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Bold predictions for 2023 NFL divisional playoffs: Bills expose Bengals O-line problems; Shanahan's 49ers Advance

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We are now one week into the NFL playoffs, and the field of teams remaining in the mix for the Super Bowl has shrunk to eight. By the end of this weekend, we will have narrowed it down further, with just two AFC and two NFC teams vying for representation of their respective conferences on football’s biggest stage.

As usual, we expect some pretty crazy things to happen when these games actually kick off. So here we are once again with no bold predictions. Just like last week, we have one for every match on the schedule.

When the Chiefs and Jaguars played in Week 10, Travis Kelce had a good game. He caught 6 of 7 passes thrown his way for a total of 81 yards and a touchdown. But as we know, Kelce is capable of much more than that stat line. And the Jaguars have struggled hard to defend tight ends this season. Jacksonville ranked 32nd (aka last) in the NFL in DVOA in shooting to closed ends, according to Football Outsiders. The Jags yielded 81 receptions for 1,066 yards and seven scores for players at position, and we saw their linebackers, in particular, take advantage of coverage throughout the year. Even against the Chargers last week, Gerald Everett and Donal Parham combined for 10 receptions for 133 yards and a score on 13 targets. Expect Kelce to have a big day on Saturday.

Danny Dimes has shown great improvement this season in almost every area. Nowhere was this more evident than in his performance against the Vikings in Super Wild Card Weekend, which may have been his best career game. Jones completed 24 of 35 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing 17 times for an additional 78 yards. In two games against Minnesota this season, Brian Daboll and Co. it allowed Jones to air out, taking advantage of one of the friendliest pass defenses in the NFL. Eagles don’t have a friendly pass defense. They have one of the best pass-rush units in the league and an extremely sticky group of cover players. Jones was 18 of 27 passing for 169 yards and a touchdown the last time these two teams played, and while he added four carries for 26 yards and an additional score, he also took four sacks. The Giants’ offense is better now than it was before, but dealing with this Philadelphia defense is still a much tougher task than the one it faced a week ago.

bills vs. Bengals: Buffalo exposes Cincy’s lack of depth up front

The Bengals are losing offensive linemen every week. In Week 16, they lost right tackle La’el Collins for the season due to a torn ACL. In Week 18, they lost point guard Alex Cappa to an ankle injury. And last week in the Wild Card Game against the Ravens, they lost left tackle Jonah Williams to a knee problem. The Bengals will likely only start two-fifths of their starting offensive line. They could maybe start Hakeem Adeniji or Jackson Carman or Max Scharping…but all of them? That’s too much to survive against the Buffalo defense – even with Joe Burrow at the controls. Greg Rousseau, Shaq Lawson, Ed Oliver, DaQuan Jones, AJ Epenesa, Boogie Basham, Tim Settle – the Bills have a lot of talent up front. And they can complement that group with Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds flowing onto the ball.

49ers v Cowboys: The Shanahan Show continues

Brock Purdy barely broke a sweat during the 49ers’ offensive blast against the Seahawks last week. Among his 30 passing attempts, only TWO were thrown in a tight window, according to NFL.com’s Next Gen Stats. This is the Kyle Shanahan Effect. San Francisco’s offensive mastermind can plan open players as well or better than any coach in the NFL, and with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle and Elijah Mitchell, he has one of the best positional bodies of skill in the NFL. . with which to work. It’s almost unfair. Dallas’ defense shut out Tampa on Monday night, but it’s still working understaffed in the secondary and could have a somewhat weak Jayron Kearse after he suffered a knee injury against the Bucs. The bet here is that San Francisco will find a way to take advantage of this group at the back.

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