Art by Leah Bae
Five out of the six higher-seeded teams won their respective matchups, with the sole upset coming in the form of the San Francisco 49ers’ 23-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday afternoon. The Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kansas City Chiefs all strolled to comfortable wins, much to the dismay of neutral fans nationwide.
The Divisional Round, which will commence Saturday, Jan. 22, has served up a number of enthralling matchups. Both top-seeded teams will take the field on Saturday, as the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers look to kick off their postseason campaigns in style. The Rams travel to Tampa Bay on Sunday for what should be an intense contest, and the Bills will look to keep their mojo going at Arrowhead Stadium.
Digital Editor Karl Winter has all but assured himself a first place finish in the 2021-22 PGM NFL Picks standings, though a comeback by staff writers Joe Doonan or Alec Matulka is still mathematically possible. In any case, the battle for second place will come down to the very end of the playoffs.
Cincinnati Bengals (11-7) at Tennessee Titans (12-5) (Saturday, Jan. 22 at 1:30 p.m., PST)
“I’m going to be completely honest with you, my dear readers, I’m a Titans-hater. They got first-seed in the AFC by being the best team in quite possibly the worst division in the league, and I don’t think that’s too impressive. They were inconsistent against quality opposition all season, and I think it’ll catch up with them in the playoffs, especially after the bye week. Got a problem with that, Tennessee? That’s tough. Your long rectangular shape doesn’t scare me.” — Alec
“Titans are, like, ginormous. Bengals are cute but they are way smaller.” — Ali
“I haven’t really believed in the Titans all season and I think it’s time I start. I love the Bengals, it’s hard not to root for Joe Burrow, but with Derrick Henry back, I think the Titans will grind this game out on the ground and keep the ball out of Burrow’s hands for as long as possible.” — Joe
San Francisco 49ers (11-7) at Green Bay Packers (13-4) (Saturday, Jan. 22 at 5:15 p.m., PST)
“I would not be surprised if the Niners pulled off the upset here, but usually Aaron Rodgers and the Packers choke in the NFC Championship game, so we gotta wait one more week for that.” — Austin
“Cheese.” — Ali
“49ers fans will be reminded for the millionth time that they could have drafted Aaron Rodgers, while Packers fans will be reminded constantly that Rodgers is 0-3 against San Francisco in the playoffs. The Niners’ health is an issue, and while this is an interesting matchup of conflicting styles, Green Bay has been the most consistent team in the league since Week 1 and should ride that trend into the conference title game.” — Karl
Los Angeles Rams (13-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-4) (Sunday, Jan. 23 at 12 p.m., PST)
“I won’t sugarcoat it: The Rams made Kyler Murray and the Cardinals look like chumps last weekend. My disappointment is immeasurable and my week is ruined. I really hope they can replicate that performance against Tom Brady FC. That’d be cathartic for me.” — Alec
“The Bucs won’t drop this matchup again. Although, I am rooting for the Rams so they could possibly play in their home stadium for the Super Bowl. But TOOOOOOMM!” — Ali
“The Rams have the tools to carve up Tampa, and their midseason acquisitions are paying off. I have bad luck betting against Brady, but I don’t think these Bucs can protect and carry him as well as they did in last year’s playoffs.” — Karl
Buffalo Bills (12-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (13-5) (Sunday, Jan. 23 at 1:30 p.m., PST)
“Josh Allen has been the best player in the league for the last month and the defense is balling. The Chiefs just haven’t looked quite the same as in past years, and I think the Bills slay the giant.” — Joe
“Another really good game. I think [Patrick] Mahomes will outplay Allen just enough to squeak out the win.” — Austin
“A rematch of last year’s Chiefs AFC Championship Game win, but this year the Bills have leveled up. Their offense against New England was historically great, and they did it in frigid weather. Look for a shootout and Buffalo to get over the hump and back into the AFC title game.” — Karl
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Email Alec Matulka: firstname.lastname@example.org