The Chargers didn’t make the playoffs, but the predictions are still here.
Full break down of the games on Saturday:
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills
Key to the game for Indy: The Colts have to lean on what got them to the playoffs, which is the running ability of rookie running back Jonathan Taylor. That doesn’t mean that quarterback Philip Rivers shouldn’t take his shots because he is a gunslinger and will need to make plays. He needs to make sure that if he takes chances, they won’t cost his team. On defense, they will need to count on their veterans DeForest Buckner and Justin Houston to put the pressure on Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
Key to the game for Buffalo: Let Josh Allen guide you to victory. The Bills have outscored their opponents in the last three games 142-54. Allen has been on a tear completing about 73 percent of his passes, 903 yards, 11 total touchdowns, and only one interception. Let the MVP candidate do his thing, and good plays will happen. On defense, they need to stop the running backs, which means Nyheim Hines as well as Taylor. Hines is a huge threat out of the backfield, so the Bills will need to watch the backs at all times.
X-Factor: Josh Norman. His pick-six last week could have energized him for a big game on Saturday.
Prediction: Bills 31 Colts 24
L.A. Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks
Key for the Rams: They can’t settle for field goals, especially in the red zone. They will need to score touchdowns if they are to go toe to toe with the Seahawks. Expect the Rams to lean on their running backs led by Cam Akers, especially after a solid finish to the season. On defense, they will need to rely on their secondary to stop Wilson from beating them. They will also need defensive tackle Aaron Donald to do his thing and be Wilson’s shadow on Saturday.
Key for the Seahawks: Use your running backs. They have quarterback Russell Wilson who can do a lot, but with the secondary, the Rams feature, and the defensive tackle, they have to make it easy on him. The Seahawks have a lot of running backs to mix and match. On defense, make Jared Goff or John Wolford beat you. Goff is questionable heading into the game, and he has had a subpar season. Wolford got his first career victory last weekend.
X-Factor: Jalen Ramsey. In two matchups this season, Ramsey has held D.K. Metcalf to eight catches for 87 yards and no touchdowns. It will be a fun matchup.
Prediction: Seahawks 23 Rams 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Football Team
Key for the Bucs: It is rare for them because they have only seen this happen on television in the past but let Tom Brady be Tom Brady. He threw for over 40 touchdowns this season and is playing his best football at the moment. On defense, make the quarterback beat you. Stop the WFT's run game and make either Smith or Heinicke beat you with their arm. Tampa Bay's defense need to get pressure on either quarterback and create turnovers.
Key for Washington: It is not yet known if Alex Smith or Taylor Heinicke will start. Smith has been dealing with a calf injury. If Heinicke starts then WFT should be creative with their offensive approach. Do pre-snap motion, reverses, and even trick plays. Leave it all out on the field. The Bucs defense has allowed big plays all year. Take it to them. On defense, you have the key to stop Tom Brady. Their pass rush is one of the best in the NFL. They have five first-round draft picks on the defensive line. They will need to get after Brady if they are to have a chance.
X-Factor: Chase Young. He said last Sunday, “I want Brady,” well, Chase, you got him. It should be a great matchup.
Prediction: Bucs 34 WFT 17