NFL Divisional Round preview

Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints

There were some some big upsets in the wildcard rounds as both the Saints and Patriots suffered losses.

The Saints were the biggest shock as a 13-3 record is normally a top-two seed position. The Patriots looked lacklustre in offence and more willing to punt than go two yards in the fourth down.

Kansas City Chiefs are the only team from last year’s quarter-finals to return to the Divisional Round.

We missed out on the Bills spread last weekend by one point and got the over/under correct in the Patriots result. Like most, we misjudged the Vikings, who had a superb overtime victory.

Minnesota Vikings @ San Francisco 49ers - Saturday January 11 - 9.35 PM

The Vikings got another wildcard victory against the Saints reminding them of the Minneapolis Miracle which occurred in the 2018 NFL Divisional Round. The Vikings, who were (+8) against the spread, had been written off by almost everyone against a team in good form. Minnesota proved one thing against New Orleans, form is irrelevant in this stage of the year. One bad game means the season is over for the remaining teams.

It is possible for a team to limp to the Super Bowl and win. The Patriots did it last season and plenty of Super Bowl winners before them. Adam Thielen was a key player against the Saints and will be hoping for more of the same against San Francisco. He finished the wildcard round with 129 yards and seven catches. Kwon Alexander looks likely to make a return this weekend for San Francisco and is a huge addition, especially against a running side.

Another comeback for San Francisco is Dee Ford. The 49ers bye week also allowed extra rest, and with almost a full roster available, it is difficult to look past San Francisco. The Vikings should not be written off like last week. They are (+7) against the spread and anything can happen in divisional rounds.

It is hard to look past the 49ers. San Francisco are second favourite to win the Super Bowl at 16/5 on  GiveMeBet. The returning players for San Francisco will be too much for Minnesota, and Kirk Cousins will be under a lot of pressure to move the ball quickly. It could well be San Francisco who win on the weekend and you can get them (-7) against the spread at 10/11 on GiveMeBet.

Tennessee Titans @ Baltimore Ravens - Sunday January 12 - 1.15 AM

Titans took out the Patriots in the wildcard round. A mix between a good Titans offence and a lacklustre New England one. During the game against New England, Derrick Henry was able to set a new franchise single-game post-season record with 182 rushing yards and 204 scrimmage yards. Under Ryan Tannehill, the Titans are 8-3. The Titans could take it to the Ravens and make it difficult for Baltimore. It is possible for an upset on the day especially in this late stage of the season.

Wild Card Round - Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots

The Ravens are all rested after playing reserves in game week 17 and having a bye week to the NFL Divisional Round. Baltimore had 12 consecutive wins to finish off the season, a team record. The Ravens are ranked fourth in total defence, first in rushing offence, second in total offence and are the top scorers on average with 33.2 points per game.

Tennessee are the only team remaining in the AFC that has yet to face the Ravens. In general, the Titans performed well against mobile quarterbacks such as Josh Allen from the Bills and Deshaun Watson from the Texans. Combined they only managed 59 yards over 17 runs. Lamar Jackson has been the standout quarterback this season and will be expected to have another great performance.

The Ravens are regularly being compared to the 2007 Patriots, who went undefeated in the regular season. The Patriots still lost the Super Bowl that year to the New York Giants in one of the sport’s biggest upsets. The Ravens will want to go all the way and they should go through the Titans. Get the Ravens against the spread (-8.5) at 20/23 on GiveMeBet.

Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs - Sunday January 12 - 8.05 PM.

The Titans did the Texans a favour when beating the Patriots. The Texans came out on top last time they played the Chiefs with a 31-24 victory. The Chiefs are in much better standing for this match-up as they had several injuries, including Sammy Watkins and Chris Jones in game week six. Kansas has looked like a new defensive team from week 11 and this game won’t replay like the last.

Wild Card Round - Buffalo Bills v Houston Texans

The Chiefs are at the advantage of a bye week where they could spend more time resting and preparing for this game than the Texans. Whereas the Texans had a long game with overtime against the Bills. Patrick Mahomes is the fifth player in NFL history to throw over 4,000 yards more than one time over a player’s first three seasons.

Travis Kelce is Mahomes most used receiver this year with 1,229 receiving yards and 97 catches so far. He is fourth in the league for receiving yards. The Texan’s great comeback against the Bills was spearheaded by Watson, but he got sacked seven times and Josh Allen called bad plays for the Bills. We can’t see the Chiefs being as forgiving as Buffalo. Kansas is also much better offensively than the Bills.

We believe that the Chiefs will come out on top against the Texans. However, with the heated rematch between these two teams, it is going to be tighter than people predict. We recommend backing the Texans against the spread (+10) at 50/57, there is also value in backing under 51 points at 25/28 on GiveMeBet

Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers - Sunday January 12 - 11.40 PM

A great finish for the weekend of NFL Divisional Round of games. The Seahawks beat the Eagles 17-9 in the wildcard playoff. Green Bay has a good record at home with a 7-1 record in the regular season. The last time the Seahawks traveled to Green Bay postseason resulted in a miraculous 28-22 comeback victory in overtime.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions

People will be watching Russell Wilson against Aaron Rodgers. Wilson has been consistently good all season and was even second favourite to tie up the regular season MVP, but likely got snubbed by Lamar Jackson. Two-time MVP winner Aaron Rodgers has faded a bit during this season. He is still an extremely talented and experienced quarterback. He may not be as consistently brilliant as Jackson or Wilson this season, but still has the potential to control a powerful offence.

Seattle also has a good record of 8-1 on the road this season, including the postseason. 12 of the Seahawks games were decided by eight points or less. Seahawks are still suffering a few injuries such as Chris Carson, which won’t help them coming into this round. Seattle hopes that Marshawn Lynch can do the job in postseason.

We are backing the Packers to come home with the victory due to their home advantage and more consistent performances. Get the Green Bay Packers (-4) against the spread at 25/27 on GiveMeBet.

Super Bowl Outrights

Baltimore Ravens 41/20
San Francisco 49ers 16/5
Kansas City Chiefs 7/2
Green Bay Packers 8/1
Seattle Seahawks 12/1
Minnesota Vikings 14/1
Houston Texans 28/1
Tennessee Titans 28/1

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