One game that has a similarly high score in the second round this weekend is the matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. Sunday night’s game has an over / under number of 52, the second highest on the schedule after the Chiefs-Browns game (56½).
Since 2002, indoor playoff games have exceeded total in 22 of 34 competitions (.647), including 10 of 14 (.714) in the divisional round. Playoff teams coached by Sean Payton or Bruce Arians have scored a total of 11 out of 18 times (.611), and when the two men trained against each other in the regular season the over has scored five out of seven times (.714 ). .
We assume that this week’s playoff teams will hold their own against the consensus point spreads (starting Wednesday morning) from several sports bets in Las Vegas.
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers (-6½)
Selection: Green Bay Packers -6½
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers finished the regular season as the league’s most valuable passer by ESPN’s total quarterback rating, which posed a difficult challenge for the Rams’ defense. Los Angeles finished runner-up in the NFL with 53 sacks, but Green Bay’s offensive line was ranked the second best pass blocker unit in the NFL by Pro Football Focus, so Rodgers could only be pressured on 24 percent of his dropbacks. the third lowest rate during the regular season. And when Rodgers was pressured, he managed to score eight touchdowns with just one interception.
Plus, Rodgers is a good bet if you’re taking a long break. Since 2008, his first year as Green Bay’s starting quarterback, the Packers have been 9: 3: 1 against the spread, which is at least 12 days off in the regular season and in the playoffs and covers an average of almost five points per game. However, don’t expect this value to exceed the grand total (45½). Rodgers and the Packers fell short of the last seven of their last ten times in this situation.
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills (-2½)
These teams last met during the 2019 regular season, a 24-17 Ravens win in Buffalo, and you can expect Baltimore to have a similar plan for a defensive game this time around. Baltimore’s defense flashed Bill quarterback Josh Allen back on 32 of his 46 dropbacks, sacking him six times that game. The Ravens led the league in the blitz rate in 2020, bringing in an extra man who chased the quarterback 44 percent of the time.
However, Allen has improved significantly over the Blitz this season. He completed 66 percent of his passes and averaged 7.8 meters per attempt. His blitz sacking rate has also dropped from 10 percent in 2019 to four percent in 2020, including last week’s playoff win against the Colts. His passerby rating against Blitz rose from 78.4 to 111.6 in one season.
Cleveland Browns with the Kansas City Chiefs (-10)
Selection: Cleveland Browns +10
If there is one way Cleveland can take advantage of Kansas City’s defensive weakness, it is through the game in progress. The Browns ran the third most yards in the NFL that season (2,374), and their lead rusher, Nick Chubb, led the league with 4.1 yards per carry on contact. His teammate Kareem Hunt achieved the sixth most yards per carry (3.2) after contact. Chubb also led the league in the percentage of mileage earned on rushes of 15 yards or more (429 of 1,065 yards, 40 percent). Kansas City had the second worst running defense during the regular season after adjusting to the strength of the schedule after Football Outsiders.
Will Chubb and Hunt’s success be enough for Cleveland to finally win the game? Probably not, but it should hold Browns closer than 10 points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-3)
Selection: New Orleans Saints -3
The Saints will be looking for a three-game game against their rival after beating the Buccaneers 34-23 at home in Week 1 and throttling them 38-3 in Week 9 in Tampa Bay. In those two games, New Orleans held quarterback Tom Brady 45 of 74 over for 410 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. Brady had three non-touchdown interceptions in the second meeting as the New Orleans Defense made their move.
Including that game, the Saints’ defense saved nine points per competition for the second half of the season based on the down, distance and field position of each game against them, according to data from TruMedia. That was quite a turnaround, considering the defense cost New Orleans eight points per game for the first eight weeks of the year and was ranked 23rd.