The first round of the NFL playoffs ended last night, and we move on to the divisional round. This is where things get really interesting, as most of the teams that had little chance to advance deep into the postseason have been eliminated and we are left with a bunch of highly competitive matchups. Many people think the divisional round is the best weekend of football all year. With the action heating up, let’s take a look at the divisional round matchups.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Green Bay Packers are the biggest favorites in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. The Packers are 5.5 point favorites at home against a San Francisco 49ers team that beat the Dallas Cowboys on the road, the only road winner of the opening round.
5.5 points is not a very large spread for the team that finished with the best record in the NFL. The Packers are a deep, talented and balanced team. They feature a top 10 offense and a top 10 defense. What really separates the Packers from the typical NFL team, however, is Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers, an all time great quarterback, had another MVP worthy season this year. Rodgers had a 112 passer rating, threw 37 touchdown passes, and had just four interceptions. That last number, the four interceptions, is insane. It’s the kind of number game manager quarterbacks with one tenth the playmaking ability of Rodgers would kill for. The usual tradeoff for a big-time playmaker is the risk of a few more turnovers. With Rodgers you get the best of both worlds, something that isn’t supposed to be attainable. He gives the Packers a huge advantage at the most important position in the game. Rodgers is the reason the Packers had the fewest turnovers in the NFL this year, and he’s the reason they will be tough to beat.
Can the 49ers pull off the upset? Sure. The two teams played early in the season and the 49ers gave the Packers all they could handle, losing by just two points, 30 - 28. The 49ers have the higher ranked offense and defense in this game. The big problem for the 49ers: they have Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers have Aaron Rodgers. Garoppolo can be counted on to make mistakes; Rodgers rarely does. Garoppolo is not much of a playmaker; Rodgers is a superb playmaker. If the 49ers manage to win the turnover battle they can win this game. That, however, is easier said than done. Teams that won the turnover battle against the Packers this year won all three games that happened. The trouble is, only one of those games came with Rodgers playing the large majority of snaps. That’s right, when Aaron Rodgers was in at quarterback for most of the game, the Packers lost the turnover battle just once this year. The Packers also went a perfect 5-0 against playoff teams with Rodgers under center. Yes, the 49ers can do it, but it sure isn’t the way to bet.
The Moneyline odds are Green Bay Packers -225/ San Francisco 49ers +185.
The Over/Under for the game is 47.5.
In other divisional round action, the Tennessee Titans are favorites at home to beat the Cincinnati Bengals; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are home favorites over the Los Angeles Rams; and the Kansas City Chiefs, like every home team this week, are favored over the Buffalo Bills.
What do you think? Which team should be the biggest favorites this week?
Which team should be the biggest favorites in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs?
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