There are only three games left in the 2020-21 NFL season. These NFL playoffs have been dramatic and historic. They could yet define careers as two all-time greats meet up in the NFC and the two leading the next generation of quarterbacks do battle in the AFC.
Green Bay is favored over Tampa Bay and the Chiefs, even with a hobbled Patrick Mahomes, are favored by three over Josh Allen and the Bills.
It is reductive to boil these games down to Patrick Mahomes vs Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers vs Tom Brady. These are the four best teams in the NFL, four teams with talent aplenty beyond their star quarterbacks.
The quarterback matchups grab the headlines, though, and ultimately a win or a loss will go against Mahomes, Allen, Rodgers and Brady. This is pivotal in all of their careers, and in the case of the younger pair, could be the first in a long line of postseason duels.
Let’s take a quick look at the two games.
Packers vs Buccaneers
Tampa Bay has been an elite defensive team all year long. They were in the top five teams in opponent yards per play and managed to keep Rodgers relatively quiet when they met in Week Seven.
This Green Bay offense is rolling. Rodgers is seemingly destined to win MVP. They faced the league’s best defense last weekend in the shape of the Los Angeles Rams – the Packers scored 32 points and Rodgers finished just short of 300 passing yards for the game.
Tampa Bay’s offense is no slouch either. Tom Brady has banished any suggestion that he’s past it. He has weapons all over the field, and their running game is strong. Running the ball will be important against this Packers defense – if they can establish a ground game, it will keep Rodgers off the field and should allow Brady to pick apart a Packers defense which has been no better than average this season.
This game should go down to the wire. We all want to see Brady and Rodgers going toe-to-toe in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Packers 24-22 Buccaneers
Chiefs vs Bills
Despite leaving the win over the Cleveland Browns after a nasty blow to the head, and apparently suffering from turf toe, Patrick Mahomes is expected to play in Sunday’s showdown with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.
The challenge for Allen, Stefon Diggs and co. isn’t as daunting as what the Bills defense has to take on. Buffalo’s greatest task will be getting Allen on the field. Regular season performance gives reason for hope – they were eighth in opponent yards per passing attempt, and they held the Baltimore Ravens to just three points last weekend.
Less positively for Buffalo – one of their three regular season losses came to the Chiefs. They are understandably underdogs for this matchup.
If the Bills are to come close to an upset, they need to be faultless defensively. Allen has to continue to look after the ball (one interception in his last five), and they must make every possession last, even if it doesn’t result in a touchdown.
Prediction: Chiefs 32-24 Bills