We’re just a few days away from the start of a 36-hour period that will be filled with full do-or-die NFL playoff games. Here are the top individual matchups of the NFL Divisional Round:
Davante Adams vs. Jalen Ramsey: Packers-Rams will feature one of the league’s top three receivers against one of the league’s top three cornerbacks. Adams was a first-team All-Pro with an NFL-high 18 touchdowns this season, while Ramsey received the same honor after averaging just 5.0 yards per target. Both are four-time Pro Bowlers.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Aaron Donald: It’s entirely possible that these two Aarons will be named Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year. Rodgers posted the second-highest passer rating in NFL history this season, but he’ll be hunted down by a six-time first-team All-Pro in Donald.
Tristan Wirfs/Donovan Smith vs. Cameron Jordan/Trey Hendrickson: Wirfs shined as a rookie right tackle for the Buccaneers, while Smith is a fairly steady presence on the left side. Both should have their hands full with a Saints pass rush featuring a six-time Pro Bowler in Jordan, along with a breakout star in Hendrickson. The latter had 13.5 sacks during the regular season, but is fighting to return from a neck injury.
Alvin Kamara vs. Lavonte David: David represents the Bucs’ top-ranked run defense in a matchup with the league’s regular-season touchdown king. Kamara is also a huge factor as a receiver out of the Saints backfield, and the veteran David will be responsible for keeping him in check on the ground, as well as through the air.
Stefon Diggs vs. Marlon Humphrey: Diggs led the NFL in catches and yards during the regular season, but now he’ll have to deal with a strong trio of cornerbacks in Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and Jimmy Smith. Humphrey is the most talented in coverage and will likely spend most of his time with Diggs when the Ravens host the Bills on Saturday night.
Lamar Jackson vs. Matt Milano/Micah Hyde/Jordan Poyer: That Buffalo safety/off-ball linebacker trio will be chiefly responsible for holding the oft-unstoppable Jackson in check after a three-game stretch in which he rushed for 313 yards.
Joel Bitonio vs. Chris Jones: The steady veteran Browns guard is hoping to be back and recovered from COVID-19 in time for a matchup with one of the most dominant interior rushers in the NFL. Jones is a huge reason the Chiefs won last year’s Super Bowl.
Tyreek Hill vs. Denzel Ward: Ward is also trying to get back from a bout with COVID-19. He allowed a sub-80 passer rating on throws into his coverage this season, but the speedy Hill and Patrick Mahomes provide one hell of a challenge Sunday afternoon.