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NFL Divisional Round Predictions

By: Christopher G. Hetu

C/O to profootballnetwork.com


And then there were eight.... Wildcard weekend in 2022 ended up being a lot more predictable than most people thought. The only true upset last weekend was the Cowboys 49ers game and oh boy was that dramatic. But nonetheless some fans celebrate and some walk away empty handed, we can all agree however. The teams that won last week dissevered to participate in this dance we watch each year.


The one seeds have been waiting patiently and finally have a game to play and prove themselves against these low seeded contenders. We'll see what those middle seeds can do against one another, two more games away from potential immortality! I am excited and I'm sure the rest of you are as well, so let's take a look at the bigger picture, here on Divisional Round weekend!


AFC


(4) Cincinnati Bengals (10-7) vs. (1) Tennessee Titans (12-5)

Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN

Kickoff: Saturday 1/22 4:30PM EST CBS

Spread: -3.5 Titans

C/O to actionnetwork.com


Cincinnati Bengals

Despite Derrick Carr throwing for over 300 yards, the Bengals still narrowly defeated the Raiders 26-19 last Saturday. And despite Joe Mixon just getting over 40 yards rushing, Burrow still had himself a great game going 24/34 ATT and 2 TDs, JaMarr Chase had 12 targets for 9 REC and 116 YDs through the air. The Bengals were locked in last weekend at home, finally ending their playoff win drought for the first time in nearly 20 years. Burrows sideline throw that just BARELY stayed in bounds went for a TD to Tyler Boyd, Joe Burrow is the REAL deal. The Bengals defense continued another solid week against a competitive AFC West oppenent and they will bring a lot to the table in this matchup against the Tennessee Titans.


Tennessee Titans

After a hard fought season, riddled with offensive injuries, the Titans did just enough to sneak in the postseason as the number one seed in the AFC. With AJ Brown and Julio Jones back in action, the passing game should return with lots of promise for Ryan Tannehill (3,734 YDs, 24 TDs, 14 INTs) to throw to. And hold your breath because the man himself, Derrick Henry is set to return, he just returned in full contact for practice this week. The Titans have beaten very competitive teams in the AFC, taking down the Bills, Chiefs, Colts (TWICE), and even the Rams and Niners in the NFC. This team deserves the No. 1 seed for those wins, now back at full strength, they're ready to go.


Game Overview

Now depending on this one, it could be a defensive slugfest or an offensive shootout. Both sides boast top receivers in the NFL with JaMarr Chase, Tee Higgins, Julio Jones, and AJ Brown, can't forget those talented running backs with Joe Mixon and Derrick Henry carrying the rock. Little do people know this could be the best divisional round game of the whole weekend. Bengals have a great young core that could carry them to the playoffs for years to come and the Titans under Mike Vrabel have only risen in their value as time has passed. Both teams are middle of the pack defensively and their offenses are still some of the best in the football, Tennessee's offense should get back on track with Derrick Henry's return. But despite the Bengals best efforts, if the playoffs have told us anything so far, experience bests up and coming teams. The Titans will head back to the AFC Championship for the second time in three years.


Final Score: Titans 35 Bengals 31


(3) Buffalo Bills (11-6) vs. (2) Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)

Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO

Kickoff: Sunday 1/23 6:30PM EST CBS

Spread: -1.5 Chiefs

C/O to actionnetwork.com


Buffalo Bills

Talk about rising...levitating for that matter. This team had so many questions going into midseason, but they have put all of those doubts to rest as the Buffalo Bills stomped all over the New England Patriots last weekend with a final score of 47-17. The Bills have stated from that victory, that the AFC East runs through Buffalo now! Josh Allen has truly been the MVP in the last five weeks of the season, throwing 21/25 ATTs, 303 passing yards, and 5 PASSING TOUCHDOWNS. Not to mention nearly ever possession this team had in the game led to a score. The Patriots run game was shut down completely and the Mac Jones passing game never truly activated until the second half. Devin Singletary posted two TDs on the ground with over 80 yards rushing and the passing game was balanced as ever. Josh Allen proved to the league last weekend if he gets going, he WILL NOT be stopped.


Kansas City Chiefs

The defending AFC Champions are still kicking, let the good times roll as they find themselves right back in the divisional round. In what seemed at first would be a close game against Big Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up ending in blowout fashion. Patrick Mahomes finished the day going 30/39 ATTs, 404 passing yards and 5 passing touchdowns. With no Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerrick McKinnon stepped up into the starting role and posted over 120 yards from scrimmage and a receiving touchdown. Travis Kielce had himself a TD through the air as well as passing for one, Tyreek Hill and Byron Pringle also got in on the fun. That Chiefs defense did everything it needed to do to cushion Big Ben and allow Mahomes and the offense to go ahead and get points on the board. The Chiefs aren't done yet folks.


Game Overview

Correction, this might be the best game of the weekend. It'll be one for the ages, two of the leagues best offenses to go head to head. However in the early part of the season the Bills did get their revenge in Arrowhead as they defeated the Chiefs 37-20. The Chiefs will be much more prepared for this game, I expect big games once again from Mahomes, Hill and Kelce and for the Bills a big game coming for Allen, Diggs, and Singletary.


The Bills defense has ranked number one in the league in terms of total yards allowed and fifth in the league in total offense. While Kansas City on the other hand boasted third in the league in total offense while their defense ranked bottom tear for the whole season. However as clutch and they played in big moments in the past, this Chiefs team is....different. Hasn't been consistent like the Chiefs we knew from previous seasons, but this Bills Mafia has been consistently getting better and better! I'm not counting the Chiefs out on this one but the Bills are going to shock the world Sunday evening when they punch their ticket to the AFC Championship game!


Final Score: Bills 38 Chiefs 36


NFC


(6) San Fransisco 49ers (10-7) vs. (1) Green Bay Packers (13-4)

Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

Kickoff: Saturday 1/22 8:15PM EST FOX

Spread: -5.5 Packers

C/O to actionnetwork.com


San Fransisco 49ers

This team fought hard all season, and they took care of business over in Dallas last weekend to push them one step closer to the NFC Championship game. However, their 23-17 win over the Cowboys, may not have been as impressive as most fans thought it would be. Jimmy Garoppolo finished the day 16/25 ATTs, for 172 passing yards and an INT, but luckily with a strong run game from both Deebo Samuel (10 CARs, 72 YDs, 1 TD) and Elijah Mitchell (27 CARs, 96 YDs, 1 TD) this helped the Niners ride to a win. The Niners defense forced 5 sacks on Day Prescott and picked him off once in the game. Now you may be reading this and say why is this not impressive? Because the way this teams built, it should be scoring more, especially in that second half that nearly allowed Dallas on several march down the field and nearly score on them. However can't discredit them too much, this team proved without a strong performance from the franchise QB, they can still go out and beat you.


Green Bay Packers

After coming off a much needed bye week, and looking like the best team in football, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are looking to