Dusseldorf Eight teams are still fighting for the Super Bowl. In the Divisional Round, things could get damn close anywhere this weekend. Ex-professional Sebastian Vollmer types the encounters.
Only eight teams are still fighting for entry into the Super Bowl, which takes place in Los Angeles on the night of Sunday February 13th to Monday February 14th. With the Divisional Round, the playoffs of the National Football League (NFL) finally enter the critical phase. And unlike the wild card round, which saw a lot of clear wins, things could get damn close anywhere now.
“The best teams are left. I hope for all NFL fans that we will now see exciting and good games. Anything can happen in the play-offs,” says Sebastian Vollmer in an interview with our editors. The New England Patriots, with whom Vollmer won the Super Bowl twice alongside superstar Tom Brady, suffered a significant defeat in the wild card round against the Buffalo Bills. “I didn’t think the Patriots would get a smack like that. You clearly lost. You have to admit that,” says Vollmer, who was “very impressed” by the Bills’ performance. “The Bills are an amazing team.” Quarterback Josh Allen and his team have shown they have the potential to make it to the Super Bowl.
From a German point of view, there will be no losers in the duel between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. After all, in Equanimeous St. Brown (Packers) and Mark Nzeocha (49ers), both teams have a footballer from Germany on the field. “A German is definitely in the championship game. That’s obviously a cool thing,” says Vollmer.
In addition to taking the penultimate step toward the Super Bowl, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will also be looking to break their playoff curse against the 49ers. The last three duels in the NFL finals went to the Californians. However, Vollmer does not believe in such statistics. For the media it is of course a “nice thing”, says Vollmer, but “Statistics don’t matter, especially in the play-offs”.
Ex-NFL player Vollmer does the divisional round check and explains why he thinks which team will advance to the next round.
Tennessee Titans – Cincinnati Bengals (Saturday, January 22, 10:30 p.m., Pro Sieben and ran.de)
“I believe in the Titans in this duel. If running back Derrick Henry is healthy enough, then Tennessee will win. However, it will be a tight box. Because on the other side there is an offensively dangerous team with the Bengals around quarterback Burrow and receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The team is hot. The first play-off victory after 31 years should have given the team additional motivation. It is questionable whether the shaky O-Line can withstand the pressure. Burrow has been sacked more than 50 times this season. That must be really uncomfortable for the whole O-Line. If you can’t throw the ball because you’re on the ground, then your free receiver won’t help you either.”
Vollmer tip: Tennessee Titans
Green Bay Packers – San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, January 23, 2:15 a.m., Pro Sieben and ran.de)
“Both teams know that the other team can be very uncomfortable. On paper, the Packers are the stronger and more complete team, plus they just have that X-Factor in quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In addition, they have a home game – and can fall back on several top performers. Of course I would treat quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo if he progressed with San Francisco. But I can’t really imagine it. The 49ers could pose a threat to the Packers with their running game.”
Vollmer tip: Green Bay Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Los Angeles Rams (Sunday, January 23, 9 p.m., ProSieben and ran.de)
“I can’t bet against my quarterback Tom Brady, so I’m going with TB12. However, the Buccaneers’ O-Line is worrying me, it could become a sticking point. If Brady can’t be protected, or if he takes hard hits right at the beginning of the game, then it will be noticeable in his performance. If you knock him down early and often, he gets nervous. And with Von Miller and especially Aaron Donald, the Rams’ defense can put a lot of pressure on. But if Brady manages to find his rhythm, you can punch him as much as you want, he doesn’t care.
One factor is likely to be Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford’s form on the day. He has games where he’s the best – and then he has games where he makes inexplicable mistakes and throws the balls elsewhere. If his mistakes are limited, it can be dangerous for the Bucs. Despite everything, I trust Brady.”
Vollmer tip: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kansas City Chiefs – Buffalo Bills (Monday, January 24, 12:30 a.m., Pro Sieben and ran.de)
“The Chiefs’ offense is unstoppable. Everyone knows what Patrick Mahomes and his offense is capable of. I think it’s going to be the most interesting game where Bills defense and Allen’s quarterback play will matter. Allen may now have a playoff win to his credit, but he has yet to prove that he can consistently deliver that performance in the playoffs. However, I see no reason why he should break in. If he keeps playing like this and the Bills work on offense and defense, they have a great chance.”
Vollmer tip: Buffalo Bills
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