Divisional round predictions: Bengals vs Titans, 49ers vs Packers, Rams vs Bucs, Bills vs Chiefs
AS USA's Ariel Velázquez offers up his predictions for the divisional round of the 2021/22 NFL playoffs.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Tennessee Titans: Saturday, 4:30pm ET
The number one seed in the AFC, the Tennessee Titans had a rest during the wild card round, having won the AFC South division for the second straight season. The Titans’ 12 regular season wins is the the most they’ve managed since registering 13 in 2008.
Last Saturday, meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals secured their first win in the playoffs since the 1990 season, beating the Las Vegas Raiders at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Titans will return to action with their star running back Derrick Henry, who missed much of the regular season with a fractured foot. However, he’ll come up against a tough Bengals running defence, which allowed the fifth-lowest number of rushing yards in the regular season. And the Titans, who allowed the eighth-highest amount of passing yards, will have to stop Joe Burrow and Cincinatti’s dynamic receivers.
Prediction: Bengals 21-24 Titans
San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers: Saturday, 8:15pm ET
San Francisco and Green Bay face off in the playoffs for the ninth time, all in the last 26 years. Since the Packers defeated the 49ers at Candlestick Park in the 1995 postseason, no other pair of teams has faced off more than five times in the playoffs. Of their eight clashes so far, Green Bay and San Francisco have won four each. The winner of the 49ers-Packers postseason tie has gone on to reach the Super Bowl four times: in 1996, 1997, 2012 and 2019.
Aaron Rodgers hasn’t led his team to the Super Bowl since 2010, despite Green Bay reaching the playoffs eight times since then. On three occasions in this period, it’s been the 49ers who have eliminated the Packers from the postseason. Rodgers has never beaten San Francisco in the playoffs, but for the second time the tie will be played at Lambeau Field. Can the Packers reach the NFC Championship Game for the third consecutive year, or will the 49ers once again end Green Bay’s hopes of the NFL title?
Prediction: 49ers 21-28 Packers
Los Angeles Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sunday, 3pm ET
The Rams have defeated the Buccaneers in the teams’ two previous playoff clashes. Los Angeles have also won one of their last two regular season games against Tom Brady and the Bucs, a 34-24 victory at SoFi Stadium in Week 3 of the 2021 campaign.
Tampa Bay eased to a fifth consecutive win in the playoffs when they saw off the Philadelphia Eagles 31-15 on Sunday.
Prediction: Rams 30-27 Buccaneers
Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs: Sunday, 6:30pm ET
Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, who threw five touchdown passes each last week, combined to make the 2021 playoffs the first ever to see more than one player rack up five or more TD passes in a single game.
The Bills avenged their defeat to the Chiefs in the 2020 AFC Championship Game when they won 38-20 in Week 5 of the regular season. Kansas City had no answer to the double threat posed by Allen, who threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 59 yards and another TD. But since that defeat, the Chiefs have hit their stride, and are 11-2...
Prediction: Bills 33-28 Chiefs