• Dylan Fadden

NFL Divisional Round Final Digest





Saturday, January 16

#6 Rams @ #1 Packers

3:35 PM CT

Spread: Packers -6.5

O/U45.5

Ryan Dobbs: From the outside looking in, a Rams win looks fairly bleak and a Packer win seems almost inevitable. It’s not just the fact that Aaron Rodgers is playing at a lights-out level that makes me say this, but it's also that the game is taking place at Lambeau Stadium in mid-January while the Rams play an injured Jared Goff. Of course, it’s entirely possible that the Rams' defense comes out and plays a spectacular game (as they often do), or that they move the ball on the ground really well; I think both of those things will have to occur on Saturday afternoon to give the Rams a chance to move on to the NFC Championship. Snow is a heavy possibility on Saturday as well, which is worth noting. If that snow does in fact fall, it gives the Packers just that much more of an advantage.


Gambling Play: GB -6.5


Dylan Fadden: You can look into the intricacies of this game all you want, but when it comes down to it, there's only one matchup worth noting: Jared Goff vs Aaron Rodgers. Even without Goff's thumb injury, this QB battle is extremely one-sided. When you factor in the fact that Jared Goff is three weeks removed from thumb surgery and pins remain inside of his throwing hand, it just becomes that much more favorable for Rodgers.


This Rams defense has been terrifying for nearly every single offense this year, but when considering the weather and the Packers' immense home field advantage, it'd be a long shot for a team without a QB to pull out a win in the frigid atmosphere of Green Bay. I don't want this to sound like it'll be a blowout, because I do believe it'll be a close game. The Rams have one of the best coaches in football, a dominant run game, and a fantastic defense, but it just seems too much to ask to go into Green Bay and knock off Rodgers at home.


Gambling Play: GB -6.5


Ferjak's Keys to Victory


Los Angeles Rams


The Rams have to keep their rushing attack going. This Rams' offense is at its best when they can run play action well, and play action is essentially meaningless without a quality run game behind Cam Akers.


Green Bay Packers


The Packers will have to run their offense effectively without Davante Adams, who will be going up against Jalen Ramsey—the best lockdown corner in football. Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, and Aaron Jones have to be in sync in case Adams is shut down.


Players to Watch: The Outside Matchup of the Year (Davante Adams and Jalen Ramsey)


Rest of the Team's Picks

Matthew Harris: LAR ML +270

Connor Sheehan: GB ML -305

Michael Ferjak: GB -6.5

Ralph James: GB -9.5 (ALT Spread)

#5 Ravens @ #2 Bills

7:15 PM CT

Spread: Bills -2.5

O/U50

Dylan Fadden: No matter who you believe will win this matchup, I think we can all agree that this will be a galvanizing game. Both teams are red hot, with the Bills riding a seven game win-streak and the Ravens on a streak of their ownwinning their last six. Consequently, we've seen tremendous QB play with Josh Allen putting up MVP-caliber numbers and Lamar Jackson being just one year removed from hoisting his own MVP trophy.


Something has to give, and I'm choosing the dark horse here. The Ravens just have that feeling to them; a certain grittiness that they attained during their struggles this past year. Their defense has been nothing short of incredible and, despite his critics, Lamar Jackson has managed to get the job done whether it be through the air or with his unparalleled feet. In an electrifying matchup, I'm just not sure that the Bills' defense will be able to hold the league's top rushing offense in check. I expect Lamar Jackson to continue to prove his doubters wrong with another gutsy playoff performance, and the defense to do their best to fend off the Bills and their high-powered offense. Buffalo's dream season will unfortunately come to an end, but the future is extremely bright for the AFC East champs.


And as always, BIG TRUSS.


Gambling Play: BAL ML +145


Ferjak's Keys to Victory


Baltimore Ravens:


The key to the Ravens beating the Bills this weekend is winning the turnover battle.


Buffalo Bills


This Baltimore defense is very good, and the Bills have little-to-no rushing yards in the first half of the past few games. Josh Allen has become an elite passer, but their offense will become predictable if they can’t establish the run game. Look for Buffalo to run early.


Players to Watch: Lamar Jackson and the Stefon Diggs-Marlon Humphrey matchup


Rest of the Team's Picks

Matthew Harris: BUF -2.5

Connor Sheehan: O50

Ralph James: BAL ML

Michael Ferjak: BUF -2.5

Ryan Dobbs: BUF ML -141


Sunday, January 17


#6 Browns @ #1 Chiefs

2:05 PM CT

Spread: Chiefs -10

O/U: 57

Connor Sheehan: It’s to no one's surprise that the Chiefs are heavily favored for this Sunday evening contest. The reigning Super Bowl champs—after a full week of rest—host the Browns in their first second-round playoff game in 20 years. You can’t really beat the Browns storyline—the underdogs all year who found a way to sneak out a playoff berth and a dominating win against their division rivals. It feels as if the whole country is on their side. Vegas originally had the spread at -10 KC, and after one day, the line changed to 9.5. So, I'm here to tell you not to overthink this game. In 22 years as a head coach, Andy Reid is 23-3 after a bye week (playoffs included), and with Patrick Mahomes, they are 6-0 and averaging 38 points per game in those six wins. The chances are slim-to-none that the Chief are upset by the Browns, but they haven't been great against the spread this year. My advice would be to tease the Browns' points, or smash the over and ride out some exciting football.


Gambling Play: CLE +14.5 (Alternate Spread via Draftkings)


Matthew Harris: Cleveland’s winning this football game. Kansas City struggled the most this year against the Raiders and the Browns are similarly built to the Raiders, especially up front. They have one of the best, if not the best, interior offensive lines in football. They will be able to neutralize Chris Jones and run all over KC in a massive upset.


Gambling Play: CLE ML +400




Ferjak's Keys to Victory

Cleveland Browns


With the Browns traveling to Kansas City, they'll need to score a lot of points to outscore the brilliant Patrick Mahomes. What the Browns have to do to win is establish a lead early and use the run game heavily. If they get Chubb and Hunt going, it’s all uphill.


Players to Watch: Another quality wideout-cornerback matchup (Tyreek Hill and Denzel Ward)


Rest of the Team:

Dylan Fadden: Chiefs O33.5

Ryan Dobbs: CLE +10

Ralph James: CLE ML

Michael Ferjak: KC -10

#5 Buccaneers @ #2 Saints

5:40 PM CT

Spread: Saints -3

O/U 52

Ralph James: "This is going to be fun, isn't it?" he said in his best Cris Collinsworth impression. A matchup like this only comes around once in a lifetime, and I mean that literally. This'll be the first time that Drew Brees and Tom Brady go head-to-head in the playoffs. We're all aware of their backgrounds, accolades and all of that noisy history, but what matters most is the present, and Tom Brady is owning that portion of time just like he does the past and future.


Drew Brees is merely a month-and-a-half removed from a severe injury to his ribs; an awfully painful designation that sours his ability to throw more than 20 yards effectively. Tom Brady is gaining a substantial rhythm with his all-star caliber wideouts in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski, which makes up what is perhaps the most tantalizing set of four skill players in football. New Orleans will have to have the perfect formula in order to beat Tampa for the third time in a row this season. The formula looks a little something like this:

  • Marshon Lattimore locks down Mike Evans like he's been doing in their matchups since the big bang.

  • CJ Gardner-Johnson chirps Antonio Brown into a psychotic outbreak which results in AB being suspended for the rest of the game.

  • Cameron Jordan has to beat down on Tristan Wirfs similar to how he did in their second matchup against one another, where Jordan absolutely dominated and helped lead the Saints to a 38-3 win in Week 9.

  • Michael Thomas exposes a less-than-stellar secondary for Tampa and puts up a stat-line of something along the lines of 12 catches, 165 yards and 2 TDs.

  • Alvin Kamara can make Tampa's best defensive players, Lavonte David and Devin White, miss tackles in the open field.

At the end of the day though, I think too many things will go Tampa's way, because when I really boil it down, I ask myself, "Is Drew Brees really going to beat Tom Brady in a playoff game?"


Gambling Play: TB ML


Players to Watch: The beefiest matchup on the field (Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore)


Rest of the Team:

Dylan Fadden: TB ML +145

Ryan Dobbs: NO ML -177

Connor Sheehan: TB -6.5 (+195 Boosted Odds via Draftkings)

Michael Ferjak: TB +3