TITLE PAGE CREDIT: Steelers Depot
We are down to four teams left in the NFL Playoffs. The Bills, who have just won their first postseason games in 18 years, are looking to beat the defending champs, the Chiefs. Kansas City suffered a scare when superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes suffered a concussion vs. the Browns! On the flip side, the NFC has the red-hot Packers and possible MVP Aaron Rodgers taking on the GOAT Tom Brady and his Buccaneers. The winner of the games will play in the Super Bowl, on February 7, in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay. I was 3-1 in the divisional round picks, so I’m looking to stay above .500.
PHOTO CREDIT: USA TODAY / Bills Wire
Bills vs. Chiefs
The Bills have a chance to show the world that trading the Patrick Mahomes’ pick was a good decision after all. If they defeat the Chiefs to go to the Super Bowl, then they’ll win the trade, right? Wrong. They may not even play Patrick Mahomes. He is currently in concussion protocol, after taking a big hit vs. the Browns last week. His backup is Chad Henne, who is 35 years old, and is a mediocre, career backup. Henne did do well in Mahomes’ absence, but did throw an uninspiring interception. The KC defense will have to show up to stop Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, as the two are becoming one of the best QB-WR duos in the league. Kansas City has it in them, as they did stop the Browns, after Henne’s pick, and they will have to play very well, and force some turnovers. The Bills defense is one of the best in the league, and will definitely limit the Chiefs without Mahomes. But all Henne has to do is be a turnover-free game manager, and get the ball to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Look at the 3rd and 14 scramble by Chad last Sunday that helped them seal the game. But the loss of Mahomes is just too much to overcome, and KC can’t make the Super Bowl this year.
Score Prediction Without Mahomes - Bills, 31 - Chiefs, 17
VIDEO CREDIT: YouTube / Highlight Heaven
What if Mahomes Does Play?
Well, according to ESPN Mahomes has cleared some key steps, but is still in protocol. So there is a decent chance that he does play in his 3rd straight AFC Title Game. But he can’t play through it like any old injury. He has to pass the league's concussion protocol. If he does play then the Bills will have a handful of things to deal with. Hill’s speed, along with his hands. Kelce’s strength and trust in Mahomes. Mahomes’ mobility, big arm, and the fact that they can score at any time, anywhere. The Bills will have to limit Darrel Williams and Le’Veon Bell when Andy Reid does hand the ball off. Like I said in my Divisional Round picks, the Cheifs are very explosive. It’s going to be hard to tell who will win, until Sunday, as Mahomes will most likely be cleared to play around Friday or Saturday (if he is ever cleared at all. He has practiced a little bit, though).
Score Prediction With Mahomes - Chiefs, 34 - Bills, 24
PHOTO CREDIT: USA TODAY / Packers Wire
Buccaneers vs. Packers
This is going to be a great game. The Bucs defense was the reason why they beat the Saints last week, as they forced three turnovers, and cashed in with three TD’s off of them. Eliminate the turnovers and the Buccaneers don’t win that game. The Tampa offense will have to score touchdowns on their own, because Aaron Rodgers doesn’t throw many picks. But besides forcing turnovers, Tampa Bay’s defense has to figure out how to stop Davante Adams. He is special. His route running is godly. Just look at his game vs. the Titans.
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He had 9 receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown, in the Wild-Card round, vs. the Rams, and the best corner in the game Jalen Ramsey was covering him most of the time. Even if the Buccaneers can slow him down, Rodgers is a vet, and can get the ball out quickly to others such as, tight end Robert Tonyan, and receivers Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Don’t forget running back Aaron Jones, who is a threat out of the backfield, who can catch and run the ball well. Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon can also carry the ball effectively. The Packers defense, though, will have their hands full as well. They have to try to limit the run game, and take away the deep balls from TB12 to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Scotty Miller. This will be interesting, as the Pack has one of the better secondaries in the league with, speedy corner Jaire Alexander, and ball-hawking safeties in Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos. If Green Bay can take away Evans with Alexander, their pass rush with Kenny Clark, Za’Darius Smith, and Preston Smith can get home and disrupt Brady. Tampa will have to protect Brady and help the run-game get going, or this game could get out of their hand. I think the trio of Rodgers, Adams, and Jones is just too much for the Bucs to handle, as they don’t turn the ball over. The Packers can harass Brady, and the Bucs will have to match scores with Green Bay, which they can’t. Oh, and this game is in Green Bay and will be below freezing. The Bucs aren’t used to the cold the way the Packers are.
Score Prediction: Packers, 31 Buccaneers, 24