Bengals vs. Titans
As the Bengals face the top-seeded Titans at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, it will kick off the first of 4 great games for the weekend. As Bengals QB Joe Burrow comes off his biggest career win against the Raiders last weekend, the victory made for the first playoff win for the Bengals in 31 years. During the postgame press conference, he assured the fans that this will be the new ‘normal’ for the team.
“ It was a great win for us, but this is the standard for the bare minimum going forward.” Said, Burrow.
Adding onto the confidence, Bengals Coach Zac Taylor said, “We feel like if we’re on top of our game, we can beat any team in this league. We’re not afraid of anybody.”
As they head to Tennessee, the Titans are coming fresh off a rest week and receive the house advantage. A key strategy for the Titans will be to get ahead early and keep the Bengal's offense held off. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Tennessee generated 35 sacks during the regular season when using a standard four-man pass rush (second in NFL) and 153 QB pressures in that situation, which was also second best.
"That's the most important thing going into this game," defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons said. "It's going to come down to how our front four plays this week. We know it. Of course, stopping the run -- but it's also how can we affect the quarterback? Get our hands up at the line of scrimmage. How can we try to keep him from going to his favorite targets?"
49ers vs. Packers
San Francisco will meet the Packers at the Lambeau Field in Green Bay Saturday afternoon. The Packers will rely heavily on their QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Davante Adams to move the ball up the field and beat the 49er's defense. With the jury having been open most of the week on if Nick Bosa, 49ers defensive end, will be returning, the 49ers released Friday that he had been cleared from concussion protocol and will be playing Saturday. This certainly comes as a sigh of relief having shown to be a key player on their defense.
As far as the Niners offense goes, they have got to stay quick and smart on their feet. They ran 38 running plays last week against the Cowboys with a 4.4-yard average. They need to bring this against the Packers, and their QB Jimmy Goppolo will need to be on his best game. The team will need to stay on their toes to get vengeance on their 30-28 week 3 loss to the Packers earlier in the season.
Rams vs. Buccaneers
This will certainly be one of the ‘hot’ games to watch this weekend. While the Buccaneers were able to win the Superbowl in their home stadium last year, the Rams are looking to do much of the same this year. To do this, they first have to get through the Bucs in Florida though.
Much of the game will be on the capabilities of the Rams DT Aaron Donald to get past the Buccaneer's interior offensive line and keep pressure on their star quarterback, Tom Brady. If Ram's defense remains strong, they have a very good chance. Their offense is a strong force with QB Mathew Stafford, WR Cooper Kupp, and RB Cam Akers making for a great combination that lead them to a landslide victory over the Cardinals last weekend.
While the Rams had a 10 point win over the Buccaneers earlier in the season, the Buccaneers are coming off of a 4 game streak. Brady also has the experience but Stafford may be much more motivated to get bring his team to the end.
Bills vs. Chiefs
Being the last game of the weekend, it will be yet another of the more exciting ones. While the chiefs aim to make it to the Superbowl for the 3rd straight year in a row, this game against the Bills may prove quite difficult for them. With Mahomes has lead the team to most of the victories, they are now facing the Bills top-ranked defense for a second time this season. The first of which resulted in an 18 point loss. The team will have to play clean football and keep mistakes to a minimum if they want to have a fighting chance against the Bills.
As both teams have shown significant might through the latter of the season, I think it will really come down to how they show up on game day. As the game will be played at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs will have home-field advantage, but if the Bills play as they did against the Patriots last weekend (47-17), they are going to be a difficult team to get past.