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NFL: AFC Divisional Playoffs Preview

The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, led by star QBs Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, are favored to advance to the AFC Championship game this weekend.

But the Jacksonville Jaguars, following their historic 27-point comeback win over the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card Round, and reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals have other ideas. 

Chiefs look to handle surging Jaguars

WhatJacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs
WhereArrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 
When4:30 ET/1:30 PT, Saturday January 21st, 2023
How to watchNBC, Streaming via Peacock, FuboTV
OddsJAX Jaguars +350, KC Chiefs -450

The Chiefs hosted the Jaguars in Week 10, when a 27-17 trouncing dropped Jacksonville to 3-7 on the season and looking unlikely to reach the playoffs.

The Jags have lost just one game in eight since and walk taller now thanks to the continued maturation of QB Trevor Lawrence. The former #1 overall pick should be older and wiser after his experience in last Saturday's wild comeback win against the Chargers. 

After being picked off four times and digging a 27-point deficit before halftime, the former Clemson star led a stunning comeback win with four touchdown throws, including three in the second half.

It is worth noting that the Jaguars outscored the Chiefs 17-7 after falling behind by 20 points in the first half of their regular season encounter. 

Jacksonville's secondary has struggled against elite opponents, and that's exactly what they go up against this weekend in Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and the rest of the Chiefs' dynamic offense.

The Chiefs are 6-3 against the spread in the playoffs with Mahomes as the starter, and are 8.5-point favorites on Saturday.

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Too close to call in Orchard Park

WhatCincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills
WhereHighmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
When3:00 ET/12:00 PT, Sunday January 15th, 2023
How to watchCBS, Streaming via Paramount+, FuboTV
OddsCIN Bengals +205, BUF Bills -245

It's a rematch of the Week 17 game that was cancelled when Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field after tackling Bengals wide-out Tee Higgins. It's worth remembering that if the Bengals had won that Monday night matchup, this Divisional Round clash would have been played in Cincinnati. 

Both teams leaned on their defenses to dodge home upsets over Wild Card weekend. The Bengals required a 98-yard fumble return for a touchdown from Sam Hubbard to shake off the Baltimore Ravens, while the Bills' unit stepped up in the fourth quarter to stop Miami's suddenly potent offense led by third-string QB Skylar Thompson.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow struggled a little on a cold Sunday night at Paycor Stadium, completing fewer than 60% of his pass attempts for 215 yards and one TD. 

Burrow has now won all four of his career NFL starts when the game-time temperature is 32 degrees or under, which it is scheduled to be in Buffalo on Sunday.

Josh Allen, who threw 14 interceptions in the regular season, was picked off twice by the Dolphins in the Wild Card Round.

He made up for it with a couple of exquisite touchdown throws to Cole Beasley and Gabe Davis in the third quarter, powering the Bills to a lead they would not relinquish.

The Bills defense should cause a banged-up Bengals O-line plenty of problems, likely forcing Burrow to make some quicker throws to intermediate or backfield targets. 

On the other side of the ball, the big question is whether or not the Bengals can stop Allen threading the needle to his reliable receiving corps and using his mobility to run for big gains. 

The Bengals struggled to contain Lamar Jackson in a 19-17 loss to the Ravens earlier this season when the dual-threat QB ran for 58 yards on 12 carries and made two first downs. 

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