Los Angeles Rams @ Green Bay Packers Saturday January 16, 4:35 PM ET
After knocking out rival Seattle in the Wild Card round, the Rams head to Green Bay to take on the Packers. This will be a huge challenge for LA as they go into freezing Lambeau Field with the Packers getting rest. Both offenses rank inside the top-10 in DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. According to PFF, Aaron Rodgers was playing at an MVP level and rated as the number one quarterback. Jared Goff is played ok this season, and a lot of the Rams success has come with Cam Akers in the backfield. LA should have no issue moving the ball on the ground this Saturday against the Packers' run defense. The thing to watch with Goff is how he'll do in this weather. Goff played college football at Cal and is now playing in southern California
in the NFL. He isn't used to playing in inclement weather like he'll see in Green Bay this Saturday. Goff has played in five career games with the temperature below 40 degrees. He has a 49.7 completion % in those games, 11.8 yards per completion, 5.9 yards per attempt, 195.6 yards per game, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Although the sample size is still small, there is a tell with the direction you can expect Goff's performance to be this Saturday. He also hasn't played in a cold-weather game since playing Chicago in 2018. This might not matter with Cam Akers in the backfield as he will be able to shred a Packers defense that is allowing 4.5 yards per attempt. Rodgers will have his hands tied up this weekend with a Rams defense that ranks fourth in DVOA. However, he is also leading the best offense in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders. The Packers' offense is averaging 28.5 points per game against defenses that rank in the top-10 of DVOA. Green Bay is 4-2 in those games and scored over 30 points in every game except against Tampa Bay. Los Angeles is 3-2 in games against teams in the top-10 in offensive DVOA and allows 23 points per game in those matchups. The Rams will need their quarterback, underperforms in cold weather, to keep up with Green Bay.
Baltimore Ravens @ Buffalo Bills Saturday January 16, 8:15 PM ET
The Baltimore Ravens have now won six games in a row and will have to travel to Buffalo this Saturday to take on the Bills. Buffalo is also rolling at the right time with earning a win over the Colts in the Wild Card round this past weekend. The Ravens were able to win on Sunday because the defense held Derrick Henry to 40 yards on 18 attempts. Baltimore was dealing with many defensive line issues, and the league saw how good the Ravens defense is when the group is healthy. The Bills caught a lot of breaks against the Colts to advance this weekend. Buffalo was outgained in yards and didn't win the time of possession battle, and didn't record a sack on defense against Indy. The Bills were fortunate of a few swings that went their way. Josh Allen has seen overperforming against defenses in the top-10 in DVOA. Allen is averaging over 300 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and four interceptions against the league's top defenses, and also averaging 21.6 rushing yards in these contests. The Ravens currently rank ninth in defensive DVOA. The Ravens defense is holding quarterbacks to under 225 passing yards per game this season. With Baltimore healthy, the defense will take away an offenses' best strength. In this case, it's Josh Allen. The Bills don't have a strong rushing attack as they rank 19th in yards per rush, but Allen is always a threat to pick up key first downs with his feet. Expect the Ravens to continue to pound the ball this weekend in Buffalo. Baltimore's identity on offense is to run the football at will, and they will not stop until someone forces them to move to the pass. If Buffalo can limit the Ravens rushing attack, it should move onto the AFC Championship game. However, the Bills are allowing 5.6 yards per rushing attempt, good for 25th in the league. This is terrible for the Buffalo defense that is going up against a Ravens offense averaging 5.6 yards per rush. Buffalo has been winning games with its offense since its defense took a step back this season. The Bills defense does rank 12th in DVOA, but the Ravens have a huge opportunity to take advantage on the ground. The total sits at 50, but it could come down before Saturday due to the matchups.
Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs Sunday January 17, 3:05 PM ET
The Cleveland Browns won their first playoff game since 1994 with a dominating performance over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their prize will be to go up against the Kansas City Chiefs off the bye. In his career, Andy Reid is 18-3 SU coming off the bye and 5-2 in the playoffs. Cleveland's run has been nice, and its win over Pittsburgh was impressive, but it's going to be hard to stop Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense. This game could be high scoring on Sunday. The Browns and Chiefs both have defenses that rank outside the top-20 in defensive DVOA. Cleveland ranks 25th, and Kansas City ranks 22nd. Every public bettor is looking at Kansas City this weekend, but its defense could struggle against a Browns offense that ranks ninth in offensive DVOA. Cleveland has played eight games against playoff teams this season and is averaging 29.3 points per game in those matchups. The Browns will be able to move the football this Sunday against Kansas City. The Chiefs are allowing 23.3 points per game against offenses that rank in the top-10 of DVOA. The Chiefs are allowing 4.5 yards per rush, good for 18th in the league. The Browns have been successful at moving the football on the ground. Cleveland will need to be effective to kill the clock and keep Mahomes off the field. As for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense, the Browns better be prepared for an air raid of points. The Chiefs have scored an average of 38 points per game coming off a goodbye, including the playoffs, coming off the goodbye with Reid and Mahomes. The Kansas City defense hasn't been great this season, but Cleveland's has been worse. The Chiefs should continue to roll on the offensive side of the ball this Sunday. One thing to watch for will be whether or not two weeks of rest has Kansas City rusty. Teams benefit from a week off, but two weeks could throw them off their game. Mahomes and other key offensive players did not play in Week 17 vs. the Chargers. It could take them a quarter to get started in this matchup. If that happens, then it will put more pressure on the defense to get a stop or two early on before the Kansas City offense gets rolling.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Sunday January 17, 6:40 PM ET
It's hard to beat a team three times this season, they say. Well, the second NFC Divisional matchup will see if it's true or not this weekend. The Saints took care of business this season against the Buccs, outscoring them 72-26. Now, the two teams will battle it out to see who plays in the NFC Championship Game. Throw out the "it's hard to beat a team three times in a season" narrative this Sunday. Since the 1970 NFL merger, home teams are 12-5 in the playoffs against teams they have swept in the regular season. All home teams, in this case, were also the favorite heading into the matchup. Favorites are 9-8 ATS in these matchups, making sure it's not a sure bet
on the Saints -3 this weekend. This happens because if a team sweeps an opponent during the regular season, they are most likely better than the other or have matchups that they can take advantage of. On paper, this arguably the best matchup of the weekend. Bost offenses rank in the top-10 of offensive DVOA, and both defenses are in the top five in defensive DVOA. The familiarity between the two teams will make it a back and forth matchup that you will not want to miss. The biggest thing about this matchup is Tampa Bay is 2-5 against playoff teams this season. The Bucs won 11 games this season but couldn't beat the better teams in the league. Now, Tampa Bay won its first-round game against Washington, 7-9, but the Saints have the Buccs number this season.