NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND WEEKEND – JANUARY 15
By Leo Haggerty
SUVIVE AND ADVANCE
It’s going to be hard for the eight teams still standing to top the excitement and drama of Wild Card weekend. With that being said, don’t be surprised if that happens as the National Football League moves to the second round of its “win or go home” tournament.
Before I offer my picks, let’s take a quick review of last week’s selections. I went a very pedestrian 3-3 and I plan on improving on that mark.
So, with further adieu, here’s my prognostication on which teams will move on to the conference championship tilts. Enjoy.
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT GREEN BAY (-6 1/2)
With very few, if any, fans in attendance there is no such thing as a home field advance except for the Packers. That’s because Mother Nature almost always favors the Green & Gold but not today. Temperatures look to me in the 30’s with no precipitation of any kind. Still, that a cold day for the Rams and look for it to effect Los Angeles in the late stages of the game especially QB Jared Goff. GB, 27-20, with a late pick to seal the deal.
BALTIMORE AT BUFFALO (- 2 1/2)
The elements could easily favor the Bills but it looks like another reasonably calm day for January on Lake Erie. Temperature in the low 30s and no snow but, keep in mind, that can change in a hurry. It will be a battle of quarterbacks but on a different plane. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson wants to win the game with his legs and Bills signal caller Josh Allen wants to do it with his arm. I expect this game to go down the final possession and the winner will be who can make a big play. BUF, 20-19, with a last second field goal to advance.
CLEVELAND AT KANSAS CITY (-10)
Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs get down early. That’s their playoff history. The question is can the Browns keep their foot on the gas and try to outscore Kansas City. I believe Baker Mayfield and Company will do just that but it won’t be enough. KC, 45-42, with Patrick Mahomes to the rescue with a TD toss in the last two minutes.
TAMPA BAY AT NEW ORLEANS (-3)
The story line here is two QBs in their 40’s at the helm of both team. I expect both quarterbacks, Saints Drew Brees and Bucs Tom Brady, to put on a show of offensive fireworks. When the dust settles, I believe the Pewter Pirates find a want to win but with an unlikely hero. TB, 31-28, with a Ryan Succop field goal as time expires.
Well, there you have it. Am I right? Only way to find out is to gather around the TV this weekend and find out