(CBSLA) — The NFL strikes on to the Divisional spherical of the playoffs. The NFC options one considerably unlikely matchup and one other everybody noticed coming. The Los Angeles Rams managed to get by the Seattle Seahawks, regardless of seeing their inexperienced quarterback and greatest defensive participant go down. Their reward is a visit to Inexperienced Bay, the place the top-seeded Packers, recent off a bye, await them. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers overwhelmed the Washington Soccer Crew, and the New Orleans Saints subdued the Chicago Bears to arrange the second divisional matchup.
All instances listed are Jap.
Los Angeles Rams @ Inexperienced Bay Packers, Saturday, January 16, 4:35 p.m. (FOX)
The Rams boast one of many league’s greatest defenses, and possibly its greatest defensive participant. The unit gave up 281.9 yards and 18.5 factors per recreation throughout the common season, each tops within the NFL. These averages mainly held up within the Wild Card spherical. Russell Wilson was restricted to 174 yards passing, and the Seahawks’ floor recreation managed simply 136 yards. Defensive sort out Aaron Donald sacked Wilson twice earlier than leaving within the third quarter with torn rib cartilage.
Wilson, who normally shines within the highlight, didn’t actually have an opportunity in opposition to the Rams protection. Aaron Rodgers can be a fair more durable problem for the Rams. Rodgers completed the season enjoying in addition to any quarterback within the NFL. He tossed 4 landing passes in Week 17 en path to the Packers’ 35-16 rout of the Bears. His 48 TD passes and 121.5 ranking each led the league.
Rodgers additionally delivers in opposition to the unfold. In line with White, “we all the time discuss concerning the quarterback being an important participant on the sector, and Aaron Rodgers is without doubt one of the greatest. In Aaron Rodgers’ profession, in all the video games he’s performed in, he’s coated the purpose unfold 59 % of the time. In the event you wager $100 on each recreation that Aaron Rodgers has performed. You’re up $2,700.”
And that’s not even the entire story. “And let’s make it a little bit bit stronger,” White continues. “When he’s enjoying at residence, he’s coated 64 % of the time… wonderful. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t lose. He’s 61-35 ATS in his residence video games.”
If any protection can include Rodgers, it’s the Rams. Donald is presently listed as day-to-day, although he’s anticipated to play. Ought to he be unable to go, the matchup tilts extra in favor of the Packers. Donald stays the linchpin of this unit.
“That is actually energy versus energy,” says White. “Proper now the Inexperienced Bay Packers, primary offense within the NFL, in keeping with adjusted defensive and offensive rankings to their opponent. And the Rams primary defensive staff. I feel the sport comes right down to which unit operates higher, whether or not it’s the Packers offense, or it’s the Rams protection. That’s going to make the distinction on this soccer recreation.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints, , Sunday, January 17, 6:40 p.m. (FOX)
As divisional foes, the Bucs and Saints have already met twice this season. The Saints received their Week 1 matchup, 34-23, as Tom Brady was picked off twice. New Orleans dominated Tampa Bay, 38-3, in Week 9, intercepting Brady three extra instances. For reference, Brady had 12 interceptions whole within the common season. Do the Saints simply have the Bucs’ quantity this season, or will the third time be a allure?
“Within the first development with Aaron Rodgers being at residence, the house crowd isn’t going to be the identical because it was in all these video games,” says White. “And the identical factor right here for the staff that received the primary two video games. This has occurred 21 instances since 1970, that groups will play for the third time that one staff has received the primary two video games. Out of these 21 instances that staff that received the primary two, 14 instances they received recreation three. Solely seven instances they lose. A 67 % probability to win. However keep in mind, there’s no residence crowd, and that is Tom Brady getting factors.”
It’s onerous to wager in opposition to Brady within the playoffs, given his observe report. Even at 43 years previous, he put up 289.6 yards passing per recreation and tossed 40 TDs on the season. He’s hardly exhibiting his age within the Bucs passing assault. Brees, nonetheless, had a way more subdued season. He averaged 245.2 yards per recreation and managed 24 TD passes. The longtime Saints starter additionally missed a month recovering from 11 damaged ribs and solely returned to motion just a few weeks in the past.
At 41 years previous, Brees can be nearing the top of his profession. And a few counsel that finish is perhaps nearer than we predict. In line with White, “what I’m listening to, although, from the media is there’s a lot discuss it that possibly that is it. Perhaps Drew has type of hinted that that is his final yr, and he’ll be within the sales space subsequent yr, being the subsequent Tony Romo, speaking concerning the recreation as performs occur. So I’m going to make it a favourite that he’s going to retire after this season, all the pieces that I’m listening to.”
However the Saints have a minimum of yet another recreation to play this season. Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray and Michael Thomas all returned final week, giving Brees his full complement of weapons. One benefit they received’t have is a sold-out Tremendous Dome crowd. Solely about 3,000 followers had been allowed inside for the Wild Card recreation in opposition to the Bears. How a lot of a home-field benefit does that basically imply?
“That is solely the one out of the 4 video games that’s going to be performed indoors,” White factors out. “And indoor playoff video games are 29-13 to the over. That’s 69 % of the time indoor playoff video games go over. After which let’s take a look at Drew Brees enjoying on the Mercedes Benz Superdome. His video games are 71-52, 58 % over. And the 2 coaches going face to face, Sean Payton and Bruce Arians, they’ve coached seven instances in opposition to one another. 5 of these seven video games have gone over. I feel it’s going to be a enjoyable recreation to look at. I’m going to wager it over.”
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