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Report Divisional Round

Report Divisional Round-us-mileniostadium
David Ganhão/MS

Eight teams and a total of seven games remain in the 2020 NFL season. It’s going to be a fun ride. In the AFC, not one starting quarterback is older than 26, then looking at the NFC, Brady, and Brees are well into their 40’s, and Rodgers isn’t far behind. Brady even decided to make light of the situation this week, not something the younger, more arrogant Brady would have ever done. He posted a picture on social media of himself and Drew Brees looking very old, essentially stating the game coming up between the two of them should be played on the History Channel. These two quarterbacks are something else. Years ago, I was able to take my mother to see them play against each other. It was one of the best football games I have ever seen live or on TV; it doesn’t matter who won; it matters that it was something special the people got to witness. These are two of the greatest ever to play, and the game will miss them when they are gone. It’s not surprising the NFL saved this game until Sunday (17) night. Hopefully, it’s a better game than the beatdown Alabama laid on Ohio State this past Monday (11) night in the College Football Championship, 52 to 24, where there was plenty of future NFL talent showcased. 

The reality is it’s the twilight years for Brady, Brees, and Rodgers, and the pressure is on each one of them to go out there and win one more Vince Lombardi Trophy. The future is Mahomes, and Jackson, or the quickly rising Allen’s and Mayfield’s of the NFL. It will be quite something to watch the old vs. the old and the young vs. the young this weekend, where it will most likely transpire into the old vs. the young in the Superbowl; unless the Rams find a way to steal their way in like two years ago. On kind of a fun side note, the Packers just signed offensive tackle Jared Veldheer. Veldheer was drafted in 2010 and made his way around the league, but this season, he was teaching high school until the Colts came knocking and signed him a few weeks ago to their practice squad. Team injuries allowed him to play in last week’s closely fought game between the Colts and the Bills. After the Colts lost, he was demoted back to the practice squad, allowing him to be signed again less than a week later by the Packers. He is the first person to ever play in the NFL postseason on two different teams. Veldheer played well for the Colts, which is why the Packers probably signed him. Will his fortunes change this week? I think so. Below are my weekly picks; trying to get back on track with a winning record this week after a sub-par performance last week. Most of the games last weekend spread wise came down to the wire, where teams like Indianapolis and Washington covered, but there was significant money on Buffalo and Tampa Bay. Well done, Vegas, well done! 

  • Players of the week
    (Wild Card Weekend)
  • Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
    26/35 Comp, 324 Pass YDS, 2 TDs, 1 Rush TD
  • Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
    16 Car, 136 Rush YDS, 1 Rush TD, 1 INT
  • Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills
    6 Rec, 128 YDS, 1 TD

Divisional Round Weekend picks (2 – 4 playoff total) 

Saturday (16) 4:35 pm
#6 Los Angeles Rams @ #1 Green Bay Packers
Packers -6.5

The Rams handled the Seahawks last week and now must go on the road again to Green Bay, where MVP frontrunner Aaron Rodgers and his Packers patiently await after having a bye week. The Rams are a decent defensive team and will make life difficult for Rodgers and the Packers’ offense. The Problem is the Rams aren’t typically an offensive threat. I feel they had more success against the Seahawks because the Seahawks are terrible, and they benefit from playing them twice a season. There is pressure on Rodgers to make and win the Superbowl; he comes through with an MVP caliber performance, making plays when he needs to.

Saturday (16) 8:15 pm
#5 Baltimore Ravens @ #2 Buffalo Bills
Bills -2.0

Both Baltimore and Buffalo won key playoff games last weekend. It was Lamar Jacksons’ first playoff win with the Ravens after a string of ugly losses. The Bills won their first home playoff game in 25 years, made possible by Tom Brady’s departure from the AFC East. Baltimore’s’ defense won them that game last week, not their offense and this has me leading to a Buffalo victory. Lamar Jacksons’ numbers weren’t excellent; in fact, he threw for zero touchdowns. Buffalo may have some trouble containing his running abilities, and Baltimore does have a decent defense, but this Buffalo Bills team, led by their outstanding offense, is the real deal. I have a hunch it won’t even be close. Keep a close eye on the weather in Buffalo this weekend. It could be cold, windy, and snowing. Lamar Jackson has never played in the snow, including his college years.   

Sunday (17) 3:05 pm
#6 Cleveland Browns @ #1 Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs -10.0

The Browns finally bullied the team that has bullied them for nearly 20 years; the Pittsburgh Steelers. The most shocking part is that they did it without much of their primary coaching staff, including the head coach. Let’s be real the Steelers were pretenders this season, a fact I reiterated multiple times in my season articles. The Chiefs are the polar opposite of the Steelers, as they won the Superbowl last season, almost won it the season before, and they are trending up, where the Steelers are in for a lengthy stay at the bottom, where the Browns used to be. For the Browns to win the game against the Chiefs, they will have to have everything go their way. Especially the turnover battle, they have been winning in many of their recent games, which is crucial this time of year. That ends here! Kansas is rested, they are at home, they win the game in what could be a shootout. This Chiefs team was losing a playoff game last year 24 – 0, they stormed back and won. If I’m the Browns, I don’t settle for field goals, and I go for it on 4th and short every time.

Sunday (17) 6:40 pm
#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ #2 New Orleans Saints
Buccaneers +3.0

These two teams are meeting for the third time this season. The two previous encounters haven’t gone well for the Buccaneers, being outscored on opening day 34 – 23, and midway through the season is an epic beat down on a nationally televised game, 38 to 3. The Saints have had this core group together for quite some time. On the flip side, this is almost an entirely overhauled Bucs team from last year, trying to buy its way to the Superbowl. Just like the Browns needing everything to go right, so do the Buccaneers. The thing is, I’m not sold on the Saints anymore; If the Bears had Tampa’s offensive swagger last weekend, the Saints would have lost and lost badly; Brees has been playing his age, where Brady hasn’t. Does something change here? We will see! The Buccaneers defense steps up big time and steals this game.  

Adam Care/MS

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