2021 AFC Wildcard Round Predictions
7. Indianapolis Colts
2. Buffalo Bills
A year ago, when the Bills relied heavily on their run game, this would have been a great matchup for the Colts, who have the league's second best run defense. Now though, not so much. The Bills will be throwing the ball a lot against a defense that isn't all that great against it, especially against the deep ball. The Colts did have their fair share of picks though, which they will absolutely need vs. Buffalo. Things to think about as well are third downs, and red zone offense. The Bills had the best third down percentage in the NFL, the the Colts third down defense ranked 19th. In the red zone though, Buffalo struggled at times. If the Colts are going to win, they have to slow down the game on offense, and limit any big plays from the Bills offense. They also need to win the turnover battle.
6. Cleveland Browns
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers had the most sacks and QB hits in the league this year. In their two games against the Browns this year, they have sacked Baker Mayfield a total of 8 times. Despite that, Mayfield and the Browns O-line have actually done very well against the blitz this year. The Steelers get tons of picks, the have a great third down and red zone defense, and they don't get fooled by play action. Their one weakness per say is their rush defense though, which plays into the Browns hands, as they have one of the league's best rushing offenses. On the other side, the strength of the Browns defense is against short passes, which is what the Steelers offense relies on. If Cleveland protects the ball, I think they will score, and if they get ahead early, I don't like Pittsburgh's chances coming from behind. While saying all of that, you don't win many games after not practicing all week, and missing a significant part of your team.
5. Baltimore Ravens
4. Tennessee Titans
This matchup will once again by a run game battle. Both offenses are great at doing it, both defenses are not that great at stopping it. In last year's playoff matchup, Tennessee won that battle. Lamar Jackson had 143 yards on the ground, but the rest of the team rushed for just 42 yards. Derrick Henry on the other hand rushed for 195 yards. In addition, in their one matchup this year, the Titans held Jackson to just 51 rushing yards. That was before things really started to click for Baltimore though. The Ravens ended the year on a five game winning streak, while averaging, 37.2 P/GP, and 17.8 Points allowed per game. At this point, I don't see Tennessee's defense getting many stops in this game.