The first week of the NFL playoffs produced eye-catching performances, blowout wins and controversy. As we head into the second and more decisive week of the NFL playoffs, we preview all the games in a two-part series. 

Tennessee Titans vs. Cincinnati Bengals 

We kick off our preview with a huge matchup involving the Tennessee Titans and the Bengals. The hosts haven’t made three consecutive playoff appearances in years but that changes this weekend against the Bengals. Making the playoffs has become the standard under coach Mike Vrabel. As well as being very astute offensively, the Titans have proven to be extremely resilient. 

Tennessee went 6-3 without Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill won 12 games in one of his worst seasons as a passer. The defense also grew tremendously and the numbers are there to prove it. They went from allowing 384 yards and 26.8 points per game in the first six weeks to just 300.3 yards and 17.5 points over its final 10 games. The reward for that huge improvement was home-field advantage, where Tennessee are 7-2 this year.

Cincinnati may be the lowest-seeded team remaining in the AFC, but they should not be underestimated. The Bengals have won four of their last 5 games and there is a good feeling around the squad. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase have done so much for this group and could arguably be the best  QB-WR combination left. Coming up against the Titans who are a bottom-10 pass defense would make an interesting matchup.

(Winners – Tennessee Titans)

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Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers

The Packers are most people’s pick to win the SuperBowl. For one reason and one reason only, Aaron Rodgers. As long as the Packers have him, they have a shot. The Packers are 5-point favorites against the 49ers and considering how good they are at home, it’s not a reach. they’re 8-0 at Lambeau Field and winning all home games has been a working formula. Rodgers finished the regular season with 37 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also hasn’t had a turnover since the middle of November. Green Bay’s defense hasn’t been as sharp as their offense however, giving up 27.3 points per game. However, Jaire Alexander is expected to be back this week while Za’Darius Smith returned to practice after missing time.

The first upset of these NFL playoffs belongs to the 49ers, who held on to beat the Cowboys.They haven’t been an underdog in many games this year but they have looked comfortable playing away from home. They’re now 7-3 on the road with the wins coming by an average of 8.1 points. San Francisco nearly pulled off a home win over Green Bay without Elijah Mitchell in September. They went ahead in the final minute before a late Aaron Rodgers game-winning drive stole the win. The 49ers have been running the ball well in recent weeks and would hope to continue that. They have to depend on Jimmy Garoppolo more, as well as being locked in on defense to stand a chance. 

(Winners – Green Bay Packers)