The Journal Gazette
Sunday, January 17, 2021 1:00 am

Jaws' Playoff Picks

We got the feel-good story of the Browns winning a playoff game and now facing the defending champions and the age-old story of two quarterbacking legends maybe facing off for the final time. Let's see how the those teams are feeling after today.

On to the divisional round ... 

Cleveland at Kansas City

Time: 3 p.m. (CBS)

Records: Browns 12-5; Chiefs 14-2

The skinny: Cleveland surprised everyone except themselves with their destruction of the Steelers, accomplished without their head coach, some assistant coaches and several players. It helped that Pittsburgh couldn't snap the ball or quarterback Ben Roethlisberger couldn't find his own receivers, but a playoff win is as rare in Cleveland as is a playoff berth. The Browns' best bet for an upset is to run the ball with Nick Chub and ex-Chief Kareem Hunt. But even a ball-control attack may not be enough. Kansas City is rested and ready as it got the lone bye this year as the top seed and may come out slow as a result, but I can't see Cleveland slowing Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill for long. Remember, the Chiefs rallied in all three playoff games a season ago en route to the Super Bowl title. Oh, and rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire should return from an injury.

Prediction: Chiefs 34-24

Tampa Bay at New Orleans

Time: 6:40 p.m. (Fox)

Records: Buccaneers 12-5; Saints 13-4

The skinny: The History Channel should be showing this game. Tom (43 years old) Brady vs. Drew (42) Brees. Once more for auld lang syne. Both quarterbacks are marvels to be playing – and well – at the combined ages of 85, the highest in NFL history. Brady is out to show he can win a title (his seventh) without the Patriots and Bill Belichick. He has won a record 31 postseason games and passed for 381 yards last week, a franchise postseason record. It will be his NFL-record 43rd playoff start. He's been handed a talented team with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Ron Gronkowski, Cameron Brate, Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. The defense gets linebacker Devin White back, which will help against the Saints' running attack led by Alvin Kamara. Brees is rounding into form coming back from multiple rib fractures and receiver Michael Thomas came back from an ankle injury. The key for the Saints defense is pressure on Brady from defensive end Cameron Jordan, who has 51/2 sacks, eight tackles for loss and four passes defensed in 10 career postseason games. Defensive end Trey Hendrickson led the Saints and tied for second in the NFL with 13˝ sacks, but missed New Orleans' playoff opener with a neck injury. The Saints need him back this week.

Prediction: Buccaneers 27-24

Last week: 4-2

– Mark Jaworski, The Journal Gazette

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