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NFL Predictions: AFC Wild Card Weekend Preview

Keith, Tom and Caemeron give their takes!

Hey everyone this is Sam. Thank you for joining me once again. We need to breakdown the NFL AFC Wild Card Football games. Here’s a look at the NFL playoff picture, NFL Predictions, and we’re going to talk about the schedule of games. After that some of my co-workers got together to give you their takes on the games and make their NFL AFC Wild Card game predictions.

AFC Playoffs
1. Chiefs (14-2)
2. Bills (13-3)
3. Steelers (12-4)
4. Titans (11-5)
5. Colts (11-5)
6. Ravens (11-5)
7. Browns (11-5)

Super Wild Card Weekend Schedule
Colts at Bills (-6.5) (Sat. 1:05 pm ET)
Ravens at Titans (-3.5) (Sun. 1:05 pm ET)
Browns at Steelers (-3.5) (Sun. 8:15 pm ET)

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills (-6.5): (Saturday at 1:05 pm EST CBS)

NFL Predictions

KEITH: This should be one of the best games of the weekend. The Bills look frankly unbeatable right now. Josh Allen is playing at an MVP level and Stefon Diggs has been worth the complete cost he was traded for. The Bills haven’t lost since week 10 on a fluky Kyler Murray to DeAndre Hopkins touchdown. They have blown out their competition since that game.

Josh Allen may be the greatest self improvement story I’ve seen in the NFL. When he came into the NFL in 2018, I thought he was a strong armed QB that could run. He was tough and would be a kind of Cam Newton type of player. However, he has elevated far past that level. He has improved his mechanics, his touch, and his timing. Allen is a legit top five NFL QB at this moment.

On the other side the Colts have their flaws but they are worthy of making the playoffs. This is a team that can be dangerous against the right foe. I think the Bills are just the foe that Frank Reich and company are looking for. The way to attack the Bills is the same way you attack any MVP calibre QB by ground control. After Jonathon Taylor just rolled the Jaguars for 30 carries and 256 yards I think the Colts are ready to roll.

The Colts defence has been solid all year and they have the horses to slow down Josh Allen and company. Watch for Deforest Buckner and Cole Beasley. Buckner would be the shot in the arm the Indy defence needs to pull off the upset and Cole Beasley has been Josh Allen’s saviour when Diggs is covered. In the end, I like Buffalo to win in a closer game than people may expect. In Orchard Park in January, the Buffalo Bills are back and I love Josh Allen to begin his ascent. While old man Rivers can still make enough plays to hang with a Buffalo team that has demolished their opponents down the stretch. I see the Bills pulling out a late score to win in my NFL Predictions.

Winner: Bills 28-24

TOM: Jonathan Taylor and the Colts ran all over the Jaguars in week 17 (literally). Taylor ran the ball 30 times for 253 yards and two touchdowns. The Bills beat the Dolphins in a manner very uncharacteristic of the 3rd best defence in the NFL. Miami simply gave up by halftime and the Bills backups did almost anything they wanted for the rest of the game. Do not expect anything you saw last week in either game to repeat itself. The Colts will use Taylor heavily. The Bills run defence while not great will not let him run free. The Colts defence is also very good. They should be able to contain the Bills’ high octane offense to a respectable stat line.

Winner: Bills 34-21

CAEMERON: Both the Colts and the Bills have been impressive this year. Though Buffalo has more consistently been showing itself to be a team to be reckoned with. Indianapolis has rather quietly boasted one of the best defences in the league—not that the Buffalo D is anything to scoff at. I’m calling a defensive game in this one. Despite how good Josh Allen has been all season I think when it comes down to the crunch he’ll turn the ball over. Give me the veteran leadership of Philip Rivers in this one, a low scoring affair.

Winner: Colts 17-13

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans (-3.5): (Sunday at 1:05 pm EST ABC)

NFL Predictions

KEITH: Both of these teams are throwbacks in the NFL. They get the job done on the ground. The Ravens will head to Music City as the best rushing team in the NFL. They average 191.9 yards per game. Headed by an excellent offensive line, dynamic Lamar Jackson, and a team of running back, the Ravens have turned the switch since early November. They have re-established their identity. Their defence has been okay. It’s not what we are used to seeing from a Ravens defence, but they have got the stops they needed to win 5 straight against bad NFL competition. The Titans however are a major step up in class.

The Titans are the NFL’s 2nd best rushing offense that average 168 yards per game. Of course, they feature the NFL’s best pure running back in Derrick Henry. The Titans are the NFL’s 4th best scoring offense that average right at 30 yards per game. The placation has worked perfect for the Titans. They use Derrick Henry to bludgeon teams then set up Ryan Tannenhill on play action to his talented wide receivers. This has been a winning formula for a season and half now in Tennessee.

The Titans come into this game as a 3.5 point home dog. Mainly because their defence can’t stop anybody. The Titans are 24th in scoring defence. They just had to fend off a lifeless Texans team in overtime in order to secure the AFC South Division crown. Tennessee have now beat the Ravens twice in the last year. This includes a beat down of the then #1 seed in the AFC in the conference semi-finals last year. The Titans were also able to take advantage of a worn down Ravens offense in middle November in an overtime thriller. Some would say that means the Titans have the Ravens number. Others would argue the Ravens are due. I am an other.

This will be a close game. In the end, I believe Lamar Jackson makes a play and the Ravens defence gets just enough stops to hang on. I think this is a field goal game and we are set up for a treat to start our Sunday morning playoff fun.

Winner: Ravens 34-31

TOM: The Ravens’ offense was firing on all cylinders last week in a 38-3 thrashing of the Bengals. Lamar Jackson and JK Dobbins ran the ball for over 200 yards alone. Tennessee comes into wild card weekend having edged out the Texans on a last minute 52 yard bomb from Ryan Tannehill to AJ Brown. That pass put the Titans into field goal range. Sloman hit the 37 yarder with four seconds left to win the game. The Ravens defence is very good and should be able to limit Derrick Henry to under 120 yards rushing. The Titans will not be able to keep pace this weekend and will see their season come to an end at the hands of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offence.

Winner: Ravens 32-24

CAEMERON: The Titans upset the Ravens in the playoffs last year so it’s cool to see them get a rematch. But would the Ravens winning be the upset this time? I really am not sure. (Yes, I know there is a spread and all, but I mean spiritually what would be the upset?) Either way, I see Baltimore pulling this one out in a high scoring game.

We might tend to associate these teams with defence due to their history. However, I refer you to the matches each played this season against Cleveland. Baltimore beat the Browns in that insanely high scoring game whereas the Titans lost in a similar game. So by the transitive property of Cleveland, I am calling the Ravens in my NFL Predictions.

Winner: Ravens 52-42

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5): (Sunday at 8:15 pm EST NBC)

The Cleveland Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to snap an 18-year playoff drought. Their reward is a rematch with Pittsburgh, who eliminated them in their only other playoff game this century. However, I wish I was joking, but I can’t even make this one up. Less than 48 hours later, Head Coach Kevin Stefanski tested positive for Covid-19 along with numerous other coaches and players. So the Browns’ facility has been closed.

The problem is the NFL Covid-19 protocols say that Coach Stefanski can’t be on the field for this game against their hated rival, the Steelers. Special Team Coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as their acting head coach. The game is still on for now even though the team is doing game preparation at home. If an outbreak happens then it could throw a wrench into the NFL playoff schedule.

NFL Predictions

KEITH: To finish off the action packed weekend, the Browns will travel to Pittsburgh. The hated Steelers have owned the Browns pretty much since their inception. Cleveland were able to find a way to beat Pittsburgh in week 17. They squeaked by against a Steelers team that featured nine starters being rested. The Browns were hit with the COVID bug in week 16. They lost their entire wide receiver group and then they lost to the lowly Jets. I like the formula the Browns want to use in Cleveland. I am a fan of Kevin Stefanski, Nick Chubb and that Browns offensive line. The Browns defence gives up way too many big plays. They can be gashed on the ground because their line-backer group is weak and slow.

On the other hand, Pittsburgh are limping into the playoffs themselves. After a stunning 2nd half turnaround against the Colts in week 16, the Steelers were able to win the AFC North. Due to an 11-0 start to the season, this team was unfairly wearing down. The Steelers rightfully thought they needed to rest starters rather than go after the #2 seed in the AFC. They were the only team in the NFL that didn’t have a true bye week. Because two of their opponents (Titans and Ravens) had Covid-19 outbreaks.

After losing their first game to the Redskins in week 13, they dominated the Bills in the first half of their Monday Night game in early December.  Then they got spanked in the 2nd half. The Steelers looked like they were playing on fumes. Then they went to Cincinnati and lost to a bad Bengals team. Pittsburgh looked on the verge of losing four in a row when they went down 24-7 against the Colts. However, Big Ben found just enough of his Hall of Fame self to complete the comeback against the Colts. They won the AFC North and were able to rest valuable players for week 17.

Until Cleveland proves me wrong, there is no way I can choose the Browns in this game. The Steelers have made their football winning fortune by torturing the poor Browns. In a playoff battle, I like the better more experienced Coach Mike Tomlin and Big Ben to come up with a gritty victory. I am happy for the Browns, but I am not a believer in Baker Mayfield. I think this game stays close until the 2nd half when the Steelers take a two score lead. Mayfield has trouble completing the comeback as the Browns do what most of us are used to them doing. They lose to the Steelers.

Winner: Steelers 34-24

TOM: This should be a fun game to watch with lots of offense. The Steelers are missing the bulk of their linebacking core due to injuries. Nick Chubb will relish the opportunity pound the ball down their throats. Pittsburgh has a ton of weapons to deploy on offense. The question is whether or not Big Ben and his core of butter-fingered receivers can connect early and often. “The Baker Mayfield experience” has been a fun ride lately. The Browns offense has shown it is capable of putting up 40 plus points on good defences (Week 14 vs Ravens). I am going with the underdogs Sunday night and in my NFL predictions a Browns win.

Winner: Browns 42-28

CAEMERON: I am a Browns fan. So, I basically expected them to lose to Pittsburgh last week and miss the playoffs. Here we are again with Cleveland facing off against our biggest rivals. Of course, it’s not quite the same team we barely beat last week when they were resting starters. So I’m predicting this to look like a different game entirely based around the adjustments the coaching staffs have made since last week. On that basis, I’m afraid I do have to pick the Steelers to win. Although I hope that I’m wrong.

Winner: Steelers 28-20

Let’s hear your NFL predictions for each football game. Who do you have and why? Let Sports Obsessive know in comments. Can you beat our experts? See you down the road.

Written by Samantha Sayre

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