Nobody Circles the Wagons like the Chiefs and the BillsOkay, so there is definitely a spoiler for my predictions in the title for this article, but whatever I haven’t
written in a while.
Super Wildcard weekend was an absolute blast to watch, capped off by the Pittsburgh Steelers’ magical throttling. Seriously, how awesome was it to see Sad Big Ben at the end of the game? Sorry, Pittsburgh Steeler fans, I was a thrilled fan to see the Steelers joining the misery that I experienced as a Houston Texans fan all year. And yes, I know our grief will last a lot longer, but recency bias tells me that it sucks way worse to be a Steelers fan than a Texans fan today because we haven’t screwed up and traded Deshaun.. yet.
Anyway, I wonder if JuJu Smith-Schuster has scripted out any TikTok’s to celebrate the offseason? I mean, Chase Claypool has already decided to give the Browns more bulletin board material, so that’s good.
We need to talk about the games this weekend, though, and each of them is an intriguing matchup. Let’s talk about odds, stats, breakdown, and prediction ahead of this weekend’s AFC Divisional Round. Buffalo Bills vs. Baltimore Ravens.
The matchup here is intriguing for many reasons. First, we have a matchup of two quarters from the same draft class. One of these quarterbacks has an MVP Trophy at home, a Super Bowl-winning coach, and a Heisman Trophy. The other quarterback found his accuracy and had an incredible season worthy of MVP consideration. The 2018 quarterback class is already showing itself as one with premier talent as Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson all won their playoff game this past weekend. Now, the two best quarterbacks from that draft class will do battle on the gridiron in Buffalo, New York.
Statistically, these two quarterbacks could not have had a different season. Lamar Jackson had an expected drop-off in production this season. He passed for 2,757 yards with 26
touchdowns and 9 interceptions in the 2020 campaign compared to 3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions in 2019. His rushing totals took a hit as well, as he ran for 1005 yards and 7 touchdowns this season compared to 1206 and 7 touchdowns last season.
Yes, the rushing totals are still completely insane. However, the passing game became a bit of a concern for Lamar Jackson in the games they lost. I’d argue that the game plan had more of an effect on Lamar’s efficiency than anything else. I’d also argue that throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns while also running for over 1,000 yards would make this season an impressive one statistically, but I digress.
Josh Allen, however, was absolutely incredible this season. The quarterback completely 69% of his passes after completely 52% his rookie season and 58% in his
sophomore campaign. Allen also threw for 4,544 yards with 37 touchdowns. He nearly doubled his career averages from this season alone! He threw for just 10 interceptions this season and started to prove doubters who criticized his ability to be an accurate, elite passer wrong.
While his rushing numbers were not nearly as impressive as Lamar’s, he still ran for 421 yards and 8 touchdowns, which was a drop-off from prior seasons. Nearly 5,000 yards of offense and 45 touchdowns came from the 3 rd year quarterback in a season nobody could have predicted. I suppose that’s what happens when you give a struggling quarterback an elite wide receiver like Stephon Diggs. I won’t gush over the quarterback matchup in the next preview, but I just wanted to compare these two
absolute studs. For me, this is the game of the weekend to watch.
Currently, the Bills are favored by 2.5 points with a game total of 50 points. Each of these teams has been good offensively, but the Ravens are elite defensively.
The Ravens allow just 216 yards of total offense compared to the Buffalo Bills allowing an atrocious 472 yards. The run game for both offenses is vastly different, as well. Baltimore runs for 191.9 yards per game, nearly doubling the Bills 107.7 yards per game. Both offenses average around 30 points per game, with Baltimore coming in at 29.3 ppg and Buffalo at 31.3 ppg. The Bills allow 24 points per game on defense compared to the 13 points per game allowed by Baltimore. Each of these teams is on a hot streak winning all of their last five games, making this game nearly impossible to predict. The key will be which Lamar Jackson gameplan is installed for the Ravens, and can Buffalo get the ground game going without Zach Moss? If the run game is as effective as it was against Tennessee for the Ravens, you’d think that the Bills would suffer an upset loss here at home. However, Indianapolis tried to use a strategy that is likely very similar to what Baltimore will do.
How did that work out for the Colts? Oh yeah, Josh Allen marched his team down the field extremely quick to score points when his team needed them. The problem with the Bills is the same problem you see with the Kansas City Chiefs. You can slow down the Kansas City Chiefs all game long, but they’re going to score, and they’re going to do it fast. The Bills offense is firing on all cylinders, similar to the efficiency we’ve seen with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs the last two seasons. Because of Buffalo’s performance against a team with a similar style of play in Indianapolis, I am taking the Buffalo Bills here. While I think Baltimore is absolutely capable of knocking off the Bills, the struggle is going to be whether or not that team can score quickly enough to match the Bills scoring, assuming that Allen can perform well against this defense as he has against all other teams this
Let’s also remember that there is a good amount of stat-padding for the Ravens over their last 4 games of the season. They faced terrible run defenses in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Jacksonville, which allowed 38, 47, and 40 points to the Ravens. Most of the strong performances offensively for the Ravens came against middling teams with bad defenses.
Bills win. Nobody circles the wagon like the Buffalo Bills. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns I want to write a gushing preview of this game, but it is ultimately just not going to be a game worthy of Buffalo vs. Baltimore’s write-up. However, the Browns could potentially make this game
interesting based on how they performed against the Steelers.
First, let us congratulate the Cleveland Browns for not only making the playoffs but beating their divisional rival in their first playoff win since 1994. Kevin Stefanski should be the Coach of the Year with no other first-place votes. The job he did turning this team around and helping Baker Mayfield develop into the quarterback he was at Oklahoma despite losing Odell Beckham Jr is absolutely incredible. Add in the fact that he coached this team well enough that they had to beat their division rival two weeks in a row to make the playoffs and win a playoff game, as well as this team winning the playoff game with him at home, and you have to admit that this man is one of the best coaches in the league.
Regardless of what happens, the Cleveland Browns had a wildly successful year that they should be super proud of. Unfortunately, their reward for doing this is facing the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend in Arrowhead Stadium after Patrick Mahomes got to sit for a week. Oh well, live and learn?
The Chiefs enter this game as 9.5 point favorites, with the game total set at 55 points. 55 points is a lot of freaking points, but the Browns did just hit that total nearly alone against Pittsburgh. Cleveland’s defense isn’t good at all. They allow over 26 points per game and an absolutely massive amount of yards per game. You do not want to be this kind of defense going into Arrowhead stadium to face off against a rested Kansas City Chiefs team. The Browns allow nearly 250 yards passing and over 110 yards rushing per game. Last week, we saw the Steelers throw for 500 yards against this secondary. This is a scary situation for this defense.
However, the Browns offense scores over 25 points per game, and they have perhaps the best backfield tandem in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The key to this game is what those two do on the ground and in the air. If they are clicking like they were last weekend in Pittsburgh, the Browns have a chance. The Browns ran for 148 yards per game this season with 21 rushing touchdowns. Baker threw for 221 yards per game with 27 touchdowns. So, I’m saying there is a chance. The Chiefs scored nearly 30 points per game this season, averaging 303 passing yards per game and 112 rushing yards per game. Offensively, these teams are actually fairly even. Kansas City allowed 22 points
per game, 236 yards passing, and 122 yards rushing per game. This defense can and will give up a lot of yards and points. You have to take Patrick Mahomes here, but the 9.5 points they are getting is simply disrespectful. This is not last year’s Chiefs team capable of blowing out opponents and keeping the score low. They gave up over 30 points 5 times this season. Mind you, they also went 14-2 and were very good, but the margin of victory for the Chiefs has been concerning since the second week of November. Those scores:
- 33-31 vs. Carolina
- 35-31 vs. Oakland
- 27-24 vs. Tampa Bay
- 22-16 vs. Denver
- 33-27 vs. Miami
- 32-29 vs. NOLA
- 17-14 vs. Atlanta
The Chiefs won 7 straight games with single score victories, impressive but concerning when you consider only 2 of those teams were playoff teams. The Chiefs are ripe for an upset, but it won’t happen here. I’m taking the Chiefs to win this one and face off against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills for a chance the play in the Super Bowl.