Saturday, January 9
(Image from Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
#7 Indianapolis Colts @ #2 Buffalo Bills (-6), 1:05 PM (EST), CBS
Brandon: After an incredible regular season, the Buffalo Bills will open up Wild Card Weekend with a home playoff game for the first time since 1996. Unfortunately, a sellout crowd will not be in attendance as they deserve to be. Josh Allen had an MVP caliber season and Buffalo looks to advance to the divisional round for the first time since 1995. The Colts come in after a great regular season and sneaking into the playoffs thanks to the Bills beating the Dolphins in Week 17. How ironic would it be for the Colts to beat the Bills in the Wild Card round. Does Phillip Rivers have one last run in him? They need the defense to play big in this game to have a chance.
Prediction: Bills 34-29
Adam: Buffalo is a very, very sneaky football team. Everyone was talking about how good Aaron Rodgers played and the Chiefs while Josh Allen and the Bills went very under the radar. I do not expect the Bills to win this in the air, I expect a big performance from Singletary and Moss with the ground game.
Prediction: Bills 35-10
Christian: The Buffalo Bills have quietly become one of the most dangerous teams in the AFC, absolutely annihilating the playoff-potential Dolphins in Week 17. Meanwhile, the Colts have leaned heavily on rookie sensation Jonathan Taylor in recent weeks. This game boils down to Josh Allen vs. Philip Rivers, for me, though. And despite last year’s playoff dud, I fully expect Josh Allen to keep his string of MVP-level play going.
Prediction: Bills win 34-24
Randy: Bills were a very high powered offense this year through the air. Josh Allen was the top QB for fantasy, they ranked 2nd in offensive points and total yards, and also were 3rd in passing yards and touchdowns this year. So I'm rolling with Allen and this passing attack to win out over the solid Colts defense and win by 8. Thus, most likely, sending Rivers into retirement with his 9 kids without even a Super Bowl appearance to his name.
Prediction: Bills win 31-23
Sean: The Bills are probably the hottest team in football going into the postseason. Josh Allen is playing the best football of his career, and after struggling early in the season their defense is starting to play like they were supposed to going into 2020. While Indy has one of the best defensive linemen in the league in Deforest Buckner, him and Darius Leonard won't be enough to silence Josh Allen and Co.
Prediction: Bills 31-21.
(Image from Bettina Hansen/The Seattle Times)
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks (-3.5), 4:40 PM (EST), FOX
Brandon: The Seattle Seahawks were one of the most puzzling teams to close out the regular season. After a hot start, Russell Wilson and the offense cooled off extremely, scoring under 30 points in 7 or their last 8 games. The Rams on the other hand might be just as puzzling. Losing two of their last three games and dealing with an injury to QB Jared Goff has caused a lot of anxiety for Rams fans to close the year. We do not know if Jared Goff is going to play on Saturday, but with or without him, I don’t have much faith in them. The Rams will have to lean on their defense to have any shot in this game. They did hold Seattle to just 20 and 16 points in two matchups this season.
Prediction: Seahawks 26-13
Adam: Russell Wilson is 5-0 in home playoff games. Lets make it 6-0! I really do not like to doubt this man, and he was the front-runner for the MVP for a portion of the season. Add in that the Rams starting QB is making his first career start, and he has to play against the Seahawks defense. The Seahawks win this game with offense and big games from DK and Lockett. This game is closer than people think, Seattle doesn't cover but pull out the victory.
Prediction: Seattle 30-27
Christian: I talked about this on our last episode, but the Seahawks offense has looked rough-to-mediocre since the midway point of the season. Tyler Lockett disappeared for virtually the entire second half, DK continued with his drop issues, and the Seahawks offensive line played like... well, the Seahawks offensive line. That is what Aaron Donald will feast on. That is why the Rams will win this ball game.
Prediction: Rams win 24-22
Randy: The Seahawks have made an offensive regression in my eyes the second half of the year. They started out finally letting Wilson win games for them through the air and letting him "cook". Unfortunately, about midway through the season, their defense started playing great football. This is only bad because this made Pete Carrol go back to his old ways of making Russ only throw 20 times a game and running the ball all game inefficiently. This was a close game a couple weeks ago and I expect the same this week. But, I am going to put my trust in Wilson to put the Seahawks over the top in a weird scoring game, just like every Seahawks game.
Prediction: Seahawks win 23-21
Sean: If you want to be the one to doubt Russ at home in the playoffs, be my guest. I know I'm not. Mr. Unlimited is 5-0 at Lumen Field in the playoffs, and I don't see that changing Saturday. After the atrocious first half of the season effort by the defense, Seattle flipped the script and allowed only 12 PPG in their last 5 matchups. This one will be close (assuming Jared Goff gets the start for LA), but Seattle pulls it out and moves on.
Prediction: Seahawks 27-24.
(Image from Brad Mills, USA Today Sports)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8) @ Washington Football Team, 8:15 PM (EST), NBC
Brandon: Tom Brady makes his postseason debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mike Evans is questionable, but they have a vast array of weapons to win this game, including Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski. The Tampa defense should be able to limit Washington to single digits in points, especially if Alex Smith doesn’t play. Getting this team to the playoffs was an accomplishment for Ron Rivera, but with the uncertainty at the most important position, I see a blowout win for the Buccaneers. Washington’s only chance is to totally shut down the Bucs on offense and get a few defensive and or special teams scores.
Prediction: Buccaneers 33-7
Adam: The last time Ron Rivera coached in a playoff game with a losing record, he beat an 11-5 Arizona team. I am also in a tough scenario. Do I pick Tom Brady or a NFC East Rival. I believe Alex Smith is about to have the best game of his career. I know he is hurt, but last time I checked, injuries do not stop this man. Chase Young is about to have a monster game, and the team without a name upsets the greatest QB to ever play.
Prediction: Washington 24-21
Christian: A quarterback rotation in the playoffs is never good. Alex Smith’s lack of mobility has crippled the Washington offense at times, and with reports that he’s still banged up, I find it hard to believe the Football Team will be able to score points. The good thing for Washington: their defensive line should be able to go bananas. I expect a rough outing from Brady, but the GOAT won’t lose in the WC round.
Prediction: Buccaneers win 21-17
Randy: The Washington offense just will not be able to keep up with this Tampa offense in my opinion. Brady and the Bucs have been on a tear of late, and Brady always plays better in the playoffs. Washington is a great story with Smith somehow coming back to being a starting QB and Rivera fighting through cancer to will this team into the playoffs. But, they are only here because the NFC East is terrible and they will be outmatched by the Bucs.
Prediction: Buccaneers win 35-17
Sean: What a story the Football Team wrote this season. 2nd pick in the draft to a divisional championship (albeit in the NFC lEast). And Alex Smith going from possible limb loss to bringing his teams to the playoffs. Now they get rewarded by getting to face a Tom Brady led Tampa Bay team that happened to finish with 11 wins. Unfortunately I think Alex Smith's lack of mobility and 6.3 yards per attempt will be Washington's undoing. They just won't be able to keep up with Tampa offensively.
Prediction: Buccaneers 31-14.
Sunday, January 10th
(Image from Titans Wire/USA Today)
Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) @ Tennessee Titans, 1:05 PM (EST), ABC/ESPN
Brandon: Baltimore is my dark horse team to make the Super Bowl this season. This is nothing short of a revenge game, even though John Harbaugh won’t admit it. They were flat out embarrassed last year at home in the divisional round against the Titans. The regular season matchup this year saw the Titans win again and the two teams get into a heated altercation pre-game. I’m most excited about this game because of the rivalry feel. The Titans offense is much improved and arguably elite, but the defense could be the deciding factor. I like this game to be a shootout and would take the over (54.5).
Prediction: Ravens 38-30
Adam: Last year the Ravens were upset by the Titans in the playoff, and the Ravens want revenge. I feel the Ravens will be more prepared than last year. I see the Ravens not focusing on Lamar's arm and really focusing on the run game and short quick passes. The big thing the Ravens need to do is control Derrick Henry, if they keep him under control, they win this game with
Prediction: Ravens 27-21
Christian: The Titans have massive defensive holes all over the place; from their Swiss cheese secondary to their lack of a strong interior defensive line, this team is not the AFC runner-up we saw in 2019. I think this game is the biggest toss-up, but fully expect the Ravens to come out on top.
Prediction: Ravens win 41-35
Randy: Both teams are incredible rushing offenses and can grind the game out and control the clock. Both teams also have massive flaws to them as well. The Titans can get it done through the air on offense as well, but their defense is an embarrassment of sorts besides a couple key guys. The Ravens have a solid defense, but they aren't as dominant on that side as last year and they struggle a ton throwing the ball. So, I'm predicting a high scoring game where the Titans go up 4 with just under 2 minutes left. This means Lamar has to win through the air and not rely on Tucker to bail him out with a 55 yarder. I don't have confidence in Lamar's arm in this situation, so they fall short because of their biggest weakness.
Prediction: Titans win 35-31
Sean: All of a sudden, the Birds are pretty hot. But you know what cools a team like that down? A king who's built like a bulldozer. I think this game goes the same way as last year's playoff game; Tennessee gets up early then plays keep away from Lamar and Company. Ravens are forced to throw late and the Titans get a game clinching turnover.
Prediction: Titans 31-28.
(Image from Michael Nance)
Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints (-9.5), 4:40 PM (EST), CBS
Brandon: The Saints may be without Alvin Kamara and that is a significant loss in this game. How significant? I don’t believe it’s significant enough to make me take the Bears in this one. However, the Saints have a history of overlooking teams in the playoffs, like the Vikings last year. The Bears have a good enough defense to hang in there, but ultimately the Saints should take care of business. Mitch Trubisky has an opportunity to go out and win a playoff game, something I couldn’t personally believe was going to be the scenario a couple weeks ago. Bringing in Nick Foles was an awful decision and they are lucky to be in the playoffs. Alvin Kamara or no Alvin Kamara I like the Saints to get past the Bears on Sunday. I do think it will be closer than experts think.
Prediction: Saints 27-16
Adam: I have seen rumors that Drew Brees is retiring at the end of the season, and if that is true, there is not a chance that Brees ends his careers with a WC loss to the Bears. Brees is not fully healthy yet, but Kamara is about come out and have a monster game, and huge showing from the New Orleans defense.
Prediction: Saints win 42-10
Christian: The New Orleans Saints have a nice string of playoff woes hanging around their heads. Luckily, so does the team lining up opposite them. While I think Drew Brees is likely going to struggle, the Saints should have enough offensive firepower and a decent enough scheme against Mitchell Trubisky to pull out the win.
Prediction: Saints win 24-21
Randy: Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and Latavius Murray are all back. So the Saints are not going to be under gunned and Brees honestly looked better last week without all these guys. The Bears need Montgomery to go off to win and the Saints run defense is solid. So I am going with Brees to outduel Trubisky. Brees may retire after this year, but it won't be from wildcard weekend.
Prediction: Saints win 32-21
Sean: As a football fan, I would absolutely love to see Drew ride off in the blades of glory after a title a la Peyton Manning in 2016. While I'm not sure the Saints are the best team in the NFC (Go Pack Go), I do think they're much better than this Chicago team that backdoored themselves into the postseason. New Orleans should be at full strength offensively which is bad news for Da Bears.
Prediction: Saints 41-20.
(Image from Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-6), 8:15 PM (EST), NBC
Brandon: Pick with your head, not your heart. Everything tells you to take the Steelers here. The Browns haven’t practiced all week as of Thursday, their head coach has Covid 19, and they have lost their all-pro left guard for Sunday’s matchup against one of the best defensive lines in football. Ben Roethlisberger has not lost a meaningful game to the Browns probably since he entered the league. Pittsburgh has owned Cleveland since their return in 1999. Time for a change in the guard, Cleveland.
Prediction: Browns 23-20
Adam: I would love to see the Browns pull out the upset. I hate Pittsburgh with a passion, and they are not as good as their record shows. However, Cleveland's defense has to many holes, and Pittsburgh has played Cleveland very well both times this season. Then add COVID issues with the Browns, They are going to be to unprepared, and far from comfort that the Steelers take full advantage.
Prediction: Pittsburgh wins 35-7
Christian: Insert “oh no” TikTok sound onto a video zooming into Kevin Stefanski’s face. The Browns lost their leader to COVID-19 this week, and a plethora of players and coaches followed. If the Browns win this game, I will eat a tablespoon of sriracha. I’m not joking.
Prediction: Steelers win 28-14
Randy: The Browns simply are just coming into this game too handicapped by Covid. I do think Baker and the boys put up a strong fight against a struggling Steelers team. But, I think noodle arm Big Ben will be able to do enough to get the victory and get beat next week. Listen Browns fans, there is nothing you can do about this one, full strength I think I would have picked the browns barely, but life has never been fair for a Browns fan. Hopefully they return next year even stronger with a massive chip on their shoulders.
Prediction: Steelers win -28-20
Sean: Boy, this sucks to write. I really did think that the Browns had a shot in this one. Sunday night could be the first game that Baker Mayfield starts writing his legacy for Cleveland Browns football if he pulls it out. But the COVID issues within the coaching staff and secondary for Cleveland will be too much to overcome. This one will be close, but Pittsburgh pulls it out late and moves on.
Prediction: Steelers 20-17.