NFL Divisional Round Playoffs Preview and Picks

NFL Divisional Round Playoffs Preview and Picks

Ethan Schwam

With the Super Wild Card Weekend closing out with a resounding win for the Rams at home against the Cardinals, we now move on to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. The 8 best teams in football are left to fight it out for a chance to go to the Super Bowl, and I will be previewing every matchup as well as making picks for all four divisional round contests. 

  • Tennessee Titans vs. (4) Cincinnati Bengals

After earning a first round bye in the playoffs, the Titans will host a red hot Bengals offense coming off a close win against the Las Vegas Raiders. Perhaps the biggest story of this game will be the possible return of star Titans running back Derrick Henry, who is widely considered to be the best in football at this position. After missing half of the regular season with a foot injury, he is coming back when the Titans need him most. However, on the other side of the ball, the Titans defense may not be able to hold the surging Bengals offense led by star Quarterback Joe Burrow and odds on favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year JaMarr Chase. In a high scoring affair, Henry will return with a bang, but it will not be enough to contain the red-hot Bengals offense in the end. Bengals 31, Titans 27

  • Kansas City Chiefs vs. (3) Buffalo Bills

This is likely to be another shootout that may arguably be the best game in the slate. Josh Allen and the Bills look for revenge against a Chiefs team that beat them last year on the road to a Super Bowl appearance. Both teams come off dominant, blowout wins against the Patriots and Steelers, so both teams are riding high going into this highly anticipated rematch. While I do think the Bills offense is operating at a historic rate, the Chiefs will use home field and their own star-studded offense led by Patrick Mahomes to charge past the Bills and set a date with the Bengals for a huge AFC title game. Chiefs 28, Bills 24

  • Green Bay Packers vs. (6) San Francisco 49ers 

The 49ers, after the wild finish to their close win over Dallas, have the pleasure of walking into frigid Lambeau Field in January to face Aaron Rodgers and the NFC-best Green Bay Packers. Is it really a pleasure? No, but it is not as bad as you think. The 49ers are honestly a matchup nightmare for the Packers, who do not have a ton of speed to keep up with utility man Deebo Samuel, or the true size to match up with tight end George Kittle in coverage. The Packers can make up for this with their own offense, however, because the 49ers secondary has been suspect all season long. All-Pro receiver Davante Adams should feast in this game, but with the cold air and the 49ers’ more methodical pace of play? Down goes the one seed. 49ers 24, Packers 21

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. (5) Los Angeles Rams

After finally getting his first playoff win Monday night, Matt Stafford travels to Tompa Bay to take on the namesake (and the GOAT), Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. The Bucs are coming off an obliteration of the Eagles, and the Rams a dominant win of their own. Two very complete teams, with stars all over the field, but the main focus is going to be the health of Tristain Wirfs. The All-Pro lineman was injured during the Eagles game, and it remains to be seen if he will be of any help to contain pass rushers Aaron Donald and Von Miller. While Stafford has not played a bigger NFL game in his life up to this point, he may have the health advantage and just the overall better team around him, especially with the losses Tampa Bay has taken to its offensive core and secondary. Stafford continues his run and we have a full NFC West, and upset teams’ NFC title game. Rams 27, Bucs 24


So here is how I think the divisional round will play out, tune in this Saturday and Sunday to see who the final four teams will be on the quest to a Super Bowl Title.