NFL Divisional Round Predictions and Picks Against the Spread: Four Best Bets

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If we had mulligans we'd definitely be taking one after believing the Dolphins would provide any meaningful resistance in frigid Kansas City. But we don't and our record is our record. A 2-4 entry into the business of picking playoff football moves the yearly mark to 55-50 (.524). This week's lines look incredibly juicy though and it doesn't take much to go 4-0 and become a small-scale legend.

Here our our best NFL divisional round picks.


The Lions couldn't have taken a seat the kitchen table and schemed up a better scenario. They've stumbled into a second home playoff game in front of that group of insane maniacs. They've drawn the Bucs, a team that they previously beat by two touchdowns down in Tampa. They go from worrying about Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford, Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams doing big things to just needing to stop Mike Evans. And the dirty little secret about Detroit is that their much-maligned defense is actually solid. Opponents are averaging a shade over 20 points over the past five weeks and that's more than enough to complement an offense that's going to get to 30 most times they play indoors. Any lingering tighntess will be gone. Sam LaPorta will be healthier, and Jared Goff will play with earned confidence. The Lions are going to the NFC Championship Game and fans will get to enjoy a laugher. Can you even believe it? Lions 34, Bucs 18


The thing about Jordan Love and Brock Purdy is that we'd rather have Love. That's a sentence that would have sounded crazy in 2023 but playoff football can change narratives and minds pretty quickly. The Packers did not blink going into a difficult venue and absolutely curb-stomped a good team. San Francisco is an entirely different animal with their ability to attack from so many different angles. But you know what? We're actually going to do a classic sports radio thing here and say that it will be more rust than rest for the 49ers. Sure, they'll probably wake up in time to avert disaster but Shanahan playing from behind is not great. You never know. Niners 28, Packers 27


CJ Stroud was electric in his playoff debut and the Texans remain the most fun story in the playoffs, non-Lions division. However, all good things must come to an end, and Houston's run will do just that in Baltimore. We've seen the Ravens struggle after a week off before but this team feels different. In the more tangible realm, defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald is significantly more malleable than Jim Schwartz and will not let the Texans beat the same coverages over and over again like the Browns did. Lamar Jackson is a bit more difficult to bring down than Joe Flacco. The Ravens are going to defend homefield and walk away with this one handily. Ravens 34, Texans 21

CHIEFS (+2.5) over BILLS

Patrick Mahomes isn't simply going to fade away in his first playoff game outside of Arrowhead Stadium. There is much ado about that aspect of this but Kansas City is as well-equipped to play in whatever the Buffalo weather can throw at them as anybody else in the league. More importantly their defense deserves far more respect than its been given this year. The unit is good enought that nobody on the Bills is going to beat them except Josh Allen, and Allen is just as likely to beat his own team as he is the opponent. The Bills' ride has been fun but their defense is too banged-up to take advantage of all the drops the Chiefs are going to suffer and Mahomes elevates his play to match the moment regardless of who he's throwing the ball to. We won't be rid of the playoff Chiefs quite yet. Chiefs 23, Bills 20