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Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills Saturday, January 9, 1:05 PM ET
The Indianapolis Colts head up to Buffalo to take on the Bills in the first round of the playoffs. The Bills offense will have an edge on Saturday playing a dome team outdoors. According to Football Outsiders, the Colts defense will challenge the fifth-ranked offense but find success in the Wild Card Round. Indianapolis has been susceptible to big plays in the last month of the season, which will not go well with Josh Allen at quarterback. The Colts are 2-3 when playing in an outdoor stadium, and the offense has not been as productive either. Buffalo's defense took a step back in 2020, but the Colts will struggle to move the ball on Saturday, which will help the Bills move onto the second round.
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks Saturday, January 9, 4:40 PM ET
An NFC West playoff matchup is going down this Saturday between the Rams and the Seahawks. The two split the regular-season series, with the Rams winning the first matchup and the Seahawks winning two weeks ago. The winner will now get bragging rights in 2020 and move onto the next round of the playoffs. Seattle and Los Angeles have top-10 offenses, according to DVOA, and the Rams should have Jared Goff back for this weekend's game after breaking his right thumb against Seattle. If he is healthy enough to go, that will be a huge boost for L.A., as long as the injury doesn't limit him. The defensive matchup will be the biggest key on Saturday. Earlier this year, the Seahawks had one of the worst defenses in the NFL. That has changed in the last month or so of the season as Seattle has a defense that will keep them in games, especially with Russell Wilson at quarterback. Wilson will also challenge trying to move the football against this Rams defense, which ranks fifth in DVOA. Saturday, January 9, 8:15 PM ET
Many controversies surround how the Washington Football Team got into the playoffs in Week 17, with the Eagles replacing Jalen Hurts in the second half. Regardless, Washington is in at 7-9 and get to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend. Washington will have to rely on its defense to stay in this game and potentially pull off the upset against Tom Brady. The Football Team has the second-best defense in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders. The Bucs could also be without Mike Evans this Saturday, which will be a huge blow if he cannot play. Tampa Bay has a top-five offense, but that could change without Evans. The issue with Washington is the offense. As cool of a story as Alex Smith is this season with his return from a gruesome knee injury, the Football Team ranks 30th in DVOA. They are going to struggle going up against a Tampa Bay defense that is also top-five in DVOA. However, the last time a sub-.500 team hosted a playoff game; we saw one of the best upsets in playoff history.
Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans Sunday, January 10, 1:05 PM ET
The Baltimore Ravens have a chance to get revenge on the Tennessee Titans this year. The Titans not only upset the Ravens in the playoffs last season, but they also beat them in the regular season in 2020. Baltimore lost at home both games, but now they have a chance to make it to the second round of the playoffs. The biggest key for the Ravens will be to stop Derrick Henry. He has 328 rushing yards in his last two games against Baltimore, and if Henry can be stopped, the Ravens should win on Sunday. Tennessee has the worst defense among playoff teams and ranks 29th in DVOA. Even if the Titans are down, they will not abandon the run, which is why it is so vital for the Ravens to get a lead and find a way to slow down Henry. If this happens, then they will win in Tennessee.
Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints Sunday, January 10, 4:40 PM ET
The Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints square off for the second time this season. This time it will be in the Superdome. New Orleans won 26-23 in overtime in Chicago and might have an easier time advancing in the playoff than what the first game showed. The Bears are a step below the top teams in the playoff from a talent perspective. Mitch Trusbisky has played better in the last month of the season, but the offense still ranks 25th in DVOA. New Orleans should have no issues slowing Chicago down. On the other side of the ball, the Bears defense is not as suffocating as it has been in recent years. Yes, they are eighth in DVOA, but the Saints should find ways to move the football, especially if Alvin Kamara clears COVID protocols for the game. It could be a long Sunday afternoon for Chicago.
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, January 10, 8:15 PM ET
The Pittsburgh Steelers have lost four of its last five games heading into the playoffs and will have to take on a Cleveland Browns team that has not played in a playoff game since 2002. The two teams split the season series as Cleveland beat Pittsburgh at home in Week 17 to get into the playoffs. However, the Steelers did not have Ben Roethlisberger playing in the matchup. Both offenses have been fairly mediocre during the season. The Browns have had a better offense, but it wasn't lights out like the Chiefs and Packers' offense. Cleveland's biggest issue will be trying to move the football against the Steelers defense that ranks first in DVOA. The Browns put up 24 points in last week's matchup, but things will differ in the playoffs. Pittsburgh offense has struggled to move the football at times this season, but the Browns have also struggled to slow down offenses. If Roethlisberger is fully healthy after a built-in bye week
, this could help the Pittsburgh offense a lot in the first round.