This article is designed to be an early betting preview for this week’s playoff games. I’ll include my personal power ratings, Super Bowl odds, and mini-game previews with recent trends. I’ll also include my bets and leans for the week at the end of the article.
My Power Ratings are designed to be a starting point for point-spread betting between two teams. They take into account recent performances, long-term injuries, coaching, and strength of schedule. These ratings are intended to help predict performances in the present, but they’re not necessarily predictive for the rest of the season. I will take my Power Ratings into account when I make my weekly against the spread picks, but I’ll also consider current injury reports, home-field advantage, weather, and other factors that may be relevant.
Example: My top-rated team, the Chiefs (8.5), would be six-point favorites on a neutral field over my worst-rated remaining playoff team, the Giants (2.5). Using a two-point adjustment for home-field advantage (last year’s HFA average was 1.8 points), the Chiefs would be eight-point favorites over the Giants at home and four-point favorites over the Giants on the road.
Divisional Power Ratings
|Rank||Team||Power Rating||2022 Record (ATS)||Ratings Change||Super Bowl Odds|
|1.||Kansas City Chiefs||8.5||14-3 (5-11-1)||—||+300|
|2.||San Francisco 49ers||8.5||14-4 (12-6)||+.5||+450|
|3.||Buffalo Bills||8||14-3 (8-8-1)||—||+350|
|4.||Philadelphia Eagles||7.5||14-3 (8-9)||—||+500|
|5.||Cincinnati Bengals||6.5||13-4 (12-4-1)||-.5||+800|
|6.||Dallas Cowboys||5.5||13-5 (10-7-1)||+1||+800|
|7.||Jacksonville Jaguars||4||10-8 (9-8-1)||+.5||+3500|
|8.||New York Giants||2.5||10-7-1 (14-4)||+.5||+2500|
(4) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+3500 SUPER BOWL ODDS) AT (1) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+300), SATURDAY, 4:30 p.m.
The Chiefs are riding a franchise-best 17-game streak with 300+ yards entering the postseason, and they finished first in scoring offense (29.2 PPG), total offense (413.6 YPG), and passing YPG (297.8). Patrick Mahomes is coming off a record-setting season with 5614 total offensive yards, passing Drew Brees' previous record of 5562 yards set in 2011. He finished with 5250 passing yards, 358 rushing, and six receiving yards. Jerick McKinnon is streaking with touchdowns in six straight games and nine total scores in that span. Travis Kelce also set new career highs in receptions (110) and receiving TDs (12) while extending his NFL record for most consecutive 1000-yard seasons by a tight end with seven. HC Andy Reid has become a bye-week legend with a 21-3 career record with a week’s rest.
Jacksonville is flying high after stunning the Chargers by erasing a 27-point deficit in the Wild Card Round with a 31-3 run in the final 31 minutes of action. The Jaguars became the first team to win a postseason game with a -5 turnover differential or worse. Trevor Lawrence threw touchdowns to four different players to offset his horrible four-INT start to the game — he became just the third QB to throw four INTs in one half of postseason play. Jacksonville held the Chargers to just three points in the final 34 minutes of Saturday’s comeback victory after their offense constantly put them in terrible spots with turnovers in the first half. The group also ended the regular season with just 22 points allowed in their final three games. The Jaguars are riding a six-game winning streak and they’re 5-1 ATS in that span after their first postseason victory since 2017. HC Doug Pederson also improved to 6-0 ATS as an underdog in the postseason.
The Jaguars have trailed by 9+ points and won outright five times in their last 10 games, but they have a troubling 12 turnovers in their last five games. The Chiefs finished with the AFC’s worst ATS record at 5-11-1 despite finishing as the conference’s top seed with a 14-3 record. Kansas City was favored by 8.5 points or more in eight of their final 10 games, and it finished with a 2-5-1 ATS mark in those contests. One of those games came against Jacksonville in Week 10, and the Jaguars pushed as 10-point road underdogs before they hit their stride after their Week 11 bye.
(6) NEW YORK GIANTS (+2500) AT (1) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (+500), SATURDAY, 8:15 p.m.
The Giants are streaking into the Divisional Round with a five-game ATS winning streak after their 31-24 victory over the Vikings as 2.5-point road underdogs. It was the franchise’s first playoff win since they won Super Bowl XLVI in February 2012, and they handed the Vikings their first loss in a one-possession game after Minnesota went 11-0 in those contests in the regular season. Daniel Jones became the first quarterback with 300+ passing yards, 70+ rushing yards, and 2+ passing TDs in a postseason game against Minnesota’s pathetic defense. Saquon Barkley added 9/53/2 rushing and 5/56 receiving, which means he’s averaging 5.3 YPC with 20/133 receiving in his last four games. Adoree’ Jackson and company held the NFL’s leading receiver, Justin Jefferson, to just 6.7 YPR with 7/47 receiving on nine targets, but the group could be without Azeez Ojulari this week after he left early and never returned with a quad injury. The Giants improved to a 4-4 outright record and a 7-1 ATS mark on the road this season.
The NFC’s top-seeded team, the Eagles, will get their postseason journey started after going 14-1 outright with Jalen Hurts at quarterback. He saw his completion percentage (61.3%<66.5%), TD rate (3.7%<4.8%), and YPA (7.3<8.0) spike in his second full season as a starter. The Eagles led the NFC in total offense (389.1 YPG) and scoring offense (28.1 PPG) with Hurts orchestrating the show. A.J. Brown reset Philly’s single-season receiving yards record in his first season with 1496 yards, besting Mike Quick’s 1409 yards in 1983. Brown’s running mate DeVonta Smith bested Irving Fryar’s single-season WR receptions record (88 in 1996) with 95 catches — Zach Ertz has the team record with 116 catches in 2018. Philadelphia’s defense wasn’t too bad either, easily pacing the league with 70 sacks, which was 15 more than the Chiefs. They finished just two sacks shy of the 1984 Chicago Bears single-season record of 72 sacks in a season. The Eagles will also get All-Pro RT Lane Johnson back from a groin injury after he missed the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Eagles smacked the Giants 48-22 as 7.5-point road favorites the last time these teams played at full strength in Week 14, and Jones averaged 6.3 YPA and absorbed four sacks before getting pulled early in the blowout loss. The Giants’ backups covered a 17-point spread against the Eagles in the season finale, but the Eagles used a vanilla game plan with no designed runs for Hurts. Philadelphia scored just one touchdown on five red-zone trips against the Giants with HC Nick Sirianni unwilling to expose Hurts before the postseason. The Eagles entered Week 18 as the NFL’s best red-zone offense and they’ll get back to unleashing Hurts as a runner after he finished with 13 rushing TDs, which was one score shy of Cam Newton’s single-season record for rushing TDs by a quarterback.
(3) CINCINNATI BENGALS (+800) AT (2) BUFFALO BILLS (+350), SUNDAY, 3 p.m.
The Bengals and Bills will meet in the most-anticipated matchup of the Divisional Round. The showdown comes just three weeks after their Week 17 contest was canceled when Damar Hamlin needed to be resuscitated on the field after going into cardiac arrest. Hamlin is recovering in Buffalo and there’s a chance he could even make an appearance at Highmark Stadium if he’s healthy enough to do it. The Bengals have won nine consecutive games outright but they failed to cover for the first time in that span in their 24-17 victory over the Ravens as 7.5-point home favorites. Sam Hubbard saved their season with an unlikely 98-yard fumble return TD after Tyler Huntley unsuccessfully tried to go over the top of his offensive line on a QB sneak at the goal line. It was the longest fumble return TD and the longest go-ahead score in the fourth quarter in postseason history. Joe Burrow managed just 209/1 passing with a rushing score, but he averaged just 6.5 YPA and he absorbed his most sacks in a game with four since Week 8. The Bengals have major O-line concerns with LT Jonah Williams (knee) joining RG Alex Cappa (ankle) and RT La’el Collins (knee, IR) on the sidelines. Ja’Marr Chase still got his numbers with 9/84/1 receiving, which gives him 11+ targets in five straight games and 7+ catches in nine consecutive contests. The Bengals will hit the road for Highmark Stadium after going 6-3 outright and 7-2 ATS on the highway this season.
The Bills improved to 7-1 outright at home with their 34-31 victory over the Dolphins to open the postseason, but they slipped to 3-5 ATS after coming nowhere close to covering as 14-point favorites. Buffalo has won eight consecutive games outright but they’re just 4-4 ATS in that span after blowing a 17-point lead to an injury-riddled Dolphins squad that was starting their third-string quarterback. Josh Allen threw for three touchdowns and paced the Wild Card Round with 352 passing yards, but the Dolphins converted his three turnovers into 18 points, including a scoop-and-score touchdown on Buffalo’s first play of the second half. Stefon Diggs has strung together back-to-back games with seven catches and 100+ receiving yards while Dawson Knox has scored in five straight games after finding paydirt just twice in his first 11 contests. Heck, even Gabe Davis came out of hibernation with the playoffs starting with 6/113/1 receiving, which means he’s scored six TDs in his last three postseason games.
(5) DALLAS COWBOYS (+800) AT (2) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (+450), SUNDAY, 6:30 p.m.
The 49ers got out of the gates a bit slow to start the postseason, trailing the Seahawks at halftime before out-scoring Seattle 25-6 in the final 30 minutes. San Francisco is riding an 11-game outright winning streak and they’re 8-1 ATS in its last nine contests, which has corresponded with Christian McCaffrey joining the team from Carolina. CMC has scored in seven consecutive games after posting 136/1 scrimmage against the Seahawks, and he’s hit 16.9+ FP nine times during their 11-game winning streak. Deebo Samuel saved his best game of the season for the postseason opener with 165/1 scrimmage. Brock Purdy passed his first postseason test by becoming the first rookie quarterback to account for 4+ TDs in a postseason game — he threw for three scores and ran for another TD. The 49ers have played over the total in four straight games and they’re 6-1 toward overs since Purdy joined the lineup, who has multiple passing TDs in his first seven NFL games. The 49ers are averaging 34.6 points per game since Purdy stepped into the lineup seven games ago, and they’ve scored 33+ points in six of those contests. San Francisco averaged 22.6 PPG in its first 11 games with just two performances with 33+ points.
The Cowboys emphatically put their disheartening Week 18 performance against the Commanders behind them in a dominant 17-point victory over the Buccaneers to open the Wild Card Round. They won on the road in the postseason for the first time in 30 years while finally beating Tom Brady in the organization’s eighth try, which could also end up being the final game in his unprecedented career. The Cowboys had lost eight consecutive road playoff games since beating this week’s opponent, the 49ers, in the NFC Championship Game in January 1993. Dak Prescott saved his best performance of the season for the Wild Card Round, finishing with 305/4 passing, 24/1 rushing, 9.2 YPA, and a QB rating of 143.3. He also played clean football for just the third time in 13 games after throwing 1+ INTs in his final seven regular season games. Dalton Schultz scored two touchdowns for the second time in his last three games and CeeDee Lamb scored his eighth touchdown in his last 11 contests in the victory. The only negative from Dallas’ Wild Card victory was Brett Maher's ugly night as he became the first player to miss four extra points in any game — he was 50/53 on PATs and 29/32 on field goals in the regular season. The 49ers beat the Cowboys 23-17 as 3.5-point road underdogs in the Wild Card Round last season.
Brolley’s Early Bets
Check out all of my Best Bets for the Divisional Round
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+9) at Kansas City Chiefs
New York Giants at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-7)
Brolley’s Early Leans
CINCINNATI BENGALS (+5) at Buffalo Bills
Dallas Cowboys at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-4)