NFL Divisional Round Picks and Best Odds for the Saturday Slate

by | Jan 21, 2023 | Football

After a wild, wild Wild Card weekend, the NFL is back with a ridiculous slate of games. Two of the games are exact rematches, one isn’t, with one being the Bills/Bengals game that never was. The favorites are heavy, the dogs each have a mountain to climb, and fans are in for a doozy. Before Saturday’s games kick off, sit back and dive into my NFL Divisional Round Picks so you know which way to bet.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+350) at Kansas City Chiefs (-435) – Saturday 4:30 PM EST

The Jaguars are coming off one of the most unbelievable comebacks in NFL history. It wasn’t looking good, down 27 points with five turnovers at halftime. That was the mountain the Jaguars faced last week, and they managed to climb it and advance.

This week, they will head to Kansas City to play a regular season rematch of the Week 10 game. In that one, the Jaguars lost to the Chiefs 27-17. The week 10 game was a good one for quarterback Trevor Lawrence who threw for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns (both to Christian Kirk) with no turnovers. Since then, it feels like this is a new Jacksonville team, instead of the one that was 3-7. The keys for the Jaguars this time around will be protecting Lawrence and showing up on defense.

The Jacksonville offensive line allowed the 5th fewest sacks this season and played well against the Chargers’ good pass rush. That protection allowed Lawrence to lead the second half comeback, scoring 24 points in the second half alone. He will need the same amount of time against the Chiefs defense that got to him five times in the first matchup.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Jaguars forced three turnovers against Kansas City in Week 10. Additionally, they played well against the Chargers, even with their backs against the wall down by 27 points. The Kansas City offense is one of the best in the AFC and it will be critical that the defense play them tough to give the offense a chance to stay in this game.

Jacksonville Jaguars Notable Injuries: OG Brandon Scherff (Q), QB Trevor Lawrence (Q), WR Jamal Agnew (Q)

For Kansas City, they finished the regular season in the top spot in the AFC (again) to earn a bye week and some rest. This year, quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the league in touchdowns thrown and had more yards per game through the air than last season, even without Tyreek Hill. In the regular season matchup against Jacksonville, Mahomes had four touchdowns and 330 yards passing to go with 40 on the ground. We all know KC can score but the key for Kansas City this week will be defense, especially stopping the run.

The Jacksonville offense has often come to life in the second half of games this season. This is an area where KC can capitalize on a slower start by their opponent, jump out to an early lead, and try to hold on. That shouldn’t be the strategy, but these are both high flying offenses that can put up points, and that’s exactly what we’ll see in this one.

Kansas City Chiefs Notable Injuries: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (IR), WR Mecole Hardman (O)

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Kansas City Chiefs NFL Divisional Round Picks

Analysts and fans have long debated whether it is better to not get the bye and come into the second round with momentum instead of rest. This matchup will demonstrate that point well, especially momentum off one of the biggest comebacks in playoff history. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, the Chiefs’ offense is one of the best at doing whatever it takes to win. While the Jags will put up a fight (and cover the 8.5 points), Patrick Mahomes just creates too many scoring opportunities to overcome. Watch for this game to be a thrilling finish but for the home team to come out on top.

Final Score: Kansas City 24 – Jacksonville 21

Wicked Wager – Jacksonville +8.5 (-105)

Wicked Player Prop – Patrick Mahomes Total Passing Yards Over 310.5 (-114)

Patrick Mahomes is going to light the Jags up on Saturday. In 17 games played this season, he has thrown over this number 10 times. He threw for 331 in their lone meeting against the Jags this year in a 27-17 victory, and you can expect him to go over 310.5 again in the divisional round. KC is the #1 in passing offense in the league this year, and they are facing one of the worst passing defenses with Jacksonville ranking 27th in the league. Expect a signature performance out of the franchise quarterback in the game with the highest total on the board this weekend.

Anytime TD Props

Jerick McKinnon (-125) has been finding the end zone regularly, and he does it again this weekend.

Isiah Pacheco (+100) is the other half of this running back committee in KC, and while his counterpart gets in through the air, Pacheco breaks one in on the ground.

NFL Divisional Round Picks
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New York Giants (+290) at Philadelphia Eagles (-350) – Saturday 8:15 PM EST

This week, the Giants get their third matchup with the Eagles since Week 14 of the regular season. This is after their Super Wild Card upset, taking down the Vikings in Minnesota. The Giants are 0-2 against the Birds this season, but they had nothing to play for in the second matchup which fell in Week 18. Not to mention, they were also 0-1 against Minnesota this season, which didn’t matter as soon as the playoffs started.

In that Week 14 matchup where both teams were still playing all starters, the Giants fell behind early and just couldn’t keep up. Quarterback Daniel Jones only had 169 yards passing and one touchdown, while the offense essentially scored just 14 points (one touchdown in garbage time ended the game). However, that was then, and this is now. Since that game the New York offense is averaging almost 26 points per game. The two keys to the Giants’ offense have been quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley.

The Philadelphia rush defense is ranked middle-of-the-road, and Barkley will need to put up a big game this week if the Giants want to win. For Jones, he also had one of his slowest games all season in Week 14 and sat Week 18 but has thrown for over 300 yards twice since that first game. Jones is also adept at making plays with his legs, rushing for 78 yards last week against Minnesota. In this game, rushing will be key as the Eagles are more susceptible there then they are through the air.

New York Giants Notable Injuries: Azeez Ojulari (Q)

The Eagles clinched the top spot in the NFC with that Week 18 win over the Giants’ second string team. However, they didn’t end the season the way they were hoping for. After winning in New York the Eagles went to Chicago, where they barely survived the Bears, then went on to lose against Dallas and New Orleans. It’s important to note that quarterback Jalen Hurts did not play in the loses, but he also didn’t have a great game in the wins since week 14. The Eagles hope that with the week of rest, Hurts is back to his regular season form.

The keys for Philadelphia this week will be that offensive return-to-form for Hurts and shutting down Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones is coming into this matchup having had two 110+ QB ratings in his last two games. The Philly offense will need to jump out to an early lead so that the defense can limit the damage Saquon Barkley could do to them. The Birds defense only allowed 20 points per game this season and will need to hold the Giants to that number if they want to advance.

Philadelphia Eagles Notable Injuries: CB Avonte Maddox (O), DE Robert Quinn (Q)

New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles NFL Divisional Round Picks

Divisional matchups in the playoffs always add an extra level of rivalry to important games and this one is sure to have that. We have seen these two teams match-up both with everything and nothing on the line. This time, the matchup is a rolling Giants team versus a rested Eagles team. In this one, I’m taking the road team. Watch for the Giants to score early and open all avenues on offense where the run game balances well with the passing ability of Jones.

Final Score:  New York 28 – Philadelphia 23

Wicked Wager – Giants ML (+290) / Over 48 (-110)

Wicked Player Prop – Jalen Hurts Total Rushing Yards Over 51.5 (-114)

It’s playoff time, and the Eagles aren’t going to hold Hurts back this weekend. His shoulder has had extra time to heal, and Lane Johnson will be back as well. That means better blocking for the franchise quarterback. Hurts has run for over this number seven times this year, one of which came in a 77 yard day on the ground against these same Giants in week 14. Oddly enough, Hurts has been a better runner on the road this year. However, all that’s going to change against this poor Giants run defense which ranks 27th in the league. Hurts runs all over them Saturday night and cashes this over.

Anytime TD Props

Boston Scott (+430) has 10 career touchdowns against the Giants. Although we won’t see much of him the rest of the playoffs, he’ll have a role this week, and he scores, because that’s what he does against the G-men. Plus, at this crazy value, it’s almost mandatory to put some money on him.

A.J. Brown (-105) and Hurts are going to be high fiving a lot during this game, and at least one of those will come after Brown catches one for six.