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TWO COMPETITIVE CONFERENCE MATCHUPS TO DETERMINE WHICH TEAMS SURVIVE AND ADVANCE

By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.comTwo down and two to go. So who will be the pair of teams to complete the NFL Super Bowl Final Four?  Let’s take a look at Sunday’s matchups:

DETROIT BY 3 OVER TAMPA BAY

So why is nouveau riche Detroit hosting upstart Tampa Bay in the Divisional Round of this year’s playoffs? A lot has to do with its body of work this season, for sure. But the fact of the matter is they arrived after their first playoff victory in 32 years (and second since 1957) when they held off the Rams, 24-23, on this field last week.

It was when the Lions last played in the NFC Central when Rodney Peete’s Lions trounced the Cowboys, 38-6, in the 1991 Divisional Round playoffs. That was before Bill Clinton was first elected President, and a young Barry Sanders dazzled the NFL.

It didn’t hurt that the Lions scored TDs on all three of its visits to the Red Zone last Sunday, while all three of the Rams’ trips to the Red Zone resulted in field goals. In the process, QB Jared Goff set a Detroit record for completion percentage in a game.

Meanwhile, the Bucs jumped all over a deflated Philadelphia squad that flatlined, going 0-for-11 on 3rd and 4th down conversions to finish the season 1-6 following a scintillating 10-1 start. In the meantime, Tampa finished its campaign on a roll, currently riding a 6-1 SUATS and ITS (In The Stats) skein.

Between the Lions likely partying like it was 1999, and the surging Bucs on a free roll and playing with house money, look for Divisional Round dogs off back-to-back wins to improve to 6-1 ATS of late.

KANSAS CITY BY 3 OVER THE BILLS

The fast-closing Bills find themselves in a comparable role this season as last year when they closed the campaign on a five-game win skein (seven last season) entering the playoffs.

And like last year they went on to win a Wild Card game before advancing to the Divisional Round, where the Bengals sent them packing in a 27-10 home loss.

Interestingly, of the eight teams arriving in this round of the playoffs, four of them rank in the Top 10 in both offense and defense.

The Bills and the Chiefs are two of them. It’s our educated guess that two of the four defensively staunch squads will be meeting in Super Bowl LVIII, with the Chiefs looking to repeat.

Patrick Mahomes is 2-0 in the postseason against Josh Allen – both wins coming at Arrowhead – but this will mark the first road playoff game in his career.

So, how will he and the Chiefs respond against the hottest team in the league? That’s the question. What we know for sure is the Patomic Bomb is also 11-1 ATS in his NFL career as an underdog, winning eight of the games outright.

Head coach Andy Reid’s frozen mustache hopes to thaw out in the Buffalo climes this week, where he’ll take a 7-4 ATS career mark as a playoff dog, and a 9-4 SUATS career mark

in postseason games between the 3s (+3 to -3). The points are tempting for a team that owns the best ‘In the Stats’ record (13-4) at this stage of the playoffs.

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2 Responses

  1. Congrats !! Some teams usually find a way to Win ,or in the Bills` tradition, lose big time games…..Still cannot believe that yrs ago they lost those Super Bowl games with such lineups !!

  2. No football fan can forget. Certainly the “wide right” FG was the most painful … Go Big Blue …

    And will pass along your kudos to Mr. Lawrence …

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