As the Packers will be idle this weekend after earning the NFC’s only playoff wildcard round bye, I wanted to take a look at the rest of the NFL’s Slate to see who is playing and ultimately my thoughts on the matchup.
Indianapolis vs. Buffalo (-6)
Buffalo looks like the most likely contender to take the AFC crown from Kansas City, lead by Josh Allen at quarterback. This is a team that has the foundations of a strong defense and is lead by Sean McDermott who has turned around the franchise from being a doormat for the division to a team that is looking and feeling like it can win a Superbowl.
Indianapolis has one of the most dynamic young tailbacks in the league with Johnathan Taylor, and they were one of the few teams to defensively stay with the Packers which ultimately lead to a Colt’s overtime victory in Week 11. While this team has been very consistent throughout the year, I don’t think they can play up to the potential of the Bills and I see Buffalo advancing and covering.
Seattle (-3) vs. LA Rams
Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf can rival pretty much any pass-game tandem in the league (yes Packers fans, I can say that without disparaging Rodgers and Adams…there’s enough room at the top). Add in Tyler Lockett who is consistently underrated and a resurgent defense, and this Seattle team can give any opponent a run for their money on any given Sunday. They will also have homefield advantage for the weekend which has proven to be valuable for them this year after they have concluded their regular season record with a 7-1 home defense despite a lack of fans.
LA is only a few years removed from a dominate NFC run and Superbowl appearance but their shine has worn off considerably since then. While the Rams may be able to boast the most complete defensive unit in the conference lead by All-Pro caliber stars Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald, I think they will be hard pressed to keep up with the explosive Seattle offense. Seattle wins and covers.
Tampa Bay (-8.5) and Washington Football Team
The Bucs should roll here but I do like the WFT to cover. If the Buccaneers win and the Saints avoid an upset, we could have a Rodgers vs. Brady game to look forward to next weekend as the two would meet for the first time ever in a playoff situation.
Baltimore (-3) vs. Tennessee
Last year an upstart Titan’s squad roared into Baltimore with baaaaaaad intentions and left with an improbable upset over the heavily favored Ravens lead by MVP Lamar Jackson. This year’s rematch will promise to be a bruising slugfest as both offenses will be trading blows like heavyweight boxers.
If I could only watch one game this weekend this would be my choice, and these two teams are very evenly matched. While I am taking Baltimore, I do not doubt the Titan’s capacity to pull off a second upset.
Chicago vs. New Orleans (-10)
Daaaaaaa Bears still suck, go Saints. I really don’t have too much to say in favor for the Bears other than to think that if somehow Mitch Trubisky were to win, there could be a chance that Pace gives him a new deal which would really warm my heart.
That being said, I hope this is a blowout and would put money on the Saints winning and covering.
Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh (-6)
The Browns are dealing with a lot of COVID issues so while this should a true celebration for the Browns and the entire city in making the playoffs and ending their drought, it already feels like the wind is being taken out of their sails here. Head coach Kevin Stefanski will have to miss the game due to COVID protocol and former Packer’s passing game coordinator Alex Van Pelt will be calling the plays for Cleveland. Since the COVID news was announced, the line has only shifted in Pittsburgh’s favor by one point which indicates that Vegas doesn’t think that Cleveland will be missing too much with the substitutions.
The Steelers started the year strong going 11 straight weeks with victories but have limped into the postseason having gone 1-4 since then. While it has been rough sledding thus far, I think they hang on here and win outright.
Last Week 2-1 | Season Total- 18-14 (56%)
——————Joe Kelley is a lifelong Packer fan born in Wisconsin and currently living surrounded by Patriots fans in New England- please send messages of support to @Jkelleylol on Twitter or @j.k.lolz on Instagram.