We’ve got more best bets for the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.
I’m on a mini-heater with back-to-back 3-1 weeks as the Giants, 49ers and Cowboys all got home in the Wild Card Round with the Bills failing to cover against the Dolphins.
Here’s what I like for this upcoming four-game slate. In the spirit of the best weekend on the football calendar, I made a pick for every game.
Season record: 35-32-1
1. Jaguars +8.5 at Chiefs
I’ve been bullish on the Jaguars all season, and despite a midseason lull, this team has been surging for more than a month now which led to an AFC South championship. Kansas City is 5-11-1 for a reason and has had trouble covering big spreads all season long. I’m not betting on Jacksonville getting clutch stops, but I think a timely takeaway is possible. The main reason for this bet is because I trust Doug Pederson and Trevor Lawrence to score enough to keep the backdoor open all game long. Kansas City’s defense ranked just 16th in scoring during the regular season.
2. Giants +7.5 at Eagles
I’m likely jaded by what we saw in the Wild Card Round, not to mention how New York’s backups kept pace with Philly’s starters in Week 18, but alas I remain bullish on the Giants all the same. I love getting the hook here so that they can lose by a touchdown and still cover.
Similarly to how I feel about Jacksonville, I’m a huge believer in coaching, and Brian Daboll has had a positive impact on Daniel Jones in the same way Pederson has had on Lawrence. Jones is playing the best football of his career, and, most importantly, he’s taking care of the football. Isaiah Hodgins, Richie James and Darius Slayton aren’t the most daunting trio of wideouts in the NFL, but they’ve been more than serviceable for Jones. Throw in Saquon Barkley and you have an offense that is versatile enough to keep pace with the Eagles.
New York’s defensive line with Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams and Kayvon Thibodeaux are capable of giving Philadelphia’s elite offensive line trouble. Lane Johnson will be playing through injury, and we don’t know for sure how sharp Jalen Hurts will be.
This might blow up in my face, but that’s the nature of trusting an underdog.
3. Bengals +5.5 at Bills
This one is pretty simple: That’s a lot of points to get with the reigning AFC Champions. The Bills pass rush has been pedestrian without Von Miller, and Josh Allen can’t seem to figure out his turnover woes.
4. 49ers -3.5 vs. Cowboys
The Cowboys are the only underdog I’m fading this weekend. I believe Dallas’ ceiling is good enough to hang with San Francisco, but I can’t bail on the 49ers as they’ve been essentially an ATM for me throughout the second half of the season.
Both defenses excel in forcing takeaways and there will be superstar skill players galore no matter who has the ball. I genuinely can’t wait for this game.