Matchups, predictions, and odds for NFL Divisional Playoffs
In this week's Out of the Vault newsletter...
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs 🪓
Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills 🐃
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles 🦅
Matchups and picks 🏈
The journey to Super Bowl will take another tumultuous turn for these eight teams still in the title hunt as the NFL playoffs enter the Divisional Playoffs. After this weekend's battles, only four teams will get a chance to advance and move closer to football immortality.
The re-entry of top-seeds Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles into the fray has undoubtedly added more intrigue to the tournament. Fresh from a two-week rest and enjoying the luxury of avoiding the Wild Card carnage, the NFL's best two teams from the regular season will try to pick where they left off and assert their dominance against the Jaguars and the Giants, teams that are hungrier and more battle-tested.
Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills will meet for the second time in three weeks and the first since their regular-season game was canceled due to the frightening, life-threatening injury of safety Demar Hamlin. With the stakes higher than ever this time around, expect these two tough squads to throw their bodies all over the field with the scenes of the horrific injury still lurking in the back of their minds.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs
The quest for another Super Bowl championship begins this Saturday for the Kansas City Chiefs as they take on the upset-minded Jacksonville Jaguars on their home field.
The Chiefs will step into the field as the clear-cut favorite, with ESPN Analytics giving them a 78.5 percent chance of winning their playoff matchup against the Jags.
However, the public seems low on the possibility of a blowout win for Kansas. So far, the Chiefs are just a 51 percent favorite in covering the -8.5-point handicap.
Despite a mediocre 9-8 record in the regular season, the Jags proved they could pull off surprises in the postseason after edging the Los Angeles Chargers. 31-30, in last week's wild-card game. On a side note, Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence also preserved his immaculate 41-0 career record when playing on a Saturday.
With victories in 10 of their previous 11 games, the Chiefs have been on fire. However, this team has had trouble covering the large spreads in front of them, especially at home. They are only 0-4 ATS in their past four games against teams with a winning record, and they are just 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine games at Arrowhead.
On the other hand, Jacksonville will try to exploit a Kansas City defense that ranks 20th in the league in pass DVOA as it looks to continue its recent 6-0 straight up and 5-1 against the spread streak.
Given that each team has a strong aerial offense and a weak pass defense, the game's total, which is quite high at 52.5, makes a lot of sense.
Prediction: Jaguars 30, Chiefs 37
Spread: +8.5 (-110) / -8.5 (-110)
Total: o/u 53 (-110)
Moneyline: +333 / -450
Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills
The Cincinnati Bengals are poised to make another deep postseason run, hoping to improve their runner-up finish at last year's Super Bowl. Standing in their way is a team whose motivation to win this game goes beyond football.
The Bills, inspired by Demar Hamlin's remarkable speedy recovery from an on-the-field freak accident, march into Highmark Stadium on Sunday with a -4.5 point spread to cover against the defending AFC champions.
Buffalo had to overcome a feisty challenge from Miami Dolphins, 34-31, in their Wild Card game to set up this captivating Divisional Playoffs matchup with one of the hottest teams in the NFL. The Bengals are riding on a 9-game winning streak, including a 24-17 Wild Card game win over the Baltimore Ravens.
The odds in Las Vegas might be favoring the Bills, but 65 percent of the public feel like the Bengals have the edge to cover the spread and perhaps win it outright. Regarding over/under odds, 74 percent of the public votes believe the final score will exceed 48 points given the offensive firepower these two teams can dish out against each other's defenses.
Prediction: Bengals 40, Bills 32
Spread: +4.5 (-110) / -4.5 (-110)
Total: o/u 48 (-110)
Moneyline: +180 / -225
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants lived up to their reputation once more as the playoff's giant killer. New York came through with a 31-24 stunner over the 13-4 Minnesota Vikings on the road. Saturday's Divisional Playoffs matchups against the Philadelphia Eagles, arguably the best team in the NFC in the regular season, will again try to test the mettle of the Giants' young but explosive offensive lineup.
Pinning their hopes on the combo of Daniel Johnson and Saquon Blakely, the Giants will try to capitalize any crack they can find on the Eagles' defense that ranked 8th in points against per game (20.2 points), 2nd in yards allowed (301.5), 1st in sacks (70.0) and 3rd in forced turnover (8).
Philadelphia figured out the Giants easily in their two matchups in the regular season. Then again, the playoffs can offer an entirely different predicament for the Eagles, especially now that the Giants are peaking at the right time.
New York must keep the game close and prevent Philadelphia from starting strong and taking an early lead if it wants to cover and have a chance to upset the Eagles. Unfortunately, the Giants are 24th in season 1Q points allowed and 28th in first-quarter defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders (4.7).
In their latest game on Week, 14 in East Rutherford the over/under was pegged at 44.5 points. The Eagles outscored that total by themselves, scoring 48 points in the rout victory. Both teams rank Top 7 in touchdown % within the 20-yard line and combined to go 6 for 8 in the red zone in that contest.
Prediction: Giants 34, Eagles 49
Spread: +7.5 (-110) / -7.5 (-110)
Total: o/u 48 (-110)
Moneyline: +260 / -350
The NFL Playoffs are heating up and there's no better time to bet on football!
Make sure to track all your bets this weekend in the Vault app to see your stats, trends, and where you're most profitable.