After 17 weeks of Football, the NFL playoffs are underway. This playoff is very different compared to the past years as we have some very new faces in the playoffs. This year, we have 8 new teams entering the playoffs. Today, I preview the Wild Card matchups.
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs
Time: 4:20 ET on Saturday
The Titans finally break their playoff drought while the Chiefs are coming into their third straight playoffs. The Chiefs are 2-0 against the Titans in the playoffs, but the last time these two teams played (Regular Season), the Titans won. This should be a very defensive game as both offenses are very inconsistent and the defenses are fairly good.
Key to Victory: Titans
Marcus Mariota has to be efficient today. This season, he could make a case for Most Disappointing Player. He has thrown for more INT than touchdowns and he missing a lot of throws that he should make. He has to protect the ball and not miss a lot of easy passes.
Key to Victory: Chiefs
Getting Kareem Hunt going early. The Titans run defense ranks 4th in the NFL and when Hunt struggles, the Chiefs struggle. The Chiefs need to create situations in which they can get Hunt the ball in open space so he can work his magic.
Predictions: Titans 20-17 Chiefs
Atlanta Falcons @ Los Angeles Rams
Time: 8:15 PM ET on Saturday
This is my Game of the Week. Head Coach Sean McVay has led this Rams team from a 4-12 record to a playoff berth. The Falcons look like a very different team as they have not been able to find their offensive groove this season. Last time these two teams played, the Falcons demolished the Rams in the Rams stadium. They will be looking for that same result as the Rams are looking for revenge.
Key to Victory: Falcons
Stopping Todd Gurley. Easier said than done. The MVP Candidate is on a tear this season and has virtually been unstoppable except when they lose which is why it’s my Key to Victory. I don’t know how to stop Gurley except for you jam the line of scrimmage and give him no space to run. Even if you stop the run game he can torch you through the air. To stop him, you need to not give him space and wrap him up, don’t go for a big hit as he is very elusive. Remember Falcons, Fundamentals.
Key to Victory: Rams
Forcing turnovers. This Falcons offense is very efficient when not turning the ball over. Get pressure on Matt Ryan and force him to make bad decisions. Ryan’s decision making has been of this year so he is bound to make some kind of error when put under pressure as he has this season.
Prediction: Falcons 24-31 Rams
Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Time: 1:05 PM ET on Sunday
Two teams that ended their playoff drought meet up and one will go home after a long wait for making the playoffs. The Bills sent hot wings to Cincinnati as they helped Buffalo clinch a playoff berth while the Jaguars, won the division with ease, therefore, get home field advantage in the Wild Card round. If McCoy is injured I almost guarantee a Jaguar win, but anyways the Jaguars are going to win no matter what.
Key to Victory: Bills
Force Turnovers. The Bills offense will not be able to consistently get yardage against a stout Jaguars defense. The Bills defense has to force turnovers to give the Bills better field position.
Key to Victory: Jaguars
Stopping McCoy. When McCoy gets going, Taylor gets going and then the whole offense gets going. The Jags need to stop McCoy. McCoy is a dual threat RB as he is like a Todd Gurley. They need to intimate first contact behind the line of scrimmage and wrap him up, no fancy tackles as he is one of the shiftiest backs in the league.
Prediction: Bills 17-20 Jaguars
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints
Time: 4:40 PM ET on Sunday
Cam Newton dabbed on all the competition in the NFC South except the Saints. The Saints swept the Panthers and most games it wasn’t close at all. This Saints defense is finally put to good use after seemingly being recycled as a trash defense for a couple seasons. The Panthers are still trying to find an offensive identity as they have a very inconsistent offense.
Key to Victory: Panthers
Stop Kamara. Kamara has torched this Panthers defense in each of their two meetings. The Panthers cannot win if Kamara plays like he did the last two times these two teams played. The Panthers need to seal the edge and force him inside towards their better players in Thomas Davis and Luke Keuchly.
Key to Victory: Saints
Stopping Cam Newton. The Saints defense against the Panthers have done an excellent job shutting Cam down as they will need to do it again to get a win. To do it they just need to keep going after Cam by blitzing.
Prediction: Panthers 17-27 Saints