Wild Card Weekend Run Down
The NFL Season is complete and it is now time to get into our playoff predictions. We will cover the details with each matchup containing an analysis, score prediction, as well as a game Most Valuable Player.
Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts (Saturday 1:05 PM EST)
The AFC East Champs will host the Colts this Saturday for the first NFL playoff game of the 2020 PostSeason. Josh Allen has been nothing short of spectacular this season throwing for over 4,500 yards with 37 Touchdowns and 10 INT. Allen will finish the year second in the MVP Voting behind Rodgers most likely. The 13-3 Bills look to punch a ticket to the Divisional round but it will not be easy.
Stefon Diggs has done everything in his power to prove why he is a Top Wideout in the NFL. In his year first in Buffalo, Diggs has hauled in 127 catches for over 1,500 yards. If the Colts don’t make an emphasis to stop him early it could be over before we get to the fourth quarter. The Colts still have one of the best offensive lines in the league and if Johnathan Taylor can move the chains on the ground the Colts can bring this game down to the wire. Keeping the Buffalo offense off the field will be the Indianapolis recipe for success.
I expect Josh Allen to extend multiple third down plays with his legs and get the win for the Buffalo Bills utilizing Diggs and Beasley through the air. The stout Buffalo Defense will create a few turnovers and help the Bills move to a 30-19 victory in Buffalo this weekend.
Game MVP : Stefon Diggs ( 11 Receptions / 101 Yards / One Touchdown).
Los Angeles vs. Seattle Seahawks (Saturday 4:40 EST.)
The dominant Rams defense will try to contain Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett as these division rivals clash Saturday. As good as the Seahawks have been to start the season, they have steadily declined as their offensive line has had both injuries and penalties. The Rams defense should be able to get home to Wilson early and often in the ball game and be the deciding factor in the result of this game. Jared Goff is coming back off a thumb injury but I believe the Rams have the complete package to trump Wilson and the Hawks.
This game will be a defensive battle with a low score most likely decided by a Field Goal. I predict the Rams to get a final stop late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory and move on to the Divisional Round. The Rams will beat their divisional opponent 20-17 in a nail biter.
Game MVP : Aaron Donald (5 Tackles / 1.5 Sacks / 2 Tackles For Loss).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Football Team (Saturday 8:15 EST.)
Tom Brady is back in the playoffs, what else is new? Tampa Bay is coming into the playoffs at their peak scoring 44, 47, and 31 points in their last three games. However, the Tampa Bay offensive line has had its struggles this season and the only way to beat Tom Brady over the course of his majestic career is to apply pressure. The Washington defensive line indeed can apply pressure and make this a game.
If the Tampa Bay defense comes to play and can even force just a single turnover in the first half, this game can be over before we know it. The Washington Football team lacks an offensive identity and if they make any early mistakes Brady and the Bucs’ will run away with this one. I believe the Washington defense will keep this one close to start but the final product will result in the Tampa Bay offense being too much. As well as the Washington offense being not enough.
The Bucs will take this one 27-13 with the Tampa Bay defense getting to the Quarterback early and often. Tom Brady will throw for 230 and two Touchdowns and get a strong balance from the run game.
Game MVP : Ronald Jones II (18 Carries / 91 Yards / Two Touchdowns )
Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans (Sunday 1:05 EST.)
The Ravens come into Wild Card Weekend on a six game win streak. I expect that streak to hit seven due to one man only, Lamar Jackson. The 2019 MVP had a slow start to the season. But, since missing a game due to COVID-19 protocols he looks like the Lamar of last year which is a defensive coordinators worst nightmare.
Since the Titans lost Jadeveon Clowney to season ending surgery their defense has been nothing north of mediocre. Just flashback to last week where they allowed the four win Texans to score 38 points and push them down to the final play of the game. The Ravens and Lamar Jackson will go into Tennessee and get revenge from last years playoff game. The Ravens will take this one 31-24 in an offensive game.
Game MVP : Lamar Jackson ( 325 Total Yards / Three Touchdowns )
Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints (Sunday 4:40 EST.)
The last two seasons the Saints have fell short of a Super Bowl appearance due to their lack of defense. This season they have put together one of the best defenses in the league after signing Malcolm Jenkins as a safety to help the defensive backfield. Does Drew Brees has enough left in the tank for one last run?
The Bears will be without their defensive signal caller in Roquan Smith which could lead to Alvin Kamara having a career day and catapult his team to the Divisional Round of the 2020 NFL Playoffs. Since Mitch Trubisky has taken over for Nick Foles the offense has received a spark which led them to their playoff appearance.
The Bears may be able to put together some points from Trubisky and Allen Robinson but the Saints will be too much to handle on the offensive side. The Saints should roll at home and win this ball game 31-20. Brees will rely on his tight end and running backs to eat up the middle of the field all day long.
Game MVP : ( Jared Cook / 8 Receptions / 89 Yards / Two Touchdowns )
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns (Sunday 8:15 EST.)
The Steelers got their 2020 campaign off to an 11-0 start before losing three straight games. The defense has been great led by T.J. Watt but did start to underperform once they lost two key players to injuries with Bud Dupree and Devon Bush. The Browns have finally advanced to the Postseason and their long playoff drought has come to an end.
Head Coach Kevin Stefanski has recently tested positive and may not be available for Sunday Nights matchup. Stefanski is my Coach of The Year. Chubb and Hunt will lead the leagues best backfield but I am not sure if it will be enough. Baker Mayfield will have to be nearly perfect to get this win. Expect the Steelers to inch out a close victory 23-20 on a cold Sunday Night in Pittsburgh.
Game MVP : ( Ben Roethlisberger / 26 Completions / 270 Yards / Two Touchdowns )
-Fred O’Brien (@FOBSportsNFL)