The 2024 NFL Playoffs continue with this weekend’s Divisional Round. Last week’s Wild Card round featured one close game and a collection of blowouts. Hopefully the Divisional Round will find a way to give us entertaining games. Let’s take a look at all of the games this Divisional Playoff weekend!
Last week I went 3-3
I told you so: Bucs over Eagles!
What do I know: Rams over Lions?
AFC - #4 Houston Texans at #1 Baltimore Ravens
Saturday, January 20th - 3:30pm CST - ESPN
Baltimore remains the favorite to not only make the Super Bowl, but to win it all, and for good reason. As usual, the Ravens have a standout defense, leading the NFL in fewest points allowed, total takeaways, and turnover differential. On offense, they have the odds-on favorite for NFL MVP in their dynamic quarterback Lamar Jackson. They have seemed headed toward the Super Bowl since beating Detroit by 32-points, and certainly since beating the Niners by 19-points at San Francisco. Now, an underrated challenger emerges for their potential crown, in the Houston Texans. Houston, a team led by a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback, looked like stone-cold veterans in the Wild Card round last week, embarrassing Cleveland at home. The Texans won't replicate that type of performance in Baltimore, but they will leave this game giving their fans plenty to be excited about for the coming seasons, and their own hopes to be a perennial Super Bowl favorite behind their coach and QB combination. Baltimore, despite all their success this season, has a chip on their shoulder going into these playoffs. Jackson has a number of accomplishments and accolades to his name, but playoff success has eluded him. Head coach John Harbaugh has a Super Bowl win on his resumé, but that came over a decade ago now, and they have not played in the AFC title game since that 2012 season. It’s been a while, but the time for the Ravens to play for the AFC title is here again. Baltimore wins 24-14.
NFC - #7 Green Bay Packers at #1 San Francisco 49ers
Saturday, January 20th - 7:15pm CST - FOX
49ers vs. Packers invokes many playoff memories and has some memorable playoff moments in its history, but this game will be another moment of Kyle Shanahan outcoaching Matt LaFleur. This Green Bay team proved itself in a big way at Dallas last week, but this San Francisco team has been poised for the Super Bowl since their brutal loss in Philly last January. Green Bay had clear advantages in the Wild Card round in coaching against Dallas, but that advantage erodes against San Francisco. This game will be decided by the better defense, that being San Francisco’s. The Niners’ relentless defense will not allow Jordan Love to do whatever he wants, like Dallas’ toothless defense did. San Francisco will clamp down on Green Bay’s playmakers and frustrate the Packers offense all game long. On offense, the Niners will take advantage of a Green Bay defense that may need to gamble in order to make some big plays, allowing Brock Purdy and company to make the big plays themselves. Green Bay may have taken out a consistently overrated Dak Prescott, but now they face a quarterback on a roll who is gaining more confidence and 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 30-19.
NFC - #4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at #3 Detroit Lions
Sunday, January 21st - 2:00pm CST - NBC
On Monday Night, the Buccaneers looked better than they have the entire season, against the Eagles. Unfortunately for the Bucs, five other teams have looked their absolute best against Philly since the beginning of December. Picking Tampa Bay to beat Philadelphia in the Wild Card round may have been the easiest playoff pick one could ever make. Philly was beat before they ever took the field, but now Tampa has to head to Motown, to face a Lions team that is absolutely dialed in, now that they have exorcised the demon of not having won a playoff game in over three decades. The Detroit crowd was on fire this past weekend, but they will take it to another level here in the Divisional Round, and so will the team itself, facing an overmatched opponent in the Bucs. Tampa may have won the easy one a week ago, that opponent had no confidence, this opponent exudes confidence, and these Lions will roll on their way to an NFC title showdown at San Francisco. Detroit wins 31-14.
AFC - #3 Kansas City Chiefs at #2 Buffalo Bills
Sunday, January 21st - 5:30pm CST - CBS
This game will certainly be the most hyped of the four Divisional Round games, but it will actually be the most competitive matchup of them all. Starting with Kansas City’s win over Buffalo in the AFC title game in January 2021, the Bills have had to face the Chiefs in Kansas City five-consecutive times, including their epic Divisional Round tilt in January 2022. Those two playoff wins by Kansas City have been the story of those matchups, but Buffalo has actually won all three of the regular season matchups during this timeframe, giving the Bills a 3-2 advantage overall in their last five games. But now, finally, Josh Allen gets to host Patrick Mahomes, in Mahomes’ first career road playoff game, and the atmosphere will certainly be electric in Buffalo. Bills Mafia will be in full force, hoping to see the downfall of their playoff tormentor. Allen will get his, Mahomes will certainly get his, but it will be up to their defenses to come through with the stops their offenses will need them to make. Ultimately, Buffalo will succeed defensively by taking away KC’s run game and forcing the game into the hands of the Chiefs’ receiving corps, who will let Patrick Mahomes down when he needs them most. Buffalo finally wins the one they’ve wanted for a long time now and will find themselves a step away from where Bills Mafia wants to take their antics, to the biggest stage there is, Vegas on Super Sunday. We’ll see what Baltimore has to say about those hopes though. Buffalo wins 26-24.
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!