA Rams Vs Green Bay Packers

This game features the top scoring offense in the league vs the best defense in the league in yds/game. Rodgers has been in the playoffs several times but only has one Superbowl and is looking to add to that collection with this first seeded team. All year they have been scoring each way with the run game in Aaron Jones, and in the passing game, Rodgers had some help this year from star WR Davante Adams who hauled in a league-high 18 receiving touchdowns. That's almost half of what Rodgers threw on the year. He will have his hands full with CB Jalen Ramsey who has had success all year vs number 1 receivers. Ramsey had a tough matchup in DK Metcalf of the Seahawks last week in the Wild Card round win, and Jalen shut him down for the times he was manned on him. This is a much more difficult matchup as Adams had a lot better year, and he has some more experience. The way he runs routes and can get open is what helped him have 115 receptions in only 14 games due to injury. His quarterback helps as well because he finds a way to fit the football in no matter how much separation he has.

Another factor of the Rams defense that will have to worry Rodgers is the defensive line. They have the most dominant defensive player in the whole league in Aaron Donald. He was taken out of last week's game with a rib injury and was unable to return, but Head Coach Sean McVay has said he expects him to be able to play. The Packers had just lost one of their best offensive linemen the other week, making this matchup against LAs D line even harder. You almost have to double team Donald on every play, or else he’ll be on the quarterback in a second. Aaron Rodger's quick trigger is key to their success. However, protection is what helped them have success in going downfield. This formula allowed them to kill so many opposing defenses this year. We will see if the offensive line can keep Rodgers clean against this Rams D and their star Aaron Donald.

The Rams offense in last week's game came into the week not healthy as their starter Jared Goff was active but the backup, because of surgery on his thumb less than 2 weeks ago. The starter was John Wolford who started in Week 17 for them in a big game deciding if they would be able to play in the Wild Card. He was only on the field for one drive as he was hit by Safety Jamaal Adams on what looked like a scary hit to the neck. He immediately was taken out and replaced by Goff. It certainly looked like his thumb was bothering him on some throws coming out awkward. I don’t blame him as it was not too long ago he broke his thumb which is not easy holding the ball without it being 100%. The Rams were helped by RB Cam Akers who was tearing it up all night on the ground and in the air. He rushed for 131 yds and a touchdown and had 2 catches for 45 yds. A lot of this came in the first half as they led early on. The defense helped them in this one shutting down Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense. This is the reason this game should be so good because of what the Packers did this year on offense being so impressive and how could this Rams defense is.

Prediction: After last week's performance it does look like it will take a lot to put up points on this Rams defense and is something Rodgers and the Packers will have to prepare for. I do also think the bye week for Green Bay gives them extra rest and preparation that is needed and helps that they play at home. In the end, I do think it will be too much for the Rams to be able to keep up with the offense and not be able to make enough stops. However, if the Rams can run the ball effectively and keep Green Bay's offense off the field this will be a real tight game up until the end. I say Packers 20-13.

Josh Allen has been the entirety of the Bills rushing and Passing game of late, can he carry them to the Superbowl? (Photo By: Adrian Kraus/AP)

Saturday 8:15, Baltimore Ravens Vs Buffalo Bills

Both teams coming off Wild Card win last week both being the favorites and looked good. Baltimore played on the road against the AFC South winners Tennessee Titans, while the Bills played at home against the Colts. Each game came down to the last possessions and ended up being decided by one score. Lamar Jackson started the game with an ugly looking interception but stepped it up with his run game. He rushed over 100 yds and got the offense going with a terrific 48-yard touchdown run. He ran right by everyone using his speed which is unlike many others at the position. Their defense played great stopping the run game which has been the reason for the Titan's success on the year. Rushing king Derrick Henry was held to just 40 yards after averaging well over 100 each game during the season. This hurt the offense immensely as they weren’t able to mix in the play-action like they have all year. The Titans did have a chance at the end as they were down 20-13 with the ball around two minutes left. Marcus Peters pretty much sealed the game with an interception after a receiver fell on his route. They then got a first down from Lamar which led them to be able to take a knee to end the game. They showed that their defense is good enough to make stops allows Lamar to do his thing on offense with his legs.

The Bills let the Colts comeback late in the game after being up a couple of touchdowns as Josh Allen looked impressive as he’s been all year. With his arm strength along with the legs, he is a special player. He has a great weapon in Stefon Diggs who led the league in receptions. That connection continued with Diggs catching six balls for 128 yds and a touchdown. This is going to be a problem as long as they keep winning because he has been able to get open game after game. The Ravens have the better defense in this matchup as they have three potential number one cornerbacks. I believe Josh Allen's run game will be huge on Saturday because of Baltimore’s defense being able to cover so well he will have to pick up some first downs on his own. There may be snow in the forecast which could affect how the Baltimore offense will gameplan. They have had so much success on the ground whether it’s with Jackson or rookie back J.K. Dobbins. The snow could either make it much harder for Lamar to be tackled or difficult for him to stay on his feet. I’m looking forward to both these quarterbacks battling as they were also in the same draft class. It’s clear who the better passer is but Lamar is so tough when he’s able to pick up so many yards on his own. This is a pretty balanced matchup with the Bills slightly favored to win, but everyone believes it to be a one-possession game. 

Prediction: I expect some more points in this game compared to the early one with two good offenses here. I love what I have seen all year from Allen and this Bills offense and believe they are the toughest opponent in this conference other than the Chiefs. I also think the Ravens don’t have enough in the passing game, which is important if the run game gets shut down or on 3rd and longs. I stick with that for this game and believe they come out on top in this matchup. I say Bills 27-24.

Underrated defense in Kansas City celebrating one of many forced turnovers on the year (Photo By: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)

Sunday 3:05, Cleveland Browns vs Kansas City Chiefs

Reigning Super Bowl champs coming off a 15-1 season with the bye is a tough tough opponent. The Browns after finally getting to the playoffs finally won a playoff game, and finally, beat the Steelers at Heinz. A lot of things are going for them, and that's how it started in the first snap of last Sunday night's game. A high snap to Roethlisberger that went all the way to the endzone and picked up by the Browns for a touchdown had them leading 7-0 in the first 15 seconds which was the start they needed. The first quarter was wild with Big Ben throwing 2 picks and the Browns being up 28-0. This quarter was so bad for the Steelers it left them with no chance even though they cut the deficit to 12 with the ball and late in the third. A punt from Pittsburgh on 4th and short was the big question for Tomlin after the game because the next drive for Cleveland resulted in a touchdown that made the game officially out of reach. In what was maybe Ben’s last game it wasn’t a memorable one even though he threw for 500 yards and a playoff record with 47 completions. They were down so big so early that they had no choice but to throw on almost every down. His 4 turnovers didn’t help the Steelers defense as the field position they got on those turnovers made the job for Baker and the offense a lot easier. They looked good all-around with the 2 RBs Chubb and Hunt playing good and WR Jarvis Landry continuing his good season with a long touchdown in this game. They could not have played better even though their defense gave up a lot of yards and points. It's natural to soften up a bit when having such a big lead to avoid big plays.

Going into Arrowhead is not an easy task even though the place is not as filled as usual. Andy Reid is comfortable at home and will have his offense ready. The Chief's offense is way too unstoppable with the number of weapons they have. Top quarterback, top tight end, and top receiver. Tyreek Hill tore defense up all year with his speed and defensive backs having to play off him because of being so scared to get beat deep. Kelce was by far the best tight end of the year with stats like a wide receiver. He knows how to get open, find the soft spots and his guy Mahomes seems to always find him. The defense for the Browns just is not good enough to be able to stop this team. I do think the Browns can move the ball at times as the Chiefs defense is nothing close to lockdown. Their defense did tighten up late last year on their playoff run and they will hope it does come this time around. The only chance for this Browns team to upset the Chiefs is to force a couple of turnovers and run for a lot of yards on offense to control the game. A lot easier said than done because Mahomes is careful with the ball only throwing six interceptions. 

Prediction: You can get an idea of which team I was leaning toward in this one. There was no way this team wasn't at least make it back to the AFC championship and that stands. The offense is way too explosive and good luck to the defense who got to defend them for a chance to go to the Super Bowl next week. I say Chiefs 38-23

Duo Air BnB (Brown n Brady) have been clicking on all cylinders recently(Photo By: Patrick Smith/Getty)

Sunday 6:40, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vs New Orleans Saints

This is the game of the week in my eyes. Brady vs Brees. Two of the oldest quarterbacks in the league, Brady looking for his seventh ring and Brees looking to go out on top. The Bucs went 0-2 against the Saint this year with the second matchup being an ugly loss and also being Brady's worst defeat. In the two games, the Bucs defense looked helpless in stopping the Saints and Brady has had too many turnovers to give his team a chance. I'm sure he will be looking for a different result come Sunday and will make sure to protect the ball a lot more than he had in their previous two matchups. These two offenses didn’t look as sharp as they would like in the Wild Card round. Saints played a good bears D and struggled in the first half only being up 7-3 but opened it up a bit in the second half to beat them 21-9. The Bear's offense is nothing special and struggled as expected against this Saints defense that has been good all year. They got a great secondary and good pass rush which is the reason Brady has turned the ball over against them this year.

The Bucs offense was able to put up 31 points but could have played a lot better. Some dropped balls and left some points up on the board as well. Their defense which has not been great in the passing game all year didn’t play great against Taylor Heinicke who was making his playoff debut. You would have liked to see them play better against someone who is not familiar with the playoffs but he was able to move the ball most of the game. They did make some stops and a turnover that was enough for them to win this game as Brady played close to excellent. Fournette ran the ball well for Tampa and took over the starting role with Ronald Jones not feeling great from the start with an injury that kept him on the sideline. The receivers played well, Evans had over 100 yards a week after hyperextending his knee early in the game. Antonio Brown continued to click with Tom scoring the first touchdown for them on a pass for 36 yards.

If they want to beat the Saints next week they are going to need to continue to move the chains and have some plays downfield when it’s there. They will be getting their star Linebacker back this Sunday after being out with a positive Covid test. He will be needed as they are going to need to make some stops to allow their offense to control this game and tire out the Saints. The key players on offense for the Saints will be Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. If Kamara can run all over them and get some big yards on catches then the Bucs D will have a long day. If they stop the run like they have been all year then they will have to depend on that shaky secondary to make plays to stop Brees from passing all over them. 

Prediction: A lot will have to go the right way on defense for the Bucs to come out on top in this one. I believe that beating a team 3 times in one year is tough no matter what the scores were in the previous games. This is a coaching mismatch with Sean Payton being a lot better coach than Bruce Arians and could be a key factor to who wins this one. Tom will do everything during the week to make sure the offense comes prepared and if the offensive line protects him in this one then he should be fine. This could go either way it is so close but I got to stick with the best of all time. I say Bucs 27-24

Author: Cameron Quinlan

Rating: 5 stars
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