After which there have been eight groups remaining within the race for Tremendous Bowl 55. With the divisional spherical of the 2021 NFL playoffs right here it is time for an additional spherical for picks and predictions in opposition to the unfold.
Though the slate drops from six video games throughout wild-card weekend to a mixed 4 this Saturday and Sunday, there’s nonetheless loads of good two-day motion between the AFC and NFC matchups. There are two sturdy favorites and two delicate favorites among the many house groups this week.
This is to making an attempt to construct on our stable success navigating via the numbers from final week:
NFL playoff picks, predictions in opposition to the unfold
- Sport of the Week: Ravens at Payments (-2.5, 50 o/u)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC
This recreation will reside as much as the billing of being a dynamic passing and operating duel between 2018 first-round quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. The Payments’ defensive weak spot is in opposition to the run, which is able to permit Jackson, J.Ok. Dobbins and Gus Edwards to get going between the tackles and across the edges. The Ravens are stable in opposition to the run however, regardless of some having some good, skilled go rushers and cornerbacks, they’ve lapses in stress and protection, which might expose them additional with their frequent blitzes.
Jackson will do loads of harm on the bottom and Allen could have his share of key bodily runs. It can come all the way down to which quarterback could make just a few extra massive go performs off script. Jackson will see Tre’Davious White comprise Marquise Brown, left leaning totally on tight finish Mark Andrews in an important matchup. The distinction would be the Payments’ Stefon Diggs, who can constantly get the higher of Marcus Peters outdoors to spice up Allen.
Choose: Payments win 27-24 and canopy the unfold.
Sunday, 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS
The Browns got here out on the lookout for massive performs and takeaways in opposition to the Steelers and have been profitable, ultimately closing out their AFC North rivals with Nick Chubb and the ability operating recreation. Chubb and former Chiefs characteristic again Kareem Hunt will likely be essential to the possibilities of a second consecutive (and far greater) street upset.
Baker Mayfield cannot get right into a pure chuck-fest with Patrick Mahomes as a result of he would not have the identical all-around weapons and is dealing with the a lot more durable of the 2 total go defenses. The Browns have to play ball management, choosing good spots for Mayfield to hit on massive performs off play-action and bootlegs after which ensure that they lean on Chubb and Hunt most to complete within the pink zone.
The Chiefs will counter by relentlessly throwing with a rested Mahomes. The Browns merely don’t have anybody who can cowl vast receiver Tyreek Hill deep or tight finish Travis Kelce on intermediate routes. The objective will likely be leaping off to a big lead and limiting the Browns’ use of the run, placing Mayfield in uncomfortable conditions in opposition to Frank Clark, Chris Jones and the remainder of the Chiefs’ go rush. Mayfield additionally must be cautious throwing to the center of the sector with safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorenson looming.
The Browns will not have solutions for Mahomes. The Chiefs will discover a lot for Mayfield within the second half.
Choose: Chiefs win 34-17 and canopy the unfold.
- Upset of the Week: Buccaneers (+3, 52 o/u) over Saints
Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET, Fox
Tom Brady’s first recreation as a Buccaneer was tough in New Orleans in Week 1. His second shot on the Saints was even worse at house in Week 9. However Brady wasn’t taking part in practically on the similar stage in both earlier assembly as he’s now, totally locked into his vast receivers, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. He is set at tight finish, too, whether or not it is Cameron Brate or outdated buddy Rob Gronkowski operating the routes. The Saints have developed extra protection points all around the discipline and after seeing their protection twice on movie, Brady will alter into probably the most comfy matchup, most each time.
The Bucs and Saints each cease the run nicely, so it’ll come down which fortysomething quarterback, Brady or Drew Brees, can keep away from the massive errors but additionally ship massive performs. Brady has merely been the extra spectacular passer with the stronger arm for his age and has extra guys who may cause matchup issues. Brees could have success engaged on shorter routes to Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, however Evans, Godwin and Brown will likely be of greater assist to Brady.
Choose: Buccaneers win 34-31.
Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET, Fox
The Rams will make this a recreation due to their operating recreation. Their offensive line pushed across the Seahawks with Andrew Whitworth again and the recent legs of rookie Cam Akers has made the speeding assault central once more. Jared Goff will likely be just a little more healthy to reap the benefits of that, working play-action to Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. The Packers will deal with a few of that by placing cornerback Jaire Alexander on Woods.
On the opposite facet, Aaron Rodgers will see Davante Adams locked up with Jalen Ramsey and is aware of heart Corey Linsley and the remainder of his sturdy inside offensive line have to preserve Aaron Donald at bay, particularly with the sting compromised with out left sort out David Bakhtiari. Rodgers and Aaron Jones do not discover it simple at first, however then Rodgers finds tight finish Robert Tonyan and different matchups he likes away from downfield and Jones will go to work on a worn-down group within the second half.
The Rams’ protection makes an announcement in opposition to the MVP QB in Inexperienced Bay, however they cannot do sufficient to verify the Rams’ offense outscores no matter Rodgers leads the Packers to do.
Choose: Packers win 24-20 however fail to cowl the unfold.
Stats of the Week
- Wild-card playoff straight up: 5-1
- Wild-card playoffs in opposition to the unfold: 3-2
- Season straight up: 169-93
- Season in opposition to the unfold: 135-119