Divisional Round Preview

The Divisional Round in the playoffs has always bored me for some reason. Maybe it’s because there doesn’t seem to be as many upsets as Wildcard Weekend or possibly because whenever the Patriots would play, it’d essentially be a warm up game for the AFC Championship. Who knows.

But the second round is upon us and all 4 matchups this weekend should be pretty entertaining. I say “should” because there’s always that dud that sneaks its way in. Which game will take the “weekend nap before/after stuffing your face with beer and food” spot? Let’s see!

Rams at Packers: No suspense here, this is the dud. Kudos to the NFL for just getting it out of the way first. The Packers are just so damn good right now. Aaron Rodgers just finished an MVP regular season while Goff is dealing with a broken thumb that forced him to be a backup last weekend. I know Aaron Donald is a monster and the Rams have a good defense, but you simply can not stop the Rodgers/Adams connection. I expect that to be on full display at Lambeau on Saturday.

Sure, the Rams may come out hot on the first drive or two and stop the Pack, but come halftime the Packers will be up by 10 and then in the 3rd Aaron Rodgers will discount double checkmate the Rams into a second round loss. This won’t be close when it’s all said and done. Rams 16 – Packers 31

Ravens at Bills: This one may end up being the game of the weekend. I know everyone wants to point to Sunday Night’s Bucs/Saints matchup, but I think this will be the most competitive game of the bunch. Lamar Jackson going against this Bills defense is going to be a battle that I can’t wait to see. Buffalo is talented enough to slow down Jackson, but will they? I expect the Bills secondary to make it a very rough passing day for Lamar, so it’s going to come down to him making plays with his legs.

And speaking of defense, holy shit did that Ravens defense last weekend look like the Ravens D we’re used to seeing over the years. My goodness. If THAT defense shows up, we may have an upset here. I don’t care how MVP-like Josh Allen is. But I just don’t see Baltimore putting on a performance like last weekend against Allens/Diggs. Eventually Allen will start chucking the ball deep and that’s where they thrive. Jackson can’t run all night on this team and the Bills turn him over at the end. Ravens 23 – Bills 27

Browns at Chiefs: This game is gonna go one of two ways: a nail biter or an absolute blowout. The former if Wildcard Weekend Browns show up  and the latter if the Chiefs turn it on and go nuclear. DO NOT count the Browns out though! Baker can keep up with Mahomes and the Chiefs to a point and Nick Chubb may run wild on this team if they give him an inch. Cleveland can get some pressure up front as well, but will  they be able to tackle Mahomeboy or just let him run in circles until he finds Kelce for a 40 yard completion? I guess we’ll find out. 

What many people seem to look past, though, is that Mahomes gives opposing defense ample opportunities to turn it over. Cleveland needs to jump on every single one of those opportunities in order to win this game. The slogan every announcer likes to throw out during a Chiefs game, “you just can’t hold this KC team down for an entire 60 minutes” is a farce. They get held down at their one accord. They’re not playing their best football this season, but they’re offense is so potent that they can make up for lost time in the blink of a Tyreek Hill 60 yard catch. 

The Chiefs aren’t the world beaters we’re used to seeing and these are DEFINITELY not the Browns you’re used to seeing. Ugh, but that being said, we know what’s going to happen. Even though the past like, 7 weeks of the season (not including the last week), the Chiefs have only won by less than a touchdown, I think we know how this one ends. I want to be wrong, but I don’t think I am. Browns 28 – Chiefs 34

Bucs at Saints: Break out the walkers! 40 is the new 20! Age is just a number! Whatever other “old person” cliche you wanna throw in here, be my guest. I personally am sick of it. Yes, these are two 40+ year old quarterbacks. Yes, it’s amazing they’re both playing as a high enough level that they got their team to this point in the season. But they’re not going head to head. They’re facing their opponents DEFENSE, so that’s what I want to talk about.

The Saints defense is legit. As legit a defense the Bucs have faced all year. Brady has played New Orleans twice this season and tallied a total of 448 yards, 2 TD’s and 5 picks. Conversely, Brees has 382 yards to go with 6 TD’s against Tampa’s inconsistent D this year. Personally, I don’t think it’s going to even come down to Brees vs Brady. I think it’s Kamara vs Tampa’s defense. 

There is no doubt that Brady can keep up with and outplay Drew Brees. He’s been doing it his entire career and this game won’t be any different. But What this comes down to is: Are you more confident in Brady continuously putting up points against this Saints defense OR Kamara torching the Bucs D, forcing their offense to pick up more slack than they can handle. Brady is the GOAT, but the Saints defense put the clamps on his offense in the second half and the Kamara-led Saints come away with the win. Bucs 20 Saints 30

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