Friday, January 21, 2022

NFL Divisional preview

 So now we're down to the final eight. It is Divisional round weekend. Three rematches on the schedule. 


Cincinnati @ Tennessee (CBS, 4:30 pm ET): It took the Bengals nearly 30 years between playoff wins, but do they have another one in them to get to the AFC title game? Baby steps, yo'.

Tennessee is rested. All coach Mike Vrabel has to do is flash his Super Bowl rings, and that is motivation enough. The Titans' defense can and probably will shut down rookie receiver JaMarr Chase, who, like QB Joe Burrow, was drafted out of LSU. It's very possible Chase could be the offensive rookie of the year, but his season ends in Rocky Top country.

The pick: Tennessee.

San Francisco @ Green Bay (Fox, 8:15 pm): These two teams met in week 3, with the Packers leaving with a win on a late Mason Crosby field goal. This has the biggest spread on the board, with the 49ers a 5 1/2 point road underdog. Apparently, the oddsmakers don't see this being close again. I do. The league wants a State Farm Super Bowl, and this will help set the table.

The pick: Green Bay by 3. Again.


Los Angeles @ Tampa Bay (NBC/Peacock, 3 pm): Tom Brady is yearning for revenge after the Rams beat the Buccaneers earlier this season. Aaron Donald and friends are going to be spending a large chunk of the day in the Tampa backfield. Tampa gets premier running back Leonard Fournette back, but defensive lineman Jason Pierre Paul is still not at 100%. This one is closer than you think.

But, the league's advertising partners on Madison Avenue want Brady in the title game again and again until New England can win another AFC title, unless Brady retires first. Keep that in mind.

The pick: Tampa Bay. In overtime.

Buffalo @ Kansas City (CBS, 6:30 pm): As we outlined last week, these two teams met in October, with Buffalo winning. Back then, the Chiefs were struggling. Not anymore. Air traffic control will be on full alert in KC, but it's going to be a track meet, too. Patrick Mahomes will be pushed to his limits and beyond. This will be a fun game.

If Buffalo wins, they will be seeking revenge themselves against Tennessee. Then again, the Titans also beat KC earlier this season.

The pick: Kansas City.

Of course, I could be wrong.

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