With the wildcard matchups coming to a close, we now advance to the next round of the NFL playoffs: the divisional round. The weekend's matchups look to be interesting, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looking to get their revenge on the New Orleans Saints. The number one cornerback in the NFL, Jalen Ramsey of the Rams, will also face off against the best receiver in the game, Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers, starting things of for the NFC.
In the other conference, the AFC, the Chiefs look to beat the Browns coming off their upset against the Steelers, while the Bills look to continue their hot streak taking on the Ravens, fresh off a gritty win against the Titans their wildcard matchup.
The game that kicks off the divisional round is the Packers versus the Rams. This matchup is all about how the Packer's number one rated offense in the NFL does against the Ram's number one rated defense in the NFL. All eyes will however be focused on Jalen Ramsey versus Davante Adams, as both players seem ready for the challenge of taking each other on. Ramsey is coming off doing a great job on the Seahawks breakout receiver DK Metcalf, while Adams, in week 17, had 46 receiving yards and a touchdown against the Bears. They are dealing with heavy injuries as their star Aaron Donald is dealing with a rib injury and quarterback Jared Goff is playing with a broken thumb. I believe these injuries will be downfall of the Rams as the Packers will seem too much for the battered Rams team.
The following game has last year's MVP Lamar Jackson taking on fellow 2018 draft class quarterback Josh Allen. Allen is looking to continue his career year and hot streak with a win over Baltimore. Allen looked very impressive since getting his new star receiver, Steffon Diggs, as the two are showing that they are a force to be reckoned with in the AFC for years to come. On the other side of the ball, the Bills' defense have struggled all year against the run, which can cause problems as the Ravens had the number one rushing attack in the league. Lamar Jackson is coming off his first playoff victory against the Titans, looking to repeat his strong performance. Jackson is arguably the most electrifying player in the league, but many are starting to question if that can translate to playoff success. Getting his first playoff win is a good sign, but winning one game is not enough: Lamar must prove he can take a team on a deep playoff run. Lamar has the leg talent, but his arm talent and ability to be more effective in the passing game must improve if he wants to accomplish his goal of winning a Super Bowl.
To start off Sunday’s games, we have the Chiefs versus the Browns, where the Chiefs are looking to continue their run to be repeat champions. The Chiefs are looking to continue their dominance following their 14-2 regular season record riding their high-power offense to get here. The Browns will have a tough time trying to cover the Chiefs' multitude of weapons lead by reigning super bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. The Browns, on the other hand, look to ride to victory on the backs of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, following their impressive performance against the Pittsburg Steelers. The duo helped the Browns finish second in rushing yards in the NFL and led them to a 11-5 record in the regular season. The Browns will need this duo to be extraordinary if they want to beat the Chiefs as not only will this allow them to put up points, but it keeps the ball away from Patrick Mahomes and the chiefs high-powered offense.
The divisional round wraps up with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. The Buccaneers are coming off a close game against the Washington Football team in last week's wildcard round while the Saints are fresh off a win against the Chicago Bears. This will be the third time these teams face off this season, with the Saints claiming their previous two matchups. If the Buccaneers want to reverse this outcome, they must protect Tom Brady. In their previous two matchups, Brady was sacked three times in both games, and to make matters worse they did not run the ball successfully either. For the Saints it is simple: they must repeat what they did in the other two games. Their pass rush and ability to create turnovers have allowed them to dominate them in the past. Continuing to do that means the Buccaneers will have no shot in this game.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went on to win the 2021 Super Bowl