Jan
08
2021

An In-Depth Look Into Every Wild Card Game

Super Wildcard Weekend is upon us! So, let’s go a little deeper and see which teams will move on to the Divisional Round.

Saturday’s line up:

7 Indianapolis Colts @ 2 Buffalo Bills 1:05 pm est. on CBS

For the Colts to have a chance in this game, they are going to have to run the ball successfully. Eat up the clock, and keep Josh Allen and that potent Bills’ offense on the bench. Then, if Bills defense stiffens up on the run, QB Phillips Rivers can look for T.Y. Hilton on those sneaky slant patterns.

Unfortunately for the Colts, the Bills are just as potent on the defensive side of the ball, ranking near the top in every defensive category. For the Bills offense, the Colts defense should double-team Stefon Diggs, allowing Allen to look at other places. Hand the ball off, and still find Diggs deep a couple of times, giving way to a deep touchdown.

I see the Buffalo Bills wearing out the Indianapolis Colt 35-14 and moving on.

6 L.A. Rams @ 3 Seattle Seahawks 4:40 pm est. on FOX

With their starting QB Jared Goff having thumb surgery, his playing is still uncertain. The L.A. Rams must lean on their defense for this game. A defense that over the last two meetings has sacked QB Russell Wilson a whopping 11 times. Five of them coming from Leonard Floyd with DPOY candidate Aaron Donald was also heavily in the mix.

The Rams’ defensive back end has also held WR DK Metcalf in check. Keeping him under 100 yds in their last two meetings. With or without Goff, the Rams offense must target WR Cooper Kupp and WR Robert Woods off of the play-action, continuing to look for TE Tyler Higbee over the middle. Cam Akers should be leading the rushing attack, doing enough to keep the Seattle defense guessing.

The Seahawks’ defense has Goff’s number as well. Sacking the QB 6 times in their first two meetings. The Seahawks’ pass defense has shown much improvement over the course of the season. The Seahawks seem to have an answer for the play-action pass as well, for instance. Seattle’s offense will do what they do. A good dose of Chris Carson on the ground, allowing Wilson will try and go deep for WR Tyler Locket and Metcalf.

I see this game coming down to Russell Wilson’s legs. Is the Rams’ defense going to be able to stop Wilson’s ad-libbing and almost 6 ypc? I really don’t think so. Seahawks moving on 21-10.

5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ 4 Washington Football Team 8:15 pm est. on NBC

The miracle of QB Alex Smith’s 2020 season is nothing less than astounding. Overcoming everything just to step on the field is incredible in itself, then leading your team to a division title and hosting a Playoff game. Smith will do what he does best, manage the game, being safe with the ball, using the run game, and check downs to keep Tampa Bay’s offense off the field; however, the Football Team’s weak offensive line might make that difficult.

The Football Team’s defense is going to have to play lights out for them to have a chance in this one. Possible DROY Chase Young leads the way for that stingy Football Team defense.

The Buccaneers’ offensive line has only given up the fourth-fewest sacks this year, which means QB1 Tom Brady and high flying Buccaneers’ offense should be set to have a big game. WR Mike Evens should be good to go for this one, and RB Ronald Jones looks to add to his almost 1,000-yard season.

I see Washington’s defense keeping them in this one for a bit, then TB12 starts picking apart that secondary. Tampa Bay moves on big, 35-10.

Sunday’s line up:

5 Baltimore Ravens @ 4 Tennessee Titans 1:05pm est. on ESPN

We all know where this one is going. Can the Ravens’ defense handle league rushing leader RB Derrick Henry, or can the Titan’s contain QB Lamar Jackson? The Titans’ defense held the reigning MVP, in check last year, but with RB J.K. Dobbins coming into his own, and WR Marquise Brown stepping up, and of course, TE Mark Andrews coming on strong, this year could be a different story.

To keep Jackson contained and make him throw passes outside the numbers might be the Titans’ best chance on defense. It doesn’t get any easier for the Ravens’ defense, stopping King Henry should be first and foremost, but QB Ryan Tannehill to WR A.J. Brown could be just as big a problem. I think the Ravens will stack the box to stop the run, leaving Brown someone on one chance on the backend.

I see Jackson shaking off the previous loss to the Titans and doing what he has to do to get the victory. Baltimore moving on 30-21.

7 Chicago Bears @ 2 New Orleans Saints 4:40 pm est. on CBS

The Bears literally fell into the playoffs backward. Actually, losing to Green Bay in their final game, and still getting into a playoff game. This being said, the Bears have shown signs of life. QB Mitchell Trubisky has been looking pretty good the last few weeks, but the Bears’ defense is going to have to keep this one close.

The running game featuring RB David Montgomery is going to have to be on point to keep the Saints’ potent offense off the field. However, the Saints’ defense might play havoc with the Bears’ offense, giving Trubisky fits. Above all, making it hard for him to find WR Allen Robinson or TE Cole Kmet.

The Saints are hopeful they will get RB Alvin Kamara back from Covid protocol for this game, and QB Drew Brees will continue looking for the shorter passes to keep himself upright and safe. QB Taysom Hill will be a big factor in this one.

I see the Saints moving on in a big way 35-7.

6 Cleveland Browns @ 3 Pittsburgh Steelers 8:15 pm est. on NBC

With Covid running rampant on the Browns, this one may not be what we expect. However, with acting Head Coach Mike Priefer, the Browns look to rely on their two-headed running attack of RB Nick Chubb and RB Kareem Hunt, hoping that will loosen the Steelers’ secondary and allow them to get the ball downfield to WR Jarvis Landry.

This game will come down to which QB Baker Mayfield we will see. If he stays poised in the pocket and plays his game, Mayfield just might get out of Pittsburgh with a win. The Steelers’ defense has really gotten after Mayfield in every contest this season, and I have no doubt they will turn it up this time, really trying to rattle Mayfield.

With a week off, QB Ben Roethlisberger says he is feeling refreshed and ready to go. So, which Big Ben will we see? The towering statue standing in the pocket, or the quick read Ben, that just tries to stay upright? The Steelers’ receiving corps will look to continue catching passes and scoring touchdowns. The lack of a solid run game might be the difference for the Cleveland defense, holding the line and dropping guys back might pay off for them.

In conclusion, I see Pittsburgh’s defense taking control of this one. This is Cleveland’s first playoff trip in almost 20 years. In other words, I believe the bright lights of a primetime playoff game will be too much and Pittsburgh moves on 24-20.

Meanwhile, with #1 Kansas City and #1 Green Bay waiting in the wings, this Super Wildcard Weekend is shaping up to be a great one. I hope everyone enjoys the games. I know I will!