2023 NFL Divisional Sunday

Posted: January 23, 2023 in All Things Power Spread

The Game everyone is waiting for. Possibly THE “Game of the Playoffs” between Buffalo and Cincy. The winner could be our Super Bowl Champion in February!

SanFran vs Dallas is arguably the next most anticipated game of the weekend. Both teams looked strong in their Wild Card games.

Both games today, along with the Giants/Eagles on Saturday have a lot of history behind them.

LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!

Bengals at Bills

Both teams are on a roll, but the Bills have had a much crazier up and down year than the Bengals. Talent Scheme Culture on both sides. Injuries as well. It comes down to Bengals Efficiency vs Bills Fight!

Talents

See my WC Preview or listen to my WC Podcasts and you will get a lot of info about the talent on both sides. The big focus here has to start at QB. Both are young players at the top of their game. Who has the edge?

Burrow in my mind is playing better than he’s ever played. He’s starting to do the things the top QBs do. (Vid)

Allen has already been one of the best and continues to get better, but… he has tended to get over aggressive and shaky with the football this year. You never know when that big fumble or interception is coming from him.

I also think Allen can single-handily make bigger plays than Burrow with his legs and arm.

Allen has Diggs and Davis w/ TE Knox and new Slot WR Shakir. Burrow has the unstoppable Chase and Higgins along with TE Hurst and Slot WR Boyd.

Both Defenses have good talent. Bills and Bengals have good edge rushers and strong DTs. The Bengals LBs are excellent – especially vs the pass. The Bills may be better. The DBs are pretty equal because Hyde is still out for the Bills and White is still getting his grove on.

SpTeams are very interesting as the edge would have gone to the Bengals at the start of the year. Now the Bills have picked up dynamic KR/PR Hines and the Bengals star K McPherson suddenly looks shaky!

Coaches

Zach Taylor and Sean McDermott have both created strong Cultures and their Teams were rolling heading into the Playoffs.

The offenses have strong schemes. The Bills are PS Pro under Dorsey, left over from Daboll. The Bengals are McVay like, but with more PS Concepts. Power Runs w/ Spread Passing and of late a lot of Quick Game, which will work well with their banged up Oline vs the Bills aggressive D.

The Defense of the Bill’s DC Frazier mixes pressure with a lot of Match Coverage. The Bengals DC Anarumo can get conservative a bit, but if he doesn’t he really mixes coverage well with some surprising pressure.

Anarumo got too conservative early vs the Ravens, then pumped it up late. He needs to stay aggressive all game long vs Allen and the Bills for the Bengals to have a shot. Anarumo doesn’t need to be as aggressive as the Dolphin’s DC Boyer the week before, but he needs to get some pressure on both the run & pass game right from the start.

Momentum + Injuries

Each Team has a different Cultural Momentum right now but both are strong.

The Bills believe they can do whatever it takes to win no matter what the circumstances.

The Bengals are simply Confident and Fired Up to get back to the Super Bowl and close the deal.

Both Teams probably think it’s OUR Time – OUR Year.

The Bills our banged up on the DLine. The Bengals our even worse on their OLine with 3 starters now out! The Bengals D is healthy, while the Bills O is as well.

On D the Bills may also be without a starting CB & S plus a LB. They are already w/o Von Miller and Micah Hyde, but do have depth.

Is the Bills D issues worse than the Bengals OLine issues? Depends on how well the Oline holds on for the Bengals. The backups seem better at run than pass blocking. Not what Burrow wants to hear.

Prediction – Bills (Bengals win DD?)

This is an absolute toss up for me and has huge Super Bowl implications. As I said in my Podcast, I can see the Bengals favored for a double digit win, while the Bills favored for a win overall.

The reason for that is the way the Bills season has gone. Don’t expect it to suddenly change. Like last week the Team was up and down emotionally and execution-wise. Allen and company made mistakes. Fumbles, Interceptions, Dropped Passes & Ints. Yet they were lights out when they had to be.

The Bengals are more talented and more experienced than the Dolphins. Burrow is at his best ever. They got punched in the mouth by a tough rival last week who came in with a great gameplan on Offense. If you go by the opponent – the Bengals should handily win this game.

But it is in Buffalo and probably in a Snow Storm. The Bengals will be fine in snow, but it just seems to set up for the Bills and an another crazy win! It’s forecasted to start in the 2nd Quarter. My guess is that the early lead may become a big factor if the snow doesn’t let up.

Either way – whoever wins this game may be our next SB Champion. The Bengals were my Original Pick at the start of the Playoffs – over the Eagles. The Bills were my pick at the start of the Year. We will see…

Cowboys at 49ers

This game feels a lot like Saturday’s later game. The 49ers and the Eagles are the 2 best teams in the NFC right now. The Cowboys and Giants are coming off big wins and may give their opponents more trouble than originally thought. These two games that originally looked easy to pick aren’t so easy anymore.

Talent

It’s all about Purdy! If Purdy continues to play at a high level, then he’s a match for Prescott and the 49ers Offense is every bit as good as the Cowboys. With the 49ers edge in their front 6 – more depth on the DLine and slight edge at LB – the Cowboys need to have that edge on Offense to win this game.

Both Olines are strong, though I give the edge to the Cowboys. The skill players are close, but I will give that to the 49ers due mainly to McCaffery vs Pollard/Elliot. I go into more player detail in the Podcast.

Special Teams may decide a close game. Both Punters, Wishnowsky & Anger, are strong. So are the returners – McCloud & Turpin. So is the coverage teams.

It comes down to Kickers – Gould for SanFran is a clutch vet – Maher was basically a journeyman Kicker who’s floated around the CFL & NFL for years. He had his best year ever then missed 4 XPts last week. Scary. In a close game the trust is with the Niners.

Coaches

Two great Cultures with great momentum. Two offensive HCs in McCarthy and Shanahan.

McCarthy has give full control to Kellen Moore who does a great job with his Boise St style PS PRO Scheme. It’s not much different than the mis-direction play-action of Shanahan’s PS WCO. Kellen even introduced his Inverse Wishbone last week that included G McGovern in the backfield.

Dan Quinn runs the Cowboys D, which has played well of late. DeMeco Ryans’ SanFran D has been great all year. Ryans mixes up the front & pressure more than Quinn. Both DCs mix their coverage schemes.

Two fired up teams ready to rumble, but I give a slight edge in scheme to the Niners.

Momentum + Injuries

SanFran is on an 11 game win streak! The Cowboys looked awful good last week. Albeit Tampa certainly wasn’t as strong as Seattle. The Bucs were under par all year, while Seattle was coming on late, even as they struggled with some tough games down the stretch.

Both teams are relatively healthy after dealing with injuries throughout the year.

Prediction – 49ers

If Purdy continues to play well, this will be tough for the Cowboys. Their D is good, but not as good as the 49ers. If they can create turnovers or keep the Niners out of the endzone, then Prescott can get the offense rolling again and take charge.

If not, then Zak will feel the pressure in the 2nd Half and the Niners D could cause him to make some mistakes and take the game over late.

If it does stay close, then it’s hard to have confidence in Maher at the moment. Gould is a vet – been here, done that.

Purdy may falter at some point, but I have a feeling it’s not in this game.

Dallas will battle for a while, but finally the pressure gets to Prescott and the Niners O strikes quick. This game won’t get as out of hand late as it did against Seattle, but I do feel like the 49ers will stretch the lead late and cruise to victory in a tough game overall.

~PS

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