With the NFL Divisional Round set to begin, many great matchups await die-hard football fans, including a 90’s old-school post-season rivalry renewed once more.

With that being said, here are my NFL Divisional Round matchup predictions.


(4) Cincinnati Bengals vs. (1) Tennessee Titans: Thanks to their 26-19 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, the suddenly-hot Cincinnati Bengals have the look of a team no one wants to face in the post-season, thanks to Joe Burrow.

Since Week 13, Burrow has been the NFL’s hottest passer in throwing 13 touchdowns and zero picks. Despite the Bengals going down to Nashville to face Derrick Henry and the No.1 seeded Tennessee Titans, it’s hard to bet against Ol ‘Jeaux. Prediction: Bengals 31 Titans 21

(3) Buffalo Bills vs. (2) Kansas City Chiefs: In a rematch from last year’s AFC title game, won by the Chiefs, 38-24, and a Week 5 regular season game this season, won by the Bills, 38-20, the Bills and Chiefs are quietly building one of the league’s most low-key rivalries.

Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes.

Both have one at each other’s place. Both have good teams. Both are capable in being “that guy”, and both capable of taking over a game at any moment. In a game likely going to be decided under center and on defense, I’m riding with the guy who is at home, and appears to be clicking at the right time at Arrowhead. Prediction: Chiefs 34 Bills 31

 

(6) San Francisco 49ers vs. (1) Green Bay Packers: Ravens-Steelers, Cowboys-WFT, Packers-Bears and Colts-Patriots. There are many great rivalries in the storied history of the NFL that fans get up for. Few are as intertwined and more of a big brother-little brother feel than Green Bay vs. San Francisco.

From coaches such Mike Holmgren to greats such as Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Steve Young, Terrell Owens, Reggie White, Colin Kaepernick and Shannon Sharpe, the post-season matchups between these two West Coast offense-based franchises have been memorable and instant classics.

From Jerry Rice’s “fumble” to Owens’ catch in triple-coverage, this series has had it all. For all of his success Rodgers—a native of Chico, and a die-hard Niners fan growing up—has never beaten his hometown team in the playoffs, and is 0-3 vs. SF.

If he hopes to reverse that trend, he will need to figure out a way to vex and frustrate a vaunted Niners defense that will be getting edge rusher Nick Bosa and Fred Warner back from injury. If Rodgers can come out the gate firing early and often, then Green Bay will put Jimmy Garapolo and company the task of trying to keep in at what will be a frosty and very cold Lambeau.

I have more faith in Rodgers at home than a visiting Jimmy G, who is still haunted by the ghost of recent Super Bowl’s present. Prediction: Packers 34 Niners 21

 

(4) Los Angeles Rams vs. (2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Another rematch of a regular-season game, won by the Rams 34-24 in Week 3 out at Sofi, the rams travel cross-country to Rayjay to face the G.O.A.T. and the defending Super Bowl champs on their turf.

Fresh off his first-ever playoff win, Rams QB Matthew Stafford looks to continue his hot play in throwing to the likes of Cooper Kupp, Tyler Highbee and a re-born Odell Beckham Jr. What may be the key for the Rams beating Tom Brady a second time is exploiting an old weakness of TB12.

It’s no secret that Brady doesn’t handle direct pressure well. Thanks to a vaunted defense that has Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Jalen Ramsey, the key for the Rams beating Brady is to make him uncomfortable in throwing early and not in rhythm, and by affecting his movement in the pocket. Tampa Bay is without WR’s Antonio Brown, Chris Goodwin and possibly RB Leonard Fournette, this is Stafford’s best chance of making it to his first-ever NFC title game.

For the Bucs, they will need to figure out a way to make Stafford uncomfortable and swarm him early and often. The Bucs are still the defending champions, and fortunately for them, they still have TB12 on their side. Prediction: Bucs 27 Rams 24

 

 

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