Teams battle for the last three available spots to advance to the second round of the playoffs
The NFL Wild Card Round continues this Sunday with a triple card full of games that promise emotions until the end.
On Saturday’s day, the Buffalo Bills had their first playoff win since 1995 at the expense of the Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams surprised a domicilio a los Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers thwarted Washington’s comeback attempt.
These are the reasons why you cannot miss the three matches on Sunday:
The plot to follow: In the last couple of years, the rivalry between these two teams has turned bitter. Last year, Titans gave one of the big recent playoff chimes, beating the Ravens in the Divisional Round even though Baltimore He came in first place in the postseason seed and as a big favorite. Memories stayed fresh in the Week 11 duel, when Tennessee again surpassed Baltimore, this time, in overtime, and recovering from a 21-13 deficit. Even coaches John Harbaugh and Mike Vrabel had their not-so-friendly exchanges on that occasion. A good game this Sunday could cement this rivalry as one to follow in the AFC for the next few years, since we are talking about two squads with good pieces for the future
The figure to follow: Of course, this is Lamar Jackson. Seldom is there so much criticism, or so much contempt for a player’s achievements, as we have seen with Jackson, the MVP of last regular season. He’s lost both postseason games, and that’s the argument that naysayers cling to, but Jackson is the first to understand what it takes to change the narrative. What cannot be ignored is that for Ravens defeat the TitansIt takes the kind of team effort they haven’t put in in the last two games, plus a very good game from Jackson.
The statistics to follow: The offensive squad of the Ravens it is simply not armed to play from behind on the scoreboard. There are no weapons in the passing game that can add yards to bunches, whoever the passer is. Therefore, it is essential that the group of runners of the Ravens be effective from the start of the game, particularly rookie JK Dobbins and veteran Gus Edwards. In last year’s playoff loss, the running backs of Baltimore, Mark Ingram II and Edwards, combined for nine carries and 42 yards. In this year’s loss, it was 20 carries for 78 yards, an improvement, but still not enough. If the Ravens plan to put the full brunt of their dangerous running game on Jackson, and do not force the Titans to stop, also on the ground, the rest of the backfield players, it will be very difficult for the Ravens win. Instead, if the number of carries for runners Baltimore Around 24 or 25 tries, it means the offense will be doing what it does best, opening up opportunities in the passing game, particularly for tight end Mark Andrews.
The prognosis: The incorporation of Dez Bryant, and if acclimatization to the offense of Baltimore In recent weeks, he brings an interesting element to the attack. Also, this time, the Ravens face a defensive of Tennessee who hasn’t necessarily had a great time in recent weeks, giving up at least 40 points in three of his last five games. Despite playing visiting, the Ravens they are favorites to win by -3, although I think a win would come by an even smaller margin. –Rafael Zamorano
Sebastián Martínez-Christensen sees the local Saints as clear favorites against the Bears.
The Chicago Bears They couldn’t do their homework last week and, with help, they got into the postseason thanks to the loss of the Arizona Cardinals to get the last walk and now they want to surprise in the dome to force a third game of the year with the Green Bay Packers and thus avenge what happened in Soldier Field where they fought, but finally succumbed to the N ° 1 of the National Conference.
The battle will not be easy at all and less when it became known that the New Orleans Saints they activated their best weapons on the offensive for this engagement: Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas.
The plot to follow: Drew Brees last game? Prior to the start of Week 17, Adam Schefter reported that the quarterback is leaning towards an eventual retirement and, although this is not yet confirmed, we cannot miss an opportunity to see what the legendary and future Hall member’s last commitments are. of Fame looking for his second Super Bowl ring and what better than to retire at the top.
With Saturday’s results, Brees will seek a new confrontation against Tom Brady in the Divisional Round, the same one he completely dominated in the regular season with two wins. One for 34-23 and the second for 38-3, but in the postseason everything can happen and more between divisional rivals as the Los Angeles Rams already demonstrated against the Seattle Seahawks.
The figure to follow:Alvin Kamara. The last time he was on the field, precisely against a rival from the North of the National (Minnesota Vikings), he visited the diagonals six times by land and now he returns from the Covid-19 list, so he could not be on the last week against the Carolina Panthers, a duel in which they secured the N ° 2 of the National Conference and allowed them to receive the Bears.
Chicago, who used to boast a fearsome defense, was easily outmatched in his last presentation in the most important moments and now the running back with the most receptions (83) and more yards (756) is measured, so it will be a long day for Roquan Smith – in case of playing – Danny Trevathan and company.
The statistics to follow:The dome stopped weighing in the playoffs.
In the 2009 campaign, when New Orleans made it to the Super Bowl, they didn’t have to leave the comfort of home and there they beat the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings. The following year they fell outdoors to the Seattle Seahawks and in 2011, at home, they beat the Detroit Lions and then fell on the road in San Francisco.
However, their two most recent matches at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in elimination games, succumbed to the Los Angeles Rams in the controversial Conference Finals and a year later Minnesota came out with the triumph of Louisiana (20-26), so They seek to reverse this fact.
Forecast:Chicago He seemed to arrive in good shape, mainly due to the great work of David Montgomery in recent weeks, but they left many doubts in his work against the hated rival.
New Orleans, after their consecutive losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs, they rebuilt the road and have the table set to give us a dish with which we will rub our hands in the Divisional Round: Drew Brees vs. Tom Brady.
The Saints will take advantage of the locality to end the dream of Bears: 34-20 for those with the fleur-de-lis on the helmet. –Luis Miguel Vasavilbaso
If we learned anything on Saturday, it’s that we shouldn’t rule out surprises when two opponents from the same division meet in the playoffs. The Rams made it clear that they knew every step the Seahawks and the same could happen with Browns and Steelers.
The plot to follow: Pittsburgh decided to use substitutes in Week 17 against Cleveland and that decision ended up benefiting the Browns, who needed a win to advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and ended up losing in the Wild Card Round against the Steelers. Although many years have passed, the fans still have that feeling of revenge this Sunday and a triumph of Cleveland It will certainly ease that feeling a bit.
The figure to follow: Sin duda Baker Mayfield. El quarterback de Cleveland He will not have the support of head coach Kevin Stefanski on the bench, who will be absent due to COVID-19 and that will be a great challenge for the most important game of the season. If the Browns they want to go far in the playoffs they need Mayfield to play a perfect game against a defense that won’t have cornerback Joe Haden, for the same reason, but will largely have all of his weapons available.
The statistics to follow: 20-1. Since its inauguration in 2001, the Browns have visited the stadium 21 times Pittsburgh and they have only been able to win once. The loss history includes the last playoff game between the two. Before the end of the day we will know if the record ends 21-1 or 20-2.
The prognosis: The three playoff games on Saturday were decided by less than a touchdown difference and I don’t think it’s going to change that trend, especially with two teams that know each other so well. Another fact is that the three games finished above 50 total points, so betting on the highs in this duel would seem reasonable, as for the winner, I like the story of Cinderella who ends up beating the favorite, but the Browns they seem to have too much against it to win. My prognosis is that the Steelers 30-27. —Erick Cervantes Roon