Divisional Previews Day #1
Divisional Round Previews Day 1
By: David Dzienis
#6 Los Angeles Rams @ #1 Green Bay Packers
For the first time since the Patriots stunned the Falcons in the largest Super Bowl comeback in history, we have the number 1 defense facing off against the number one offense. The Rams handled business last week against their division rival Seahawks despite having to roll with Jared Goff and his surgically repaired thumb. He was able to play a safe, mistake free game and let Cam Akers and the defense carry his team to this week’s match against the Packers. The talk for Green Bay’s offense, deservedly so, always revolves around likely MVP Aaron Rodgers and arguably the best WR in the league Davante Adams, but let’s not sleep on the electric Aaron Jones and emerging TE Robert Tonyan (who killed me in several fantasy leagues this year).
There are three main points to watch in this game. The first is how Goff can look throwing the ball with that thumb. If he can limit his mistakes and the run game can get going then the Rams have a chance at an upset. The second is how well the Packers o-line, minus their best player in OT David Bakhtiari, can hold up against Aaron Donald and company. The final, and possibly most exciting, is the head-to-head matchup of Adams and the leagues stingiest corner, and arguably one of the biggest shit-talkers, Jalen Ramsey. The winner of that combo may decide the game. My guess is the Rams focus so much on taking away Adams and Jones and/or Tonyan has a big game because of it.
Prediction: LAR 21-GB 31
#5 Baltimore Ravens @ #2 Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen vs Lamar Jackson. Enough said. This game should have some fireworks. While the Bills held off the pesky Colts last week, the Ravens defense stepped up and held Titans RB Derrick Henry to under 50 yards. Buffalo doesn’t have a RB of that caliber but they do have Allen, one of the most mobile QB’s in the league. Jackson is the best mobile QB in the league, becoming the first QB to rush for over 1000 yards in two seasons. Once again, the Bills defense must shore up their weakness against the run if they hope to win. They did just enough to eke by the Colts.
Allen has been one of the best stories of the year. He cleaned up his accuracy issues and formed an instant bond with the league leading receiver in Stefon Diggs. If Buffalo can scheme Diggs open, they should win this game. With Allen, and some contribution from RB Devin Singletary, the run game should demand enough respect to open up some play action. The real key for Buffalo is whether they can contain the dangerous Jackson and his cohorts, RB’s Gus Edwards, and J.K. Dobbins. Look for them to utilize the suddenly hot Marquise “Hollywood” Brown if the Bills sell out on the run.
Prediction: Bal 24-Buf 27
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