The NFL Playoffs begin with a bang on Saturday, January 15, 2021. The NFL has taken over the entire weekend, scheduling two games on Saturday, three games on Sunday, January 16. And finally, one game on Monday Night Football will be played on January 17. The NFL has even taken it one step further, concentrating two of the AFC contests on Saturday, one more on Sunday, as well as two NFC games on Sunday. The LA Rams, NFC West Division winners, will host the Arizona Cardinals at SoFi Stadium at 5:15 pm PT on Monday.
But what of the games that the LA Rams fans must wade through until they have the chance to cheer (or boo) the team on in Round One? Well, that’s what we are here to check out. But before we begin, you still have time to make a wager on your favorite team. Just click on the WynnBET link directly below.
Las Vegas Raiders (5) at Cincinnati Bengals (4): 1:30 pm PT, Saturday, NBC
It’s the surprisingly resilient Raiders taking on the Bengals in a game that won’t impact the Rams very much at this point. Of course, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is from LA Rams HC Sean McVay’s coaching tree, and the more success he has, the more teams will come sniffing around for other coaches from McVay’s staff to take over for them.
The Bengals (-6.0) are favored in this one, and that seems about right. The Raiders clawed their way into the playoff picture, but I don’t look for them to advance.
New England Patriots (6) at Buffalo Bills (3): 5:15 pm PT, Saturday, CBS
This is their third time meeting for these two teams, both winning at the other team’s field. While the Patriots are on the road and the underdog (+4.5), I cannot believe that the Patriots could be a one-and-done team this season. Bill Belichick has something up his sleeve for this one. Look for an upset.
Philadelphia Eagles (7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2): 10:00 am PT, Sunday, FOX
The Eagles will try to upset the Tom Brady Buccaneers. Can they? The Buccaneers defeated the Eagles earlier at Philadelphia, and while the Eagles have won nine games this season, no victory came at the expense of a playoff team. The Eagles have a run-oriented offense, and the Buccaneers love to snuff the run.
The Buccaneers are the favorite (-8.5) but this one feels like a 10 point or greater victory for Tom Brady.
San Francisco 49ers (6) at Dallas Cowboys (3): 1:30 pm PT, Sunday, CBS
It’s tough to cheer for either of these teams because both sides have plenty of rude fanbases who go a bit overboard on social media. The 49ers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, and the Cowboys are one of the most fanatical. Even with winning 12 games, the Dallas Cowboys seemed to wilt whenever they faced a playoff-caliber team. Guess what? They face a playoff-caliber team this weekend.
The only non-Rams playoff team that the 49ers have beaten all season is the Cincinnati Bengals by three points. The Cowboys are favored in this one (-3.0) but I could see a defensive struggle where the 49ers win in overtime. Look for the 49ers to upset the Cowboys. That will move the winner of the Rams-Cardinals game to face the Buccaneers in the Divisional Round.
Pittsburgh Steelers (7) at Kansas City (2): 5:15 pm PT, Sunday, NBC
In what will likely be an emotional contest for the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger will take up the task of getting a playoff win for the Steelers against the Kansas City Chiefs. Don’t believe it. The Chiefs are the most favored team in the playoffs for good reason (-12.5). I don’t think that this one is a runaway freight train. But you can expect the Chiefs to take the lead and never look back.
Of course, the Steelers’ defense did look sharp in the last two games of the season. But the Chiefs will likely win this one by a 7-10 point margin.