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NFL Football Divisional Round Preview 2023

NFL Football Divisional Round Preview 2023

NFL Football Divisional Round Preview 2023. Now that the Wild Card Round is complete, the two teams that got byes, Baltimore and San Francisco, have joined in. All the home teams are favorites, which is standard for the Divisional Round. Even though only one of those games looks to be close based on the spreads, there are still chances for upsets, potentially making this one of the most exciting Divisional Rounds in recent years.

All Teams Are in Play for the Next Round

NFL Football Divisional Round Preview 2023

Saturday, January 20
• Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-9.5)
• Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (-10)

Sunday, January 21
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions (-6)
• Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills (-2.5)

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

The Texans will be meeting the same team they lost to in Week 1, but that was C.J. Stroud’s first game in the NFL. It was also first-year coach DeMeco Ryans’ first game. Both have come a long way since then, so I wouldn’t use any stats from that game to figure out this one.

Still, Baltimore’s defense led the NFL in sacks during the regular season (60) and has helped the Ravens post the highest point margin in the NFL since Week 11 (+90). The only defense better than Baltimore’s this season was Cleveland, and Stroud handled them just fine in the Wild Card Round.

Lamar Jackson is the runaway favorite for MVP this season, and the Ravens are the No. 1 team in the AFC, but in the playoffs, they’re more like the Cowboys. Since Jackson took over, they have had three losses and only one win, and they’ve only averaged 13 points per game in those four playoff games. Keep your limits in for this one, and don’t assume anything. Even use your layoff accounts if the bets get too big.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco will look to capitalize on Green Bay’s relatively weak rushing defense. The Packers rank 23rd in yards allowed per rush (4.4). The 49ers had 74 running plays that were at least 10 yards during the regular season. That was more than any other team in the NFL.

Whether they run or pass, the 49ers have many top playmakers supporting Brock Purdy, including Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle.

To keep the Packers at bay (see what I did there?), their defense includes Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, and Chase Young.

With Green Bay, Jordan Love has already bucked the odds as a rookie and won his first playoff game. From Week 10 to the end of the regular season, he finished second in QBR. Dak Prescott of the Cowboys finished first, but Love took care of him in the Wild Card Round.

It will be an uphill battle for the Packers against a rested San Francisco club, but that is a large spread the 49ers have to cover.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions

The Lions had a top-five-ranked offense during the regular season. They were third in yards per play, fifth in scoring, second in passing yards, and fifth in rushing yards. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is doing great, especially with Jared Goff and tight end Sam LaPorta.

But let’s not forget that Tampa Bay has won six out of seven, including their big win against the Eagles in the Wild Card Round. They have players with playoff experience from when Tom Brady was on the team, while Detroit lacks in that department. However, Brady’s replacement, Baker Mayfield, is dealing with an injured ankle and ribs. So far, it doesn’t seem to impact his play.

The Lions have not won two games in the same playoffs since 1966, and the Buccaneers are 8-3 ATS as the underdog, so expect the unexpected.

Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills

I don’t think there’s a better way to end the Divisional Round than watching these two teams renew their playoff rivalry. Patrick Mahomes will play his first postseason road game – ever. This game has the lowest spread of the weekend, and you can see why by looking at their records. Buffalo is 7-1 SU and 7-1 ATS as a home favorite this season, while Kansas City is 6-2 SU and 7-0-1 ATS as a road underdog since Mahomes became the starter in 2018.

Buffalo will try to turn the tables on the team that knocked them out of the playoffs twice in the last three seasons. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes might be the stars we’ll all be focusing on, but the defenses might decide this one.

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