NFL Divisional Round Picks 2023: Predictions, betting favorites, best plays for NFL playoff action this weekend


The NFL Playoffs continue this weekend with the top seed in each conference taking the field for the first time. Both Kansas City and Philadelphia play Saturday. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs welcome Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars into Arrowhead in the early game Saturday in a rematch from Week 10 (Saturday at 4:30pm ET on NBC and Peacock). The late game is the third meeting in the last seven weeks between Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles and Daniel Jones and the upstart New York Giants.

Sunday’s doubleheader features Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills hosting Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in the first game followed by Dak Prescott and the Cowboys paying a house call to Brock Purdy and the 49ers.

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs Schedule

As sports bettors size up each game and look for advantages, they need to recognize and eliminate meaningless stats. For example, the misnomer is that beating a team three times in one season is extremely difficult. Not true. Since 1970, 21 teams have won the first two meetings in a season. 14 of those 21 teams won their third meeting in the playoffs. Sharps often say bet the numbers and not the teams. Consider these numbers: Winning teams have covered the spread in 33 of the last 44 Divisional road games.

Take and do what you will with those stats. Know that our NFL staff at NBC Sports EDGE have gone beyond those numbers to find their favorite plays for each game this weekend. They offer their favorite plays on everything from sides and totals to player props. The group includes Jay Croucher (@croucherJD), Vaughn Dalzell (@VMoneySports), and Lawrence Jackson (@LordDontLose). Tail (or fade) as you see fit.

RELATED: How to watch Jacksonville Jaguars vs Kansas City Chiefs: TV/live stream info for Saturday’s NFL Divisional Round game

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs -8.5 (Over/Under 53)

  • Kickoff: January 21 at 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC and Peacock, coverage begins at 3:00pm ET)
  • Site: Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City, MO
  • Jacksonville Playoff History: 8-7 (0 Super Bowl Appearances)
  • Kansas City Playoff History: 17-21 (2 Super Bowl wins – 4 Appearances)
  • Series History: Kansas City leads the all-time series winning eight of fourteen games against Jacksonville. These teams have never met in the playoffs.

Note: Back in Week 10, the Chiefs beat the Jags 27-17 in a game where Kansas City jumped out to a 20-0 lead before coasting to the win.

Croucher: Kansas City Chiefs -8.5 (-110)

What is the track record of Patrick Mahomes losing at home against a pass defense as poor as Jacksonville’s? Nonexistent? The secondary has been Jacksonville’s weakness all season but was not exploited by Josh Dobbs or the Chargers’ uninspiring playcalling mixed with the absence of Mike Williams. Mahomes should do whatever he wants against the Jags – the fairytale ends here.

Dalzell: Kansas City Chiefs First Half Team Total OVER 14.5 (-115)

In the Chiefs last nine playoff games not including Super Bowls, Kansas City is 7-2 to the 1H Team Total Over 14.5 and 15.5 points. In those nine games, the Chiefs scored 21, 14, 21, 21, 19, 21, 28, 0 and 24 points (18.7/1st half). In the last four Divisional Round games, KC has scored 24, 28, 19 and 14 points in the first half of each.

I like the Jaguars’ defense and have enjoyed their current hot-streak, but I am willing to bet they struggle throughout the game against Patrick Mahomes at Arrowhead this weekend. I would play the Chiefs First Half Team Total to 15.5 or 16.0.

Jackson: Jerick McKinnon to score an Anytime Touchdown (+100) and….

The total is set at 53, so let’s think big here. Jerick McKinnon has scored a (receiving) touchdown in six straight games. His work in the run game has been shaky, but I like him to score plus a Chiefs’ win at +105. With his anytime touchdown prop at +100, you may as well bank on the Chiefs winning. Sprinkle in Patrick Mahomes to score plus a Chiefs’ victory at +375 if you are feeling frisky as he has scored a rushing touchdown in two of the Chiefs’ last four contests.

RELATED: NBC Sports EDGE Divisional Round Preview

New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles -7.5 (Over/Under 48)

  • Kickoff: January 21 at 8:15 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • Site: Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, PA
  • Philadelphia Playoff History: 23-24 (3 Super Bowl appearances, 1 win)
  • New York Giants Playoff History: 25-25 (5 Super Bowl Appearances, 4 wins)
  • Series History: The two teams have met 180 times (including 4 postseason games), with the Eagles leading the series with a record of 91-87-2. This includes four playoff games with each team winning twice.

Note: Daniel Jones and Jalen Hurts have combined to rush for more regular season yards (1468) than any other quarterbacks meeting in a playoff game. The tandem of Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen in 2020 (1426 yards) was the previous leader in the category.

Croucher: Miles Sanders OVER 66.5 Rushing Yards (-120)

In the one real match-up between these two teams Sanders had 17 carries for 144 yards. The Giants’ pass defense is improved with Adoree Jackson back, but the rushing defense remains a trainwreck (bottom 3 in rush EPA per play allowed on the season). Philly will target it, especially if Jalen Hurts is at all limited as a passer.

Dalzell: Daniel Jones UNDER 217.5 Passing Yards (-115)

Daniel Jones is coming off his third 300-yard passing game of the season and this prop line was a little inflated at the 223.5 opening line, but I still like the Under 217.5 passing yards down to 214.5. Jones tossed 300 yards against the Lions and Vikings twice, two of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.

This matchup versus the Eagles’ defense is much tougher due to their No. 1 DVOA rank through the air. Jones went Under 217.5 passing yards in 13 out of 16 games this regular-season and in three out of five career meetings versus the Eagles.

I cannot forget to mention that this is a Primetime game under the lights. Jones is 1-9 as a starter in Primetime with an average of 208.7 yards per game, in addition to tossing an interception in eight out of those 10 games. I expect more designed runs and hand-offs to Saquon Barkley versus Philly and lean yes to an interception at +105 and the Game Under 48 (-110).

Jackson: Devonta Smith longest reception OVER 23.5yds (-115)

Devonta Smith has had a reception of 23 yards or more in five of his last six games. The one game in which he did not was Week 18 (17 yards) which happened to be Jalen Hurts’ first week back from injury. Lets make it six of the last seven for Smith. Furthermore, Smith has been on a tear over his last six games averaging 9.5 targets, 6.5 receptions and 97.8 yards per game.

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Schedule – Times, dates, how to watch for Jags-Chiefs, Bengals-Bills, Giants-Eagles and more

Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills -5.5 (Over/Under 48.5)

  • Kickoff: January 22 at 3:00 p.m. ET (CBS)
  • Site: Highmark Stadium – Orchard Park, NY
  • Cincinnati Playoff History: 9-15 (3 Super Bowl appearances – 0 wins)
  • Buffalo Playoff History: 18-19 (4 Super Bowl appearances – 0 wins)
  • Series History: These two teams have met 32 times. The Bills lead in the series with a record of 17-15. The Bengals, though, are 2-0 in the playoffs against Buffalo.

Note: The Buffalo Bills were the only team to be favored in every game this season.

Croucher: Ja’Marr Chase OVER 82.5 Receiving Yards (-115)

In his past 5 games, Chase is averaging 13 targets. Even with the Bengals’ O-Line decimated, Chase showed he could still produce with shorter/intermediate routes against the Ravens, going over this number despite not having a single 20+ yard catch. In a game where the Bengals are 5.5point dogs and expected to be trailing and throwing, Chase should clear this number against a banged-up Bills’ secondary.

Dalzell: Joe Burrow OVER Passing Attempts ***

Joe Burrow finished with 32 pass attempts and we had the Under 36.5 versus the Ravens. I teased we would be on the Over versus Buffalo and here we are. Last game was a perfect AFC North clash that would take time off the clock and see long possessions, but with these two teams, I expect plenty of opportunities, especially for Cincy given how Josh Allen likes to turn the ball over.
In the divisional round last season, Burrow threw for 348 passing yards on 37 pass attempts before tossing 38 passes against the Chiefs for 250 yards in the AFC Championship. This is that type of game. Expect the ball to be in Burrow’s hands and the Bengals to lean on him to make plays with his arms and legs.

***This prop has not been published yet, but I expect between 37.5 and 38.5 if the books are smart.

Jackson: Cincinnati Bengals ML (+185)

I am keeping it simple here. No points needed. Despite the injuries and issues with their offensive line, the Bengals are the better team with the better quarterback. The Bengals have not lost since Halloween and just one of those game was actually close (vs. Chiefs). The Bills on the other hand, have squeaked out wins where they should have lost (including Wildcard weekend) and suffered losses to inferior opponents in that span. While both teams were lucky to escape to the divisional round, both sides will give a greater effort this week.

RELATED: Jonah Williams, Alex Cappa officially ruled out for Bengals

Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers -4 (Over/Under 46)

  • Kickoff: January 15 at 4:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • Site: Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, CA
  • Dallas Playoff History: 36-29 (8 Super Bowl appearances – 5 wins)
  • San Francisco Playoff History: 36-23 (7 Super Bowl appearances – 5 wins)
  • Series History: The Cowboys lead the all-time series with a record of 19-18-1 against the 49ers. This is the 9th time these teams have met in the playoffs. Dallas has won five of the eight postseason games.

Note: If the Cowboys are able to pull off the upset, they will have won the 37th playoff game in the franchise’s history. That would tie them with the Patriots for the most in NFL history.

Croucher: Brock Purdy To Throw An Interception: Yes (-115)

The Cowboys have a top four rushing defense, particularly with Leighton Vander Esch back in the fold, and the Niners are going to have to throw in this game. The Cowboys’ defense is – by margin – the best Purdy has encountered to date. Purdy has been excellent at avoiding turnover worthy plays, but he is still, understandably, prone to occasional moments of madness, and should throw at least one pick in this game.

Dalzell: Ezekiel Elliott UNDER 35.5 Rushing Yards (-114)

The Cowboys running back totaled 27 rushing yards on 13 carries versus the Buccaneers and that was a positive game script. The 49ers are the NFL’s best defense. This season Zeke had run for 42 or more yards in 13-straight games…until the past three contests.

Elliott ran for 37, 10 and 27 rushing yards over those three games (74 yards) on 40 carries (1.85 ypc) with a longest rush of nine yards. There is no reason to back Elliott’s rushing total Over, especially when Tony Pollard posted 77 rushing yards on 15 carries against Tampa Bay.

Pollard had a higher snap share (56.7%) than Elliott last week (47.8%) and I expect that to continue versus the 49ers. I played Zeke Under 35.5 rushing yards and would go to 32.5 yards.

Jackson: Ezekiel Elliott UNDER 35.5 Rushing Yards (-114)

Ezekiel Elliott’s rushing prop is set at 34.5 which is extremely low, but I am taking the under (-110). He easily hit that number in his first 13 games this season. However, in Week 17 with Tony Pollard absent, he barely eclipsed it gaining just 37 yards on 19 carries. In his last two games he has rushed for 10 and 27 yards respectively. The 49ers are the best remaining run defense in football giving up 77.7 yards per game and are coming off a game in which Kenneth Walker rushed for 63 yards. It could be an ugly game for Zeke.

The team at NBC Sports EDGE has you covered with the latest in best plays and player news from Wild Card Weekend through to Super Bowl LVII. Now, all premium tools for Fantasy and Betting are included in one subscription at one low price. Customers can subscribe to NBC Sports EDGE+ monthly for $9.99. Click here to learn more!

NFL Conference Championship Picks: Predictions, betting favorites, best plays for 2023 AFC, NFC Championship games


The NFC and AFC Championship games this weekend feature the top seeds in one game and a rematch of last year’s conference title game in the other. Each matchup is rife with storylines and the sports books expect each game to be close. In fact, for just the third time in the Super Bowl era, neither Conference Championship game has a team favored by three points or more.

Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles host Nick Bosa, Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon. Mike Shanahan and the 49ers have not lost since before Halloween while Nick Sirianni and the Eagles have lost just once this season with Jalen Hurts under center.

The AFC Championship game Sunday evening is, as mentioned, a rematch of last year’s game. Kansas City seeks revenge at home against Cincinnati after losing in OT last year. A win by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs would send them to their third Super Bowl in the last four seasons. A win by Joe Burrow and the Bengals means back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl for Cincinnati and a shot at their first Super Bowl win in franchise history.

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs AFC, NFC Championship Round Schedule

Our NFL staff at NBC Sports EDGE have done a deep dive into these games to find their favorite plays of Championship Sunday. They offer them on everything from sides and totals to player props. The group includes Jay Croucher (@croucherJD), Vaughn Dalzell (@VMoneySports), and Lawrence Jackson (@LordDontLose). Tail (or fade) as you see fit.

San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles -2.5 (Over/Under 46.5)

  • Kickoff: January 29 at 3:00 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • Site: Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, PA
  • Philadelphia Playoff History: 24-24 (3 Super Bowl appearances, 1 win)
  • San Francisco Playoff History: 37-23 (7 Super Bowl appearances – 5 wins)
  • Series History: San Francisco leads the all-time series with Philadelphia having won 20 of the 35 meetings with one tie between the two. The Eagles have hosted 17 of the games with the 49ers claiming victory in 11 of those. These teams have met just once in the playoffs. Back in the 1996 NFC Wild Card Game (12/29/96) Jerry Rice and Steve Young each scored touchdowns to propel San Francisco to a 14-0 victory against Philadelphia.

Note: If the current line stands, this game will be the first in which Brock Purdy is the underdog. He is 6-1 ATS thus far in his young career. Jalen Hurts is 9-2-1 ATS as a home favorite in his career and a whopping 7-0 ATS as a single-digit favorite at Lincoln Financial Field.

Croucher: George Kittle OVER 3.5 Receptions and Miles Sanders UNDER 6.5 Receiving Yards

The Eagles concede an above-average amount of receptions to opposing tight ends, and in a game where the Niners will likely be throwing, expect Brock Purdy to target his favorite weapon.

Miles Sanders has gone under this number in five straight games, never topping one target in any of those games, and the Niners are elite at defending running backs in the passing game.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023

Dalzell: Dallas Goedert UNDER 47.5 Receiving Yards (-115)

The 49ers have had the best defense against Tight Ends in the NFL for the last two seasons. Opposing Tight Ends as a unit average Under 40 yards per game against San Francisco yet books want Dallas Goedert to get almost 50 himself.

Last week against the Giants, Goedert caught five passes on five targets for 58 yards and a TD, so this line could be a little inflated. He went Under 47.5 yards in three out of four games to end the regular season.

There are so many options in this offense on the ground and through the air ranging from AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott, Zach Pascal, Quez Watkins and Goedert. I would play this down to 44.5 receiving yards.

After ripping off that long list of skill position players without even mentioning Jalen Hurts, you can understand why I am also leaning Eagles ML as well.

RELATED: 49ers Super Bowl history

Jackson: Eagles to win by 1-13 points (+310) and A.J. Brown most receiving yards (+210)

Go big or go home. What I saw in the 49ers/Cowboys’ game last week is a Dallas team that played more than good enough to win except at one position. Despite the turnovers and failure to capitalize on a turnover, the Cowboys lost to the 49ers by seven points. The Eagles’ defense is good enough to match what the Cowboys did against the 49ers especially when it comes to rushing the passer. Furthermore, do not expect the Eagles’ offense to be as careless and unprepared offensively as Dallas was against the best defense in football. If you like the Eagles to win, it only makes sense to sprinkle this in.

A.J. Brown only gathered in 22 yards of receptions last week as he frankly was not needed much against the Giants due to the Eagles’ success rushing the ball. Prior to that he had gone four straight games with at least 95 yards receiving. Earlier this week he made some (non-diva) comments about getting the ball and it should be his time against the 49ers. The Niners are the second-best run defense in football so the Eagles will (and can) get it done through the air. Look for the Eagles to flip the script on the game plan and do what works this week which means a solid day for Brown.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs -1 (Over/Under 48)

  • Kickoff: January 29 at 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
  • Site: Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City, MO
  • Kansas City Playoff History: 18-21 (2 Super Bowl wins – 4 Appearances)
  • Cincinnati Playoff History: 10-15 (3 Super Bowl appearances – 0 wins)
  • Series History: These two teams had never met in the postseason prior to last year’s AFC Championship Game. In that game the Bengals defeated the Chiefs in overtime by the score of 27-24. Cincinnati and Kansas City have met 31 times in the regular season with the Bengals having won 17 of the games.

Note: With the line shifting towards Kansas City, the Chiefs have now been favored in 15 straight playoff games. It is the longest streak by any team in the Super Bowl era. Patrick Mahomes has never been a playoff underdog. He is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to be favored in each of his first 13 playoff starts.

Croucher: Kansas City Chiefs ML (-115) and Jerick McKinnon Over 27.5 Rushing Yards (-115)

Coming into last week the Bills and Chiefs were rated as approximately equal, and the Bills closed 6-point favorites at home to Cincinnati. Naturally, Cincy’s impressive performance and the injury to Patrick Mahomes has to reduce the line significantly from -6 but going from -6 to Pk is an over-adjustment. The Chiefs should be 2-point favorites here.

Jerick McKinnon played 44 of 68 snaps last week and is more trusted in pass protection than Isiah Pacheco. A running back playing 65% of snaps in Kansas City’s offense should not be set as low as 27.5 rushing yards, particularly if Mahomes is limited.

RELATED: How to watch Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs

Dalzell: Joe Burrow OVER 24.5 Completions (-122) and Kansa City Chiefs ML (-115)

Burrow completed 23 passes on 36 attempts last week and did not throw a pass from the 12-minute mark until the end of the game, hitting his Under 25.5 completions and 38.5 attempts, barely. I like Burrow to go over his 24.5 and 25.5 completions line in the AFC Championship as I do not expect Joe Mixon to recreate his 100-yard performance, which last week was only his second such outing of the season. At 23 completions in each of the two postseason games, expect that number to increase here.

For the game winner, I will take the Chiefs to extract revenge on the Bengals after losing the AFC Championship Game, 27-24 in OT last season. Patrick Mahomes is healthier than most expected entering this game.

Kansas City has a chance to reach the Super Bowl for the third time in four years, while Cincy is looking to make back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl. I think this line adjusting to a pick-em or -1 for Kansas City is incorrect. I would make this -3 to -3.5 for the Chiefs.

RELATED: Bengals Super Bowl history

Jackson: Isiah Pacheco OVER 47.5 rushing yards (-115) and Will the team that scores the first points win the game? NO (+140)

While the Bengals’ run defense is not a pushover, this prop is simply too low. Do not be fooled by the Bills’ lack of success on the ground last week against Cincinnati because they cannot run the ball against anyone. J.K. Dobbins was able to gain 62 yards on 13 carries against the Bengals in the Wildcard Round. The week prior, Kenyan Drake ran for 60 yards against the Bengals. Pacheco has gone over 55 rushing yards in nine of his last 10 games and should get enough carries to do so again. This one is not hard.

Let’s switch it up a bit and have a little fun for some plus money. The Bengals and Joe Burrow have won the last three games against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs (including the playoffs). In only one of these games (Week 13 of the 2022 season) did the first team to score go on to win the game. Basically, when you have two juggernauts, it does not matter who scores first. Taking the team who scores first to win is currently set at -200 and not is worth that risk.

Enjoy the games and enjoy the sweat.

The team at NBC Sports EDGE has you covered with the latest in best plays and player news from Wild Card Weekend through to Super Bowl LVII. Now, all premium tools for Fantasy and Betting are included in one subscription at one low price. Customers can subscribe to NBC Sports EDGE+ monthly for $9.99. Click here to learn more!

2023 NFL Playoffs: Ranking potential Super Bowl LVII matchups


The 2023 NFL playoffs continue this Sunday, and Conference Championship weekend looks quite similar this year as it did in 2022. Three of the four teams that reached last year’s Super Bowl semis are back again this season – the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals. The lone change is the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles replacing the reigning champion Los Angeles Rams. With the NFC and AFC Championship Games rapidly approaching, let’s rank the four potential Super Bowl LVII Matchups:

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs Schedule

Ranking potential Super Bowl LVII Matchups

1. Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid going up against his former team… yes please! The story writes itself! Reid spent his first 14 seasons as an NFL head coach in Philadelphia, and even led them to their first Super Bowl appearance back in the 2004 season. Reid and the Eagles fell short in that Super Bowl, but the future Hall of Fame head coach got his title in Kansas City 15 years later. How sweet would it be to see Reid and Patrick Mahomes earn their second Lombardi Trophy against the team where Reid made his name.

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs scores

2. Kansas City Chiefs vs San Francisco 49ers

This would be a rematch of Super Bowl LIV from the 2019 season, which saw Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs overcome a 10-point 4th-quarter deficit to beat the 49ers 31-20 and bring Kansas City its first Lombardi Trophy. The Chiefs outscored the 49ers 21-0 in the 4th quarter of that Super Bowl win, something you know San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan wants to earn redemption for. 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy would become the first rookie to start a Super Bowl, assuming Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t back in the mix – is the moment too big for Mr. Irrelevant? Or will he continue to make history?

Also worth noting – the 49ers have won 12 straight games heading into the NFC Championship (it would be 13 if they reached the Super Bowl). Their last loss came in Week 7, when they fell 44-23 to none other than the Chiefs.

RELATED: PFT’s conference championship game picks

3. Cincinnati Bengals vs San Francisco 49ers

Cincinnati has been to the Super Bowl on three occasions in franchise history. They are 0-3 in those games, and are one of 12 active NFL franchises who have never won a Super Bowl. Last year, they lost 23-20 to the Rams in Los Angeles. Their other two appearances came in the 1981 and 1988 seasons. Both times, they to lost Bill Walsh’s 49ers in one-possession games. Joe Burrow keeps re-writing Bengals history, and he can cement his status as a Cincinnati legend if he can enact revenge on the 49ers in Super Bowl LVII.

Aside from that, who wouldn’t want to see Burrow, Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins take on the NFL’s best defense. And you can’t forget about Brock Purdy, the 49ers’ 3rd string QB to start the season, looking to become the first rookie QB to win the Super Bowl.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl LVII

4. Cincinnati Bengals vs Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia has been the NFC’s top team all season, and with Jalen Hurts seemingly able to manage his shoulder injury, the Eagles’ offense is back to being one of the most exciting units in the NFL. On the flip side, all Joe Burrow and the Bengals do is show up when the lights are brightest. Can head coach Zac Taylor and Burrow lead Cincinnati to its first Super Bowl title? And you can’t forget the two best wide receiver duos in the game: AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith on one side, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins on the other.

Conference Championship Round Schedule:

Sunday, January 29

NFC Championship Game:

San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles – 3:00 p.m. ET on Fox

  • Where: Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

AFC Championship Game:

Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs – 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS

  • Where: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri

 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2023 NFL Playoffs, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!