And then there were eight teams left in the race for Super Bowl 55. With the 2021 NFL playoff division round, it’s time for another round of picks and ATS predictions.
Although the slate goes from six games over the wildcard weekend to four combined this Saturday and Sunday, there is still plenty of good two-day action between the AFC and the NFC. There are two big favorites and two light favorites among the home teams this week.
Here’s to try to build on our solid success as we navigate through last week’s numbers:
NFL Playoff Pick, ATS Predictions
- Game of the Week: Ravens at Bills (-2.5, 50 b / u)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC
This game will live up to the bill of being a dynamic passing and running duel between 2018 first-round quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. The Bills’ defensive weakness is against the run, which will allow Jackson, JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards to move between tackles and over the edges. The Ravens are strong against the run but, while some have good passing throwers and experienced cornerbacks, they have gaps in pressure and coverage, which can expose them more with their frequent blitz.
Jackson will do a lot of ground damage and Allen will have his fair share of key physical runs. It’s going to be a question of which quarterback can make a few more big passes out of script. Jackson will see Tre’Davious White contain Marquise Brown, the left leaning mostly on tight end Mark Andrews in a big game. The difference will be the Bills’ Stefon Diggs, who can always get the upper hand over Marcus Peters on the outside to boost Allen.
To choose: Tickets earn 27-24 and cover the spread.
Sunday, 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS
The Browns came out in search of big plays and takeaways against the Steelers and did it, ultimately shutting down their AFC North rivals with Nick Chubb and the running game. Chubb and former Chiefs rear Kareem Hunt will be key to the chances of a second straight (and much bigger) road mess.
Baker Mayfield can’t get into a pure chuck-fest with Patrick Mahomes as he doesn’t have the same versatile weapons and faces the harder of the two overall pass defenses. The Browns need to play ball control, pick some good spots for Mayfield to get into big action games and bootlegs, and then make sure they rely the most on Chubb and Hunt to finish in the red zone. .
The Chiefs will counter by throwing relentlessly with a rested Mahomes. The Browns simply don’t have anyone who can cover wide receiver Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce on the intermediate roads. The goal will be to take a significant lead and limit the Browns ‘use of the run, putting Mayfield in awkward situations against Frank Clark, Chris Jones and the rest of the Chiefs’ passing rush. Mayfield also needs to be careful throwing in midfield with Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorenson safeties looming.
The Browns won’t have answers for Mahomes. The Chiefs will find plenty for Mayfield in the second half.
To choose: The Chiefs win 34-17 and cover the gap.
- Disruption of the week: the buccaneers (+3, 52 o / u) against the saints
Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET, Fox
Tom Brady’s first game as Buccaneer was tough in New Orleans in Week 1. His second shot against the Saints was even worse at home in Week 9. But Brady was hardly playing. at the same level in either previous meeting as it does now. , fully enclosed in his large receivers, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. He’s also ready, whether it’s Cameron Brate or his old pal Rob Gronkowski who runs the roads. The Saints have developed more coverage issues all over the pitch and after seeing their defense twice on film Brady will adjust to the most comfortable game, most every time.
The Bucs and Saints both stop the race well, so mid-40s quarterback Brady or Drew Brees can avoid big mistakes but also play big games. Brady was simply the most impressive passer with the strongest arm for his age and has more guys who can cause match problems. Brees will be successful working on shorter routes to Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, but Evans, Godwin and Brown will be of greater help to Brady.
To choose: Buccaneers win 34-31.
Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET, Fox
The Rams will make it a game because of their racing game. Their offensive line bypassed the Seahawks with Andrew Whitworth in the back and fresh legs of rookie Cam Akers put the attack back in the middle of the run. Jared Goff will be a little healthier to take advantage of that, working the game-action to Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. The Packers are going to handle some of that by putting cornerback Jaire Alexander on Woods.
On the other side, Aaron Rodgers will see Davante Adams locked up with Jalen Ramsey and knows center Corey Linsley and the rest of his strong inside offensive line need to keep Aaron Donald at bay, especially with the compromised edge without left tackle David Bakhtiari. . Rodgers and Aaron Jones don’t find it easy at first, but then Rodgers finds tight winger Robert Tonyan and other clashes he loves away from the pitch and Jones will go to work on an exhausted squad in the second half.
Rams ‘defense make a statement against the QB MVP in Green Bay, but they can’t do enough to ensure that the Rams’ offense trumps anything Rodgers leads the Packers to do.
To choose: The packers win 24-20 but fail to cover the gap.
Statistics of the week
- Straight wild card qualifiers: 5-1
- Wild Card ATS playoffs: 3-2
- Straight season: 169-93
- Season Against Spread: 135-119