NFL Playoffs divisional round expert picks and odds for Chiefs vs. Bills, 49ers vs. Packers and every other game

Is the divisional round of the NFL playoffs the best weekend of the year for professional football? We’ll let you decide, but there are four great matchups this weekend. After five of six wild-card games ended up being blowouts, here’s to hoping things get more competitive this weekend. Although, based on the spreads, it’s maybe not quite in the cards — three teams are favored by more than a touchdown.

First-year starters C.J. Stroud and Jordan Love were the story of wild-card weekend as rookie quarterbacks guiding their teams to upsets. Now, the journey gets a lot tougher as both quarterbacks face the No. 1 seeds in their respective divisions on Saturday, and both are underdogs by more than a touchdown.

Meanwhile, presumed 2023 MVP Lamar Jackson has a 1-3 playoff record, but those poor performances can be erased with a run to the Super Bowl this year.

The excitement in Detroit hasn’t died down since the Lions’ Sunday night playoff victory over the Rams. Can Jared Goff, Dan Campbell and Detroit beat Tampa Bay to advance to the NFC Championship game for the first time since the 1991-92 season? The Bucs have a top-10 rushing defense that will try to slow down David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs.

Sunday also brings us Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen III. It’ll be the third time the two top quarterbacks face off in the playoffs, with Mahomes winning the first two matchups in Kansas City. Now, the Bills get to host the divisional round matchup thanks to their head-to-head victory in Week 14 — a.k.a. the now-infamous did-Kadarius Toney-line-up-offside? game.

The Ravens are more than a touchdown favorite for Saturday’s game and own a 13-7 record against the spread in playoff games since the start of the 2008 season (the start of John Harbaugh’s coaching tenure).The Ravens are 5-1 in their last six games against teams with winning records this season. The only loss was Week 18 against the Pittsburgh Steelers when Baltimore sat starters.A win would give the Texans their first-ever AFC Championship game appearance. The Ravens have not appeared in the AFC title game since 2012-2013 season went they beat the 49ers to win the Super Bowl.Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has never had a passer rating higher than 78.8 in a playoff game and has been intercepted in all four games. He has a 1-3 record as a starter in the playoffs.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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