Wild Card Previews Day #1
Wild Card Previews Day #1
By: David Dzienis
#7 Indianapolis Colts @ #2 Buffalo Bills
Can anyone stop the phenom that Josh Allen has become this season? The Indianapolis Colts may be uniquely up to that task. While not many teams have contained Allen this year, the Bills have still shown a few weak points. One of which was their run defense. Enter rookie sensation Jonathan Taylor. It may have taken the better half of the year for Taylor to get going, but once he started, he has been virtually unstoppable. QB Philip Rivers has shown he can be more careful with the ball and let his massive offensive line allow plays to unfold. Some say the best way to beat a QB like Allen is to keep him off the field and this offense is built for that game plan.
When Allen is on the field, look for Stefon Diggs to be his favorite target, as he has been all season. Slot receiver Cole Beasley is questionable for this matchup so someone will have to step-up and take some attention away from Diggs, maybe rookie Gabriel Davis, who has shown flashes. The Buffalo run game also needs to perform better or they risk becoming a one-dimensional offense. The Colts linebackers are some of the best in the league and should be able to keep Allen in the pocket. If the defensive backs can contain Diggs, then we may have an upset in the first playoff game of the 2020 season.
Prediction: Ind 21-Buf 30
#6 Los Angeles Rams @ #3 Seattle Seahawks
Round three of this divisional matchup and I’m not sure we can find two more similar teams in the entire league. Both teams have a deep stable of running backs as well as an all-star duo of receivers. The Rams defense was the top unit on the year allowing the least yards and points. The Seahawks were terrible on defense to start the season but since week 10 have led the league in points allowed and sacks. Both defenses sport a phenomenal defensive back, Jalen Ramsey for the Rams, and Jamal Adams for the Hawks.
The keys to this matchup may come down to their few differences. The QB situation is a mess for the Rams, with starter Jared Goff recovering from thumb surgery, and backup John Wolford being seriously under qualified. Seattle meanwhile has Russell Wilson at the helm. While Wilson has fallen off from his MVP pace he started the season on, none doubt how dangerous and skilled he is when the game is on the line. He will be facing off against two-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald. Some consider Donald the most dominant player in football regardless of position. While I usually don’t bet on a back-up QB, if Goff can’t play, and I usually don’t bet against Wilson, this series has proven to be won by defensive performances.
Prediction: LAR 21-Sea 17
#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ #4 Washington Football Team
Despite all of the off-the-field drama the Washington Football Team is headed to playoff football. It has been a season of feel-good stories for Washington with coach Ron Rivera fighting through cancer and QB Alex Smith coming back from a gruesome injury that required 17 surgeries to return. They won the worst division in football and enter the playoffs with a winning percentage under 500. They have been largely carried by a fantastic defense led by Chase Young, the number 2 overall pick in the draft this year, who comes from that amazingly terrible Ohio State football team. They also had some young offensive stars breakout in WR turned RB Antonio Gibson and WR Terry McLaurin (also from that terrible buckeyes team). They did manage to get rid of strip club enthusiast QB Dwayne Haskins, who also called OSU home, shocker.
They face none other than the GOAT Tom Brady. The Buccaneers haven’t been to the playoffs in 13 years but return on the back of Brady and a fantastic wide receiver trio of Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans, not to mention Rob Gronkowski. The defense may be the unsung heroes for this team. While Tom and the offense worked out the kinks, the defense dominated everyone not named the Saints on their way to clinching the NFC’s 5th seed. With Smith possibly out and a practically unknown QB in Taylor Heinicke, this game feels like Tampa Bay’s to lose, Can the Washington d-line that sports 4 1st round picks pull off the upset?
Prediction: TB 27-Was 10
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