NFL Playoff Tips: Cream Will Rise To The Top
Number 1 Seeds will be fresh and raring to go but not all will have it their own way in divisional round
Wildcard weekend produced a lot of predictable results and were it not for Ben Roethlisberger’s turgid first half we could well have landed our treble. His second half numbers saw him land just 10 yards short of the line after struggling to complete anything of note in the opening stanza.
The points line in the Tampa game had nudged up fractionally by time of publishing so it ensured two out of three legs landed for the umpteenth time this year.
Regardless, this week’s Divisional Round allows the chance for an immediate bounce back and there are some appealing lines.
LA Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Our headline pick this week comes in the form of an upset as the LA Rams travel to take on the reigning champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both teams turned in crushing victories last week as the Bucs disposed of the Philadelphia Eagles with minimum of fuss.
The Rams for their part mad short work of divisional rivals the Arizona Cardinals with a devastating display on both sides of the ball. Matt Stafford was back on song and with Cam Akers returning in the backfield they had a varied offence to compliment their rock solid defence.
Tom Brady remains without two of his main targets and there is a lot resting on the shoulders of Mike Evans. Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey is one of the best in the business and could limit his impact. Should that happen I think the Buccaneers will struggle to move the football.
Historically Brady has struggled against the Rams and their schemes and this is a great chance for Sean McVay’s charges to claim a massive scalp. He has limited Brady in every match up and with Matt Stafford a sizable upgrade on Jared Goff there is plenty of reason for them to fancy this match up.
Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jnr should feast on a weak secondary and I truly believe the Rams are capable of progressing to the NFC Championship game with an upset win. Pick: LA Rams to win @ 5/4
Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennessee Titans
The Cincinnati Bengals reward for their first playoff win in thirty years is a trip to the AFC number one seed, the Tennessee Titans. Joe Burrow has proved a revelation in the past few months posting remarkable stats and driving his team to the post season.
He should be relishing the chance of adding to those numbers against a slightly susceptible secondary. The Bengals have relied on big plays and with Ja’Marr Chase’s explosiveness from the line of scrimmage they will always have a chance.
One thing Burrow has struggled with is teams who are low blitz. And that is exactly what the Titans are. On the other side of the ball the man mountain that is Derrick Henry is back and looks set to be heavily involved. This will give Ryan Tannehill the chance of some RPA’s. The Titans have an incredible record off a bye week and with Julio Jones and AJ Brown back in the mix they should have too much for the Bengals.
Added to that is the significant number of injuries this already fragile unit has to contend with after last week’s win over the Raiders. I am confident the Bengals’ run comes to an end with an emphatic win for the Titans which sees them cover the spread in a high scoring affair. Pick: Tennessee Titans -3.5 points @10/11
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs
The weekend closes with a mouthwatering clash as the Kansas City Chiefs welcome the Buffalo Bills to Arrowhead.
On paper it promises to be a compelling watch with both teams really finding their form in recent weeks. The Bills thrashed the New England Patriots in Josh Allen’s finest hour as quarterback, as their first five drives ended up in the Endzone. It was a clinical display by Allen as he sprayed the ball around with a panache and style that we have seen numerous times against the lesser lights.
To do it in the playoffs is another matter and he will be returning to Arrowhead fully believing they can repeat their win here earlier in the campaign. That surely got the monkey off their back and only adds to the anticipation.
The Chiefs for their part have made short work of all opposition since that defeat and it looks like their attacking front will get some joy against the Bills secondary.
The oddsmakers are struggling to separate these and it looks likely to come down to the last drive of the game in a compelling tussle. However, one thing is sure, the points total of 53.5 should be surpassed as both these heavyweights land some sizable blows. Pick: Chiefs v Bills Over 53.5 points @ 10/11
LA Rams to win v Buccaneers,
Tenessee Titans -3.5 points v Bengals
Chiefs v Bills over 53.5 points.
The above in a treble pays 7/1 with most bookmakers.