NFL Divisional Weekend: Odds And PreviewPublished January 14, 2021 by Sol FH
The NFL Divisional Round is set to kick-off with a wild weekend and 4 big games beginning Saturday at 21:30 GMT.
As we go into the Divisional Round of the NFL 2020/21 playoffs, we've got the pleasure of seeing the final 8 teams battle for a spot in the Conference Finals and then, to the Super Bowl. Each of these teams could take it all the way, but let's take a look at each individual game to see what some deciding factors may be.
Packers vs. Rams, Saturday 21:30 GMT
The Green Bay Packers will host the Los Angeles Rams in what will be one of the colder divisional games with an expected temperature around 0 degrees celsius. For the Rams to come in and upset the Packers will depend quite a lot on their ability to overcome the weather, and, to limit Aaron Rodgers' deep passing. The Rams defense must play their best game of the year and stop Green Bay from moving the chains, while efficiently rushing the ball on offense.
Rodgers went deep (20-plus yards) on 14% of passes this season - the second-highest in the NFL, only behind Tom Brady. He also posted the best record on the touchdown-to-interception ratio at 12:0, and, an 18.7 passer rating (third-highest in the NFL). The Rams, however, are ranked 4th in deep pass completion (24.6%), TD-INT ratio (2:5), and passer rating (37.9).
The Rams' rush game has greatly improved since Week 12, averaging 92.5 yards per game, which will be a complementary factor in this game.
The bookmakers like Green Bay's chances at beating the Rams. Rodgers and the Packers are at a comfortable 1.31 at 10bet Sports for an outright win. The Rams are back at 3.75, respectively. I like Green Bay's chances here and expect them to cover the spread.
Bills vs. Ravens, Sunday 1:15 GMT
In one of the most highly-anticipated games of the Divisional Round, the Baltimore Ravens travel to a potential snowy Buffalo, NY, to face the Bills. The weather will be very important in this game, as Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has 0 experience playing in the snow. There will be a 40% chance for snow, which could accumulate to as much as an inch.
The reigning NFL MVP grew up in South Florida and it wasn't until his stint in Louisville where he saw snow for the first time. "We had a snowball fight," Jackson commented, "so that's totally different from playing in it."
Jackson hurt his left hand in the second half of the Ravens' win over the Titans in the Wildcard round, so he may be wearing a glove. He wasn't listed on the Ravens' injury report.
For the Bills, Josh Allen has matured into one of the league's best QBs in 2020/21. He has virtually stopped the turnovers he was known for last season, and he has a newfound ability to stay in the pocket during defensive blitzes and make smart decisions. This is definitely a good thing for Allen, as Don Martindale's defense is well known for the pass rush.
Although a closer matchup than the Packers/Rams game, the Bills are still the projected winners. bet365 Sports has posted odds at 1.68 for a Buffalo win. The Ravens are at 2.25 for the outright win.
Chiefs vs. Browns, Sunday 20:00 GMT
The Cleveland Browns won their first playoff game since the 1994 season last week against the Steelers. The Browns scored 28 unanswered points in the first quarter to get things started, while the defense had 4 interceptions in the game. The biggest issue for the Browns in this game is, the Kansas City Chiefs are not the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs went 14-2 in the regular season. Former NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and his supporting cast have been stellar all season, albeit with 2 hiccups on-the-way. Mahomes led the league's top offense this season and was in second place in passing yards (4,740) and fourth in TDs (38). There are so many weapons for Mahomes to look for, but none as reliable as All-pro tight end Travis Kelce. He was second in the league with 1,416 yards and he also scored an amazing 11 times.
The Browns will need a miracle to win this game, as the Chiefs are keen on making their team into an NFL dynasty. At 10bet Sports, the Chiefs are up at 1.21, while the Browns are at 4.95.
Saints vs. Buccaneers, Sunday 23:40 GMT
The league has never seen a playoff game like the one we will be treated to on Sunday night. It is the battle between Brady and Brees, a pair of 40-something QBs still taking their teams into the playoffs, while other QBs their age have opted into retirement.
Saints' QB Drew Brees turns 42 tomorrow and he is just a year younger than 43-year-old Brady. Between them, Brees has the upper-hand in total yards thrown in a career regular seasons with 80,358 and ranks second all-time in TD passes with 571. Tom Brady holds a number of records, but the main ones include the most TDs with 581 and he is just behind Brees in total pass yardage with 79,204.
This will be only the second time since the 1950s where the top two all-time passers will meet in a playoff game, which should make for an exciting contest.
Either team could take this game and it will only be a matter of who comes out hungrier on Sunday night.
At bet365 Sports, the Saints are the favorites to beat Tom Brady's Bucs at 1.60. Tampa Bay is just behind at 2.45, but do not count them out. Brady is seeking his 10th Super Bowl appearance and will be playing his heart out in order to get there.