Divisional Round Preview

6 seed Tennessee Titans (9-7) @ 1 seed Los Angeles Chargers (16-0)

These two teams met in week 4 where the undefeated Chargers clobbered the Titans 31-0 in the first half and 45-14 overall. This was a while ago, but the Chargers never looked back having a great season on Offense led by Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler. But, their defense is not to be underrated led by Joey Bosa, Derwin James Jr., and Kenneth Murray Jr. The Titans led by Aaron Rodgers and Derrick Henry both had subpar performances in that matchup as Rodgers threw 6 picks and Henry only rushed for 63 yards, but the Titans soon turned around their season and have now upset the 3 seeded Baltimore Ravens to get to this point. They seem built for playoff football and have one of the best chances to upset the heavily favored Chargers. Tennessee played with pure control in the Wild Card as Rodgers only had to pass for 164 yards while King Henry shredded the stout Baltimore defense with ease running for 263 yards and 4 touchdowns on 21 carries. He is the main reason that Los Angeles isn’t guaranteed a win even after their 16-0 season. The Titans have now won four games in a row and they will look to knock off the AFC favorites, but the Chargers have home-field advantage and are having a historic season plus they have had an extra week to rest and prepare to dismantle the Titans and march towards a Super Bowl. The Tennesee Titans were made to pull off this upset but the Los Angeles Chargers have grinded for this undefeated season and they won’t throw it away easily. Final Prediction: Chargers 38 Titans 24

4 seed Indianapolis Colts @ 2 seed Buffalo Bills (13-3)

The Colts, while the higher seed, still pulled off the Wild Card upset against the Patriots, but their road gets even harder against the defending AFC and Super Bowl champions in the Buffalo Bills. The Bills handled their division rival with ease and dominance winning 48 to absolutely nothing as they were rolling on offense, even after subbing in the backups halfway through the 3rd quarter. It’s not like they needed it, but the Bills’ defense was flattening, holding Miami to just 151 total yards and forcing 5 turnovers. The Colts win against the Patriots was also a strong performance, and the offense looked much better than they had in the regular season, although Indianopils’s defensive unit was shakier than normal at times. These two teams never played in the regular season, so even though the Bills might be decently heavy favorites, don’t count out those Colts led by Jonathon Taylor. They can rip off a big play at any moment with a Paris Campbell bomb once you start creeping in against the run. The Bills, led by Josh Allen who had an MVP season, are going to look to go pass-heavy against the strong Colts defense. Buffalo will look to put their heads down and do what they know they can and advance to the AFC championship. Buffalo will be the more confident bunch, but the Indianapolis unit is hot and full of energy and they want this win more than anything. The Indianapolis Colts are going to look to knock off another AFC East powerhouse in the Bills, even without home-field advantage this week and the Buffalo Bills will look to go back to the AFC championship and win it just like last year, and I’m sure they plan on a Super Bowl repeat victory as well. Final Prediction: Bills 34 Colts 23

6 seed Washington Football Team (9-7) @ 1 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers (16-0)

The Football knocked off their division rival Eagles in the Wild Card and have won the right to play the undefeated Buccaneers in the Divisional Round. Washington beat the Eagles like they knew they could, splitting up the Dwayne Haskins passing attack and the Bryce Love rushing attack as they controlled the time of possession and the game with just 321 total yards and 21 points. The defense did its job and did it well, holding Philadelphia to only 10 points, all of which came in the 2nd quarter as Carson Wentz made mistake after mistake throwing drives away as soon as they started to look good. Wentz alone must’ve cost the Eagles at least 3 potential scores with his 3 interceptions and 1 fumble lost. The lack of a strong passing game didn’t hurt Miles Sanders’ production, so look for Tampa Bay to go ground and pound if Sam Howell can’t get it going which could be the case when throwing against the elite safety duo of Landon Collins and Troy Apke. Tampa Bay is undefeated and you know they are hungry for their chance at the NFC title game and more importantly, the Super Bowl. The Buccaneers also have the advantage of being more disciplined as the Football Team’s game stayed competitive for longer than it should have with some truly not smart throws by Haskins when the game seemed to already be over. If anyone can capitalize on mistakes, it’s these Buccaneers and their home crowd won’t let Washington forget it if they start making them. Will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue their historic season and move on or will the reigning NFC champions pull off the upset and return to the NFC championship for a second chance to win the Super Bowl. Final Prediction: Buccaneers 31 Football Team 23

5 seed New York Giants (10-6) @ 2 seed Minnesota Vikings (12-4)

This matchup is between two teams who took care of business like they were expected to in the Wild Card. The Giants won 44-28 against the Arizona Cardinals as they were led by strong offensive performances by Daniel Jones and Ito Smith who combined for over 350 of the total 416 offensive yards. The Giants’ defense also put in their fair share as they got two pick-6s despite allowing 28 points. The Vikings controlled their Wild Card matchup with the New Orleans Saints despite being outgained on offense as they had only 291 total offensive yards and were doubled in time of possession by the Saints. But, Jamie Newman did a great job of managing the game and Dalvin Cook had 185 yards from scrimmage and 3 total touchdowns on 16 total touches. New York and Minnesota met in the regular season in week 9 where the Vikings jumped out to a 14 point lead at the half and were able to narrowly hang onto it in the second half thanks to a 4th quarter shutout. Jamie Newman was again just a game manager in that meeting as Dalvin Cook and Chris Carson did the heavy lifting on the ground with 27 carries for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns in addition to contributing 36 receiving yards between the pair. The Vikings also won the turnover battle that game, forcing 2 Daniel Jones interceptions along with an Ito Smith fumble as Minnesota valued the ball well and didn’t turn it over. Expect the Vikings to follow their formula of slow game management and go heavy on the ground, but if the Giants defensive unit can step up and force Newman to throw while the Giants offense looks to limit turnovers, New York can pull off the upset in Minneapolis. Will the Minnesota Vikings advance to the NFC Championship and look to get to the biggest game of them all or will the New York Giants beat another higher seeded team and get their chance at the same goal. Final Prediction: Vikings 27 Giants 21

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