NFC Divisional Round Preview – The Knockout

Ab Stanley

The NFC divisional round could potentially produce this year’s Super Bowl champion. All four teams have what it takes to win the big game. The games should be a bit closer scoring wise, and I don’t anticipate we will have a repeat of last week’s blowout fest.

Let’s take a look at the matchups.

 

San Francisco 49ers (11-7) vs. Green Bay Packers (13-4) – Saturday 8:15 P.M

The 49ers executed their game plan to perfection in the Wild Card round. Running the football and coming up with timely stops to move on is a solid formula. Green Bay has been resting and watching the other teams fight it out. They know everything goes through Lambeau Field on the NFC side.

These two teams played each other in one of the better regular season games, with San Fran going into Green Bay and nearly leaving with a win.

 

X-Factor:

Green Bay: Wide Receiver Allen Lazard – Lazard should see some holes in the 49ers’ defense and he will have to come up with some big plays for the Packers. With the defense focused elsewhere, he has a knack for getting loose and scoring touchdowns.

San Francisco: Wide Receiver Brandon Aiyuk – Aiyuk seems to make big catches when it matters most and this week the 49ers need him the most. His big play ability can stretch out the Packers’ defense, freeing up some room for his teammates.

Prediction: Green Bay wins, 27-23. The Packers might have just a tad bit too much firepower and I’ll take them in a close one.

 

 

Los Angeles Rams (13-5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-4) – Sunday 3:00 PM

The Buccaneers continue to follow their leader Tom Brady to playoff glory. Brady has not lost a playoff game as the Buccaneers’ signal caller (5-0), throwing for an average of 266.4 passing yards per game, with 12 passing touchdowns during that stretch.

The Rams had everything clicking in the divisional round. All the stars came to play for Los Angeles and they should be able to take that show on the road to Florida.

The will be a contest of the sexy pick versus (probably) the most solid pick to win the Super Bowl.

 

X-Factor:

Los Angeles: The Pass Rush – Aaron Donald, Von Miller and company will have to be at their most ferocious this weekend. Being able to rush four guys and still creating havoc is one of the best ways to stifle a Brady led offense. With a few guys on the Buccaneers’ offensive line banged up, the Rams have to find a way to get pressure up front with the defensive line.

Tampa Bay: Tight End Cameron Brate – With the defense focusing on Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski, there should be a few more targets for Brate. He can become a quick target for Brady in the middle of the defense, helping the Bucs move the chains on third downs.

Prediction: Los Angeles wins, 27-24. The Rams have everything working for them and I’ll take them in an upset over Tampa Bay.

Ab Stanley

Atlanta, GA

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