The divisional round was filled with enjoyable matchups, we saw two legendary quarterbacks play against each other for the last time (Drew Brees and Tom Brady), the number 1 scoring offense (Packers) against the number 1 scoring defense (Rams), two of the NFL’s most explosive offenses face off (Bills and Ravens), and a rematch between two exciting young quarterbacks (Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes). Now there are four teams left in the race for the Lombardi.
4 Buffalo Bills
The formula for playoff success has changed. It used to be about the teams that can run the ball efficiently and win games with defense. None of these 4 teams do that, in fact the Bills are the exact opposite. They have an amazing passing offense, but they lack a running game. Their lack of a running game was something I expected to hurt them, but they’ve been so good passing the ball that they may not need a running game. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs have great chemistry that really allows this offense to work, and Cole Beasley is a phenomenal second weapon that can always get open. Their defense doesn’t have the personnel to be elite, but Sean McDermott is really what makes this defense special. They have a great secondary and a really well coached front 7.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I will admit I’ve been hating on this team way more then I should’ve, last week I had them as the worst team that was still in the playoffs. This week I’m giving them the respect they deserve. My main knock against them was that they couldn’t beat these strong defensive teams, and at one point that was true. Over the past two weeks the Buccaneers have made me eat those words. The Buccaneers have 3 wide receivers that teams feel a need to double cover. They have 2 good tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate, who both block well and are weapons in the passing games. Their defense has been under the radar all season. They’ve been amazing against the run for a while and with Carlton Davis back they’re a difficult team to pass against. Bruce Arians is really the only downside to this team, he’s not a horrible coach, but there’s a reason he’s only made it to the conference championship one other time as a head coach.
2 Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers needs to succeed where it matters now. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have made it to this point multiple times over the past decade the question is whether or not they can win and make it to the super bowl. The last time the Packers played against the Buccaneers they lost despite having a 10-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter. The Buccaneers beat the Packers by putting endless pressure on Aaron Rodgers, blitzing constantly. If the Packers incorporate enough quick passes, or something that can beat Todd Bowles’ repeated blitzes they can return the Lombardi to its home.
1 Kansas City Chiefs
Because of how good the Chiefs’ offense is, many people forget about how great their defense is. Last Sunday was a great reminder of how good this defense is. I know this isn’t exactly the most interesting pick, but this team is literally flawless. They have the best offense and the second best defense out of all 4 of these teams. Some people believe that the Chiefs’ running game isn’t very good, this is just wrong. Sure they don’t have a great running game, but 94 rushing yards per game is pretty solid. The key to this game against the Bills is just not turning the ball over which is something this Chiefs team does well. I’m really expecting this team to have its second Lombardi in a row.
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