With Super-Wild-Card Weekend over, it’s on to the Divisional Round, and there are some must-watch matchups, like the Ravens vs. Bills, or another Brady-Brees game, as the Buccaneers visit the Saints. What about the Browns, who won their first playoff game in 18 years, will play the 14-2 Chiefs. Or maybe you want to watch the Packers play the Rams in the frozen tundra? Whatever you want to watch, here are game picks and analysis for all the Divisional Round.
The winner of the Browns vs. Chiefs will play the winner of the Ravens vs. Bills for the AFC Championship.
PHOTO CREDIT: USA TODAY / Chiefs Wire
Browns vs. Chiefs
The Browns come into Arrowhead, after beating their division rival Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 48-37! It was all Browns, scoring 28 points in the first quarter. They face the essentially 15-1 Chiefs, as KC’s Week 17 loss was with their backups playing. This team is dominant. No one in the league can guard Tyreek Hill, as he is crazy athletic, and one of the fastest guys in the league. Maybe he gets hurt? Then what happens? Well, Kansas City has one more ridiculously fast receiver in Mecole Hardman, who runs a blazing 4.33 40 yard dash! Add in Travis Kelce, the best tight end in the league, then you’ve got a nightmare as a defense. I haven’t even covered the 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes! Mahomes has a cannon arm, smarts, amazing decision making, and mobility. Does anyone remember his TD run before halftime vs. the Titans in last year’s AFC Title Game?
VIDEO CREDIT: YouTube / Highlight Heaven
KC’s defense isn’t as good as the offense, but they don’t have to be. They are good enough to win, and that’s all it takes. With Chris Jones, Frank Clark, and Tyrann “The Honey Badger” Mathieu, they suffocate offense and make them one-dimensional. The Browns look like the Titans of last season. Power running game with Nick Chubb, and former Chief, Kareem Hunt, and play-action off of it. Last year in the AFC Championship game, KC shut down Derrick Henry and made Ryan Tannehill pass. They can do it again. Why? Even if Chubb and Hund fare better than the King did, when you are losing by two-plus score, you can’t run. Hunt is the 3rd down back, so the blow is lessened, but Baker Mayfield will have to beat the Chiefs with his arm. On defense for the Browns, they have Myles Garrett, Oliver Vernon, and Sheldon Richardson. They’ll have to come up big and apply pressure on Mahomes. If not then he’ll torch the secondary, no matter how good it is, since, at some point, Hill will get open.
Score Projection: Chiefs, 37 - Browns, 27
PHOTO CREDIT: USA TODAY / Bills Wire
Ravens vs. Bills
This is going to be an awesome game. The Ravens 4 Pro Bowlers on the D-line vs. the Bills dominant O-line. Lamar Jackson and the running game, vs. the Bills great defense. I think this is going to be a classic, low scoring, playoff game. The Ravens were held to 20 points against the awful Titans defense, so I expect the Bills to do much better. Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer can limit the Raven's deep passing game, and help Ed Oliver and Mario Addison contain Lamar. The big thing for the Ravens is their running game. Look for Buffalo to try and stop them early, and make Jackson throw the ball. On the other side, the Bills will be without running back Zach Moss, so it will be the Devin Singletary show in Orchard Pack. The running game hasn’t been as good as last year for Buffalo, and this game won’t be different. The Ravens are pros at stopping the run. But when you have Josh Allen, and Stefon Diggs making big plays, you don’t need a dominant ground attack. Add in 3rd down weapon Cole Beasly, and tight end Dowson Knox, then Baltimore will have their hand full. I think This is going to be the most exciting game, and so does the NFL, as it’s the primetime Saturday game.
Score Prediction: Bills, 23 - Ravens, 16
The winner of Rams vs. Packers will play the winner of Buccaneers vs. Saints in the NFC Championship Game.
PHOTO CREDIT: USA TODAY / Packers Wire
Rams vs. Packers
The Rams stunned everyone, by decimating the Seattle Seahawks, 30-20. They controlled the game, and Cam Akers pounded the rock towards victory. The Rams have the best defense in the league and suffocated Russel Wilson and the rest of the ‘Haws offense. They’ll have an even tougher task on Saturday, as they play MVP-Favorite Aaron Rodgers and the explosive Packers offense. Jalen Ramsey vs. Davante Adams will be a great matchup to watch, as the best receiver in all of football (Adams) goes up against one of the top corners in the league (Ramsey). On the flip side, the Packers defense is good at stopping the run, which they will have to do, since Jared Goff can’t throw that well, with a broken thumb, and if he can’t play, then who will start? John Wolford if he’s healthy, after taking a huge hit from Jamal Adams. Maybe Blake Bortles (yes, he’s still in the league), will start if they aren’t healthy. Whoever starts, will be leaning on the running game, which is very, very risky, but Sean McVay will have to. The Packers also have a great pass rush and secondary, so look for them to try and get a lead, and make the Rams throw the ball into the teeth of that secondary. Oh, and the game is in Lambeau Field, aka the frozen tundra, so Green Bay is well suited, vs. LA, who plays in a dome.
Score Prediction: Packers, 24 - Rams, 10
PHOTO CREDIT: USA TODAY / Saints Wire
Buccaneers vs. Saints
Brady vs. Brees for a third time, and for most likely the last meeting between these two legends. Brees may retire after the season, so the Saints will want to send him out on top, like Peyton Manning and John Elway. The Bucs, just beat a team with no name, who were playing a backup. And they won by only 8. The Saints are different. New Orleans won both regular-season meetings and thrashed Tampa Bay 38-3. In one of them. The Saints have one of the best defenses in the league, which can shut down any offense. Brady will have to be effective and Mike Evans will have to win vs. Marshon Lattimore. Otherwise, it could be costly for Tampa, even with Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown in the mix as the Saints can key on them. On the other side, New Orleans will have superstar wide receiver, Michael Thomas back and healthy, after an injury-plagued regular season. Also running back Alvin Kamara should be 100% after testing positive for COVID-19 prior to Week 17. The duo of Kamara and Thomas is overwhelming. Just look at Kamara’s 6 touchdown game on Christmas! 6 TDs in one game!
VIDEO CREDIT: YouTube / NFL
With #Can’tGuardMike back in the picture, New Orleans is just better. Even if the Bucs are able to take him away, they’ll have to deal with Emmanual Sanders. I like the Saints here.
Score Projection: Saints, 41 - Buccaneers, 28
I see all the home teams take care of business, and show everyone that home-field advantage, may not be because of fans, but because of weather. (I’m looking at you Bills, Chiefs, and Packers). Though the dome is nice and cozy, the Saints aren’t as welcoming to the rival Buccaneers. Bills vs. Chiefs, and Saints vs. Packers, will be the Conference Championship Games in my opinion.