NFL Playoff Preview
Who would have thought the NFL season would be completed without delay? When the NFL decided to forego a ‘Bubble’ much like the NBA and NHL, many thought there was no chance the NFL would complete their season, let alone complete it on January 3rd, 2021 as scheduled. There was no shortage of bumps in the road, but they got it done on time. Congratulations to the NFL for finishing such a tumultuous, unprecedented season without much of a hitch.
Now that the regular season is over and the playoffs are set, it is time to look into each matchup and see which teams have the edge this weekend. There will be 6 games in the Wildcard round. Three from each conference.
AFC Wildcard Games
Colts @ Bills
Bills mafia will be in attendance for this matchup. Limited capacity and socially distances of course, but Buffalo fans will be getting rowdy in the stands. The Bills are hitting their stride leading into the postseason and will look to continue that trend against Indianapolis. Josh Allen has been playing out of his mind and the defense has improved throughout the year and are beginning to look like the menacing Bills defense of seasons past. It will be a tough task for Phillip Rivers and the Colts offense.
The Colts have one of the better defensive units in the NFL, but they have been spotty at times. If their defense can hold Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and the other weapons on Buffalos offense down, they will have a chance.
Overall, I don’t see the Bills losing at home in front of the Buffalo faithful. I like this Bills to advance to the divisional round in a tight game.
Final Score: Colts 17 — Bills 27
Ravens @ Titans
This should be a great game. Lamar Jackson has proven that last season was no fluke. Since coming off the reserve/ COVID-19 list, Lamar has bee lights out. He has had his way with opposing defenses both through the air and with his legs. The Tennessee defense will have its work cut out for them on Sunday.
Tennessee’s offense will need to rely heavily on their ‘Big 3’ of Tannehill, AJ Brown, and of course, Derrick Henry who gets harder and harder to tackle as the months go by and the weather gets colder. I expect Henry to get plenty of touches in this one, especially if the Titans can jump out to an early lead. Any way they can keep Lamar and the hot Ravens offense off the field is a win foe them. I like the Titans to take out the Ravens who have had their share of playoff misfortune, especially Lamar Jackson.
Final Score: Ravens 24 — Titans 35
Browns @ Steelers
The. Cleveland Browns are in the playoffs… we thought 2020 was crazy. Baker and the Browns earned their spot at the teams first playoff berth in quite some time. They have played well since losing O’Dell Beckham Jr. to his ACL injury earlier in the year. Their 1–2 punch of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt should carry the load if the Browns have any shot at advancing.
The Steelers started the season with an impressive 11–0 record but promptly lost 4 of their las 5 games on the season. They have not looked good on either end of the ball since their hot start and injuries on defense has made what was a intimidating unit into a very exploitable one.
I’m not confident about this, especially after the recent COVID outbreak on the Browns forcing them to practice remotely leading up to the game, but I would love to see the Browns take out the Steelers and advance.
Final Score: Browns 24 — Steelers 21
NFC Wildcard Games
Rams @ Seahawks
This should be an entertaining game of two teams who have not performed well in the latter stages of the season. The Rams may be without their quarterback and best option at wide receiver come Saturday, but the defensive unit is in tact. They will need to rely on Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey if they expect to advance to the divisional round.
The Seahawks have a multitude of weapons on offense, but their defense is lackluster. Russell Wilson has not been the same player we saw through the first few weeks of the NFL season. He will need to perform at his best if the Seahawks look to win even with the Rams possibly missing players on offense.
Overall, I see the Seahawks winning a tight contest.
Final Score: Rams 14 — Seahawks 28
Buccaneers @ Washington Football Team
First off, it is a crime that the Washington Football Team gets a home game just because they won the division. There should be an exception that the team that comes out on top in the NFC East still has to play on the road. Just my thoughts.
Washington’s defense has given opposing quarterbacks fits all season with their youth and athleticism on the defensive line. The question is whether or not Alex Smith and the Washington offense can generate enough points to take home a victory. The Buccaneer defense is no slouch themselves.
Tom Brady will have his week cut out for him navigating this Washington defense, and he could be without Mike Evans who suffered a knee injury in week 17. Brady has been frustrated by defense in the past this season so if Washington can get under his skin early, they will have a good shot at taking home the win.
However… it’s Tom Brady. I don’t see him losing this game.
Final Score: Buccaneers 27 — Washington 14
Bears @ Saints
The Bears will get a chance at revenge against the Saints who got the best of Chicago earlier this season in Overtime. The game where Bears wide-out Javon Wims took a swipe at the Saints trash-talking cornerback, C.J. Gardener-Johnson. The Bears had a tough time dissecting a Saints defense that was hitting its stride and looking like the defensive unit of years past. If the Bears have any chance at victory, they will need to put up plenty of points because if the Saints do anything really well, it is score. The Bears defense of Khalil Mack, Aikeem Hicks, Eddie Jackson and others will be in for a huge challenge holding down the likes of Alvin Kamara, Drew Brees and the Saints offense in the Superdome.
The Saints, as mentioned have athletes on both sides of the ball. The defense was exploited early in the season, but have really rounded into form as of late. Their offense was without Drew Brees for a few weeks in the middle of the year, but still produced plenty of points and scoring opportunities. Alvin Kamara and the Saints offense have not been held in check by many defenses this season.
In the end, I see the Saints taking this one pretty handily. Drew Brees is set to retire, and I don’t see him going out in the Wildcard round.
Final Score: Bears 17 — Saints 31