The NFL postseason is upon us and 14 teams are hoping to have their dreams realized on February 7th at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay.
Side Note: The Buccaneers are aiming to become the first team to play in the penultimate game in their home stadium. The 2017-18 Vikings and 1987-88 Vikings were one game away before losing in the NFC Title game both seasons that the Super Bowl was held in Minnesota.
Now let’s get to some preview and predictions for this weekend’s slate:
The first game of the extended Wildcard weekend takes place in Buffalo NY, as the second-seeded Buffalo Bills (13-3) will host the seventh-seeded Indianapolis Colts (11-5). This game will be a lot closer than folks are believing and if the Bills, who’ve been on a tear don’t come ready to play, it could be a concise playoff run.
Bills and Allen will win it 31-24. Series history is 37-32-1 (Bills) in 70 meetings all-time.
Our second game of Wildcard Saturday takes us to Seattle Washington, as the third-seeded Seattle Seahawks (12-4) host the sixth-seeded Los Angeles Rams (10-6)
Much of this matchup depends on the health and availability of Rams quarterback Jared Goff. A healthy Goff under center gives the Rams a great chance at winning this game.
Seahawks win, 27-20, with Russell Wilson making a few dynamic plays in the biggest moments.
The final game of Wildcard Saturday takes us to Landover MD, as the fourth-seeded Washington Football Team (7-9) hosts the fifth-seeded Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) at Fed Ex Field.
This game will be closer than folks think, and the Ron Rivera fighting and beating cancer has been an inspirational force all season long, same with the return of Alex Smith. But the Bucs are healthier at key positions and can score points no matter how good the opposing defense is.
Bucs 27-20 over the WFT. The last two times a team with a losing record made the postseason they won a playoff game. So we’ll see.
Sunday’s NFL Playoff Games
Sunday’s first game pits the fourth-seeded Tennessee Titans (11-5) against the fifth-seeded Baltimore Ravens (11-5) in their third meeting since last January. The previous two were won by the Titans in Baltimore. Tennessee has concocted a scheme that has given Lamar Jackson fits in the passing game. Still, it should be a barnburner like we had during the regular season when the Titans won in OT on a Derrick Henry touchdown run (30-24).
Titans 34-28 over the Ravens. They have something that just works against the Ravens.
Next, we go to Nawlins Louisiana, as the second-seeded New Orleans Saints(12-4) host the seventh-seeded Chicago Bears (8-8). The Saints are clearly the better team but they’ve lost on the last play in regulation the last three postseasons including the last two at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This game is one they should win as the Bears who’ve played much better with Mitchell Trubisky still has trouble scoring points.
Saints 27-17 over the Bears.
The final game of Super Wildcard Weekend takes place at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh PA and will pit the third-seeded Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) against the arch-nemesis and sixth-seeded Cleveland Browns (11-5). The Steelers began the season (11-0) but stumbled to the finish line losing 4 of their last 5 games. The Steelers have been unable to run the football for most of the season and have had to depend on the arm of Ben Roethlisberger. As for the Browns, they’ll be without first year and NFL Coach Of The Year candidate Kevin Stefanski as he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week.
Can Myles Garrett make a game-changing play on defense and help his Browns who’ll be playing in the franchise’s first playoff game since 2002?
Steelers 27-21 over the Browns.
I only picked one road team to win this weekend and that’s because I think the home teams are the better teams in every matchup but one. But that’s the beauty of it so we’ll see.