Tampa Bay @ Green Bay (-3.5, O/U 52) Weather 30 Degrees, No Precip or Wind of note.
In their Week 6 matchup in Tampa Bay, Rodgers was sacked five times and was intercepted three times, one which went for a TD. In that game, the Packers did not have Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan got hurt and it was Davante Adams’ first game back after missing two weeks with an injury. Still, the Bucs D brought a ton of pressure with Devin White and Lavonte David and Rodgers was constantly under pressure, uncomfortable an unable to consistently create. The Bucs secondary did a good job in coverage as well, with Carlton Davis matching up with Adams at times and in this game he broke up a slant pass that ended up being intercepted. The pass rush was sound and so was the coverage. The question is, will the Bucs have the same success?
As noted before, the Packers are healthier now, they will not have LT David Bakhtiari in this game but they also did not have him in the first matchup. The Packers Oline has had more time to adjust without him now and Rodgers has been on fire all season outside of that game against Tampa. On the other hand, the Bucs played without Leonard Fournette in the first matchup and they will have him for this game and they are also getting Stud DT Vita Vea back to make that run D even more effective. They did not have him in the first game.
I think the Packers will be more prepared for the blitz this time around. The chemistry of Adams and Rodgers has looked like Montana and Rice. Carlton Davis is a solid corner, but my money is on Adams getting the best of that matchup. He still had six catches for 61 yards in the first game. Lazard is healthy now, better chemistry there as well as with Tonyan and MVS. Adams is expensive but he needs to be in some of your lineups. Lazard and Tonyan need to be in there as well. Lazard’s TD last week came on a play action pass against Cover 4 where he pretended he was going to block then ran past the defense. The Bucs are primarily a Cover 4 team. Also a quick note on Rodgers in play action this year. He was among the league leaders in play action drop backs and was highly effective: 111-151, 1198 yards, 20 TD, 0 interceptions, 136 QB rating (best in NFL). The Bucs aren’t great against Tight Ends, so Tonyan looks pretty ripe and comes at a good discount compared to Kelce. MVS is too boom or bust for me. MVS did little last week, I can see similar production here, although you likely will see at least one or two deep balls to Marquez.
Aaron Jones probably will break a run or two, but likely won’t do too much on the ground while doing more damage in the passing game. I am not expecting much from Jamal Williams and although A.J. Dillon got some work last week vs the Rams, he almost lost a fumble and got hurt in the game, so I think he is at risk of not playing a snap in this one. I do like his prospects for the future based on his strength and size, he’s a unique RB. If the Packers run game gets going in this game, Green Bay is going to win.
Tom Brady has looked much more comfortable in this offense over the past month or so committing one turnover since Week 12. Mike Evans has a tough matchup on the perimeter against Jaire Alexander and even Kevin King. Jaire plays on the left side and King on the right, they do not travel. This is why Chris Godwin likely has the best matchup in this game going against UDFA slot corner Chandon Sullivan. Gronk hasn’t done much in these playoffs, blocking a lot, but he may be asked to do more in the passing game with Antonio Brown out. However, it would be nice to keep him in there to slow down the Packers pass rush tandem of Zadarius and Preston Smith. The Bucs also need to watch out for Rashan Gary who had a big game last week vs the Rams. Cam Brate has been showing his talents in this postseason, taking advantage of the extra opportunity and I do not see why that doesn’t continue here, despite the Pack being pretty good against Tight Ends.
I love the way Ronnie Jones runs. In a full-time role, I think the world would appreciate this man more. That said, with Jones hurt this postseason, “Playoff Lenny” has filled in admirably, even getting it done in the passing game with a nice little angle route for a TD last week. Jones is now off the injury report, does that mean Jones goes back to getting more burn? This backfield has swapped places so many times this season, but I think Arians will be playing the hot hand. I think that hot hand will go to Ronnie, especially against a “Eh” Packers Run defense. Jones usually is the main back when healthy. Fournette will be more owned in DFS, Ronnie will give you the contrarian play at value. I’m here for the Ronnie over Rushing yards props as well.
With Antonio Brown out, Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller will step in to fill the role. Last week with Brown out, Tyler played more, but Miller got one more target. Tyler had that incredible sideline catch where he made that great adjustment while Miller ran a quick out and up which was a beautiful route and catch. My money is on Tyler Johnson as the better play. I think Brady will take at a few deep shots to Johnson in this game. Overall, I like Johnson better as a player and I really like his future prospects. In my draft preview, I said he reminded me a little of Keenan Allen. Miller can still be a factor in this game obviously, so I am not avoiding him completely.
I think we see a fairly high scoring game and I am on the over. I see Brady throwing three TD’s and he’s the cheapest QB on DFS. I also think that Tampa will be able to run the ball. Can the Packers keep up? Of course they can, but maybe Tampa just matches up brilliantly with this team? You have to think that Green Bay will make the proper adjustments, be ready for the blitz, know that Devin White is coming hard and fast and have some plays to offset that. I did see the Bucs blow up some of those screens and quick passes that Green Bay likes in that Week 6 matchup. The Bucs played great on Defense in that game. Their D hasn’t been as good of late. Aaron Rodgers has been on an absolute roll, and I think that continues as he throws 2-3 TD’s. I think Jones and/or Williams could run one or two in, but I don’t foresee big-time games from them. My mind is saying take the Bucs, but I am trying not factor in that Week six win, which is very tough. Is Brady really going to another SuperBowl? Say it ain’t so! The Packers are home on a roll, and also have a defense that can make plays. Pound for Pound these two teams are very close. If Tom Brady was in New England, I would pick him, but this is Lambeau Field, Rodgers’ turf, Rodgers domain. The Packers magic happens here. So in what is a basically a coin flip game, I am going to stick the Packers and think they win 34-31.
Buffalo @ Kansas City (-3, O/U 54,) Weather 6 MPH, No Precip or Wind of Note.
This is the biggest game of Josh Allen’s life. Is he ready for this stage? Arrowhead won’t be filled to capacity, but there will be some fans and this is a primetime Sunday Night matchup. Allen was a little off last week against Baltimore, but he still made enough plays to get the win. I wonder if Allen will be able to settle into this game and really deliver for Buffalo and send them to the Superbowl. Maybe Allen needs another year or two to dethrone the defending Champs. Maybe it’s like Jordan needing a few tries to overcome the Pistons.
The Bills ran the ball once in the first half last week, looked out of balance and then opened up the 3rd quarter with more carries for Singletary and preceded to get into the endzone. Will Buffalo run it a bit more in this one? Who knows, but Singletary is sitting at $4,500 and needs to be used. It’s possible he gets more involved in the pass game in this one, but maybe not as Allen just doesn’t check down much at all. T.J. Yeldon will likely be a non factor, although I think Buffalo should use him more in the passing game, where he’s at his best.
Stefon Diggs has gotten better every season, is an incredible route runner, WR and really doesn’t face a daunting matchup in this game. Bashaud Breeland will play in this game as he passed concussion protocol, but it doesn’t matter, Diggs will be open. Cole Beasley hasn’t been healthy all playoffs, so I am not sure what to expect from him in this game. He also could see some Tyrann Mathieu in the slot, especially if CB Rashad Fenton misses this game with an ankle injury. Gabriel Davis is also a ? mark and right now I am not expecting him to play as Buffalo just activated Kenny Stills to the active roster. I don’t think Stills will play much, if at all. Davis’ shoes would be filled by speedster Isaiah Mckenzie who certainly can be a factor. Bills will use him on reverses, screens, and get creative with him. With Beasley and Davis both hurting, John Brown, who also may still be hurting, needs to really step up in this game. When Allen is playing well, John Brown is usually a benefactor, that was certainly the case earlier in the year when Brown’s success was correlating with Allen’s. Dawson Knox can also be a factor as only six teams have allowed more Fantasy points to Tight Ends than KC this season.
Mahomes hasn’t been playing all that great for the last month or so and even NFL Films Guru Greg Cosell agrees, saying that he hasn’t been his usual self. He’s still better than the majority regardless. Now Mahomes is supposedly battling some sort of Turf Toe or other toe injury, although Mahomes himself said it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Turf Toe would be more concerning and he certainly could reaggravate this injury in game. Watching the tape, I didn’t notice it effecting him in a significant way. He was also in concussion protocol all week despite not really suffering a concussion. He suffered some sort of nerve problem that can mimic a concussion. It was something unusual as his head didn’t really hit the ground, rather his neck got twisted and when he got up he almost looked liked he had fainted. With all that said, Mahomes is ready to go Sunday and will be making plays per usual, but you wonder if these injuries affect him just enough for the Bills to take advantage.
Clyde Edwards Helaire is set to make his Playoff debut and should end up getting a decent amount of work. Last time they played Buffalo he ran for 161 yards and had a TD called back. The Bills were not allowing any deep plays and KC really just ran it down their throats. It was also a Tuesday in Buffalo and there was some wind and rain. Le’Veon Bell was outplayed by Darrell Williams last week and may not even play Sunday. Williams did his best Damien Williams impression looking impressive out there. Based off that performance he has earned more snaps in my eyes and we could see him getting a decent chunk of work once again. If CEH is said to be fully healthy, I would expect him to carry the load.
Sammy Watkins will return this week as well but I don’t think we are going to get 2019 Playoff Sammy here. He has been in and out of the lineup so much this season, and really hasn’t gotten a chance to flow with Mahomes. I would rather bank on Mecole Hardman making some splash plays, as his role is pretty much unchanged even with the return of Watkins. The players who suffer are Demarcus Robinson and to a further extent Bryon Pringle. KC lines up so many plays for Kelce and Hill, obviously for good reason. Even if you plan to stop these guys they just produce. Kelce who had two TD’s last time he faced Buffalo has the better matchup in my opinion. Hill will probably get a lot of underneath stuff, but I don’t think Buffalo is going to allow him to get deep. Easier said then done. When KC lines up in their trips formation, Kelce will be the lone WR on the outside and that’s where Tre’Davious White will likely match up with him. Kelce burnt Denzel Ward for a TD last week, but White is a better player. Still, Kelce could easily get the best of him when they matchup. It will be interesting to watch, I think White can disrupt him some.
Both QB’s have been a little out of sync of late and I am thinking the under hits. It feels sort of wrong and it’s not fun playing an under with these two QB’s, but I am not sure we will see a lot of big plays in this game. It might be a lot of long grinded out drives and both teams may elect to run the ball more than usual. Most of the public will probably play the over and now with the weather not turning into much, this line may jump to 55 by gametime.
I would love to say I have a strong feeling Buffalo is going to win, and I have been a believer in Allen from the start of his career, but I am not sure he’s ready for this game just yet. On the other hand, I think the Buffalo D could carry Allen a bit, like they did last week vs Baltimore. Allen may not need to be on his A game for them to advance. I hope Mahomes and Allen both ball out in this game and I think we will see great plays from both of them. Both QB’s are masters at extending plays and getting the ball successfully down the field. I suppose Allen has a leg up in the rushing department this week with Mahomes toe injury. Let’s go with Buffalo for the win. Buffalo 27, KC 26. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WevB-vzM1rY
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