The playoffs are here and there are a couple of surprise teams in the picture that nobody would have expected back in August (see the Saints, Rams, Jaguars, and Bills). That is all the fun of what the NFL is, you never know what you’re gonna get. In the spirit of the playoffs I will provide my insight as to how each team can win the game and my pick of who I think will win. Let’s get it!
Last Week: 8-8
Regular Season: 163-93
Saturday, January 6th, 4:35 e.t.
#5 Tennessee Titans (9-7) @ #4 Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
How the Titans can win: They will need to find an identity on offense and control the game. I think putting the ball in Marcus Mariota’s hands in the no-huddle gives them the best chance of winning here since the Chiefs have been had in the air this season.
How the Chiefs can win: They can force some turnovers on defense and the Titans have been generous with the ball at times this season. Also, if Kareem Hunt can get his legs churning that will open the door for play action and deep shots down the field.
Final: Kansas City 31, Tennessee 16
Saturday, January 6th, 8:15 e.t.
#6 Atlanta Falcons (10-6) @ #3 Los Angeles Rams (11-5)
How the Falcons can win: Being able to run the ball at this undersized Ram front is key. The Atlanta defense has been playing well down the stretch also and they will have to continue that and turn this game into a dog-fight on the road.
How the Rams can win: Feed Todd Gurley. The quick pass is something that the Falcons have not fared well against this year so that is another thing that L.A. should feature on Saturday, something they are good at.
Final: Los Angeles 27, Atlanta 19
Sunday, January 7th, 1:05 e.t.
#6 Buffalo Bills (9-7) @ #3 Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)
How the Bills can win: First of all, it is paramount that LeSean McCoy is a go for this contest. If he is not then the Buffalo defense will have to be special and Tyrod Taylor will need to do his best to be safe with the ball, which he is apt to do anyways.
How the Jaguars can win: The easy answer is to get their offense playing better. Blake Bortles needs to avoid making bad mistakes and it would certainly help if Leonard Fournette could get his legs churning. Simply put though, the Jaguar defense should take this game over.
Final: Jacksonville 20, Buffalo 10
Sunday, January 7th, 4:40 e.t.
#5 Carolina Panthers (11-5) @ #4 New Orleans Saints (11-5)
How the Panthers can win: The Panthers have to stop the Saints rushing attack from New Orleans. They will also have to control this game early and convert on third downs to quiet down what is sure to be a raucous crowd. Cam Newton will need to be much better than he was last week as well.
How the Saints can win: The Saints should try to execute long drives to wind the Carolina defense. The longer that unit is on the field, the more it wears on them and they could get pushed around down the stretch. That is where the strong New Orleans rushing attack could pay dividends.
Final: New Orleans 31, Carolina 28