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Brady vs. Brees? No. Evans vs. Thomas

Mill Woods

Posted on January 14, 2021 16:29

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NFL fans have waited 19 years to see Tom Brady and Drew Brees compete in a postseason game. But Sunday night’s showdown will actually come down to the play — and the health — of the league’s best receivers. Don't miss the headliner of the Divisional Playoff round this weekend.

Sunday night, NFL fans will finally get the postseason showdown that many have craved since two Hall of Fame QBs starting playing in the pros way back in 2002. But this matchup cannot come on Super Bowl Sunday, and Tom Brady will not be wearing the Patriots’ colors. Brady and the Buccaneers — wearing red and pewter — will try to do what they failed to do twice in 2020: defeat Brees and the Saints.
 
But, in my view, this game will not be decided by the QBs! The receivers’ productivity will determine the winner, and there are question marks regarding the health of the most important one, Mike Evans.
 
The good news for Evans is that he won’t have to slide around on an over-used, slippery Bucs football field — which nearly cost him an ACL in the regular season finale two weeks ago. Last week, Evans played but was far from 100% in the Bucs close playoff win against Washington. It is anyone’s guess how his strained knee is doing now — and that could be the deciding factor Sunday night.
 
Now, to be sure, the Bucs will field a great receiving corps: Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, Scotty Miller and Cameron Brate. But Evans, the NFL’s best receiver — he garnered 1,000 yards in each of his seven years as a pro — is the key to the Bucs’ chances.
 
The Saints also field a powerhouse receiving corps, including WRs Tre’Quan Smith, Deonte Harris, Emmanuel Sanders, and the league’s best TE, Jared Cook. But I think the unstoppable WR Michael Thomas is the Saints’ key to victory. Lately, Thomas is both healthy and not disgruntled.
 
I have a hunch that the status of these receivers tilts the outcome in the Saints’ favor. This shootout should be a classic, and it may never be repeated, so don’t miss it.
 
What we NFL fans are likely to see again is a playoff showdown between the Bills’ Josh Allen and the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson. These two young QBs are on fire. Both can make plays with their arms and their legs, so defenses need to be very careful how they bring pressure. This, in my view, is the tightest contest of the four. Both teams possess a great defense, and both teams play well in even the worst weather.
 
The Browns shocked a lot of fans (including me) with that runaway blowout of the Steelers last weekend. That alone makes their Sunday challenge of the defending champion Chiefs 'must-see' TV. The Browns have their head coach back, but Andy Reid is better.
 
I doubt that the Packers will struggle against the Rams Saturday, because QB Jared Goff and the league’s best pass rusher, Aaron Donald, will be far from healthy.
 
Last week my record was 4-2. Here are the Divisional Playoff games — and my picks:

     Away        Home                My Pick

     Saturday
1.  Rams        Packers             Packers
2.  Ravens     Bills                   Bills
 
     Sunday
3.  Browns     Chiefs                Chiefs
4.  Bucs         Saints                Saints

Don't change that dial!
 

Mill Woods

Posted on January 14, 2021 16:29

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Between them, Drew Brees and Tom Brady have a lot of everything: wins, completions, yards, touchdowns, rings (mostly belonging...

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