NFL Division Matchups — Predictions
There is a fun and exciting slate of NFL divisional matchups this weekend and really, every game looks good. I anticipate each one being close and competitive. Below are my predictions
Bengals at Titans
- This is going to be an interesting game on a few fronts. First, the Titans have been mostly ignored the last few weeks. I’m not sure even if the average fan knew they were the #1 seed before last week. There is, according to the Titans, disrespect to their name and game for being the top seed in AFC. In all honesty, the Chiefs and Bills are better, but here were are. The Bengals are coming in off a super high of winning first playoff game in over 30 years (which is still crazy) and now they go on the road to battle a tough Titans team. I was surprised the Bengals had a close win against the Raiders. It might have been some first playoff game nerves, but the Raiders really beat themselves late in the game, especially on last play interception. If there is a game that isn’t close, I’m going this one. Derrick Henry is cleared to come back and I think Titans will be jacked for his return. Also Mike Vrabel really plays the disrespect card well and will scheme to make Joe Burrow look marginal. Really, if Burrow can’t play well then Bengals are done. I have Titans winning by 10.
49ers at Packers
- The 49ers are a weird scary team, they do just enough to win and lose games. Its crazy and that's why they are scary. You can’t predict how their play will impact a game because it goes both ways. As an opponent you can’t get too excited about a misstep because they can come right back and either tie or take the lead. The Packers will go as Aaron Rogers goes. They have a solid defense that plays smart but is akin to giving up the big play. The 49ers go as Deebo Samuels goes, yes Jimmy G has to play decent for them to have a chance, but if Samuels gets going in run game or any time he touches the ball, the 9ers have a shot. With all that being said, I think the Packers get this one. I can’t foresee Rogers playing bad at home and I don’t know if 49ers have enough to stop the Packers. At some point a missed throw or turnover by them will be the end. I have Packers by 4.
Rams v Bucs
- This will be the ultimate game for Matthew Staffords career, whether fair or not. Its the prime matchup for the Rams; why they made all the moves they did to make a star studded team. Its the defending SB champs and Tom Brady. Its all their for Stafford and the Rams. If Stafford plays well the Rams have a shot. If he doesn’t, the season will end in a thud. The game being in Tampa might give Bucs the edge, but the Rams are still a tough team and I think McVay knows whats at stake here. That might backfire as there will be a lot of pressure on the Rams and the Bucs will just play their game, Brady leading the way. I have the Bucs by 7.
Bills v. Chiefs
- In my opinion the game of the weekend. This is as good a matchup and quite frankly its too bad they are meeting now and not in AFC title game. As written above, these are the two best teams in AFC (sorry Titans — no disrespect). I also think if the Bills want to take the next step, this is the game. The Chiefs are still vulnerable, good, but vulnerable. Yes its in Arrowhead and the Chiefs are near unstoppable there, especially in playoffs, but the Bills are built different. You don’t crush the Patriots and Belichick like that in the postseason. I think the tide rolls differently this time. Give me the Bills by 3.