It wasn’t supposed to be this way. 21 years ago, the New England Patriots decided to draft a young QB out of Michigan with the 199th overall pick named Tom Brady. A scrawny kid that lacked a lot of physical traits that you’d want in a QB, Brady was a 6th round pick that wasn’t supposed to be anything more than a backup at best. A year after Brady was drafted, the San Diego Chargers were sitting on the last pick of the first round and decided to take QB Drew Brees out of Purdue. Experts and pundits didn’t like the pick because Brees was severely undersized for the position. Flash Forward to 2021. Brady and Brees are two of the greatest QBs to ever play the game, and arguably the greatest. At 43 years old, Brady has won 6 Super Bowls and is considered to be the best to ever play. At 42, Brees has almost every major passing statistical record there is. Now on different teams and in different cities, the two will meet on Sunday night in what could be their last matchup. The Divisional Round has not disappointed so far with some great games and moments. Today, we get that incredible contest between Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Brees’ New Orleans Saints, as well as Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs. DraftKings wants you to take advantage of this matchup with a great offer this weekend.
Cleveland Browns (11-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (14-2)
Spread: KC -9.5, CLE +9.5
First things first, this total is absolutely crazy. 57 points is a massive total for an NFL game, which means that the market thinks this game is going to be filled with explosive plays and tons of points. It’s hard to disagree with that assumption. The Browns defense has been, to put it gently, soul-crushing for anyone who picks the under this year in their games. On the other side of the ball, Kansas City always has their biggest struggles on defense. They particularly struggle against the run, which is where Cleveland thrives. RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt have combined to make the best backfield duo in football, gashing and bashing their way to the second-best rushing attack in the league. For the Chiefs, they have potential Hall Of Fame QB Patrick Mahomes throwing the rock against the putrid Browns passing defense, so he’ll be able to put up a plethora of points. I’d say the minimum they score is 27, and that would be with multiple turnovers. Can the Browns keep up with that type of scoring? If they don’t play ball-control offense, they will have a tough time coming back. I don’t fully trust Baker Mayfield, and I think the narrative that the Chiefs offense hasn’t been good is a flawed one. I’ll gladly take KC at -9.5, but maybe not at -10. I may be all alone on Under Island, but I’ll enjoy my sunny day when we don’t see a billion points.
Prediction: KC -9.5, U57. KC teased down to -2.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) at New Orleans Saints (12-4)
Spread: NO -3, TB +3
This is another game where I think the total is just too high. I get it, we have two of the best QBs to ever play the game facing off for the last time, but what evidence do we have that this is going to be a fireworks show? Both defenses have been elite this year, ranking in the top 10 of the league. The Saints haven’t been overly impressive on offense for weeks, even after getting All-Pro WR Michael Thomas back last week. The Saint’s offense really runs through RB Alvin Kamara, who is a threat both on the ground and through the air. The Bucs defense has been one of the best in football against the run, so Kamara will have to do most of his damage catching passes from Brees. On the other side, Brady and the Bucs have been humming on offense recently, scoring into the 30’s in recent weeks. However, they haven’t faced a defense that is close to the caliber of the Saints over that span. New Orleans beat Tampa twice in the regular season, sweeping the regular-season series 2-0. But I believe the Bucs are simply playing better football right now, and I’m not sure the Saints will be able to move the ball enough to beat them.
Prediction: TB +3, U52
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