NFL forecast: upsets and shut-outs lead to unexpected victories

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Cleveland Browns, and quarterback Baker Mayfield advance in the playoffs to face The Kansas City Chiefs.

It was Super Wild Card weekend in the NFL this past Saturday and Sunday. It proved to be two days filled with surprising upsets. With three games on both Saturday and Sunday, it was a packed schedule. Saturday, the Indianapolis Colts at the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams at the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Washington Football team.

The Bills pulled off a narrow victory over the Colts in a 24 to 27 game. Philip Rivers, the quarterback for the Colts, had a good game having completed 27 out of 46 of his passes with 309 yards and two touchdowns going to Zach Pascal and Jack Doyle. The Colts’ running back, Jonathan Taylors, also had a 10-yard rushing touchdown. Their defense also had a good day with 1.5 sacks on the Bills quarterback (QB). Speaking of the Bills, they had a great game offensively and defensively. Their QB Josh Allen completed 26 out of 35 of his passes for 324 yards. He had two passing touchdowns to former Viking Stefon Diggs and Ole Miss alum Dawson Knox and another five-yard rushing touchdown from none other than star quarterback Josh Allen. The Bills’ defense, although managing  no sacks, had a lockdown defense with an amazing secondary quarter and put a lot of pressure on Rivers.

The second game of the day was a face-off between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks, with the Rams pulling off a 30 to 20 victory. A slow-starting game with only three points scored by the Rams in the entire first quarter quickly picked up pace in the second half, with the team ending with 20 points and the Seahawks with 10. The second half proved to be even more electric than the first, with LA and Seattle both scoring 10 more points. The Rams’ QB Jared Goff had a slow game, only making 9 out of 18 of his passes for only 155 yards and one passing touchdown to Robert Woods and a rushing touchdown by Cam Akers. On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks only started scoring in the second quarter with only 10 points. Seahawks QB Russell Willson had a very bad day—in contrast to his usually explosive games, he only completed 11/27 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns with both of them going to DK Metcalf, in addition to an interception.

The third and final game of Saturday was a late-night matchup with Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Washington Football stadium. The Bucs pulled off a 31 to 23 win over Washington—a very slow game that only picked up after halftime. The Bucs’ QB Tom Brady had an outstanding day completing 22 out of 40 passes for 381 yards and two passing touchdowns in the first half, one to Chris Godwin and another to Antonio Brown. The Bucs were  shut out the entire third quarter but came  back to get a rushing touchdown from Leonard Fournette. On the other side of the ball, Washington held their own against the Bucs with rookie QB Taylor Heinicke making 26 out of 44 passes for 306 yards with one TD and one interception. Washington rushing games was what helped them keep pace with the Bucs having two TDs by J.D. McKissic and Heinicke himself running one in. In the end, the Bucs pulled off a great win and are moving on to the divisional round.

Sunday’s first game was a thriller between the Baltimore Ravens at the Tennessee Titans. Both teams played incredibly well. Ultimately, the Ravens were able to pull off a 20 to 13 win. Although Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson had a good game passing wise making 17 out of 24 for 179 yards, the real key to Baltimore’s offense was their run attack having a total of 236 yards rushing, and 136 of those yards were from Jackson himself. Baltimore’s rush offense had 2 TDs, one by Jackson and one by J.K. Dobbins. It was a completely different story for the Titans, with their QB Ryan Tannehill having an equal passing game as Lamar establishing 18 out of 26 for 165, one passing TD and one interception. You can not say the same for the rushing attack, with Derrick Henry having a career-low of only 40 yards rushing and not a single TD. The Ravens dominated this game and moved on in the playoffs.

The second game of the day was a complete massacre as the New Orleans Saints demolished the Chicago Bears 21 to 9. Although it was a slow game with the score being 3-7 at half time, the Saints picked up the pace and scored two more TDs to seal the coffin shut on the Bears season. Saints QB Drew Brees had a field day against the Bears secondary—he made 28 out of 39 of his passes for 265 and threw two TDs to Latavius Murray and returning star Michael Thomas. There was also one rushing TD by Alvin Kamara, who had 99 yards rushing this game. On the other hand, the Bears were shut out nearly the entire game, managing to only score a field goal in the first half and later coming back to make one last TD at the of the 4th quarter. As the Saints had an amazing game, they are now moving on.

The final game displayed a shocking victory by the Cleveland Browns over the Pittsburgh Steelers winning 48 to 37. Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield had a great day, making 21/34 of his passes for 263 yards and three TDs to Austin Hooper, Nick Chubb and Jarvis Landry respectively.  Cleveland’s rushing attack was dominant with 127 yards and two TDs from Kareem Hunt. On the other side of the field, the Steelers also had an incredible day with Ben Roethlisberger making 47 out of 68 of his passes for 501 yards four TDs and four interceptions. Two of those passing TDs went to Chase Claypool and one went to both Eric Ebron and JuJu Smith-Schuster. It was a high scoring game with two amazing teams. In the end, the Cleveland Browns advanced.

A preview of next week’s games for the Divisional Round of the playoffs on Saturday has the NFC first ranked Green Bay Packers vs. the Los Angeles Rams at 3:35 p.m., the second game will be between The Baltimore Ravens vs. the Buffalo Bills at 7:15 p.m. On Sunday, we have the Cleveland Browns vs the previous Super Bowl ChampionsThe Kansas City Chiefs at 2:05 p.m., and the second game is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the New Orleans Saints at 5:40 p.m.