Saturday, Jan. 16:
Rams (11-6) @ Packers (13-3) (4:35 p.m. EST)
The Rams upset the Seahawks last week in the wild card matchup and proved that their defense is the best in the NFL. They sacked Russell Wilson five times and only allowed two third-down conversions. The Rams were also able to run the ball efficiently which made it easier on Jared Goff who is recovering from a thumb surgery.
The Rams have two pro bowlers in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey who are arguably the best at their respective positions (defensive end and cornerback). They are going to make it difficult on the Packers but I think they will fall short this week.
Aaron Rodgers has had an MVP-caliber season throwing 48 TDs and only 5 INTs. If Rodgers can improvise in the pocket and not take sacks, which he usually does, then I think the Packers will be able to move the ball down field and outscore the Rams. The Packers have a dual threat offense which will be difficult to stop.
Ravens (12-5) @ Bills (14-3) (8:15 p.m. EST)
I feel this game will come down to clock management and who can possess the ball longer. Both teams have great offenses and elite quarterbacks who are not afraid to run the ball and keep it for themselves in high pressure situations. Both defenses are playing great at the moment but they both struggle against dynamic offenses like the ones they’ll be facing.
The Bills will have to contain Lamar Jackson and not allow him 100 yards rushing like the Titans did last week. The Ravens will have to do the same thing to Josh Allen so he can’t extend plays. I see this coming down to the last couple plays of the game and think that the Bills will get the W in a nail biter.
Sunday, Jan. 17:
Browns (12-5) @ Chiefs (14-2) (3:05 p.m. EST)
The Browns had a great game against the Steelers last week despite having team issues with COVID-19. They were able to get off to an early lead and ran with it. The Browns have a great rushing offense with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt as their running backs and the Chiefs struggle against the run. The Chiefs have given up an average of 122 rushing yds per game this season but despite this they have been able to win most of their games.
The Chiefs are heavy favorites in this matchup mainly because of Patrick Mahomes and his ability to control games and score in high pressure situations. The last game Mahomes played was against the Falcons (4-12), and the Chiefs struggled to get anything going on offense. Mahomes was benched in week 17 and has had two weeks to rest before this game. If the Chiefs come out slow I think they’re going to have trouble making the comeback. I’m gonna take the Browns in this one for the huge upset.
Buccaneers (12-5) @ Saints (13-4) (6:40 p.m. EST)
Drew Brees vs Tom Brady, the two future hall of famers will face off one last time this year and try to build on their legacies. The Bucs have won five straight games after losing to the Chiefs in week 12. The offense is clicking and should put on a clinic against the Saints. The last time the Bucs faced the Saints they lost 38-3, but this is a much different team than the one in week 9.
The Saints have won three of their last five games also losing to the Chiefs in week 15. That was Brees’ first game back from a rib injury and since then they have won three straight. The Saints have one of the best running backs in the league in Alvin Kamara and he will be a big factor in the outcome of Sunday night’s game.
Both defenses rank in the top three for rushing yards allowed per game. These teams are very similar and I see this game playing out a lot like I think the Ravens/Bills game will. I have the Bucs winning this one by a score.