NFL playoff predictions: Lions vs. Buccaneers, Bills vs. Chiefs picks, odds
DETROIT LIONS (-6.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Over 48.5
For much of the past 50 years, this matchup would be more toilet bowl than road to the Super Bowl. When I mentioned earlier that all of the fraud teams are gone, theres a part of me that believes the Bucs could be part of that group but got a reprieve because they were playing an Eagles team that had completely imploded long before their plane landed at TPA.
The No. 1 story of these entire playoffs for my money is the Lions quest to make it to their first Super Bowl. Detroit legend Eminem explained it all beautifully in NBCs introduction last Sunday.
The first step was surviving Matthew Stafford and the Rams, and though it got dicey in the second half, survive the Lions did. Now I think they can let loose against the Bucs, whom they methodically defeated, 20-6, in Tampa on Oct. 15. Detroit scattered its scores, one in each quarter, and the margin of victory ended up more than doubling this spread.
Jared Goff threw for 353 yards in that game, and Im expecting a lot more flair to this one. And though theres a long way to go from that total of 26 points to this one, I think if the Bucs are going to improve it will be on offense where Rachaad White, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are having some success of late.
Sean McDermott clebrates after the Bills’ AFC East-clinching win over the Dolphins. Getty Images## BUFFALO BILLS (-2.5) over Kansas City Chiefs; Over 45.5
The NFL saves the best for last. The Bills finally get the Chiefs to visit Orchard Park, with many more feet of snow to fall before the Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift arrive.
Mahomes has played 12 home playoff games and three Super Bowls. Yes, the Chiefs lost 31-9 in the Bucs home stadium in Super Bowl LV, but there was a league-wide distribution of tickets. Sunday it will be almost exclusively Bills fans.
The past five meetings occurred at Arrowhead Stadium, with the Chiefs winning the two playoff clashes and the Bills winning there the past three regular seasons. I believe the Bills respect the Chiefs but dont fear them.
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Of all the quarterbacks remaining, Josh Allen looks to be the one who can conjure up touchdowns from any part of the field with his will, his wheels, his arm or whatever else he needs. And it seems he has a deeper group of weapons than Mahomes has with Stefon Diggs, James Cook, Dalton Kincaid and Dawson Knox trumping Kelce, Isiah Pacheco and Rashee Rice in my opinion.
Im not wild about betting money against the Chiefs. After the Andy Reid-mustache-freezing conditions they endured last week, theyll be unfazed by any conditions. Steve Spagnuolo has perhaps his best defense yet in Kansas City, and it may take only one turnover of Allen to swing the result.
I further believe this is the Bills time to get to the Super Bowl with Allen in Year 6 of whats been an excellent career.
Bills, 28-23Last week: 7-5 (2-4 sides, 5-1 Over/Unders) Lock of the week: Lions (Locks 5-13-1, including playoffs).
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