Divisional Round Observations

Divisional Round Observations

This article is part of our NFL Observations series.

I went 2-2 against the spread, and my NFFC playoff contests are likely drawing dead with the Ravens and Saints eliminated and Patrick Mahomes missing most of the second half. 

  • The Rams had a chance early, but with a gimpy Aaron Donald and a lack of offensive playmakers couldn't deliver in the fourth quarter.
  • Aaron Rodgers made throw after throw, even with bodies around him in the pocket. He would had an even bigger day but for a drop on a perfect deep throw by Allen Lazard, who later (barely) caught the game-sealing TD.
  • Davante Adams (10-9-66-1) had a modest day and did most of his damage (including a 21-yard catch on a nice double move) when he wasn't guarded by Jalen Ramsey. Adams is an excellent receiver and had an all-time year statistically, but benefitted immensely from an almost ideal schedule. I'll still make him the top fantasy receiver on my board for 2021, though.
  • Aaron Jones (14-99-1, 2-1-14) ran hard and spun out of would-be tackles all game. He's one of the league's best running backs.
  • Cam Akers (18-90-1) looks like the real thing too. Like the other rookie backs, it just took him a while to get going.
  • Jared Goff still has two years left on his massive contract. I don't see how the Rams get away from him for 2021.
  • The Ravens ran every play, and the Bills threw every play. Neither team was efficient, and the total in the game was only 20 points, only 13 of which were scored by the offenses.
  • Lamar Jackson got hurt, but the game was largely in hand at that point. He'll make his fair share of big plays, but defenses got wise to him this year.
  • I know it was windy, but Justin Tucker missing two field goal attempts was shocking to me. It would be like Aaron Rodgers throwing four picks in a game.
  • Or as one of my Twitter followers put it:

Golden era of kickers. Until the playoffs... @Chris_Liss

— Golden Goose (@Mr2sus) January 17, 2021

  • I know he had a modest game, but Josh Allen is money in the bank fantasy-wise the way James Harden (on the Rockets) was – the usage is off the charts. Consider the Bills attempted 37 passes and 16 runs, seven of which were by Allen, who is also their goal line back.
  • If I were going to make someone other than Davante Adams the No. 1 WR next year, Stefon Diggs (11-8-106-1) might be it. But he doesn't get peppered in the red zone to the same extent (20 targets inside the 10, 11 inside the five for Adams, seven and four, respectively, for Diggs on the year.)
  • The Browns-Chiefs was a bad game. From the Mahomes injuries (was it a concussion or did he get choked?), to the pylon fumble by Rashard Higgins, to the missed FG and PAT by Harrison Butker, to the drops by Nick Chubb, to Myles Garrett playing hurt and Jedrick Wills getting knocked out on the first play, to the missed challenge by Kevin Stefanski, to the frivolous challenge by him later. The only exciting part was the game-sealing drive by Chad Henne, especially the 3rd-and-14 scramble and courageous decision by Andy Reid to seal it with a pass to Tyreek Hill on 4th-and-1.
  • Darrel Williams (13-78-0, 4-4-16) ran hard and played well in Clyde Edwards-Helaire's absence. Le'Veon Bell's signing has had about as much impact as Josh Gordon's (too soon, I know.)
  • Remember Mahomes was playing through a toe injury before he got knocked out, so that too could affect his availability for next week.
  • The Browns are set up well for next year, given their backs and offensive line. Baker Mayfield is okay and has a cannon for an arm, but he runs around too much for a not-very-mobile QB. I think he's more in the Jared Goff range (heavily offensive-line dependent) than in the next tier up.
  • The Saints had control of the game, up 20-13 and driving over mid-field when Jared Cook got stripped of the ball.
  • Drew Brees' interceptions sealed the loss, and it might well be the last we see of him.

In sports, endings of careers are usually rough and undignified.

— Seth Horwitz (@SethMHorwitz) January 18, 2021

  • Easily-guarded Mike (Michael Thomas) played all four quarters and was held without a catch

Carlton Davis shadowed Michael Thomas 3 times this season. Shown here are his receiving lines for the game (vs. Davis in parentheses). 

Targ-Rec-Yds-TDs

Wk 1: 5-3-17-0 (4-2-9-0)
Wk 9: 6-5-51-0 (4-3-38-0)
Wk 19: 4-0-0-0 (3-0-0-0)

— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) January 18, 2021

  • Nice throw by Jameis Winston on the TD to Tre'Quan Smith. Given the team's preference for Taysom Hill, it doesn't seem like Winston's part of the team's future plans, though. 
  • It looks like Leonard Fournette was the player to own in NFFC playoff contests. Ronald Jones returned, but the two split work, and Fournette got the catches and another TD.
  • Tom Brady threw a couple passes that should have been picked, but he kept his cool and got the ball out (only one sack.) Rodgers-Brady at Lambeau Field is bigger for Rodgers' legacy than Brady's, but if Brady were to make an 10th Super Bowl –  let alone win a seventh – especially on a new team, it would be bananas. Nolan Ryan's strikeout record might be easier to beat.
  • It's now settled: Belichick was the fraud! It was Brady all along!
  • I like the Bills, but I still want to see a healthy Mahomes against the winner of the Rodgers-Brady matchup.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Liss
Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.
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