The playoffs are supposed to be when the best rise to the top.
I didn't last week.
I went 2-3-1 against the spread for a disappointing week, although I did have the Washington Football Team and that spread bloated to 10 by kickoff. We had it at eight when we made the picks, so it's a push.
For the most part, it was a bad week. My season record is now 125-127-9. That, quite frankly, stinks.
Let's hope I can turn it around this week with a clean sweep. I do like this week's card and have been good in the divisional round in year's past. So let's go.
This is the classic playoff battle of the No. 1 offense in Green Bay against the top defense in Los Angeles. What will give? If the Rams have a limited Aaron Donald, who has a rib injury, that will impact the defense in a big way. The single blocks won't come as much for the edge rushers, which will put a lot more pressure on the back end. The Packers were playing outstanding offense before the break, but the time off could hurt. Aaron Rodgers vs. the Rams secondary and Jalen Ramsey will be fun, especially if Ramsey spends a lot of time on Davante Adams. The Rams will likely start Jared Goff and his injured thumb, but there is a chance it could be John Wolford. Goff did a nice job last week off the bench against Seattle. The key for the Rams will be how well they run it against a Green Bay defense that has trouble with the run. The Packers defense did play better in the final four games. I think the Packers will be too much in this one. Look for Rodgers and company to move on.
Pick: Packers 26, Rams 14
This will be a battle of two star quarterbacks, one who runs it as well as anybody ever has from the position in Lamar Jackson, and the other in Josh Allen, who has been outstanding throwing it this season. The Ravens will make no bones about what they want to do on offense, which is to pound it. They are averaging 262 rushing yards a game in their last six games. The Bills have improved against the run from earlier in the year, but this will be a big challenge. The strategy from coordinator Leslie Frazier will be something to watch in terms of trying to keep Jackson contained. The Ravens defense is back healthy now, which is why they impressed last week against the Titans. But this is a bigger challenge in facing Allen. This will be a close game, but in the end I think Allen will make the game-winning plays late to pull it out -- but it will be razor-thin close.
Pick: Bills 27, Ravens 26
The Browns impressed in a big way winning last week at Pittsburgh without coach Kevin Stefanski. But this is a whole different step up in terms of challenges. The Chiefs are the best in the AFC. The Cleveland defense struggled to slow Ben Roethlisberger and his passing game, which means Patrick Mahomes has to be licking his chops. I expect a big day out of the Chiefs passing game. The Browns can run it, which will be the plan. But those plans can get wrecked when the Chiefs get the offense going. That will put a lot of pressure on Baker Mayfield to make plays in the passing game. I just don't think the Browns can keep up. For that reason, the Chiefs will move on with an impressive offensive showing that will be a lot like their two playoff wins at home last year.
Pick: Chiefs 37, Browns 23
The Saints beat the Bucs twice in the regular season, and now get the chance for the hat trick. New Orleans beat up Tom Brady in those two wins, picking him off five times and sacking him six times. In the last meeting in November, the defense abused Brady. But Brady has come alive since then. He's playing great football. The Saints defense will still be a major challenge. They have been good against the pass all season, which will make for an interesting battle between those two units. On the other side, Tampa Bay's defense didn't play well last week against Washington. If it plays like that this week, this will be ugly. I don't think it will. But Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara will do enough to find a way to win this one. Saints get the sweep and move on.
Pick: Saints 27, Bucs 20