The NFL Playoffs will continue on Saturday afternoon and once again, Detroit Lions fans will have to watch other teams compete for the Super Bowl.
The first matchup of the day begins at 4:30 EST and features the Tennessee Titans vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.
EDGE HAROLD LANDRY III, TENNESSEE TITANS
Harold Landry III has one ability that all 32 teams look for: availability. His 2,609 snaps since 2019 are over 250 more than the next-highest edge rusher, and he’s one of just seven edge rushers over the span to crack 2,000 snaps. Los Angeles Rams edge rusher Leonard Floyd is second to Landry with 2,357, and he signed a very respectable four-year, $64 million contract with the Rams this offseason. The two graded similarly over 2019-20, with Floyd slightly outpacing Landry in overall grade (71.0 to 67.3), run-defense grade (72.7 to 71.2) and pass-rush grade (64.1 to 61.8). Being an above-average to good ironman certainly carries value at a spot like edge rusher.
2021 has been a breakout season statistically for Landry as a pass rusher, but no player has benefitted more from cleanup and unblocked pressure opportunities than he has. Landry is a reliable every-down starter, but he's not going to single-handedly change the fortunes of a pass-rushing unit.
S JESSIE BATES III, CINCINNATI BENGALS
Bates was looking for an extension this past offseason, but the Bengals instead chose to prioritize the player they drafted one round after Bates in 2018 — edge defender Sam Hubbard. The Cincinnati defense has taken a step forward in 2021, with recent free-agent additions such as edge defender Trey Hendrickson and interior defender D.J. Reader wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks and cornerback addition Chidobe Awuzie outperforming the man he replaced in Washington Football Team cornerback William Jackson III. Will Bates get his due from the Bengals, or will he be the latest homegrown player to depart?
A year ago, Bates was coming off a career year and looked like the best safety in the game, but it represented a major outlier from the rest of his career and regression hit this season. He is still an impact coverage player at the position who fits in some way in pretty much every scheme in the league.
DI B.J. HILL, CINCINNATI BENGALS
The Giants inexplicably traded Hill and a seventh-round pick for Cincinnati Bengals center Billy Price right before the 2021 season, and Hill has excelled with more opportunities on a less-crowded defensive line alongside nose tackle D.J. Reader. Hill is a solid all-around three-technique with the ability to generate relatively consistent pressure on the quarterback from the interior. With increased playing time, he has a career-high 76.6 overall grade through Week 12, and his five quarterback hits are one fewer than he had in his first three seasons combined.
The fact that Hill hasn't started many games in his first four seasons doesn't mean he can't be a starting defensive tackle for a team with a need at the position. He's a plus run defender who isn't a non-factor in the passing game.