Skip to main content

Day One of Wild Card Playoff Breakdown and Prediction

Playoff football is back.

It is time for playoff football. On Saturday, Super Wild Card Weekend because, so that means three days of playoff football. There are two matchups on Saturday, so here is the breakdown and prediction.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Key for the Raiders: The Raiders need to do what they did against the Chargers last week, running the football. They ran the ball effectively and only had quarterback Derek Carr throw in certain situations. The offense should try to add more play-action this week, especially if Josh Jacobs runs the ball at a high rate. On defense, they should double-team receiver Ja'Marr Chase. He has been on a hot streak as of late and even put over 260 yards and three touchdowns on the Chiefs two weeks ago.

Key for the Bengals: Quarterback Joe Burrow will need to play a perfect game if the Bengals are to win their first playoff game since 1991. He has been one of the better quarterbacks this season and will need to continue in the postseason. Burrow needs to spread the ball around and make sure he gets everyone involved for them to have a shot. When the Bengals are on defense, they must slow down Jacobs and make the Raiders one-dimensional. They are top five in the NFL, allowing 102.5 rushing yards a game. They need to clamp down on the run game and make Carr try to beat them.

X-Factor: Trey Hendrickson. He came over as a free agent from New Orleans and has been worth the big contract. He sacked the opposing quarterback 14 times during the season. He will need to be a disrupter on Saturday.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Prediction: Bengals 28 Raiders 20

New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills

Key for the Patriots: New England needs to do what they usually do, which is control the clock on offense. It will be cold and windy, so they may try to go with what won them the game earlier in December. Damien Harris has had a solid 2021 season, so expect him to get the ball often. On defense, the Bills have a lot of weapons, and the Patriots lack cornerback depth right now, so they are going to count on the pass rush. They need to get after Josh Allen and make him uncomfortable in the pocket.

Key for the Bills: The last time they faced off in Buffalo, the Bills forgot that their quarterback could also run the football. If the pass isn't working, they need to run the football, so why not throw in some designed quarterback runs. That will keep the defense on their heels and open up the pass. On defense, they need to get "all eleven hats on the ball." They need to stop the run to make rookie quarterback Mac Jones beat them. He only threw three passes in their early December matchup, so the Bills need to make Jones throw 15-20 times. Make him make rookie mistakes.

X-Factor: Matthew Judon. He was one of their big free-agent signings, and it has paid off. Judon had 12.5 sacks during the season and is going to be counted on against the Bills.

Prediction: Bills 24 Patriots 21