Six postseason games down, seven to go.
MDS won the wild-card round with a 5-1 record. I went 4-2.
This week, we disagree on one of the four games.
For the year, I’m 181-96-1. MDS is 177-100-1.
For this week’s takes and picks, scroll away.
Bengals (+3.5) at Titans
MDS’s take: The Titans are healthier right now than they were during the regular season, and I’m expecting them to play one of their best games and remind everyone that the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC goes through Tennessee.
MDS’s pick: Titans 27, Bengals 20.
Florio’s take: Derrick Henry makes a huge difference for a team that went 6-3 without him. The Cincinnati offense lacked the killer instinct on Saturday against the Raiders, allowing Las Vegas to hang around for far too long. While the Bengals may indeed be a Super Bowl contender in 2022, it feels like they’ve reached the end of the road. The Titans, in contrast, are just getting started.
Florio’s pick: Titans 24, Bengals 17.
49ers (+6) at Packers
MDS’s take: The Packers benefited from the bye week while the 49ers played a tough, physical game in Dallas that left them banged up. Playing Saturday on a short work week, the 49ers will struggle.
MDS’s pick: Packers 30, 49ers 17.
Florio’s take: One team’s quarterback is Aaron Rodgers. The other team’s quarterback is Jimmy Garoppolo. Need I say more? (I will anyway.) San Francisco’s defense will have a hard time keeping Rodgers from torching it, especially if Nick Bosa (concussion) can’t go. Rodgers has limited shots at winning another Super Bowl. This may be his best, and possibly his last, as a Packer.
Florio’s pick: Packers 27, 49ers 20.
Rams (+2.5) at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: Both of these teams won blowouts last week, but this should be a hard-fought game. I trust Tom Brady in the fourth quarter of a close playoff game more than I trust Matthew Stafford.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 28, Rams 24.
Florio’s take: It won’t be easy for the Bucs. They’ll need to commit to the run in order to set up the pass. Throw too much, and Tom Brady may soon be putting the ball up for grabs in order to avoid getting his 44-year-old body banged around. If the Rams can’t run effectively, quarterback Matthew Stafford may eventually make a fatal mistake.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 23, Ram 17.
Bills (+1.5) at Chiefs
MDS’s take: The best game of the divisional round features two quarterbacks who were outstanding in the wild card round. I trust Patrick Mahomes a little bit more than Josh Allen to play that well again in the divisional round, so I’ll pick the Chiefs.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Bills 28.
Florio’s take: This one has game of the year potential, with the Bills ready to exorcise more demons and the Chiefs potentially on their heels as they try to slow down Buffalo’s offense. Crazy as it sounds, Kansas City should consider slowing things down and limiting possessions in order to avoid letting the Bills fast-break their way to 40 points.
Florio’s pick: Bills 41, Chiefs 28.