Jaguars at Chiefs
The Divisional Round kicks off in Kansas City this year as the Chiefs host Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars. For Patrick Mahomes and Co., they’ll be looking to make their fifth straight AFC Championship, while the Jags are playing just their second playoff game in six years. Currently, the Chiefs are 9.5-point favorites and the over/under is 52.5 points.
For the visitors to win this game, they’ll need to be nearly perfect in all facets. The Jags have recently proven that they can beat good teams, but the Chiefs at home in the playoffs is a challenge they have not seen the likes of. Fortunately, they’re led by one of the best coaches in the NFL in Doug Pederson. Pederson is a smart coach, but he’s also got some tricks up his sleeve (think Philly Special). With the playoff experience that he has and the morale at an all-time high for Jacksonville, I think we can expect a much stronger start than the one we saw last week against Los Angeles.
As for Kansas City, they just need to play their game. If Mahomes and the offence can limit turnovers, scoring a fair number of points is almost a guarantee for them. Although Jacksonville can also score quickly, the Chiefs should be able to rely on a better offence and more experienced team to get the job done regardless. Basically, there’s a reason they’re the biggest favorites of the week. That being said, they weren’t very good at covering large spreads this year.
Giants at Eagles
It wasn’t long ago that the Giants and Eagles played in the worst division in football. Now, the NFC East has three of the four remaining teams in the NFC Divisional Round, making for at least one more great rivalry playoff game. That would be this one. The Eagles will play their first game of the postseason against New York as 8-point favorites with the over/under set at 48.5 points.
Like the Jaguars, the Giants are facing an uphill battle on the road this weekend. If the Eagles are healthy, they’re one of the best teams in the league and can win games in almost every way. For the Giants to steal a win, they’ll have to play this game on their terms and not on Philadelphia’s. Offensively, that means working the clock and running the ball with both Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones. Jones was terrific in last week’s win against the Vikings, and his 17 carries for 78 yards was one of the biggest keys to the team’s success. If the Eagles stuff the run and force Jones to stay in the pocket and pass the ball, New York’s chances in this game go down drastically.
For Philly, Jalen Hurts is the key. If Hurts is fully healthy and able to use his running abilities, the Eagles offence might be too much for New York’s defence. With a healthy Hurts in Week 14, Philadelphia put up 48 points on the Giants defence. Again, like the top seed on the other side, there’s a reason this team is favored by more than a touchdown. However, with some rust to work off against a very familiar and motivated opponent, they’ll need to come out on their A game to make it past the Divisional Round.
The Divisional Round Picks
Even with the cold weather and home atmosphere, this Jaguars team won’t back down from anything. However, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes after a bye week is a scary thing. KC -9.5
With Philadelphia’s health up in the air and a division rival on the other sideline, we think this game stays close. NYG +8
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