NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions: Titans, Packers, Buccaneers and Chiefs? Who will progress to the Conference Championships? | NFL News
The opening round of the NFL playoffs followed much the same pattern of the regular season, with some thrilling football played out over Super Wild Card Weekend – and Neil Reynolds again getting the better of Jeff Reinebold with his predictions…
As well as hosting Inside The Huddle on Sky Sports NFL every Tuesday at 9pm, Neil and Jeff release a weekly audio edition of ITH every Wednesday in which they make their game picks.
Neil emerged victorious (175-168) in the regular season, and Neil opened the playoffs with another two-point swing in his favor as he correctly called wins for the San Francisco 49ers, on the road against the Dallas Cowboys, and for the Los Angeles Rams over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. Can Jeff play for some pride and get a win this weekend?
Click on the link below to listen to this week’s ITH podcast, and read on to see Neil and Jeff’s Divisional Round game picks…
Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennessee Titans
Saturday, live on Sky Sports NFL, 9.30pm
Highlights of the Las Vegas Raiders’ clash with the Cincinnati Bengals on Super Wild Card Weekend.
NEIL PICKS: Titans
“This one is tricky. Initially I fancied Cincinnati to beat Tennessee… but only one team gets a bye, and the Bengals are quite banged up now on their defensive line – Larry Ogunjobi we know is out with a foot injury, he’s on injured reserve, and Trey Hendrickson has a concussion.
“I do still think the Bengals will make this a really competitive game – Joe Burrow is in red-hot form, with 1,215 yards, 10 touchdowns and zero picks in his last three outings – but I’m actually going to flip my pick, and probably annoy myself if Cincinnati now win. I’m taking the Titans.”
The Cincinnati Bengals intercept Derek Carr on the final play of the game to beat the Las Vegas Raiders and win in the playoffs for the first time in 31 years!
JEFF PICKS: Titans
“A team like Cincinnati is rebuilding, and the way the league is structured – with a salary cap and draft choices – the hardest thing to acquire is depth, because that takes time.
“So when you lose a guy like Ogunjobi, or Hendrickson, the drop off to the next guy can be really steep. That’s my concern for the Bengals, so I’m taking Tennessee too.
“I am a huge Burrow fan, but this is his first venture into this water, Ja’Marr Chase too, and the head coach Zac Taylor. With every game up the chain in the playoffs, the attention, the pressure, the importance all ratchets up. The Titans just have more experience of these kind of moments.”
San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers
Saturday night, live on Sky Sports NFL, 1.15am (Sunday)
Highlights of a thrilling clash between the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys from Super Wild Card Weekend.
NEIL PICKS: Packers
“This is going to be an absolute cracker at Lambeau Field.
“The 49ers have a run game that is very diverse and exciting to watch. That helps when it comes to traveling on the road, as we saw last week when they went into Dallas – I picked them to win – and beat the Cowboys. I absolutely love watching Deebo Samuel. They’ll be very confident.
“But I think Green Bay can run the ball as well and, if it’s a close game, I’m riding with Aaron Rodgers over Jimmy Garoppolo all day long and twice on Sundays. Packers for me.”
Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers says he’ll be remembered by how many Super Bowls he wins as he prepares to face the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.
JEFF PICKS: Packers
“This is going to be a great football game, played out in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Even the uniforms in this game, they conjure up great memories of NFL playoff history – its so awesome!
“I’m not sold yet on how the Niners handle the pressure moments of big games. Everything goes through the quarterback, and that is amplified even more in the playoffs; if all other things are equal, who do you want, Rodgers or Garoppolo “I’m taking Green Bay.”
Los Angeles Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, live on Sky Sports NFL, 8pm
Highlights of the Philadelphia Eagles’ clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from Super Wild Card Weekend of the NFL playoffs.
NEIL PICKS: Buccaneers
“This is another one where if you’d have asked me at the start of the playoffs, I’d have had the Bucs advancing.
“But, this becomes a much tougher proposition now for Tampa Bay if Tristan Wirfs – their All-Pro right tackle – is not playing in this game with an ankle injury. Ryan Jensen, their center, also was banged up, although he went back into the game last week. Wirfs, according to head coach Bruce Arians, is a game-time decision, it’s going to go right down to the wire. And, suddenly, here come Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd on the Rams defensive line.
“I am going to continue to ride the Tampa Bay train and still pick the Bucs, but this becomes a much, much tougher game.”
Odell Beckham Jr makes a toe-tapping catch for a touchdown in the Los Angeles Rams’ victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.
JEFF PICKS: Rams
“Football is a game of matchups. It’s such a strategic game. And with the Rams, you’ve got Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee who are really good against zone coverage. But then there’s Odell Beckham Jr. and his unique set of skills, which is particularly effective when it’s one-on-one, him versus another athlete.
“The Rams build formations to ensure they isolate your player against their player, OBJ. That presents so many challenges. It’s a fascinating chess match.
“I was down on the Rams defense after they melted down against San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, but I was so impressed by them against the Cardinals. If Wirfs doesn’t play, Tom Brady should watch out!”
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, live on Sky Sports NFL, 11.30pm
Watch all of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ best throws from his five-TD game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Wild Card Weekend.
NEIL PICKS: Bills
“This one is mouth-watering. Both teams went on incredible offensive tears in their Wild Card wins last week.
“My overriding felling on this game is that I’m just going to be sad to have to wave goodbye to one of them – one of these quality teams is heading out of the playoffs on Sunday night.
“In the summer, I picked Buffalo to win the Super Bowl, but at the start of the playoffs, I picked the Chiefs to go to the Super Bowl – so I don’t know where to go here, I’m stuck.
“Both teams are pretty unstoppable on offense, but I think Buffalo have the better defense – that was the case when they played in Arrowhead earlier in the season – so I’m flip-flopping again and going back to Buffalo to win this one. “
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw five touchdowns in a near-perfect performance against the New England Patriots on Super Wild Card Weekend.
JEFF PICKS: Bills
“The Bills are uniquely built not to beat the New England Patriots, not the New York Jets or the Miami Dolphins in their division. They’ve been built to beat the best in the AFC, and that’s the Chiefs.
“I’m going to take the Bills to win on the road in Kansas City.”
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