This weekend’s divisional round of the NFL playoffs is stacked with four more great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score picks.
Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Chalk’s Dave Bearman hands out helpful nuggets, and Matt Bowen points out a key matchup to watch as well. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL playoff football.
Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating: 82.8 | Spread: GB -6.5 (45.5)
What to watch for: The Packers were No. 1 in the NFL in scoring. The Rams were the No. 1-scoring defense. The Packers ranked first in ESPN’s pass block win rate and run block win rate. The Rams’ defensive duo of Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd combined to create 90 pressures, the most of any pass-rushing pair. Throw in All-Pro Green Bay receiver Davante Adams against All-Pro L.A. cornerback Jalen Ramsey and this is the ultimate battle of strength versus strength. — Rob Demovsky
Bold prediction: From 75 and sunny to the frozen tundra, the Rams’ defense isn’t afraid of cold temperatures. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers may have thrown only 89 picks in 6,587 passes over his career, but the Rams’ defense is on a takeaway roll. Watch for one of the Rams’ cornerbacks to pick off Rodgers and return it for their sixth defensive touchdown of the season. — Lindsey Thiry
Stat to know: The Packers’ Rodgers and Adams connected on 76.7% of their attempts this season, the second-highest rate among the 60 QB-WR duos with 150 attempts in the past 20 seasons. But will Ramsey be up to the task on the other side of the line of scrimmage? Pro Bowl receivers have caught 37% of their passes when Ramsey was the nearest defender this season, according to NFL Next Gen Stats data. That’s the lowest allowed by any defensive back. Ramsey also ranks in the top five in lowest completion percentage over expectation allowed (minus-9.3%), per NFL Next Gen Stats.
Injuries: Rams | Packers
Bowen’s matchup key: Rookie Rams running back Cam Akers looked like a veteran in the wild-card win over the Seahawks. Now look for coach Sean McVay to mix his personnel with one- and two-tight-end sets, using inside/outside zone and gap schemes, to open clean lanes for Akers. Read more.Insider
Betting nugget: The over has hit in each of Green Bay’s past five playoff games. But although the Rams’ wild-card upset win went over the total, under tickets cashed in on 11 of Los Angeles’ final 13 regular-season games.