Coming off of Super Wild Card weekend, we have some stellar playoff matchups set for the Divisional Round of the 2022 NFL Playoffs. We’re expecting there to be much more competitive games in this round as almost every team looks to have a legitimate chance at making the Super Bowl. Here are my most likely upsets for this round in order.
1. Buffalo Bills over Kansas City Chiefs
Surprisingly, the Chiefs are the favorites in this one. While I know the Chiefs are a different team from the first matchup, the Bills already handled them once this season. While I don't think it will be that much of a blowout again, I think there’s a good chance Josh Allen and this Bills team gets their revenge from the AFC Championship last season.
The Bills are coming off one of the most dominant performances in NFL postseason history and they did it against Bill Belichick and the Patriots, whose defense is one of the best. If they can have that much success against them, the Chiefs defense should be even easier. Another thing that stands out to me is the defensive comparison. The Bills defense is much better than the Chiefs and defense wins championships. I would take the better defense in the Bills.
2. Los Angeles Rams over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are extremely banged up heading into this one. Most importantly, their offensive line could be missing a few pieces in this matchup. The Rams defensive line is not one you want to go against with backups. If the Rams can get to Brady and force him to move around, I think they’ll win without a doubt.
The Rams already took the Bucs down once this season and they threw all over the Bucs secondary. With as good as their offense has been, I think they’ll get the job done. The only thing that I see stopping them is turnovers. To win this game, Matthew Stafford cannot force passes and I don't think he will.
3. Cincinnati Bengals over Tennessee Titans
The big thing in this game is what will be the status of Derrick Henry. While it’s looking like he’ll definitely play, nobody knows how much the Titans plan on using him. To win this game, he will have to play and get the ball a lot. I don't see how the Titans defense will be able to stop Joe Burrow and this Bengals passing offense. The easiest way to win will be controlling the game on the ground like they did before Henry was hurt.
For the Bengals, they have to stick to what they’ve done over the past few weeks. Joe Burrow has quickly turned into one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL statistically. Early on in the season, he struggled with some careless interceptions, bit he’s really improved as the season has gone on. The defense must force Ryan Tannehill to beat them. I don't think he’s proven he can win in the playoffs throwing the ball and most of his success in Tennessee has been based off Henry’s play.
4. San Francisco 49ers over Green Bay Packers
This is my least confident upset, but nothing would shock me in this one. When I first saw that these two teams would face off, I really thought the 49ers had a good chance. But after hearing what's going on with Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury woes, I don't think I can trust them. Facing Aaron Rodgers is going to be extremely tough for that defense as well.
The Packers are getting healthier and that first round bye was crucial for them. Late in the season, matchups with the Ravens and Browns showed the Packers needed to get their top guys back. While Zaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith are questionable, I think they'll play in a win or go home game. Those two will provide a significant upgrade to an inconsistent defense.