By News Team
Last Updated: 15th January 2021
Superstar quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers both enter the NFL Playoffs for this week’s Divisional Round.
Just eight teams are still standing and magic Mahomes and legend Rodgers, fresh from their bye weeks, will hope to lead the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers through to the Championship games. With home-field advantage, both No1 seeds are hot favourites to progress.
We preview the action, alongside our ambassador Jason Bell.
Rams @ Packers
The Packers are the red-hot 1/3 favourites to win this match-up on home turf and progress to the championship game in what is being billed as a showdown between the two Aarons.
If the Rams (5/2) are to pull off a surprise they will need the game’s top defensive tackle Aaron Donald to put the heat on Packers’ quarterback Rodgers. Donald certainly hit Seattle’s Russell Wilson hard in the Rams’ superb 30-20 win in the wildcard round on the road last weekend and if he can do the same here then this game could turn into an messy, low-scoring affair.
However, Rodgers will know what is coming and the wily veteran has plenty of options and will surely get the ball out quick to avoid the Donald-led pass-rush. Rodgers will seek his star receiver Davante Adams, with that axis the major reason for the Packers finishing as the No1 seed in the NFC. Adams finished with 115 receptions, 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns in just 14 games.
The dynamic duo look unstoppable at the moment and can help Green Bay cover the 6.5 point spread at 10/11.
Ravens @ Bills
This looks the most exciting match-up of the weekend with the red-hot Lamar Jackson-led Ravens taking on new star Josh Allen and his exciting Bills team.
The Bills are the slight 20/29 favourites to edge this one after they clung on to a narrow 27-24 win over the Colts last week. And their biggest worry coming out of that game was their inability to stop the Colts’ Jonathan Taylor-led ground game. They can expect more of the same in this with firecracker Jackson the best running quarterback in the business. Baltimore ran for 236 yards in the wildcard win over Tennessee and passed the 200-yard mark on the ground in five of their last six games.
Allen has shot to stardom this season as the Bills rampaged to the AFC East title with a 13-3 record. Yet their ground game is more miss than hit and they will once again rely on Allen finding the league’s No1 receiver Stefon Diggs to see this one out.
Dual-threat Jackson has led the Ravens to six wins on the spin and the Ravens are 5/4 to make it through to the championship game.
Browns @ Chiefs
The Browns only just scraped into the play-offs and if the odds are anything to go by, they will be scraping their Super Bowl dreams off the floor in Arrowhead after this. Yes, they are coming into the game on the back of their biggest franchise win for over 20 years after going into Pittsburgh and shocking their deadly rivals 48-37. However, they will have to better that – and more – against the defending Super Bowl champs.
Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs are the 1/5 favourites to win and just 15/8 favourites to go all the way and defend their crown. They have the best attacking weapons in the business and are also strong against the run, so the omens don’t look too promising for Baker Mayfield and Co.
The Browns will look to control the clock and hope Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt can make some yards on the ground, but Chiefs are 10-point favourites on the spread for a reason and with threats like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce they should be too strong. They are 10/11 to cover the 10-point handicap.
Buccaneers @ Saints
Tom Brady knows how to win a Super Bowl or six – and the Bucs needed all his magic to see them past Washington in the wildcard round. However, they will need to up the ante to stop Drew Brees and the Saints who comfortably caged the Chicago Bears last weekend.
This year’s decider will be in Tampa… but will Brady and his team be there? They lost both games against their deadliest rivals the Saints this season including a devastating 38-3 humbling in November. Yet this game will not be about revenge, it will be about the Buccaneers (6/4) trying to find a way of stopping the Saints star running-back Alvin Kamara.
If they can, they could just take this deep and with Tampa Bay just three-point underdogs, the odds suggest this one could be a really tight affair.