NFL picks against the spread for every Divisional Round game originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Wild Card Weekend provided incredibly exciting playoff football, so what does the NFL's Divisional Round have in store?
The Divisional Round typically is where the best games of the playoffs happen. Last season's thriller between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs is one example.
This year's slate features four excellent matchups, including an NFC East showdown and the latest chapter in one of the league's most historic rivalries.
The stage is set for another thrilling weekend of playoff action. Here are our picks against-the-spread (ATS) for Divisional Round (all times ET). All lines are via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs (-9)
Time/TV channel: Saturday, Jan. 21 at 4:30 p.m. on NBC
Pick: Jaguars +9
The Jaguars pulled off one of the best comebacks in playoff history last week, overcoming a 27-0 deficit to win 31-30. It was a great moment for the Jaguars, and they won't be an easy opponent for the Chiefs.
That said, this is a tough spot for Jacksonville. The Jaguars are 1-6 ATS in their last six games versus the Chiefs. Jacksonville has lost six consecutive games against Kansas City, and the AFC South franchise has just four wins in its last 20 road matchups. The Chiefs have won 10 of their last 11 games, with wins over quality teams such as the 49ers, Chargers, Seahawks and Jaguars.
Kansas City should win this game fairly easily, but a backdoor cover wouldn't be surprising at all. The Chiefs beat the Jaguars 27-17 at home in Week 10. Jacksonville has improved quite a bit since that matchup, especially defensively. The Chiefs' last two Divisional Round games were both won by six or fewer points at home. Kansas City almost certainly will advance to the AFC Championship Game, but a 9-point spread is too large here.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5)
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Time/TV channel: Saturday, Jan. 21 at 8:15 p.m. on FOX
Pick: Giants +7.5
The Giants are a dangerous team, and while the comparisons to the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl-winning teams feel a bit premature, this group is playing with a ton of confidence.
New York has one of the most balanced offensive attacks left in the playoffs. Starting quarterback Daniel Jones played fantastic against the Minnesota Vikings in a 31-24 Wild Card win. He threw for 301 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions, while also running 17 times for 78 yards. He made so many clutch throws in the second half. Giants running back Saquon Barkley racked up 109 total yards and two rushing touchdowns.
How healthy are Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and star offensive tackle Lane Johnson? If they're at less than 100 percent, the Giants not only will have a good chance to cover, but also pull off the upset. The Eagles have the better defense, and that gives them a genuine advantage in this matchup. This unit allowed an average of just 19 points in two victories over the Giants during the regular season.
The Giants are 5-0 ATS in their last five games and 8-4 ATS in their last 12 matchups with the Eagles. They also have covered the spread in eight of their last nine road games. The Eagles deserve to be favorites, but not by more than a touchdown. The Giants are a good play in this spot after last week's impressive road win.
Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills (-5.5)
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Time/TV channel: Sunday, Jan. 22 at 3 p.m. on CBS
Pick: Bengals +5.5
The Bills were lucky to escape victorious in last week's Wild Card Weekend matchup against an inferior Dolphins team starting third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson. Sunday's matchup is far more challenging. Joe Burrow is a top-five quarterback and his Bengals offense has enjoyed a ton of success during the team's 9-game win streak. The primary concern for the Bengals is their banged up offensive line, but the Bills' pass rush has been far less effective since Von Miller was lost for the season with an ACL injury in November.
One major concern for Buffalo is Josh Allen's ball security. The Bills quarterback has 22 turnovers this season, including the playoffs, which leads all quarterbacks. He threw two interceptions against the Dolphins and fumbled three times (lost one).
The Bengals are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games and have covered the spread in seven of their last eight road matchups. Cincinnati has a more reliable quarterback, better weapons on offense and a defense that's improved quite a bit since the start of the season. The Bengals should not only cover the spread, but win the game outright and advance to their second straight AFC title game.
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers (-4)
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Time/TV channel: Sunday, Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. on FOX
Pick: Cowboys +4
The Cowboys have an opportunity to get revenge for last season's playoff loss versus the 49ers and advance to their first NFC Championship Game since 1995.
Dallas is coming off a dominant 31-14 win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road in the Wild Card Round. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott completed 25 of 33 pass attempts for 305 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. It was the best playoff performance of his career, but his challenge is far greater this week versus an elite 49ers defense.
The 49ers defense ranked No. 1 in yards allowed and No. 1 in points allowed during the regular season. The key to this game is whether the Cowboys can run the ball effectively. Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott are a fantastic running back tandem. However, San Francisco allowed the second-fewest rushing yards per game in the regular season. If the Cowboys can't run the ball, Prescott is going to have a tough time finding open targets in the passing attack. Nick Bosa leads an excellent 49ers pass rush that sacked Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith three times on Wild Card Weekend.
The 49ers are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games and 6-0 ATS in their last six home games. San Francisco also has the league's longest active win streak at 11 games. If 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy doesn't turn the ball over a ton, the 49ers defense should do a good enough job limiting Prescott's offense. A San Francisco victory by a touchdown wouldn't be surprising at all.