Divisional Round Predictions

After getting 4 of the 6 games right last weekend, I let you know who will advance to the AFC and NFC Championship Games.

The first round of the NFL postseason is in the books, and it was a wild one. I managed to get 4 of the 6 wild card predictions correct, which (in my completely unbiased opinion) wasn’t half bad considering some of the insane results. The Minnesota Vikings being upset by the New York Giants, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers losing to the Dallas Cowboys for the first time in his career, and of course, the 27-point comeback by Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars all played a part in making the 2023 Wild Card weekend one to remember.

As the Divisional round approaches, let’s take a look at the matchups coming up this weekend:

Kansas City Chiefs (1) vs Jacksonville Jaguars (4)

The Jacksonville Jaguars had low expectations coming into the playoffs, but they managed to make an incredible comeback to secure a Wild Card victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence looked extremely inconsistent during this game, throwing 4 straight interceptions as they went down 27-0, and then threw 4 straight touchdown passes as they rallied to a 31-27 victory, completing the 3rd-largest comeback in NFL history.

The Kansas City Chiefs have been incredible all season, and they were rewarded for their efforts with a 1st round bye. The Chiefs are expected to win this game relatively easily, but as we saw last week, anything can happen. Viewers should keep an eye out for Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, as the Jacksonville offense relies on him extremely heavily.

Final Score Prediction: Chiefs 31, Jaguars 14

Philadelphia Eagles (1) vs New York Giants (6)

The New York Giants weren’t supposed to accomplish anything this season, and the fact that they made it this far is a miracle. Despite a lackluster offensive core, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones put up an excellent performance against the Minnesota Vikings last week, leading them to a 31-24 upset victory. Jones threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns, as well as gaining 78 yards on 17 carries. If he continues this phenomenal play, the Giants could be serious contenders.

However, the Giants have the misfortune of playing the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have been the best team in the NFL all season, and it’s hard to imagine them losing out to the 6th-seed Giants (whom they’ve beaten twice this season), no matter how well New York is playing. Keep an eye out on the two quarterbacks, Daniel Jones and Jalen Hurts, as they’ll likely be the deciding factor of this matchup.

Final Score Prediction: Eagles 21, Giants 17

Buffalo Bills (2) vs Cincinnati Bengals (3)

This is going to be an excellent game. While neither of these teams looked excellent against their opponents last week, they managed to close out their wins and give us the Divisional round matchup we’ve all been waiting for. These teams were scheduled to play on Monday night during week 17, but the game was canceled due to Damar Hamlin (who has now been discharged from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery) suffering a Cardiac Arrest on the field.

Since that fateful game, both teams have looked like potential Super Bowl candidates, and it’s a shame that they have to play this early in the postseason. Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens twice in a row, while Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills took a commanding victory over the New England Patriots in week 18, and narrowly defeated the Miami Dolphins last week in the Wild Card Round.

Expect a high scoring game, with lots of intense sequences and turnovers. This game could go either way, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went to overtime. Keep a close eye on Bengals wide receiver Ja’marr Chase, as the combination between him and quarterback Joe Burrow could provide Cincinnati with the firepower they need to make the AFC Conference Finals for the 2nd year in a row.

Final Score Prediction: Bills 31, Bengals 28 (Overtime)

San Francisco 49ers (2) vs Dallas Cowboys (5)

Despite kicker Brett Maher’s best efforts, the Dallas Cowboys survived their matchup against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers last week, and are now scheduled to face the red-hot San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have now won 11 straight games, led by one of the best defenses in the NFL as well as an explosive offensive core. The 49ers have looked unbeatable since the acquisition of Christian McCaffrey in Week 7, only dropping one game to the #1 seed Kansas City Chiefs that week. 

The Dallas Cowboys, however, aren’t bad either. Although inconsistent, they’ve looked very good in the past few weeks, especially last week in their blowout victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott was especially good in this victory, throwing for 305 yards and 4 touchdowns, as well as scoring one rushing touchdown.

Similarly to the Bills/Bengals matchup, this one could be very close. If the 49ers defense can stop Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and the rest of the Cowboys offense, they could dominate this game, but if they can break through, we could see another outcome in favor of the Cowboys. 

Final Score Prediction: Cowboys 24, 49ers 21