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Saturday Divisional Round Discussion

Davante Adams
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

This is the open discussion thread for both of Saturday's divisional-round playoff games: Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay followed by Baltimore at Buffalo.

Comments

164 comments, Last at 18 Jan 2021, 9:26am

1 Cooper Kupp out, Donald…

Cooper Kupp out, Donald banged up, and Goff's thumb dislocated, this is not a pretty situation for the Rams. 

4 I'm not worried about Goff

Kupp was a big concern for the Packers D; they've been vulnerable over the middle all season. Donald is always a concern and I doubt his injury will make much difference. Goff doesn't worry me much, but Akers has been getting better all season. The Packers signed Snacks Harrison to help against the rush; he should play about 20 snaps though it could go up or down depending on how close the game is. Sunset in GB today will be around halftime (4:40 CST). Kickoff temp won't be bad with no snow to speak of, but it will feel colder when they come back out of the locker room after halftime. It will be interesting to see how the Rams react, especially if the Pack already has a lead. 

5 I don't believe Donald's…

I don't believe Donald's injury is a trivial matter; he sat out the entire second half last week. And Goff may not worry opposing fans, but the Rams are going to need some passing threat if they are to win. If he is severely hampered, then they are screwed. 

 

3 A few more picks! These are…

A few more picks! These are guaranteed to be wrong, unless they're exactly right.

 

LA @ GB -6.5 / 45.5

    LA starts off cold, for reasons very much like @BJR said. And the cold. They make some hay in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but the Pack is too much and pulls away late. 17-31.

 

Bal @ Buf -2.5 / 49.5

    Two of the hottest teams facing off. Bal start well, but Buf keeps too much pressure on with their high-flying attack, leading to some late-game setbacks. 20-28.

 

Cle @ KC -10 / 57

    KC is going to score 3 TDs in 3 drives at some point. If it's early, the Browns gets some late-game points. If it's late, the Browns have a short-lasting lead. 27-40. (And congrats to the Browns and all their fans! That might be the most cathartic end to an era of futility any of us ever see.)

 

TB @ NO -3 / 52

    Of course Brady('s team) wins. For 20 years now, we've only watched to see who comes in 2nd place. 33-27.

 

109 LA @ GB -6.5 / 45.5     LA…

LA @ GB -6.5 / 45.5

    LA starts off cold, for reasons very much like @BJR said. And the cold. They make some hay in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but the Pack is too much and pulls away late. 17-31.

Props on nearly nailing that game. What you didn't account for is the crappy GB special teams making the score so screwy. Though admittedly the GB special teams failed at something (extra point snap) that isn't what they normally fail at. But it's why LA went for 2 to get to 18 instead of being at 17. GB really should have been 34 instead of 32. But I'll grant that getting a FG at the end of the 1st half in 29 seconds isn't a gimme. But yeah you nailed the score and mostly the game flow, GB just took their time and scored a TD in the 2Q that was mostly from a drive in 1Q.

6 Aaron Donald did not look…

Aaron Donald did not look himself on the replay of that run by Dillon. Didn’t really put up a fight against Jenkins. Jenkins is good but not that good.

16 Jenkins is that good

Huh? I think he's currently the best player on the Packers OL, including Linsley. (Bakhtiari is better, but I'm not counting him.) The Rams will need to move Donald elsewhere if Donald is to be effective. 

19 I mean I agree with you and…

I mean I agree with you and DPF: Jenkins is really, really good. I expected him to hold up well. But Aaron Donald is a unanimous all-pro and has been an all-pro for like 5 years straight, and Jenkins is straight up dominating him. That to me says Jenkins is still really good but Donald doesn’t look right.

7 MVS with a tough catch…

MVS with a tough catch opportunity but should’ve caught it. Ramsey blanketing Adams in the red zone.

11 I figured the Packers would…

I figured the Packers would try to run a fair bit to try to neutralize Donald, but he's out and they're really not having trouble going right up the gut so far.

UPDATE: Well he's back, apparently - and getting in fights with Elgton Jenkins for some reason.

12 Great play design

That Adams TD was an awesome design. Even if Ramsey hadn't been picked by his own man the timing on Adams hitting full speed and the throw made that hard to cover.

That was awesome.

17 No flag?

In reply to by DisplacedPackerFan

Looked to me as if Adams was running toward the line at the snap. Even on replay. 

13 Every play the Rams line up…

Every play the Rams line up Donald over Elton Jenkins is a win for GB in my book. I’m amazed and thankful they aren’t targeting Lucas Patrick.

18 So far this game has been an…

So far this game has been an example to me of why good offense is not as great of a viewing experience as it is often thought to be. The Packers are facing little resistance as they march up and down the field. There's very little drama and no reason for Green Bay to push the ball down field when lower risk plays are easily available to them.

20 I think GB is playing…

I think GB is playing offense smartly though. The Rams are trying to stop the deep passes and the Packers have been patiently finding the underneath routes. The Rams need a pass rush because they aren't punishing the Packers. 

36 This game is the GB offense…

This game is the GB offense. This is what they've done all season. Yes, usually they will find a big play against a lesser defense and those opportunities are baked in to be taken, but the offense is designed to do this. It's built to just hold the ball and trudge down the field. If the opportunity is there to get a big chunk, they'll take it. If not, oh well.

This is not the first game they have had to lean on the running backs and short passes either.

21 Alright, Green Bay looks…

Alright, Green Bay looks massively superior. However, if the Rams can launch a TD drive now that uses up most of the clock we could still go in the half in a one-score game... I'm not holding my breath, but I think that's about the only hope for a competitive second half.

26 I can't tell if GB's…

I can't tell if GB's offensive line is this good or the Rams are this helpless when Donald isn't healthy.

Man, that's two back to back near ints. GB fans must be breathing a heavy sigh while the Rams fans must be tearing their hair out. 

27 Rodgers had three bad throws…

Rodgers had three bad throws and one great one on that drive. Throw to Adams was way behind, throw to Lazard (I think) should’ve been picked and never should’ve been thrown, and the final one should’ve been thrown bc MVS was open with a good throw but again the throw was not placed well at all.

32 I agree those weren't great…

I agree those weren't great throws, but I think they only happened because there was so little time left so a turnover doesn't hurt as much. GB knew they were getting the ball to start the second half so while losing the chance to get 3 more would suck, they could still make it a 2 score game at the start of the second half.

37 The GB line is very good,…

The GB line is very good, but despite all my praise of Jenkins, Donald isn't playing like Donald. 

But Rodgers didn't have his lowest sack rate, by 3%, just because of the scheme. The line is good, and it's coached amazingly well considering all the injuries.

29 As Bad as His Last Two Passes were

well, the decisions to throw into coverage more than the passes... the previous two made up for it, particularly the throw to Tonyan... If Pack can come out and score with the ball here, they'll have Goff where they want him-- 16 pts behind...

33 Goff 9/10

but down 15. Whew. 

38 Rodgers

Rodgers has been a little off on some throws. Nevertheless, he's put it on the receiver's hands just about every time and there have been a few drops.

LA is running out of time to run the ball much. With GB expected to continue to score and control clock, LA needs to lengthen the game now.

39 They have plenty of time

In reply to by JS

The Colts were down 14 just fifty seconds into the fourth quarter. The only important thing was scoring a touchdown, which they did by mixing in some runs against a defense that’s as expecting a pass. The Rams are in the same point—in fact, they’re a long way ahead of where the Colts were. The real problem is going to be stopping GB’s offense. 

43 Um

Which is pretty much what I said. If they can stop GB obviously they have time. If GB gets even a couple FGs then LA needs more possessions and that means mostly passing. So far GB only punted once after a drop and a wind-blown pass. 

47 Not really

In reply to by JS

You said they were running out of time to run the ball much. I disagreed. They ran plenty on that last drive and scored before the end of the third quarter. They have the ball down 7 and still have all the time they want to run. 

42 Rams have three three and…

Rams have three three and out on which they have gained a combined -2 yards... And three long scoring drives.

44 Lazard Hoping

That drop doesnt prove costly. And kudos to McVay for a 2 point conversion that worked as opposed to LaFleur who drew up a stinker... packers should have this one in safe territory but don't. Anything can still happen

57 Agreed, but that play was…

Agreed, but that play was also an opportunity I didn't think would be there. The Rams secondary rarely shifted to help with the run, which is what GB works to make happen, and help create separation like that. 

I just didn't expect them to get an opportunity like that. I expected the runs and the quick passes to Adams and opportunities over the middle for Lazard, Tonyan, and ESB. I expected LA to limit YAC. I expected MVS to beat coverage once or twice with his 50/50 chance to make the play. We saw all that, though it was MVS getting those plays not ESB. I've been surprised by the multiple down field opportunities for Lazard and Tonyan though.

This LA defense is great, and still played well, but without the offense they didn't have enough.

53 Just an excellent…

Just an excellent performance by Green Bay tonight. 7 yards/play against the best defense in the league. Yes Donald was limited but still very impressive.

54 I thought outside of a…

I thought outside of a couple of blown coverages, the rams coverage units held up quite well. They lacked pass rush and it showed. 

GB's offensive line deserves a lot of credit. Yup Donald was hurt, but they created run lanes and gave Rodgers time to scan down the field and then find the right read if it was covered. 

55 Bills are Good

But by pretty much any measure, GB has been best team in league these past couple of months. Impressive win and if the Donald was hurting excuse is used, what about Bakhtiari? Offense is balanced and best in league, Special teams could be their undoing, though

58 Well, objectively, Bakhtiari…

In reply to by oaktoon

Well, objectively, Bakhtiari is a very good left tackle. Donald is one of the very best defenders that ever played football so that's not really a fair comparison.

 

75 Thanks

Thanks chrislong. Bakhtiari is better than very good. He's First Team All-Pro this year and 2018. The other three of the last five years he was second team. That's borderline HoF. Not all-time great like Donald, who is up there with Reggie White for best D lineman ever. But very good for Bakhtiari is a backhanded compliment. 

64 The Real Joke Is This

some radio show earlier today ranked the remaining 8 head coaches

1. Reid (no argument there)

2. Harbaugh (really??)

3. Peyton (I'm probably OK with that

4. mcVay

5. McDermott

6. Stefanski

7. LaFleur

8. Arians

 

So the Number 7 guy has the best W/L % in the history of the league-- and the 2nd best first two years in the history of the league (trailing the guy who was given Montana, Rice and Co in succeeding Walsh-- Seifert).   I laughed hard at the time.. I'm laughing harder now. Lafleur utterly outcoached McVay today...

68 MLF will be higher after today

I'm good with the first three (I agree that Harbaugh is that good.), but only Ariens has a track record among the rest. I'd consider 4-7 yet to be determined, but MLF is building a great argument for #4. 

70 If he wins this SB he's higher than that

A SB and a NFC title game in two years?? Harbaugh has been hit and miss for 8 years now-- and Payton has failed to get a very good NO team to promised land last few seasons-- and his SB was 11 years ago. Yes the no PI call hurt but then again they still had a chance to win that game in OT...

I would jump LaFleur to #2 if GB wins the SB

80 Small sample size for MLF

We'll cross that bridge when we get there. Harbaugh is more accomplished; Super Bowl win (with Joe Flacco, not an AR-caliber QB), one losing record in 13 years, 11-7 playoff record. Right now MLF has been excellent, but it's still very small sample. 

71 Yes, but...

last two years of McCarthy Packers were sub 500-- and Rodgers did not miss games the second year  Last two years of Walsh included a SB win

90 Bill Walsh had Montana and…

In reply to by oaktoon

Bill Walsh had Montana and Young behind him. Those 49ers were stacked even by the standards of 80s dynasties.

Walsh’s 1988 team had as many HOF QBs as the Chicago Bears have had since 1920.

158 Great points Aaron

Those are great points Aaron. Reminds me of Coach Shula's situation in a way. Except he had good success in Miami with Bob Griese and Earl Morrall and then had exactly the same amount of mediocre to no success with Woodley and Strock-1 Conf. Champ. as he did with his 1st Ballot HOFer Marino-1 Conf. Champ. I guess it didn't help that Marino was somewhat playoff challenged a majority of the time. P-F-R did a study that showed that Marino gave his team an overall Value of NEGATIVE 156 for his career.

159 Put that into some perspective

To help put that NEGATIVE 156 into some perspective-Favre's Value was 302, Warner 422, Staubach 461, Aikman 527, Young 580, Elway 767, Bradshaw 903, and Montana 1,292. This study went from '67 thru '06 so there are no final totals for Unitas, Starr, Brady, Brees, P.Manning, etc., etc. They still do this same thing however for the Reg. Season, just not the PO's.

160 My point

My point-I guess having a 1st Ballot HOF QB doesn't guarantee your coach or your team any more success in the playoffs than having a great running back like Barry Sanders does, if that QB has trouble getting it done in the playoffs a majority of the time.

161 Good trivia question

In reply to by Bob Smith

This all leads to what could be a good trivia question-how many 1st Ballot QB's failed to play good enough to help their teams win a League Championship ? I would bet the number is very low.

164 I looked up the answer

I looked up the answer and it turns out that 4 of the 1st ballot HOFers did not play good enough to help their teams win a League Championship while 16 did. Those 4 are Marino, Fouts, Moon, and Jim Kelly. I give Kelly a half credit for a S.B. win because he had his team in position to win the game at the end and it then all depended on a field goal attempt.Jim did his part.

73 Not Hard Here

26-6  and two straight appearances in a NFC title game will never equate to 7th on this list... yeah, SF clobbered them last year. But GB is clearly a much better team this season, and that reflects well on their coach...So he's got to be top 4 IMHO...

76 Going off a two-year sample…

In reply to by oaktoon

Going off a two-year sample vs Harbaugh who has been good for years despite not having anywhere near Aaron Rodgers level quarterback play

79 Lafleur is great but Reid,…

In reply to by oaktoon

Lafleur is great but Reid, Harbaugh, Payton are top tier names. You could argue he should be above Stefanski and McDermott. Maybe into McVay territory now. 

83 Maybe into McVay territory?

And what is that?  32-18 playoff defeat?? I'll flip the Payton PI blown call on McVay. He got to a SB because of a horrendous referee decision, and once there his offense went south... If LaFleur wins this year-- big IF-- Rodgers or no Rodgers, he has gone way past "McVay Territory".

I don't think you just give it to the old guys. if the Saints lose tomorrow, why is Payton automatically in the top three? Stay current....

81 Arians turned an old (I…

Arians turned an old (I believe he was 36 at the time) Carson Palmer into one of the best QBs in the league (arguably should have won MVP) and his team into one of the best in the league in 2015. That's significantly more impressive than anything LaFleur has done. Why Arians would be last on that list I have no idea.

86 not to be tiresome,...

but McCarthy won 11 games in 2017-18.(philbin won 2 when MM was fired) LaFleur has won 26 plus 2 playoff games in the two succeeding seasons...  Out of (how many?) nearly 500 coaches in the history of the league, only one has had 2 opening seasons better than this.  Bruce Arians? Seriously??

156 hot airtime

"Some radio show" is where this kind of take belongs. Winz!

When you add Y1 + Y2 of DVOA, LaFleur comes out well behind Doug Pederson and Mike Tomlin, and just barely ahead of McCarthy, or Bobby Ross.

He's put together a very good offense this season, but it's too early to say more. And, frankly, why would we want to?

65 Mike McCarthy's legacy

In two years, MLF with Rodgers has gotten to the NFC Championship each year. I'm wondering what it speaks to McCarthy's legacy if the Pack make it to the Super Bowl this year. 

67 The Legacy is simple

Good, not great coach who sqaundered some of the best seasons in a Top 5 all-time QB's career. It is very fortunate for GB and Rodgers that they got rid of him when they did-- I wish it had been a year or two earlier, but then again LaFleur would almost certainly not have been hired....

82 Not to mention McCarthy…

Not to mention McCarthy looked pretty terrible in Dallas this year. That said, last year's Packers weren't nearly as good as that NFCCG appearance would suggest.

87 true...

and this year's version might be better than the 13-3 record suggests... Next year a killer 17 game schedule, though, assuming the final game would be KC  KC? BAL/CLEV/PITT/SEA/LAR/ARIZ/SF/NO   take a look at those 9-- wow.... 

66 The Most Important Player Personnel Group Remaining

is the GB offensive line. Again I know Donald was subpar but the others in LA's front 7 are still pretty darn good. GB destroyed them on the ground, Rodgers was not sacked, hurried and I think they only hit him once on a failed 3rd down pass when he was rolling to his right in the 4th quarter. If GB wins the Super Bowl they will be just as important as Rodgers, Adams, Jones or LaFleur 

78 I can only imagine what…

I can only imagine what comments will be said after the Chiefs thump the Browns.

 

I get it when your quarterback play is Hall of Fame level, we're going to get a lot of thoughtful posters and a lot of smug posters. I hate to break it you but one of you is going to end up deeply disappointed at the end of this

85 I'm only up to optimistic at this point

Trust me. I'm not feeling smug. I didn't think the Pack would make it look easy and they didn't. I still give them a 25% chance at best of winning it all. I'm grateful their gawdawful special teams coverage didn't fail them this game. I'm hopeful they win, but I never expected them to get this far this year. AR has been playing unbelievable though, as has their OL. I also believe Bakhtiari is a huge loss and the Rams surprisingly never exploited it. They had one five-man rush all game and it forced a rare punt, so it was five-on-four all game. 

89 Not Smug, Outraged

At how little credit the parts of this team that aren't a HOF QB get... How many people thought they could amass nearly 500 yards today-- with nearly 200 on the ground... They could easily lose next week or in the SB-- but OTOH, they might simply be the best balanced team remaining and are about to win a pretty impressive title given the competition...It is why they play the games...

91 Cuz I've seen this movie…

Cuz I've seen this movie before where a coach wins a title and has another great season and then years later he never replicates the same success.

I get even more skeptical when the quarterback is an all-time great player. It's why practically no one gives credit to any of Peyton Manning's offensive coordinators and why no one thought Bill O'Brien was a genius just because of DeShaun Watson was doing magical things.

 

84 Ravens making some key…

Ravens making some key mistakes so far.

I’ll be amazed if Bills run more than 15 times. They know what they’re good at.

103 The Ravens are doomed

Both Tucker FG attempts hit the uprights. It feels like an omen. 

106 Eh, I dunno

I’m sure Ravens fans aren’t too happy, but the Bills got a rare red-zone FG, a rare FG miss, and a blown fumble on a promising drive. Allen also missed a wide-open bomb for a touchdown into the wind. I wouldn’t fire up the doom train yet. 

107 I think both defenses have…

I think both defenses have played well so far. The qbs feel a bit skittish in the pocket. It's early but this has been a fun game so far

Edit wrote that before Lamar uncorked a great throw on 3rd and long after doing everything they could to give up a safety

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

111 They’ve both played well

Obviously, both teams have left points on the field, but I feel as if the Ravens could have exactly 6, given that they haven’t sniffed the red zone, whereas Buffalo should have at least double digits and could have 17 with some better play. Second-half adjustments will be key. Buffalo has been lights-out in the third quarter for two straight months, so we’ll see what Daboll can come up with. (I’m saying this with 1:03 left on the first half. Maybe Baltimore can drive before the half.)

114 And just like that

Lamar throws a duck into the middle of the field and gets away with it, and the Ravens should be able to get at least a FG attempt here. 

116 These windy conditions favor…

These windy conditions favor the Ravens since they don't rely on the passing game the way the Bills do. Yet Buffalo has looked better most of the game.

119 Wind has definitely helped the Ravens so far

They’d probably be down 13-9, minimum, without it. Fumble luck has broken their way so far, too: they dropped two deep in their own territory but recovered both, whereas Allen turfed it at midfield but didn’t surrender possession. Buffalo’s been better all year, including during Baltimore’s hot streak, so they need something else to break their way. Maybe that’s a big turnover. Maybe that’s more wind. Maybe it’s a big Jackson run. Or maybe they won’t get anything. Who knows?

120 Allen's arm strength matters

This reminds me of a game between the Pack and Bills in Buffalo. It was an extremely windy day. Bledsoe couldn't throw so the Packers sold out stopping the run. Favre could still make some throws. It's not as windy today but Allen, like Favre, has the arm strength to make a difference. 

121 Another third-quarter TD drive

In the beginning of the season, the Bills were coming out flat in the third quarter. Since Thanksgiving, though, they’ve been positively on fire coming out of halftime. Brian Daboll just added another line to his resume with that opening drive. 

125 The Ravens began this game…

The Ravens began this game with a 7 and a half minute drive... And yet, at the end of the third quarter they have scored just 3 and the Bills defense has outscored them.

133 Newbie played it perfect,…

Newbie played it perfect, other than underestimating how far the wind would push his throw.  Blitz didn't phase him, he stepped forward into the pocket and picked out the right guy.  No wind and that's a TD.

Overall, Huntley seemed to make a lot of good reads.  Results weren't there but a great performance under the circumstances, I thought.

 

128 I am stating the obvious,…

I am stating the obvious, but this is why the regular season is important. Not only do you face an easier road, when you get a tough opponent, you get them at home. 

The Ravens are a very good team, but it's unfortunate that their season unravels due to some plays here and there that could have swung their fortunes both times against the Steelers and the Bills. 

The tough thing about Ravens is Lamar is up for an extension. This was their window and so its going to be tough. 

130 Playmakers

Ravens don’t have enough of them. Need good receivers. Jackson doesn’t have enough support. Another center would be good too.

131 No doubt

In reply to by KaosTheory

But I’m not convinced Jackson could take advantage. I don’t know who he’s working with—I imagine he’s working with somebody—but if I were him, I’d give Jordan Palmer a call if he hasn’t already. 

151 Even Rodgers and Brady…

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

Even Rodgers and Brady looked shitty passing to a group of receivers of Baltimore's caliber.

Consider Allen's 2018 crew versus his 2020 crew.

152 Yea but we'll never know how…

Yea but we'll never know how much Allen got better vs his receivers. Its undoubtedly both.

People have tried, but we have no real way of assessing how much supporting casts matter. I will say, Brady's performance this year compared to last is a real eye opener but at least there we knew Brady was unlikely to be a better version of himself considering his age.

132 I go the other way. I don't…

In reply to by KaosTheory

I go the other way. I don't think this offense will utilize a deep group of receivers. I think they are better off going heavy at offensive line and defense. Lamar in an offense unto himself. Save on offense where you can and go heavy elsewhere. 

134 It’s an interesting choice

One of Baltimore’s biggest advantage for the last three years has been their unicorn nature. Teams can’t prep for them like they do for other teams, because they do things no one else does. The more they try to become like purer teams, the easier they’ll be to prepare for. What they really need is a player like Kamara, IMO. 

137 Baltimore with or without…

Baltimore with or without Jackson was at their most effective tonight when they spread it out and passed the ball. They have a run game that is difficult to stop sometimes but their run formations don’t threaten teams in multiple ways. They were hyper-efficient last year throwing and running, showing that Lamar can be effective. This year the passing game declined as teams adjusted and it hurt them big time. They need better WRs to get back ahead of the curve.

139 I watched Lamar a fair…

I watched Lamar a fair amount this year. Hes a weird passer to describe. He throws some lasers and threads it but struggles with a lot of what we might conceive as simpler stuff. I still don't think he sees the field well and he certainly doesn't have the Allen or Mahomes ability to drift in the pocket and fire deep down the field(though I concede that may be a result of the supporting casts).

All that to say, I just don't know if Lamar will ever be good enough as a passer to justify dumping heavy resources into the passing game. I think its better to make the run game ultra dangerous and let his passing play off of that. Let the defense get really good so that eventually teams are worn apart by having to defend the run.

Lamar even at this moment is a tremendous qb. Hes in that second tier with Wilson, Watson, and Allen. If he can improve ever so slightly at passing, he'll go up a tier. 

144 I believe someone commented…

I believe someone commented on this site that Lamar wasn't able to work on his throwing mechanics as much this offseason due to Covid, and that has had an effect on his passing this year.  It's been a weird year; Jackson regresses, possibly due to less work during the offseason, while Josh Allen has improved exponentially, to a degree I would not think possible, possibly due to working on his mechanics this offseason.