Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers 2:05 PM CST (FOX)
GB -3 1⁄2
O/U 51 1⁄2
Packers Offense 1st, Defense 17th
Tompa Offense 3rd, Defense 5th
We have a matchup of the GOAT vs the likely MVP of the league. It will be interesting to see how Tampa’s defense plays. Against the Saints they shut down the run game and short passing game and made Drew Brees try to beat them deep. The only significant play they gave up was to Famous Jameis on a gimmic play. Unfortunately, A A Ron is better at throwing the deep ball at this point. Green Bay has made numerous large plays getting deep with Lazard, MVS and Adams. They have a potent passing attack and a strong running game. The weather sounds like it will be ok with some snow, but nothing crazy. The heating coils underneath the formerly frozen tundra of Lambeau Field should keep it manageable. I am hoping Antoine Windfield Jr. and the Tampa secondary can keep up with the receivers of Green Bay. Also, it sounds like there is a chance Vita Vea comes back for Tampa. That will be a huge help in stopping Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon. The other side of the ball is where I am excited. Tampa Bay’s offense is clicking right now. Brady is in playoff mode and they are an exciting offense to watch. They have two strong running backs with Fournette and Jones. Antonio Brown’s status is in question for the game, but they still have Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin. I almost forgot to mention Gronk. I think this game will be a battle of offenses on a cold day. Brady is used to the cold, but his WRs/RBs might not be as much. I predict a fun game that will be exiting and come down to the end. I trust Brady to make the plays needed because that is why he is the GOAT. Hoping to see A A Ron throw a tablet or two down in frustration. Brady normally wins when he has a top 5 defense.
Prediction: Tompa 27 - Green Bay 24 (FTP)
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs 2:05 PM CST (CBS)
O/U 54 1⁄2
Bills Offense 5th, Defense 12th
Chefs Offense 2nd, Defense 22nd
Right now it is questionable if Patrick Mahomes will play. He is in concussion protocol and the Chiefs are being a little quiet about it. It was technically never confirmed Patrick Mahomes had a concussion. The video evidence would suggest he most certainly did though. I have to believe they are going to allow Mahomes to play. The “independent” doctor will be out of a job if he does not get cleared. (Just my theory) The Chefs have not been perfect by any means this season. They have the number one seed and were the best team in the AFC, but they have also shown some flaws. The Bills are playing their best since they’ve played since the Jim Kelly era. Josh Allen looks legit and our friend Stephon Diggs is the leading receiver in the league. I expect Diggs to have a solid game against a pretty solid defense in KC. There is a decent chance we see some rain. If the rain is significant that hurts Buffalo’s chances greatly. In a low scoring affair, their RBs had 9 carries against Baltimore. They had 10 carries the week prior against the Colts. They are as pass heavy as anyone in the league. It is all on Josh Allen’s shoulders on offense. Leslie Frazier (the nicest coach the Vikings have ever had) will be responsible for game planning against Patrick Mahomes and Chad Henne. If Henne is playing this game is easily a Buffalo win. Buffalo’s defense is pretty good. Kansas City is reliable on Patrick Mahomes’ athletic ability to make plays. Travis Kelce smashed the TE record for most yards in a season this year with 1,416 yards. Tyreek Hill is a play maker and their best offensive threat. The other pass catchers are there to try to get open when the defense forgets about them. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is ok, but really got too hyped up at the beginning of the year. He ended up with 803 yards for the year. Call me an optimist, but I think Leslie can draw up a defense that is capable of stopping the Chefs. I just question if the Bills will be able to move the ball in a wet environment.
Prediction: Bills 20 - Chefs 17 (if Mahomes plays, if not Bills 27 - Chefs 10)
I might be picking with my heart this week. I dislike the Packers more than any team, but I also can admire greatness in Tom Brady when I see it. I’ve been saying it for over a month the Packers are the best team in the NFL. Tompa might be the hottest.
The Buffalo Bills have always had a soft spot in my heart. They were in the Super Bowls when I was first discovering football and I rooted for them like crazy. Let’s go Buffalo!
For those gamblers, I am picking both under and both underdogs.
DVOA Rankings are from Football Outsiders