It's Time to Get Wild
Many didn't think that we'd even get to this point, but we're just hours away from the start off the NFL postseason!
This year, an extra team in each conference qualifies for postseason play which results in only the top seed in the AFC and NFC receiving a first round bye. The Chiefs earned top spot in the AFC, and the Packers won the crown in the NFC. Both of those organizations will be sitting in front of the TV this weekend, and just like us will be glued to the action and outcomes.
For Kansas City, they'll likely be hoping for an upset in either the first game of the weekend or the last. Buffalo (2) and Indianapolis (7) kick off the playoff slate on Saturday in the 1:05 spot, and Cleveland (6) plays Pittsburgh (3) in the final game of the opening weekend at 8:15 on Sunday night. Being that the first seed gets the lowest seeded remaining opponent, the Colts and Browns would be a better matchup for the reigning champs in the Divisional Round.
The Packers face a considerably tougher opponent when they get back on the field as the seventh and sixth seeds, the Bears and Rams, face uphill battles to win their Wild Card games. The Rams may be without their starting quarterback again and we could see John Wolford under center for their matchup against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
The Bears, who are playing much better of late behind the improved play of Mitch Trubisky, and the solid performances of David Montgomery, earned an unfortunate draw as they face the Saints who may be getting both Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara returning to the lineup. That would mean Tom Brady's Buccaneers are the most likely to enter the Divisional Round as the lowest seeded remaining opponent for Green Bay as they're the five seed and will play the Washington Football Team (4) on Saturday night. If the Bucs handle the Football Team we could be in line for what many considered a likely NFC Championship matchup in the second round.
Let's break down the Saturday matchups and give you all the info you need before the Bills and Colts kick off Saturday afternoon.
Josh Allen hopes to lead the Bills to their first playoff win since 1995Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports
Colts (7) at Bills (2)
1:05 pm EST (CBS)
Spread: Bills -6.5
Buffalo endured a 17 year playoff drought not long ago. Fast forward to today, and the Bills are entering the playoffs as one of the serious contenders to unseat the Chiefs as world champs. Josh Allen has been spectacular this season as he finished in the top five in passing yards, passing touchdowns, QBR, and completion percentage. Allen to Stefon Diggs has become one of the most feared connections in all of football, and the Colts will have their hands full trying to slow down an offense that has outscored opponents 229-110 since Week 12. Still, while Buffalo has made the playoffs in three out of the last four years, they haven't managed to win a playoff game since 1995.
The Colts have shown an ability to put points up themselves this season, and if they can establish the run with rookie sensation Jonathan Taylor, it would go a long way in dictating the pace of play, extending drives for Indianapolis, and most importantly keeping the high octane Bills offense off the field. If Indy can limit offensive opportunities for Josh Allen, that's their key to victory.
Prediction: Bills 34 - Colts 23
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks play the LA Rams during Wild Card WeekendRobert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports
Rams (6) at Seahawks (3)
4:40 pm EST (FOX)
Spread: Seahawks -3.5
This game hinges on one very important unknown heading into it, and that's the status of Rams' starting quarterback Jared Goff. If Goff is unable to go Sean McVay will be putting John Wolford under center which would be a significant hit to Los Angeles' chances of coming out of Saturday with a win. The Rams have been very streaky throughout the season even with their starting QB, and their defense hasn't been as dominant as one would hope for with the talent on the roster. If Goff is unable to play Saturday it will allow an improving Seattle defense to key in on the run which could result in a long day for the Rams.
Russell Wilson started the season as an MVP favorite, but finished the regular season on a bit of a dull note. We know how special Wilson can be, but with all of the talented receivers he has to work with, the struggles down the stretch may be cause for concern. Now that the Seahawks have a healthy Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde to complement the passing game it may be the boost Wilson needs to get back to the form we saw him hit early in the regular season.
Prediction: Seahawks 30 - Rams 13
Buccaneers (5) at Washington (4)
8:15 pm EST (NBC)
Spread: Buccaneers -8.5
This game is an anomaly in the sense that Tampa Bay is widely viewed as the better team on paper, on the field, by way of regular season record, and are the clear favorite to win this playoff game against the higher seeded Washington Football Team. Washington ofcourse is the four seed in the NFC as they were the NFC East Division Champions, and the four division champs earn the top four playoff seeds.
Washington boasts one of the best defensive lines in all of football with four first round selections manning the trenches for the Washington D. Chase Young and Montez Sweat will provide plenty of pressure off the edges, and the Football Team will need to disrupt the Tampa passing attack to have any chance to pull off the upset?
Tom Brady low-key had a fantastic season and it seems like he is starting to get on the same page as Antonio Brown after he posted 11 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the Bucs final regular season game. We don't expect Washington to win this game, but with a bunch of young talent on their roster it will be closer than you might think.
Prediction: Buccaneers 34 - Football Team 27