Austin Montgomery's Sunday Divisional Round Preview - Thoughts on LA-Tampa + Buffalo-Kansas City
We are onto the second day of the divisional round. After a crazy Saturday we get two great games, featuring rematches of teams that met in September.
A lot has changed since then, but could we get similar results. Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Tom Brady playing on a playoff Sunday is must watch tv. So let’s break this all down.
As always, the point spreads are presented by our partners at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Los Angeles at Tampa Bay
Spread: Tampa (-2.5)
The narrative surrounding these quarterbacks is polar opposite. Tom Brady is the obvious GOAT. He’s won seven Super Bowls and it’s just getting ridiculous at this point. Brady has made it to championship weekend in nine out of his last 10 seasons. That is bonkers. On the other side of the coin, Matt Stafford won his first playoff game in his 13th season of the NFL. Now he has the strongest supporting cast he has ever had. Stafford threw 41 touchdowns this season, the most of any QB not named Tom Brady.
I feel like this is a legacy game for Stafford. If he knocks off the defending champs on the road to advance to the NFC championship? You can’t say anything bad about him.
On the other hand Tampa is coming into this game banged up. Center Ryan Jansen had to leave the game with an injury, and if right tackle Tristan Wirfs plays, he definitely won’t be 100 percent as well. Tom Brady may be going against one of the best defenses he has ever faced. LA’s defense ranks 6th overall in DVOA and they do well both against the run and pass. LA sports the best pass rush win rate between the tackles. We know Tom Brady hates facing pressure up the middle. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey can take away Mike Evans. With Chris Godwin out, Brady’s options will be limited.
On offense, LA should be able to move the ball on Tampa. Tampa blitzes at the second highest rate in the NFL, and Stafford has a top five passing grade against the blitz according to PFF. If Matt Stafford can avoid the timely mistake, Los Angeles should coast in this one.
This is my favorite play of the entire playoff slate. Give me Los Angeles to knock out Tom Brady.
The pick: Los Angeles +2.5
Props : Tyler Higbee over 42.5 receiving yards; Tom Brady under 298.5 passing yards; Mike Evans under 72.5 receiving yards
Buffalo at Kansas City
Spread: Kansas City -1.5
Prepare for fireworks in the nightcap folks. Buffalo beat Kansas City 38-20 early in the year, which put them on the map as a true Super Bowl contender. Can they repeat that performance Sunday night? It’s going to be an offensive showcase, and truthfully I’m not going to bet against other quarterbacks.
So we are going to elect to take over here.
I think this is the best play in this game. Just looking back at the previous matchup between these two teams. Buffalo and KC had three separate trips inside the 10 yard line that resulted in zero points. There was an hour-long weather delay in the second quarter. The weather in that game was much more severe than what the teams will face on Sunday.
We are getting a matchup where Buffalo’s defense is significantly overvalued. Yeah, they rank first in overall DVOA. But when you look deeper into it, they have faced the easiest schedule of quarterbacks. The one time they faced a competent offense when they traveled to Tampa, they surrendered 6.3 yards per play- Tampa drove at will. This will be the first matchup since that contest where the absence of Tre'Davious White will be felt. Patrick Mahomes is a different animal than Zach Wilson. I’m pointing the obvious here, but a lot of the models that are used to build these lines are not accounting for that. Buffalo’s metrics are pretty fraudulent. The Kansas City offense is playing at an elite level. Bryon Pringle has emerged as the secondary receiver KC needed on the opposite side of Tyreke Hill.
The last nine totals that sit at 54 in the playoffs, are 8-1 to the over. I realize this is a public side, but I think it’s mere common sense. If any team jumps out to the lead, the other can come back by tossing the rock. Each team is not going to push the brake pedal.
The pick: Over 54.
Byron Pringle over 34.5 receiving yards, Devin Singletary anytime touchdown -105
Bonus 6 point Teaser :Rams +8.5, Buffalo +7.5
Follow Austin on Twitter @AmontgomeryLive
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