The 2023 NFL Playoffs continue with this weekend’s Divisional Round. Last week’s Wild Card round featured more than a few close games and a couple of blowouts. Hopefully the Divisional Round will continue to give us entertaining games. Let’s take a look at all of the games this Divisional Playoff weekend!
Last week I went 4-2
I told you so: 49ers over Seahawks!
What do I know: Vikings over Giants?
AFC - #4 Jacksonville Jaguars at #1 Kansas City Chiefs
Saturday, January 21st - 3:30pm CST - NBC
A week after completing the third-largest comeback in NFL playoff history, the Jags now face the best team in the NFL, a franchise who completed the fifth-largest comeback in NFL playoff history themselves, in the Kansas City Chiefs. A week ago, Jacksonville asserted their will over Los Angeles in the second half after getting bombarded by a dangerous offense in the first half. They were able to get away with that against LA due to a huge advantage in coaching, but that advantage disappears against Andy Reid and the Chiefs. Should Kansas City get an “insurmountable” lead in this game, they will ensure it remains insurmountable. This matchup won't see much happening from either ground game, as both star quarterbacks will carry their teams with their respective passing attacks. Kansas City will attack Trevor Lawrence with an aggressive pass rush that gets home quite often, forcing the Jags into bad positions and a crucial mistake, while Patrick Mahomes works his usual magic. Jacksonville is making strides , but they are still not on the level of the AFC’s “big three”. Kansas City wins 30-20.
NFC - #6 New York Giants at #1 Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday, January 21st - 7:15pm CST - FOX
Philadelphia has been widely considered the top team in the NFL all season, which their record had supported, and despite injuries and playing uneven football down the stretch, they still secured the top-seed in the NFC. Philly swept the season series against the Giants this season, winning handily in the first meeting, then beating the Giants’ second-teamers in the regular season finale, a game the Eagles desperately needed and the Giants didn't dress their best for. This time around we will see the best game of the three between these NFC East rivals. For as dominant as Jalen Hurts and the Eagles rushing attack has been, it will be Saquon Barkley who dominates the ground game in this meeting. Both pass-rushes will make things difficult for these quarterbacks, racking up the sacks in this game, but it will be the QB that make the fewest mistakes that wins the game, and that will be Daniel Jones, yes that Daniel Jones. Jones is not necessarily better than Jalen Hurts, who may very well win NFL MVP, but he just needs to have the better game this week. The Giants pull through thanks to a significant advantage at head coach as well. Brian Daboll has his team on another level of confidence right now, and they are primed to pull off a Giant (yes, pun intended) upset. The pressure is all on Philly to be dominant, and beat New York once again, which is much easier said than done. Conventional wisdom says “It’s hard to beat a team for a third time” and conventional wisdom is right. The Giants pull off a stunner in the closing moments of the game. New York wins 23-20.
AFC - #3 Cincinnati Bengals at #2 Buffalo Bills
Sunday, January 22nd - 2:00pm CST - CBS
This is the matchup we've all been waiting for, since the initial cancellation three weeks ago, following the Damar Hamlin emergency in Cincinnati. This time, the game will take place in Buffalo, but Cincinnati will not be deterred by Sunday’s snow showers or the raucous Bills Mafia. The New Year’s matchup would've been huge, but this is the next level, a level this matchup deserves. These are the playoffs, and as good as Josh Allen is, Joe Burrow is better, and he simply doesn’t lose in the AFC playoffs. Although Burrow and Allen will be the story of this game, and rightfully so, it will be the Cincy defense that comes through in the biggest moments, as their defensive front as well as the play from their safeties keep the Buffalo offense in check. The Cincy defense will get pressure on Josh Allen and force the star QB into a crucial, game-changing error. This game will live up to the hype and will be well worth the wait. Late game poise and precision by Joe Burrow puts Cincy in range for the game-winning field goal, which they will make, setting up Cincy with a second-consecutive AFC Championship Game against Kansas City. Cincinnati wins 24-21.
NFC - #5 Dallas Cowboys at #2 San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, January 22nd - 5:30pm CST - FOX
49ers vs. Cowboys invoke many playoff memories and has some unforgettable playoff moments in its lineage, but this game will not feature any of that. This Dallas team is very good while this San Francisco team is borderline great. Dallas had clear advantages in the Wild Card round in coaching and in the running game. Both of those advantages completely evaporate against San Francisco. Unsurprisingly, this game will be decided by the NFL’s best defense, that being San Francisco’s. The Niners’ relentless defense will not allow Dak Prescott to do whatever he wants, like the Bucs’ toothless defense did. San Francisco will clamp down on Dallas’ playmakers and frustrate the Cowboys offense all game long. On offense, the Niners will take advantage of a Dallas defense that may gamble in order to make some big plays, allowing Brock Purdy and company to make the big plays themselves. Dallas may have taken out an old Tom Brady, but now they face a quarterback on a young Brady-like trajectory, call this hyperbolic if you like, but the rookie is doing more than just keeping the offense afloat. San Francisco is the most-dangerous and well-balanced team in the NFC, and they will remind everyone of that fact again in this one. San Francisco wins 28-14.
We move one week closer to arguably the most exciting day in sports, NFL Conference Championship Sunday. Which of these teams will represent the NFL’s final four? We’ll just have to wait and see. Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!