Bold predictions for 2023 NFL divisional playoffs: Bills expose Bengals’ O-line woes; Shanahan’s 49ers advance

We’re now every week into the NFL playoffs, and the sector of groups remaining within the combine for the Super Bowl is right down to eight. By the tip of this weekend we’ll have narrowed it down additional, with simply two groups within the AFC and two within the NFC vying for the illustration of their respective conferences on the most important stage in soccer.

As normal, we count on some fairly wild stuff to occur when these video games really start. So, we’re right here as soon as once more with out daring predictions. Just like final week, we have got one for every matchup on the schedule.

When the Chiefs and Jaguars performed again in Week 10, Travis Kelce had sport. He caught 6 of seven passes thrown in his path, totaling 81 yards and a landing. But as we all know, Kelce is able to rather more than even that stat line. And the Jaguars struggled badly to defend tight ends this season. Jacksonville ranked thirty second (often known as final) within the NFL in DVOA on throws to tight ends, in keeping with Football Outsiders. The Jags yielded 81 receptions for 1,066 yards and 7 scores to gamers on the place, and we’ve seen their linebackers, particularly, get taken benefit of in protection all year long. Even towards the Chargers final week, Gerald Everett and Donal Parham mixed for 10 receptions for 133 yards and a rating on 13 targets. Expect Kelce to have an enormous day on Saturday.

Danny Dimes confirmed a ton of enchancment this season in nearly each space. Nowhere was that extra evident than in his efficiency towards the Vikings on Super Wild Card Weekend, which could have been the perfect sport of his profession. Jones accomplished 24 of 35 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns, whereas additionally speeding 17 instances for 78 further yards. In two video games towards Minnesota this season, Brian Daboll and Co. allowed Jones to air it out, benefiting from one of many NFL’s friendliest cross defenses. The Eagles should not have a pleasant cross protection. They have top-of-the-line pass-rush models within the league, and an especially sticky group of protection gamers. Jones was 18 of 27 passing for 169 yards and a landing the final time these two groups performed, and though he added 4 carries for 26 yards and a further rating, he additionally took 4 sacks. The Giants offense is healthier now than it was then, however coping with this Philadelphia protection continues to be a a lot more durable process than the one it confronted every week in the past.

Bills vs. Bengals: Buffalo exposes Cincy’s lack of depth up entrance

The Bengals are hemorrhaging offensive linemen by the week. Back in Week 16, they misplaced proper deal with La’el Collins for the season to a torn ACL. In Week 18, they misplaced guard Alex Cappa to an ankle harm. And final week within the Wild Card Game towards the Ravens, they misplaced left deal with Jonah Williams to a knee subject. The Bengals will doubtless be beginning solely two-fifths of their beginning offensive line. They might possibly get away with beginning Hakeem Adeniji or Jackson Carman or Max Scharping… however all of them? That is just too a lot to outlive towards the Buffalo protection — even with Joe Burrow on the controls. Greg Rousseau, Shaq Lawson, Ed Oliver, DaQuan Jones, AJ Epenesa, Boogie Basham, Tim Settle — the Bills simply have an excessive amount of expertise up entrance. And they will complement that group with Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds flowing to the ball.

49ers vs. Cowboys: The Shanahan Show rolls on

Brock Purdy barely broke a sweat throughout the 49ers’ offensive detonation towards the Seahawks final week. Among his 30 passing makes an attempt, simply TWO have been thrown into a good window, in keeping with’s Next Gen Stats. That’s the Kyle Shanahan Effect. San Francisco’s offensive mastermind can scheme gamers open as effectively or higher than any coach within the NFL, and with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and Elijah Mitchell, he has top-of-the-line skill-position corps within the NFL with which to work. It’s borderline unfair. The Dallas protection shut down Tampa on Monday evening, but it surely’s nonetheless working shorthanded within the secondary and will have a considerably gimpy Jayron Kearse after he sustained a knee harm towards the Bucs. The wager right here is San Francisco finds a strategy to benefit from that group on the again finish.

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