NFL Divisional Round Preview

NFL+Divisional+Round+Preview

Michael Howes ‘22, Staff Writer

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NFL Divisional Round Preview 

Happy New Year!!! The NFL regular season has ended at last. 256 games completed, not a single game missed due to Covid-19. This season was special in many ways. A game was played on every single day of the week this year, something we may never see again! So enough talking, let us get to the games. 

 

 

Los Angeles Rams (10-6) at Green Bay Packers (12-4) 

How to Watch: Saturday 4:35 EST on FOX 

Game Preview: The likely MVP, Aaron Rodgers, will be facing off against the best defensive player in football, Aaron Donald in this divisional round matchup. After a blowout loss in the NFC Championship game last year, Rodgers and the Packers look to reach there again this year. The offense has been the mitochondria of the team. Averaging thirty-one points per game and the fifth-most yards per game, this Packers offense is one of the best in the league. The defense isn’t shabby either, allowing twenty-three points per game. 

On the opposing sideline, the Rams are the best defensive team in the NFL. After taking down Russell Wilson and the Seahawks last week, they’ll push to do the same this week against the Packers. The Rams allowed only 18.5 points per game in the regular season, the least in the NFL. They allowed the least amount of yardage in the NFL too. 

 A key matchup to watch this game would be between wide receiver Davante Adams and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Adams led the league in touchdown catches this year with 18 to go along with 1374 yards receiving. Ramsey is one of the top cornerbacks in the league, allowing only a 50% completion percentage when targeted and only two touchdowns.  

Score Prediction: Packers 25-23 

 

Baltimore Ravens (11-5) at Buffalo Bills (13-3) 

How to Watch: Saturday 8:15 EST on NBC 

Game Preview: Possibly the game of the week will be between the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens. Both teams have some of the most dynamic offenses in the league. The Bills present quarterback Josh Allen, who seems to have a new highlight of him stiff-arming a defender every week. The Bills offense averaged 31.3 points per game in the regular season, the second-most in the league. Josh Allen had one of the best seasons this year, with 4,500 yards passing and 37 passing touchdowns. 

On the other hand, the Ravens also have one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is one of the most electric players on the field at all times. For the second season in a row, Jackson rushed for over 1000 yards while also passing for 27 touchdowns. Running back J.K. Dobbins has emerged over the last few weeks, averaging over 75 rushing yards per game the last seven weeks including the postseason. The defense isn’t a joke either, allowing only 18.9 points per game, the second least in the NFL.  

Score Prediction: Ravens 28-25 

 

Cleveland Browns (11-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) 

How to Watch: Sunday 3:05 EST on CBS 

Game Preview: The reigning Super Bowl champs look to repeat this year and their first challenge will be the Cleveland Browns. The Chiefs, once again, are an offensive juggernaut this season, averaging 29 points per game. Patrick Mahomes once again is having a stellar season. He passed for 4,000 yards and 38 touchdowns, with only 6 interceptions. The defense, led by safety Tyrann Mathieu, is no joking matter either, holding teams to 22.6 points per game.  

The Browns will look to continue this magical playoff run and search to upset the Chiefs. The Browns are lead by their dominant rushing game on offense. Running backs Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb combined for 1,900 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. On the defense, edge rusher Myles Garrett is a player every offense has to fear, having twelve sacks and ten tackles for a loss.  

Score Prediction: Chiefs 28-24 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) at New Orleans Saints (12-4) 

How to Watch: Sunday 6:40 EST on FOX 

Game Preview: The Buccaneers and Saints will meet for a third time this season. The previous two times, the Saints won 34-23 and 38-3. The Saints have one of the most unique offenses in the league. Despite the fact that their starting quarterback, Drew Brees, has shown a lack of arm strength, the offense has averaged 30.l points per game. The defense has also been one of the top units in the NFL, allowing only 21.1 points per game, the fifth least in the NFL. 

After jumping from the Patriots to join a team with arguably the best skill position players in the league, Tom Brady looks to win his seventh championship. Brady and the Buccaneers offense has been a difficult unit to defend this year. Wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown have combined for 2,329 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns. Tight end Rob Gronkowski also received 623 yards and 7 touchdowns. Running back Ronald Jones rushed for 978 yards and 7 touchdowns. The defense has also played spectacular, allowing only 22.2 points per game.  

Score Prediction: Saints 30-27 

 

 

 

 Sources 

Fantasy Football Scoring Leaders. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2020, from https://fantasy.espn.com/football/leaders?leagueId=0 

Pro Football Statistics and History. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2020, from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/