NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Predictions: 5 Best Picks Against The Spread


5 best predictions for the Divisional Round round of the NFL Playoffs. What appear to be the best bets and picks?

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The Wild Card round is the buffet of various carbs and fillers. The Divisional Round has the prime rib and crab legs.

This is it. This is everything to the hardcore NFL types. The Super Bowl … your mom watches the Super Bowl. Championship Sunday is big, but this is the weekend we get the best bulk games. Four of them that all take on a life of their own.

I'll try to find the five best picks against the spread - and point totals - out of them.

As I mentioned for the Wild Card round, with so few games to choose from, the reasonable goal is to bat .600, and I got that last week going 3-2 thanks to the obvious call of Dallas over Tampa Bay and Jacksonville's easy-peasy walk in the park win - and the over - against the Chargers (yeeeeeeeeeeeeesh).

I overestimated Buffalo, underestimated San Francisco, and I might just do it again - at least with the latter - starting with …

Click on each game for the game preview

5. NFL Playoffs: Dallas at San Francisco

LINE San Francisco -4

Warning, I'm going to underestimate the guy yet again - it hasn't been working well for me.

No, the definition of insanity is NOT doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same result. However, picking against Brock Purdy hasn't exactly shown sound judgement so far.

The guy has been absolutely magnificent.

If it was, say, Kenny Pickett, or Sam Howell, or even Trey Lance, he'd be hailed as the next big NFL thing. But because he's Brock Purdy, and because he's a third-string option, and because he was Mr. Irrelevant - that whole tag and bit annoys me for some reason; does that mean Travon Walker was Mr. Relevant? - it's hard to fully buy in.

Every NFL quarterback has a clunker at some point, but seriously? 67%, 13 touchdown passes, four picks, unbeaten as a starter in these big games?

This is more about Dallas.


NFL Mock Draft: Top 23 Order and Picks Post 2023 Wild Card

Going along with the name recognition thing, if this wasn't Dallas, and if it wasn't carrying all this baggage and all of these expectation, it might be favored.

The one giant worry I have is time. San Francisco played on Saturday morning, Dallas played on Monday night, and Dallas had to travel. The 49ers are getting close to two days of extra time off. That's a problem, but I'm going with talent.

Dallas has the combination of offensive firepower and defensive playmaking that the 49ers - and Purdy - haven't had to deal with yet. I'd like to be getting a little more than four, but I'll take it.

And I'll probably pick against Purdy in the NFL Championship, too.

Speaking of digging the underdog on the road …

CFN Experts Picks: Cowboys at 49ers

NEXT: NFL Pick Against the Spread No. 4: Cincinnati at Buffalo

4. NFL Playoffs: Cincinnati at Buffalo

LINE Buffalo -5.5
ATS PICK Cincinnati

Buffalo scares me.

As I wrote up in the game preview, this isn't the Buffalo team of last year at this time. It's making more mistakes, and it's struggling to put teams away.

Last year's team would've picked its teeth with the Dolphins in that Wild Card game.

But it puts up a bazillion points - more on that in a later blurb - it's at home, and it's got the game it's been been waiting for. All that, and for all my whining about how it's not the same team, it has 13 wins with nine of them by a touchdown or more.

I just like the Bengals to at least make this a fight.

I can't quite get there and take them outright - they weren't exactly razor sharp against the Ravens - but they're in the same boat as Buffalo. This is the game and the moment they've been waiting for - sort of.

Buffalo's been dreaming of righting the last year wrong and playing the Chiefs. The Bengals seem like they want this one - for now - if I'm overreacting correctly to how both sides seem to be acting.

The Cincinnati defense is playing well, Joe Burrow isn't going to be bothered by any of the noise, and this should come down to a late kick or big moment.

I'm still picking Buffalo to win - the Cincinnati offensive line will fail at some point - but 5.5 is good enough.

CFN Experts Picks: Bengals at Bills


NEXT: NFL Pick Against The Spread No. 3 Jacksonville at Kansas City

3. NFL Playoffs: Jacksonville at Kansas City


I refuse to under shame.

Unders can be just as fun as overs if you have the defenses clocked right. I actually prefer the 3-0 first quarter on the under instead of the 17-10 first quarter on an over - it's sort of more satisfying.

Yeah, that's not happening in the Divisional Round of your NFL Playoffs.

I can't quite get there with the 48 on Giants-Eagles, but the other three games have the potential to be high-flying fun.

Really? You think the Kansas City offense that's been waiting to get rolling will limp its way to 17 points? It scored fewer than 20 points just once.

Here's concern - Kansas City 27, Jacksonville 17. That was the Week 10 meeting, and the Chief defense is just good enough to keep the Jaguars from going off.

The Chiefs are scoring consistently, but the offense has been a tad hit or miss. It should be able to get to 20, but will that be enough?

Yeah. The D has allowed 27 or more in five of the last nine games, and the four times it gave up fewer were against weak Tennessee (twice), Jet, and Houston offenses. It's going to give up at least 27.

No one gives up more touchdown passes than the Chiefs, someone's getting to 30 in this, and there's a good shot Patrick Mahomes and company take care of most of the heavy lifting on their own.

But I get it. 52.5 is a big number, so …

CFN Expert Picks: Jaguars at Chiefs


NEXT: NFL Pick Against The Spread No. 2 Dallas at San Francisco, Part 2

2. NFL Playoffs: Dallas at San Francisco


Yeah, the Dallas defense is good. It's 12th in the NFL overall and fifth in scoring D.

Yeah, the San Francisco defense is good. It's partly because it fattened up the stats on a slew of teams watching on their couches, but yeah, it's No. 1 in both scoring and total defense.

And that defense just got hit by Geno Smith and DK Metcalf for 23 points.

It's possible to score on this bunch. It had a stretch of eight games when it allowed 20 points or fewer, but again, it's not like it was going against Patrick  Mahomes and Josh Allen during the run.

Dallas stuffed the Minnesota offense in a 40-3 win, and it only allowed more than 20 points seven times.

But come on. You're not closing out your weekend of NFL Playoff games by thinking this will be 23-20.

San Francisco has scored 33 or more in six of its last seven games and seven of its last eight. Dallas isn't getting held under 20.

You're fine with the over on 46.

Speaking of "you're not going under on this" …

CFN Experts Picks: Cowboys at 49ers

NEXT: NFL Pick Against The Spread No. 1 Cincinnati at Buffalo

1. NFL Playoffs: Cincinnati at Buffalo


No way.

You haven't come this far as a football fan and waited so long for this game to go under. You know you're going over. It's a moral imperative.

Before the nightmare and the cancellation, these two were headed for a firefight of epic proportions. They're not going to hold back, and they're certainly not going to rely on controlling the clock and getting the running games going.

As soon as one team goes on a crisp, efficient scoring drive … GAME ON.

Both coaching staffs know this, and you do, too. Don't bother showing up if you think 24 points will get it done.

Cincinnati has been held to under 23 four times in its last 15 games. Buffalo has been held to under 23 just three times all year.

Start with this - one side is going to score at least 30. If you think the loser in this won't get past 17, then okay, you might be right. Enjoy your under and the 7-layer dip that really only has 5.5 layers.

This game has the potential to be too much fun to not go over. If it doesn't work, enjoy the show, tip your cap, and it's on to Cowboys-49ers.

CFN Experts Picks: Bengals at Bills

NFL Playoffs Divisional Experts Predictions
Jaguars at Chiefs | Giants at Eagles 
Bengals at Bills | Cowboys at 49ers 

Story originally appeared on College Football News


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