NFL Playoff Picks: The Divisional Round
The Wild Card round of the playoffs is in the books, and while the Minnesota Vikings may have been eliminated, the playoffs continue to rumble onto the Divisional. And so, for this week’s NFL playoff picks, we’ll examine each of the four games to pick winners in each game. Before we get into the picks, here’s a reminder of last week:
- 49ers -9.5 (W)
- Jaguars +2.5 (W)
- Bills -13 (L)
- Vikings -3 (L)
- Bengals -8.5 (L)
- Cowboys -2.5 (W)
Season Record: 63-65-5
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs
- Spread: Chiefs -9
- Jaguars ML: +380
- Chiefs ML: -420
- O/U: 52 points
Frey’s Pick: Jaguars +9
The Chiefs beat the Jaguars by 10 during Week 10 of the regular season, but that was before Jacksonville caught fire down the stretch of the regular season. In the meantime, the only teams that Kansas City has beaten by double-digits since that game are the tanking Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, and the already-eliminated Seattle Seahawks.
The Jags probably won’t win this game, but coming off their 27-point comeback against the Chargers last Saturday night, they will find a way to keep this game close.
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
- Spread: Eagles -7.5
- Giants ML: +280
- Eagles ML: -335
- O/U: 47.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Eagles -7.5
Don’t let the Giants last game against the Vikings defense fool you; they are not juggernauts on the offensive side of the ball. The Vikings fired Ed Donatell this week, and there’s a reason for that. Their defensive scheme simply wasn’t good enough to compete.
The Giants have just two games this season of 30+ points and only four games of 400+ yards this year. They did both against the Vikings last weekend and still very well could have lost that game if Kirk Cousins had found a way to lead another 4th quarter comeback. Take the Eagles to comfortably win this game.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills
- Spread: Bills -5.5
- Bengals ML: +210
- Bills ML: -250
- O/U: 49 points
Frey’s Pick: Bengals +5.5
This is the likely the most anticipated game of the weekend for many folks. The Bengals and Bills met a few weeks back, but the game was ultimately cancelled after Damar Hamlin had to receiver CPR on the field and be rushed to the hospital. Luckily, everything appears to be on the up-and-up for the Bills safety.
As for this matchup, the main topic of discussion has been the Bengals offensive line. They are extremely banged up and will go into this game with just two of their five usual starters. So basically, this is a group on par with the one Cincy had when they made a Super Bowl run last season.
On the other side, though, it’s not exactly like the Bills have been All-World in terms of their pass rushing abilities. They lost Von Miller earlier in the season, and they finished tied for 14th in sacks and 14th in pressure rate. With all the weapons that Cincy has on offense, this won’t be as big a mismatch as some think even in Buffalo.
Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers
- Spread: 49ers -4
- Cowboys ML: +175
- 49ers ML: -205
- O/U: 46.5
Frey’s Pick: 49ers -4
If Dak Prescott looks as good as he did on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there’s a good chance that the Cowboys can win this game. However, last week he was going against a defense that, while good, hovered closer to the league average in many defensive categories.
Meanwhile, this 49ers defense is not average in any way. They are first in scoring, second in yards, third in yards per play, and third in turnovers. For Prescott to lead Dallas to its first NFC Championship since 1995, he will need to be perfect. I’m not quite convinced that he will be.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.
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