As the playoffs begin, there is no hotter team than the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have won their last six games and nine of ten, with their only loss in that period coming on a Hail Mary against the Cardinals. Their defense has been strong, while Josh Allen has developed into an MVP type franchise quarterback. At 13-3, the Bills have won their first division title since 1995 and will host their first playoff game in 25 years. The Indianapolis Colts finished 11-5 and needed the Bills’ help in beating the Dolphins to get the last spot in the playoffs. The Colts are a good team, but they are walking into an impossible situation. The Bills will have a small crowd on hand, and they will help add to the energy as Buffalo wins going away.
This one could be of the most intense games of the Super Wild Card weekend. The NFC West rivals split their games his season, with the Seattle Seahawks winning two weeks ago at Lumen Field. In that game, Jared Goff injured his thumb, missing a vital game last week. The Rams were able to get the win last week. John Wolford filled in and beat the Cardinals with a playoff spot on the line. The Rams beat Seattle earlier in the season, as the teams battled for the NFC West all season. The Rams defense has done a good job at holding down Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense. With Goff’s status up in the air, it is hard to see the Rams having enough offense to win this game.
The Washington Football Team benefited from the Eagles’ decision to throw the game last week and won the NFC East. They are in the playoffs despite a 7-9 record. The last two teams with a losing record, the 2010 Seahawks and 2014 Panthers, each hosted a playoff game and won. Washington is hoping history repeats. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the season strong, winning their last four games to finish 11-5 as Tom Brady led them to their first postseason in 12 years. Brady is trying to get to another Super Bowl with a new team, but Washington provides problems as Chase Young could make life uncomfortable. However, with Alex Smith obviously playing in pain, Washington is likely not able enough offense to get the upset, though the game could be close.
Last year the Tennesse Titans upset the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round, ruining the Ravens season. Lamar Jackson struggled for the second time in the postseason. The Titans beat the Ravens again during the regular season. However, Baltimore won their last five games to finish 11-5 as Jackson played to the MVP level he was in 2019. Derrick Henry had an MVP season for the Titans, rushing for 2,000 yards. Henry was the reason the Titans won last year’s playoff game and could be the reason they win again Sunday. The Titans’ defense has struggled down the stretch as they have allowed more than 30 points three times in their last five games.
These teams met in the regular season, and the New Orleans Saints needed overtime to defeat the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. At the Superdome, the Saints hope to get back to the Super Bowl as Drew Brees is likely to retire at the end of the season. The Bears backed into the playoffs as the Cardinals lost the final game of the season. Heading into the game, the Bears were playing well as Mitch Trubisky had revitalized their offense. The Saints got good news as Alvin Kamara, after missing Week 17 with COVID, has been cleared to play. The last time Kamara was on the field, he scored six touchdowns on Christmas. The Bears will make this game interesting, but with Kamara on the field, the Saints will be difficult to stop.
The Cleveland Browns needed to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last week to end their 18-year playoff drought. The Browns’ last playoff win was in 1994, with Bill Belichick beating the Patriots. The new incarnation of the Browns is making just their second postseason appearance. That game was also in Pittsburgh, with the Steelers rallying to win the game. The Browns will be without coach Kevin Stefanski who is in COVID protocol. The Steelers had their chances to win last week even though Ben Roethlisberger was sitting. Big Ben will play this week, and that should launch the Steelers to victory. However, the Browns and their running game should be able to keep the game close. The Steelers will win the game, but this game will be close.