We just wrapped up the Wild Card Round in the NFL. Surprisingly, a lot of those games were incredibly lopsided and many fans weren’t too thrilled with the outcomes. With a new slate of games for the divisional round this weekend, we have better matchups that could come down to the wire.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans enjoyed a week off after obtaining the number one seed out in the AFC. Derrick Henry has been getting in some contact practice ready to play for the first time in 10 weeks. The Bengals may have trouble slowing him down. Especially as Larry Ogunjobi is out on the defensive line and Trey Hendrickson is questionable. Luckily, Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase are one of the best offensive duos in all of football. This offense is really explosive and we have seen that all season long. Tennessee is 25th in the league in terms of pass defense, so Burrow and company can really start to light it up as the game progresses. However, nobody knows how Henry will return. If he comes back and plays like his former self, Tennessee will look unbeatable against a banged-up Cincinnati defensive line. As long as Henry gets the green light, I’ll ride with the Titans.
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs
It’s hard to decide which of these explosive teams will be able to win this game. Let’s be honest, after the way they played last week, I don’t think either should be eliminated in the Divisional Round. Unfortunately, that is just how the seeding fell this year. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes torched opposing secondaries in the Wild Card Round, but Buffalo has the top ranked defense in the league. Their pass rush has been built up in this offseason so that they can stop Mahomes from beating them again. We saw the Bills win this matchup earlier in the year, but the Chiefs aren’t somebody to fall asleep on. Kansas City has so much firepower on offense with playmakers like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. This will be a higher scoring game without a doubt. I am going to take the Bills in this one, I think this could be their revenge for last season.
San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers
San Francisco shocked the world when they marched into Dallas and beat the Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs. However, playing on the road gets tougher the more you do it down the stretch of a season. The 49ers now have to travel for the third straight game and take on the number one seed in the conference in frigid temperatures. The 49ers have shown that they can stomp the Packers in the postseason, beating them a few times the last couple of years. Although, Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and Aaron Jones are too good to be knocked down like this consistently. Plus, David Bakhtiari is coming back onto the field to boost an already solid offensive line for Green Bay. Jimmy Garoppolo will be the difference maker, but he is not nearly as consistent as Rodgers is, even in the postseason. I have to roll with Rodgers and the Packers.
Los Angeles Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
These two squads met up back in Week 3 with the Los Angeles Rams controlling that game from start to finish. The Rams are unfortunately going to get one less day of practice than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, having played on Monday night against the Arizona Cardinals. This shouldn’t matter too much though as this squad is stacked with superstars and big names. Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham, Von Miller, Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald are just a few of these names. Lately, this group has taken on a run heavy approach to limit the stress on Stafford’s shoulders. It apparently has worked quite well and with Cam Akers back in the lineup this has been easier to accomplish. The Buccaneers on the other hand are struggling with their health. A few offensive linemen are hobbling into this game, Chris Godwin won’t be active as expected, Antonio Brown clearly isn’t there and Leonard Fournette won’t be 100 percent. Tom Brady is never doubted in the postseason though. Everybody expects him to go out and get the job done like he always has. In this one, I think the Rams upset them and advance onwards.
So… there we have it! My preview… And I guess a mini prediction of an AFC Championship between the Titans and the Bills, and an NFC Championship between the Packers and Rams. What do you think? Do you agree? Comment below!
Photo copyright: Kareem Elgazzar, Imagn Content Services, LLC