2022 NFL Divisional Playoff Round
The 2022 NFL Playoffs continue today and tomorrow with two games on each day, Here is a look at what's on tap this weekend.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennessee Titans
The Bengals head to Tennessee after securing their first playoff win in over 30 years last week against the Raiders. Cincinnati has been the surprise team in the AFC this year but will face a big test this week. The Titans' defense, particularly the secondary, is not overwhelming, so the Bengals' offense should still be able to run smoothly. It's the defensive side of things that could become an issue.
Tennessee gets star running back Derrick Henry back for this game after he missed the last nine games of the regular season with an injury, When healthy, Henry is probably the best running back in the NFL and makes things much easier on the Titans' offense. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is not a world-beater but has played well overall since arriving in Nashville. Receivers AJ Brown and Julio Jones also have great matchups against a rather thin Cincy secondary.
The return of Henry is bad news for Cincinnati as the Bengals will be without starting defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. However, the Bengals do have the third-best run defense in the league. That means Tennessee will need to find plays in the passing game as well but not have to lean on it. Tannehill will also need to avoid some of the costly mistakes he has made during Henry's absence.
You can find this game on CBS at 4:30 PM ET.
San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers
San Francisco heads to Green Bay fresh off an upset over the Cowboys in Dallas. San Fran played well enough to shut down the Cowboys' offense and found enough offense itself to win. This week brings a bigger challenge against one of the best offenses in the league. Plus, Green Bay could get a few key players back like OT David Bakhtiari, CB Jaire Alexander, and OLB/DE Za'Darius Smith which will improve its overall balance. The presence of those players means there will be added pressure on QB Jimmy Garoppolo. San Francisco is a team that likes to run, but it will need receivers to step up as well.
Green Bay is the No. 1 seed in the NFC and has home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Packers had last week off as a result, so there could always be some rust. Nonetheless, their offense is incredibly difficult to stop and has playmakers all over the field that will challenge the Niners' defense.
These two teams met back in September with Green Bay pulling out a two-point win in San Francisco. In that game, the Packers built an early 17-0 lead, but the Niners fought all the way back to take the lead with just 37 seconds left. Aaron Rodgers and Devante Adams still proved to be too much as they led the Pack to a game-winning field goal.
The first round was entertaining and this one should be too. Strategically, the run-based system the Niners run could be beneficial in fighting off any winter weather elements, but they will need to be efficient and score more points than they usually score. This game can be found on FOX at 8:15 PM ET.
Los Angeles Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is a rematch of one of the most entertaining games of the season. Back in Week 3, Tampa Visited Los Angeles, and the Rams came away with a 34-24 victory. Neither team did much on the ground, but both quarterbacks surpassed 340 yards, and Matthew Stafford finished with four touchdown passes.
The Rams head to Tampa after an impressive win over the Arizona Cardinals. It was Stafford's first playoff win of his career, and the offense clicked tremendously after a slow start. The defense put a ton of pressure on Kyler Murray and forced Arizona's offense to make mistakes.
Tampa rolled over a Philadelphia team that really never looked like a legitimate playoff team. The game was never close despite several key injuries on the Tampa offense. Obviously, the Bucs still have Tom Brady, Gronk, and Mike Evans, but will that be enough as the playoffs become more difficult. The run defense is one of the best in the league and was a huge part of shutting down the Eagles.
Tampa will be without WR Chris Godwin and RB Ronal Jones, while RB Leonard Fournette's status is still up in the air. Fournette would be a big piece missing as he has been the biggest reason for the improvement in the Tampa running game. While neither team managed much on the ground in the first meeting and both have great run defenses, this game will likely come down to play in the trenches and who can run the ball enough to keep the opposing defense on its toes.
This game will be played at 3:00 PM ET and can be seen on NBC.
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs
The final game of the weekend is a BIG one featuring two of the elite young quarterbacks and a rematch of last season's AFC Championship.
The Bills won the AFC East and blew out the New England Patriots last week behind a strong offensive start. QB Josh Allen threw for over 300 yards and five touchdowns, plus the running game collected 174 yards on the day. It was a complete performance in all phases.
Kansas Coty started the season slowly but recovered enough to win the AFC West and clinch the No. 2 seed in the AFC. That means they will play at home unless they have to face Tennessee next week. The Chiefs didn't get much of a challenge from the Steelers last week and are rolling ahead of this one.
Last year's title matchup was largely dominated by the Chiefs, although Buffalo's stars did not play badly. With the way both teams have played this year, I would think this is going to be yet another high-scoring game. Both teams have electric offenses and it should come down to which one is more prepared. I think the Chiefs have better weapons by a small margin, but the Bills have better personnel on defense.
This game will be on CBS at 6:30 PM ET.