The 2023 NFL playoffs continue this weekend with the Divisional Round. Many consider this the best weekend of football all year. In the AFC the Buffalo Bills host the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs host the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars are a fun Cinderella story this year, with second year quarterback Trevor Lawrence developing into the belle of the ball, but this week looks like the clock will strike midnight for the Jaguars. The Chiefs are just too good for the upstart Jaguars. Featuring the NFL’s best offense and the NFL’s best quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, the red hot Chiefs have won 10 of their last 11 games. The Chiefs boast a 6-2 record against playoff teams this year. The Jaguars are on the road. They are almost as hot as the Chiefs, with a 7-1 record in their last eight games. The Jaguars have a good, not a great offense, and a mediocre defense. The Jaguars have a 4-3 record against playoff teams, including a double digit loss to the Chiefs earlier this season. All signs point to the Chiefs just being too much for the up and coming Jaguars to handle. It may soon be the Jaguars’ time, but not quite yet. Give me the Chiefs in this one.
In the other AFC game, the Bills host the Bengals in what looks like the best matchup of this weekend. Joe Burrow and Josh Allen may be two of the three best quarterbacks in the NFL. What could make the difference in this game is that Allen is very prone to turnovers. The Bills have turned the ball over three times in each of their last three games, and they turned the ball over more than all but one team in the NFL this season. The Bengals on the other hand have turned the ball over more than once in just one of their last seven games, and just four times all season. If the Bills take care of the ball they will probably win this game, but I’m betting the Bengals win the turnover battle and the game.
Jalen Hurts looks like he will be close to 100% healthy after missing a few games late in the year. When Hurts was healthy this year the Eagles were in the conversation for the best team in the NFL. If he’s healthy again the Eagles should again be a formidable team. The Eagles swept an outgunned Giants team in the regular season. I expect the Eagles to beat the Giants again this weekend.
In the other NFC game the 49ers are the hottest team in the NFL, winners of 11 straight games. This is a deep and talented 49ers team with few weaknesses. The one major question mark is whether rookie Brock Purdy can continue his unlikely run of stellar play now that the opponents are getting tougher. So far he has been up to the challenge. The Cowboys will not be an easy out. They have been nearly unstoppable on offense in the last half of the season. If the Cowboys offense can continue to be a juggernaut against the 49ers that will place a lot of pressure on Purdy to up his game in a shootout. That, however, is a big if. The 49ers have the best defense in the NFL. I’m guessing the 49ers’ defense will have what it takes to cool off the Cowboys’ offense and escape with a victory.
Embedded below are my picks for all the Divisional Weekend matchups this week. These picks are just a simple who wins the game deal. Odds do not factor in. DISCLAIMER: This is just for fun. I make no claims to actually being any good at this. Anyone who chooses to bet according to my picks will likely prove the old maxim, a fool and his money are soon parted.