We’re down to the NFL’s version of the Elite Eight, which means we’ll have four playoff games this weekend.
I really like the matchups of the eight remaining teams, as a case probably can be made for seven of them having a legitimate chance. The only flawed game appears to be the Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay.
Here’s a look at the four games:
Los Angeles at Green Bay – The Packers have easily been the NFC’s best team the second half of the season as Aaron Rodgers has been playing at an MVP level and the defense has been solid.
Home field doesn’t mean what it used to since there have been no fans, but it does mean something in this game as the Rams leave the sunny climes of LA for the frozen tundra of Green Bay, with temperatures Saturday expected to be around freezing with a hint of snow flurries.
Quite frankly, the Rams’ road win at Seattle last week was a surprise, as their defense harassed Russell Wilson into a miserable game and Jared Goff came off the bench 12 days after hand surgery to produce just enough offense for the Rams to win.
Los Angeles has the NFL’s most fearsome defense, which should keep it in the game. But the Rams have running back issues due to injuries and Goff is not 100 percent.
Green Bay 27, Los Angeles 14
Buffalo at Baltimore – This is the game I’m anticipating the most, because I believe the winner will move on to the Super Bowl.
I’ve made it crystal clear where I stand, I’m on the Ravens’ bandwagon until somebody proves to me otherwise. They have won six in a row and Lamar Jackson has been playing lights-out football.
Josh Allen has been almost as lights-out for the Bills, but they’re going to be missing their top running back in Zach Moss. The Buffalo defense, so bad at the start of the year, has gotten better since being sheared by Patrick Mahomes.
It’s going to be around 30 at game time, which is balmy by Buffalo’s standards. The Ravens, though, have plenty of cold-game experience, so weather makes no difference.
Baltimore 28, Buffalo 24.
Cleveland at Kansas City – It seems like an eternity since the Chiefs have played. Hopefully they have used the time off to heal up, especially in the offensive line. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is back, which is a plus.
This is going to be all about the Chiefs stopping the run as Nick Chubb and an inspired Kareem Hunt could allow the Browns to control the clock. Also, the Chiefs must be able to protect Mahomes, who took a beating the second half of the season.
But who’s going to bet against Mahomes and the Chiefs at this point?
Kansas City 38, Cleveland 31.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans – A matchup of a pair of 40-plus quarterbacks is the game’s focal point, but it comes down to the supporting cast.
Right now, TB’s Tom Brady is playing like he’s 30, not 40. The Bucs have put up huge numbers in recent games.
New Orleans has the better defense and is now healthy on offense.
If there’s a game where the home team could lose, however, this is it. Call this taking a flyer.
Tampa Bay 30, New Orleans 27.