The Divisional Round of the playoffs has finally arrived, and with it comes the promise of more exciting football matchups. Do you know what’s better than playoff football? Nothing. Last week’s Super Wild Card Weekend did not disappoint, as we had almost every game come down to a one-possession score. The obvious exclusions to that were the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers, who we all knew were overrated teams coming in. The difference between them was that Pittsburgh was at home facing a Cleveland Browns team that was without their head coach, best offensive lineman, and their two starting CBs. Yet, they still got down 28-0 in the first quarter in one of the biggest shellackings I’ve ever seen through one-quarter of playoff football. Meanwhile, Chicago was Chicago, a horrendous team that squeaked into the playoffs because they were extended this year and because Kliff Kingsbury is a god-awful head coach.
Other than those scrubs, the Wild Card round offered exciting games that saw the Baltimore Ravens take down the Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills out-duel the Indianapolis Colts, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hang on against the Washington Football Team, and the Los Angles Rams upset the Seattle Seahawks. This week, we have four great games that we all hope will be more like the latter than the former. Saturday’s contests pit the Rams up against the #1 seeded Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, while the Ravens fly north to freezing Buffalo to face the Bills. DraftKings wants you to take advantage of these matchups with an enticing promotion this weekend.
Los Angeles Rams (10-6) at Green Bay Packers (13-3)
Spread: GB -6.5, LAR +6.5
The first game of the weekend features two teams that have their biggest strengths facing off in what should be a very entertaining game. The Packers have arguably the best offense in the NFL, scoring 31.8 points per game, and dominating opponents. WR Davante Adams has been the best receiver in football this year, and Aaron Rodgers is almost certainly going to win league MVP after having another one of those vintage Rodgers years. However, don’t sleep on LA. The Rams, coincidentally, have the best defense in the NFL. They only give up a minuscule 18 points per contest and are led by their own dominant Aaron, Mr. Donald. Couple that with having the league’s best CB in Jalen Ramsey, who has shut down big time wideouts all season long, and you have a recipe as to how the Rams can pull off the win. Offensively, the Rams should be able to run the ball against the Green Bay defense, which struggled against the rush for much of the season. Rookie RB Cam Akers has been fantastic for LA, and he’ll probably see a ton of carries in the game with QB Jared Goff and WR Cooper Kupp dealing with injuries. Tyler Higbee is also a guy to watch out for, as he has had big playoff performances in the past, and could be a real target should Kupp not suit up. At -6.5 and climbing, I’d wait until this hits -7 and then bet the Rams.
Prediction: LAR +7, O45.5
Baltimore Ravens (11-5) at Buffalo Bills (13-3)
Spread: BUF -2.5, BAL +2.5
The second game of the afternoon, which starts at 8 pm EST, features two teams that went in different directions than maybe some of us thought this season. The Ravens had some regression this year, despite being 11-5. It’s pretty incredible how we can say a team regressed when they have an 11-5 record and led the NFL in rushing for the second consecutive season. Crazy. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills are easily having their best season in what seems like a millennium. I was born in 1995, and I can tell you that I don’t ever recall seeing a Bills team that was even remotely this good since I started watching the NFL in 2006. QB Josh Allen is having his breakout year, which a lot of people doubted would ever happen. The Bills’ trade for WR Stefon Diggs may go down as the greatest one in franchise history, as he has opened up the Buffalo padding attack and taken the Bills to an entirely new level. The problem with Buffalo is their rushing defense, which ranked in the bottom half of the league. Going up against the Ravens’ #1 rushing attack may prove costly for Buffalo if they can’t score early and often against a very good (and now healthy) Baltimore defense. As soon as this number hits 3, and it looks like it might, that’s an immediate bet on Baltimore.
Prediction: BAL +3, U49
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