The NFL Wildcard Weekend is complete as we head into the Divisional Round. Only eight teams remain, which means after this weekend, only four will be left. This round features teams that supposed to be here such as the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, but some unexpected surprise teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants.
Let’s get right into it with a quick preview and prediction for each of the NFL Divisional Round games.
Jacksonville Jaguars At Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs finished with the best win percentage in the AFC while Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson comes in looking to take down his former boss Andy Reid. Jacksonville put together an outstanding second half in their 27-point comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers a week ago. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence overcame four interceptions by throwing for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns to keep his streak of never losing on a Saturday alive.
However, the Chiefs are the better team and had the bye week to get ready. Patrick Mahomes is 4-0 in the divisional round in his career and is the current favorite to win the MVP award. He finished the 2022 season with the most passing yards (5,240) and touchdown passes (41) in the NFL. Jacksonville has a talented defense, but the Chiefs offense is number one in yards per game and points per game.
Prediction: Chiefs 30 Jaguars 17
New York Giants At Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles dominated the Giants in their first matchup of the season when both teams were at full strength and have not lost to New York at home in a decade. Meanwhile, the Giants have transformed themselves after five-straight losing seasons. QB Daniel Jones has ascended while Saquan Barkley has dominated as the NFC’s leading rusher. Giants head coach Brian Daboll could be coach of the year and should be a leader in New York for years to come.
All eyes will be on the health of Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts who injured his throwing shoulder in their Week 15 win over the Bears. The Eagles dropped the next two games without him before Hurts came back in to defeat the Giants in Week 18. Both teams will look to rely on their running games, but Philly has the edge. They have several veteran leaders who were on the Super Bowl 52 team five years ago. This will push past the younger and more inexperienced Giants team who should be proud of what they accomplished this year.
Prediction: Eagles 20 Giants 14
Cincinnati Bengals At Buffalo Bills
This could be the most exciting matchup of the weekend in a rematch of the cancelled Damar Hamlin Week 17 game. The Bills were the preseason Super Bowl pick, and the Bengals are the reigning AFC Champions who lost to the Los Angeles Rams in last year’s Super Bowl. Both teams narrowly won their Wildcard matchup over teams without their starting quarterbacks.
The game could go either way, but the Bengals are the more consistent and efficient team of late. They have won nine-straight games and QB Joe Burrow is dominating the competition. The Bengals’ quarterback has the second highest completion percentage in the NFL, second most passing touchdowns, and the fifth most passing yards in 16 games. Josh Allen is the perfect counter attack, but the Bills have the second most turnovers in the league. Expect the game to be close but decided by a late turnover.
Prediction: Bengals 31 Bills 30
Dallas Cowboys At San Francisco 49ers
The Cowboys and 49ers are the hottest teams in the NFC right now. Dallas put together one of their best games of the season in their dominating win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. The 49ers have won 11 straight games since their Week Seven loss to the Chiefs. They continue to look better and better with Brock Purdy at quarterback.
The 49ers will win this game because of their dominating defense. They are allowing just 16.3 points per game and have a an NFL best plus-13 turnover differential. The Dallas Cowboys have been inconsistent throughout the season including quarterback Dak Prescot. Dallas’ QB led the league with 15 interceptions in just 12 games. He looked great a week ago, but it is difficult to imagine him doing it again against the San Francisco 49ers.
Prediction: 49ers 24 Cowboys 14