Gregg Rosenthal went 3-1 on his predictions for the Divisional Round of the 2020 NFL season, bringing his total record to 174-90-1. How will he fare on Championship Sunday? His picks are below.
In addition, the NFL has a spicy new free-to-play game for the playoffs called NFL Pick ’Em Party. Rosenthal chooses his favorite Pick’ Em questions under each game this week. You can make your own picks for your chance to travel with a friend to next year's Super Bowl in Los Angeles.
Sunday, Jan. 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Green Bay Packers 30
It's not just that we all get to watch
I expect both quarterbacks to ball out Sunday because they will be well protected. In a league where pass rushers had supposedly gained the upper hand, the Packers and Bucs' offensive lines should win up front. Perhaps second-year pass rusher
One exception for Rodgers was the 38-10 loss at Tampa in Week 6, when Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles dictated effective blitzes. That strategy is unlikely to work as well again, and the boom-or-bust approach could give
Both of these quarterbacks are incredible at adjusting. Brady should be able to diagnose the Packers' plan, which can only cover up Green Bay's shortcomings at linebacker and in the secondary so much. For all the attention paid to the Packers' front office not drafting a wide receiver last April, what this team really needs is another cornerback or two. (Yes, Green Bay has spent a lot of draft capital there recently. No, it hasn't bore enough fruit.) A linebacker like
NFL Pick 'Em Party locks:
- There will be more than 13 points scored in the fourth quarter. Be prepared to take a long walk to relax and process after this one.
- Aaron Jones will have a play of 15 or more yards from scrimmage before Mike Evans. This one is all about my faith in Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander.
Kansas City Chiefs 31, Buffalo Bills 27
I'm picking this game as if
The Chiefs need Mahomes against Buffalo because their defense isn't holding its opponent to 17 points, like the unit did last week against the Browns.
Allen has improved as much in one season as any quarterback in memory, with his decision-making growing sharper. But he's still behind in his development compared to his quarterbacking counterpart on Sunday. Mahomes' performance against the Browns -- and in the first Chiefs-Bills meeting -- showed why he's different this season. He's patient. He's avoiding negative plays, taking the easy throws when presented and saving Full Mahomes for when it's absolutely necessary. The longest completion he had against Cleveland came on a push pass that was essentially a run. There will be holes in a Bills defense without a difference-making pass rush and with cornerback
Mahomes' toe, which appeared to impact a few throws last week, is a concern, considering how often his legs have set up the Chiefs' biggest playoff moments. But I'm picking Mahomes and Reid until proven otherwise, with the better quarterback and the better coach being the ultimate tiebreaker between two teams ready to win a title.
NFL Pick 'Em Party locks:
- Patrick Mahomes' longest completion will be 42 yards or fewer. The Bills' defensive strength is at safety, where Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are experts at preventing big plays.
- Josh Allen will achieve two of the following three benchmarks: 305 passing yards, 30 rushing yards, four total touchdowns. The Bills use Allen’s legs more in the playoffs, are allergic to handing the ball off and could be in a rare position of trailing in this game. The yardage benchmarks should be easy.
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