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NFL Playoffs

NFL+Playoffs

Written before the wild card games.

This year has been a very weird regular season for the NFL. There has been no dominant team and tons of upsets. The Ravens and the 49ers have secured the one seed in each conference. Here are the games this weekend and how I expect them to go. 

To start off this wild card weekend are the Browns and the Texans. The Browns were having a very strong season until star quarterback Deshaun Watson got injured and he will be missing this game. The Texans on the other hand have been performing way above the expectation all season. The biggest weakness of the Browns is that they only have one pass catcher: Amari Cooper. With the amazing defensive mind Demeco Ryan on the Texans side. I think that they should be able to stop Amari Cooper and force Joe Flacco to make bad passes. 

Later that night, one of the more interesting games to watch over this weekend will be Chiefs – Dolphins. This season, the Chiefs have been a huge disappointment, especially the receiver core. The receiving core has the most dropped balls in the league.  They have disappointed time and time again this season. The only reason the Chiefs are in the playoffs is because of their defense. The Dolphins are frauds, that’s all I’ll say. The moment a team has a good pass defense or even a good defense they lose. The Dolphins are 1-5 against teams with a record over 500. The Chiefs beat the Dolphins before in London and will do it again. Especially since the high of the day will be eight degrees. The Dolphins are 0-13 in playoff games that are below ten degrees and soon to be 0-14. 

On Sunday, the Cowboys take on the Packers at AT&T stadium. The Packers started out the year with 3-6 and went 6-2 in their last eight games. Quarterback Jordan Love has been an upside surprise this year, filling in the shoes of Aaron Rodgers. The Cowboys won the NFC East and have one of the best defenses in the league. Even with the curse that the Cowboys have in the playoffs. Which is that they do the most ridiculous things and lose in the most ridiculous fashion. I’m picking them to win this game but not to break the curse and advance more than two rounds. 

Later that evening, the Rams take on the Lions in which Mathew Stafford will return to Detroit. Three years ago, the Rams and Lions switched Quarterbacks Jared Goff who ended up on the Lions and Mathew Stafford who ended up on Rams. The Rams won the super bowl and looked like they won the trade but Detroit may have a say in that tale on Saturday night. The Lions handily won their division but had some sketchy games against the Ravens and other good teams. The Rams were expecting to tank and get a good draft pick but breakout rookie Puka Necua has been a revelation this year and has been the headline of this team. I think that will get their win and snapp the thirty or so years without a playoff win.

The next day the sluggish Pittsburgh Steelers take on Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. The Steelers have been struggling to get wins all season. Quarterback Kenny Picket and JJ Watt will not be playing in this game with injuries. Without those two key players I don’t know how the steelers will fare. The Bills have had a roller coaster of a season. They had a really hot start in the beginning of the season but cooled off midway through. Many Critics thought they were out of the playoff picture but the Bills rallied winning six of their last seven. The forecast for the game is snow which is in favor of the steelers because it will limit Josh Allen’s passing game. Although running back James Cook has been playing very well lately and will have a big game. 

Finally to finish up this wild card weekend, the struggling Eagles will take on the Bucs. The Eagles started the season 10-1 but ended going 1-5 in their last six games. Last year the Eagles had the best defense in the league but this year the Eagles defense is one of the worst in the league. The Bucs have been struggling all year barely winning the NFC south. The Bucs are just mediocre in all aspects, nothing jumps out at you when you look at them except receiver Mike Evans. Evans has had 1000 yard seasons from the past nine years. I see a close game but the warm weather and home field advantage will give the Bucs the advantage in the end. 

Written before the divisional round. 

The first game in the divisional round is Ravens – Texans. My super bowl prediction was 49ers and Ravens and I’m sticking to it. The Ravens have a very good defense but the star of the show is their offense. Lamar Jackson is finally living up to his potential and combining his running game in RPOs’ (run pass option.) On every play you have at least three threats which is a lot to deal with at all times. You have a pass to rookie receiver Zay Flowers, a run to any of the Ravens running backs, and you also have a scramble from Lamar Jackson. Even though I think that Demeco Ryans will come up with something to partially stop the Ravens Offense but in the end, the game will come upon experience which CJ Stroud has none. 

Later that night the 49ers take on the red hot Packers off a huge win against the Cowboys. The 49ers have much more depth in their lineup than the Packers. The 49ers have weapons all over the field on offense and defense. Even Brock Purdy who was the very last pick in the draft looks great when he’s surrounded by all of those weapons. The Packers just simply don’t have enough talent to compete with the 49ers. 

The next day the Lions take on the Bucs at Ford Field. The Lions just had their first playoff win in thirty years and the Bucs just demolished the collapsing Eagles. I see this being a close game but the Lions with their high powered offense will prevail over the blitz happy Bucs Defense. The only weakness of Quarterback Jared Goff is when he is under pressure although he did fair very well against the Rams last week. The Bucs offense have struggled at times this season. With star Defensive Lineman Aidan Hutchensin on the other side of the ball I don’t know how well they’ll do. I see a close game in the end Jared Goff drives down and scores the winning Touchdown. 

The final game of the Divisional round is Chiefs at Bills. Two years ago it seemed like the Bills had just punched their ticket to a AFC championship game having scored a touchdown that put them up by five with thirteen seconds left. Somehow in three plays Patrick Mahomes drove down the field and scored the winning touchdown. The entire Bills community has been hurting for the last two years and has been waiting to get their revenge and finally got the chance. Quarterback Josh Allen can make some of the best plays you’ve ever seen but then throw the worst pass you’ve ever seen. The Chiefs offense has been horrible this year with the receiver group having the most drops in the league. The reason the Chiefs have made it this far is because of their defense. The Bills defense on the other hand have had people dropping like flies with injuries. In the end I see the Bills just edging them out in overtime with a Josh Allen Rushing Touchdown finally getting revenge. 

Super Bowl prediction – the only two teams that have shown that they are ready to reach that next level are the 49ers and the Ravens. I honestly think that if this ends up being the Super Bowl it would be a fifty fifty chance of each team winning. For some reason though I think the Ravens will win 20-27. If that’s the case Lamar Jackson will secure a hall of fame resume. Also Brock Purdy isn’t ready for a super bowl yet no matter how many weapons he has. So there you have it: prediction for the playoffs and betting tips for the wild card round. Hopefully your team does well. 

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About the Contributor
Brandon Berger is a 6th grader who writes for The Inkwell. He enjoys fishing, playing sports, and writing about pretty much anything.  

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