NFL Playoff Bracket 2021: Picture, Scenarios for AFC, NFC Divisional Round

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2021

NFL Playoff Bracket 2021: Picture, Scenarios for AFC, NFC Divisional Round

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    The NFL's first Super Wild Card Weekend certainly lived up to its billing. Its six games featured a bit of everything, from defensive battles and upsets to back-and-forth point-fests and bad attitudes. When the smoke cleared, we were left with eight teams and the divisional round.

    For fans who may have felt that the six-game weekend was a little odd, things will be more familiar from here on out. We'll get four games in the divisional round, two conference championships next weekend and then Super Bowl LV two weeks after that.

    This weekend, we'll have two games each on Saturday and Sunday. Here, you'll find a look at the divisional-round schedule, some potential playoff scenarios and the latest Super Bowl odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.


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    Don Wright/Associated Press

    5. Baltimore Ravens at 2. Buffalo Bills (Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC)

    6. Cleveland Browns at 1. Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET on CBS)


    Saturday night will feature perhaps the most exciting game of the weekend, when the Baltimore Ravens take on the Buffalo Bills. These are two legitimate Super Bowl contenders, and both feature dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks.

    Baltimore's Lamar Jackson is the reigning NFL MVP, while Buffalo's Josh Allen has emerged as a viable candidate for the honor this season. There should be a fair amount of back-and-forth in this game and an entertaining clash of styles.

    The Ravens feature a largely ground-based offense, while the Bills like to air it out with Allen and 2020 addition Stefon Diggs.

    The Cleveland Browns provided the biggest upset of this past weekend, due to the COVID-19-related absence of several key players and coaches, including head coach Kevin Stefanski. While it's unfair to count any team out in a postseason setting, most are expecting Cleveland to be routed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

    "The Browns are going to clapped next week," Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Chase Claypool said in a video posted by ESPN.

    If Cleveland does somehow pull off another upset, it won't have a chance to host the AFC title game. The Ravens only have a shot if both road teams win here. The Bills will visit the Chiefs if both home teams win in the AFC.


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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    6. Los Angeles Rams at 1. Green Bay Packers (Saturday at 4:35 p.m. ET on CBS)

    5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2. New Orleans Saints (Sunday at 6:40 p.m. ET on Fox)


    As was the case in the AFC, two of the weekend's road teams won on Wild Card Weekend. The Los Angeles Rams upset the Seattle Seahawks, and while their upset wasn't quite as surprising as Cleveland's, they were hampered by injuries.

    Two weeks removed from thumb surgery, Rams quarterback Jared Goff was forced into the game after John Wolford was knocked out of it.

    This sets up a potentially fun battle between defensively dominant Los Angeles and the Green Bay Packers. It should make for an exciting afternoon of watching Jalen Ramsey and Davante Adams do battle, while Aaron Rodgers tries to avoid Aaron Donald and the L.A. pass rush.

    Donald is dealing with torn rib cartilage, though he does expect to suit up against Green Bay.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also emerged victorious and will have Round 3 against the rival New Orleans Saints. Fans will enjoy one more battle between Tom Brady and Drew Brees—their first in a playoff setting—though it's worth noting New Orleans won both of the regular-season matchups quite convincingly.

    The Rams have no shot at hosting the NFC Championship Game next week, though the Buccaneers could if both road teams win this week. We'll get the Saints at the Packers if both home teams come out on top.

Updated Super Bowl Odds

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Kansas City Chiefs 2-1

    Green Bay Packers 15-4

    Buffalo Bills 13-2

    Baltimore Ravens 15-2

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-1

    Los Angeles Rams 20-1

    Cleveland Browns 30-1


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