Phil Agius discusses his favorite bets for this weekend's four-game Divisional Round slate.
Kansas City Chiefs -8.5 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles had a bye in the Wild Card Round as the top seeds in the AFC and NFC respectively. This weekend, they join the six winners of last week's games to fill out the Divisional Round slate.
In the AFC we have the big three of the Chiefs, Bills, and Bengals joined by outsiders Jacksonville, fresh off an epic comeback win after trailing by 27 points against the Chargers.
The interesting element in the NFC is that three of the four teams hail from the same division, with the NFC East's top three of the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants joined by the formidable 49ers from the NFC West.
Every game has a favorite of at least four points, but it would be no surprise if the four-game slate provides some close finishes and maybe even a couple of upsets.
|What||Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs|
|Where||Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri|
|When||4:30 ET, Saturday January 21st|
|How to watch||NFL Game Pass, NBC|
|Odds||JAX Jaguars +350, KC Chiefs -450|
The divisional round of the playoffs used to be a graveyard for teams who had won in Wild Card weekend, as they would both go on the road to face a rested home team.
It's not such a big factor these days with only one team getting a bye in each conference since the playoffs expanded to 14 teams and. Both No.1 seeds (the Titans and Packers) lost at home in the Divisional Round last season.
This Jacksonville Jaguars-Kansas City Chiefs matchup, despite having the largest point spread of the weekend, could provide serious drama. Jags quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw four interceptions as his team fell into a huge hole against the Chargers, and although confidence should be high after a comeback for the ages, they are up against it facing the prolific Chiefs offense.
Kansas City went 14-3 this season, winning 10 of their last 11 games. Although you can question the quality of the teams they have played in the last few weeks, the Jaguars may fall flat when facing a proven playoff juggernaut.
The Chiefs' recent run included a routine 27-17 win over the Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium, the venue for Saturday's game, when Andy Reid's team raced into a 20-0 first-half lead.
The Chiefs won seven games by double-digits this season, and their greatest flaw often seemed to be getting a little complacent when facing weak opponents.
The playoff pressure should ensure there is no lack of focus this week, and Patrick Mahomes and co. should roll into the conference championship game with a multi-score win.
|What||New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles|
|Where||Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|When||8:15 ET, Saturday January 21st|
|How to watch||NFL Game Pass, FOX|
|Odds||NY Giants +280, PHI Eagles -360|
Saturday night's NFL playoff game is the third meeting of the season between divisional rivals the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles.
NFC No.1 seeds Philadelphia won both games in the regular season, a 48-22 hammering in New York in Week 14 and a 22-16 home win in Week 18.
The recent game should not be taken too seriously as a form guide, though, as the Giants rested a host of starters including quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley, while Eagles QB Jalen Hurts was rusty as he returned to action after injury.
The Giants made an unexpectedly strong 6-2 start before a mid-season slump, but they looked as good as they have at any point in the season during last week's impressive road win over the Vikings.
Jones looks more assured than at any point in his career, no longer perceived as the team's weak link, while Barkley has been showing the kind of zip not seen since his rookie year.
The Giants are facing a much tougher defense this week, though, and also have to contend with the home team's dangerous wide receiver pairing of AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith.
|What||Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills|
|Where||Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York|
|When||3:00 ET, Sunday January 22nd|
|How to watch||NFL Game Pass, CBS|
|Odds||CIN Bengals +205, BUF Bills -245|
The Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills meet again at Highmark Stadium just a few weeks after their Week 17 game was cancelled after Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field.
That abandonment had a knock-on effect for the playoffs, and if the Bills advance to face the Chiefs next week, the game will be played in Atlanta instead of either team's stadium. The cancellation denied the Bills a chance to overhaul the Chiefs to become the AFC's top seed.
That game started at a tremendous pace with the Bengals leading 7-3 in the first quarter, but we saw enough to expect a similar battle when the teams reconvene this week. It should certainly be close enough to make taking the Bengals with at appealing.
They are, after all, the defending AFC champions, and QB Joe Burrow is playing with a real swagger along with his elite receiving corps of Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. The Bengals have won their last nine games and don't lack confidence.
The worry for Bengals backers is the number of injuries they sustained in a bruising battle with the Ravens last week, particularly on their offensive line, but as long as they can keep Burrow upright, they should have a shot.
The Bills are on an eight-game winning streak themselves, but got into trouble against a Dolphins team playing their third-string quarterback last week, escaping with a 34-31 win, and they could struggle to cover the spread again on Sunday.
|What||Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers|
|Where||Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California|
|When||6:30 ET, Sunday January 22nd|
|How to watch||NFL Game Pass, FOX|
|Odds||DAL Cowboys +170, SF 49ers -200|
While the Philadelphia Eagles looked the team to beat in the NFC in the first half of the season, in recent weeks the San Francisco 49ers have become the team no one wants to face.
The Niners have won 11-straight since losing to the Chiefs in October and evolved into a fearsome unit with rookie QB Brock Purdy leading their offense.
Purdy was the last player selected - out of 262 - in last year's NFL Draft, but was thrust into the spotlight due to injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo. He's looked comfortable and it is hard to see how Purdy won't retain the job heading into next season.
The 49ers are the smallest of all this weekend's favorites at -4, and yet they are one of the hardest teams to oppose in the league in their current shape.
The Cowboys were arguably the most impressive winners of the Wild Card Round, dominating a tired-looking Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, but they face a much tougher test this week and the 49ers are fancied to produce another power-packed performance to cover the spread.
Any odds displayed are correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.