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Los Angeles Rams Quarterback, Matthew Stafford, celebrates after scoring a touchdown. Credit: Ric Tapia/NFL

NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions

Super Wild Card weekend was a rollercoaster, to say the least. After a long weekend with both good and bad football, I’m proud to say that my predictions from last week held up and I was 6-0 in my predictions. Although my score predictions were far off in some cases, I correctly predicted which teams would advance to the Divisional round of the playoffs. So here are my predictions for the next four playoff matchups:

 

Titans v. Bengals: Sat, Jan 22. 3:30 PM

The first game of the divisional round puts the #1 Titans against the #4 Bengals. After impressive performances from the Bills and Chiefs in the wild card round, it is easy to forget that the Titans are a contender. This team is coming off a bye week and they have arguably the best running back in the league, Derrick Henry, returning from injury. Despite his absence, the Titans finished their season on a 6-3 run without him and maintained the #1 seed. However, Joe Burrow and the Bengals are looking to spoil King Henry’s return. In a game full of controversial calls, the Bengals overcame the Raiders 26-19 with a game-ending interception from linebacker Germaine Pratt with twelve seconds left. With how the Bengals’ offense has looked recently, the Titans are going to have their hands full. Will the Bengals’ defense have an answer for Derrick Henry? I think they will. Henry is coming back off of injury and Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase seem to be unstoppable. My final prediction is 36-24, with Cincinnati advancing to the AFC championship.

 

Packers v. 49ers: Sat, Jan 22. 7:15 PM

Following the Titans/Bengals game, MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers and the #1 seed Green Bay Packers are looking to beat the #6 seed San Francisco 49ers. After sitting the starters for most of their Week 18 matchup against the Detroit Lions, the Packers are going to be well rested and prepared for this game. Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Aaron Jones are going to be a tough matchup for any team. However, will San Francisco’s defense led by Fred Warner and Nick Bosa have what it takes to slow them down? I don’t think they will. Although the 49ers shut down the Cowboys explosive offense in their 23-17 victory in the wild card round, I think the Packers have better coaching and a better quarterback than the Cowboys. That being said, I think the Packers will beat the 49ers, 37-23.

 

Buccaneers v. Rams: Sun, Jan 23. 2:00 PM

The first matchup on Sunday is the #2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the #4 Los Angeles Rams. At 44 years of age, Tom Brady continues to amaze the world of sports. Although I might be one of the world’s biggest Brady haters, you have to admit what he has done is impressive. Although the final score of 31-15 may make it seem close, the Buccaneers’ victory over the Eagles was dominant. The Buccaneers’ offense was operating smoothly, even as they battled injury. But the defense is what won them the game. The Eagles could not put together a drive to save their lives. If we’re being honest though, the Eagles weren’t the best competition. The Los Angeles Rams on the other hand, will be a tough task for the Buccaneers. The Rams had one of the most dominant performances of last weekend with a 34-11 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Matt Stafford and Cooper Kupp looked great and the defense completely shut down Kyler Murray. This is looking to be a great matchup as Aaron Donald looks to take advantage of an injured Tampa Bay offensive line. Will Tom Brady continue on the path for his 8th Super Bowl ring? I think not. I believe Aaron Donald is going to get revenge on Tom Brady for their Super Bowl LIII matchup and the Rams will win, 42-35.

 

Chiefs v. Bills: Sun, Jan 23. 5:30 PM

For the final matchup of the divisional round, the #2 Kansas City Chiefs look to get revenge on the #3 Buffalo Bills. Although this is only the second round of the playoffs, the two best teams in the league are playing for the right to advance to the AFC championship. The Chiefs and Bills are both red-hot. Both teams put on dominant performances and beat their opponents badly. Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Josh Allen threw five against the New England Patriots. Which team will prevail? That is a tough question and it will come down to whichever offense can eliminate self-inflicted mistakes. Points are going to be scored and both defenses are going to have their hands full. So, you’re probably wondering which team will prevail? I think the Chiefs are going to win and Patrick Mahomes will once again cement himself as the best quarterback on Earth. Final score, 45-38.

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