Well, that was an action-packed wild card weekend, to say the least. In the AFC, we saw the Browns dominate both sides of the ball, the Bills win a close one, and the Ravens get the last laugh. After next Sunday, two of the four remaining AFC teams will be starting the offseason, while the other two will be competing for the AFC crown.
Ravens v Bills
The Ravens bested the Titans in the wild card round, showcasing a strong run defense and silencing Lamar Jackson’s haters. The Bills were able to squeeze out a victory against the Colts and had no problem passing the ball. Josh Allen was on fire all game. This game will be fun to watch.
Two young quarterbacks going head-to-head chasing their first ring. When looking at this game from an analytical standpoint, it is fairly matched. The Ravens’ offense was powered by Lamar Jackson in the Wild Card game. He rushed for 136 yards and threw for 179, scoring once in the air and once on the ground.
The Bills rank very similar to the Titans in terms of rushing defense, but are much better against the pass. The Bills offense, which is very pass-heavy, is tasked with a Ravens secondary. Baltimore’s secondary is much better statistically than the Colts.
The key to this game will be stopping the big play. The Ravens’ strong run game wears the defense down and gives receivers a lot of 1-on-1s. It also opens up the deep ball. The Bills, on the other hand, throw the short and intermediate pass game so well that it opens up the deep ball.
Both Gabriel Davis and Stefon Diggs were able to capitalize on the deep ball in the Wild Card game. They both averaged over 20 yards a catch. With the Bills playing at home and riding a seven-game win streak, they are the favorites to win this game.
Prediction: Ravens 17 Bills 24
Browns v Chiefs
The Browns came to play last week against the three-seed Steelers and got their first playoff win since 1994. Now they play the top-seeded Chiefs, who have one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history, the best quarterback in the NFL, and are the reigning Super Bowl champs.
The Chiefs are coming off a bye week while the Browns are coming off a first-class victory. Baker Mayfield threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns and Kareem Hunt scored twice on the ground. But the story of that game was the Browns defense, who forced five turnovers, four being interceptions.
While their performance against the Steelers was impressive, they will be tasked with facing Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill who headline arguably the NFL’s best offense. The only game the Chiefs lost this year (not counting when players were rested) was to the Raiders in week 5.
The Chiefs have only scored under 20 points once this year, so the only way you win is a shootout. The Browns were able to put up 48 points against the NFL’s 3rd ranked defense last week, so don’t be surprised if they are able to score against the Chiefs defense which ranks near the middle of the pack.
The good news for the Browns is that the Chiefs have been poor against the run, and the Browns have both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt healthy. No matter what, the Chiefs will score, and the key to this game is the Browns maximizing on possessions.
The Browns need to come to play like they did last week when they scored 28 first-quarter points. A great deal of Chiefs starters haven’t played since week 16 of the regular season, which would make playing from behind even harder. All signs point to the Chiefs emerging victorious, but this is my upset of the year game. I think the Browns have a chip on their shoulder and are going to give Kansas City a real ballgame.
Prediction: Browns 34 Chiefs 31