We started the super wild-card round in not-so-super fashion, going 4-2 each. This week, there are four games to be played, and picking the winners gets no easier.
The divisional round picks appear below. As you’ll see, MDS has picked two of the underdogs to cover. I’ve picked one to cover, and one to win.
However it plays out, the games this weekend should be great.
Jaguars (+8.5) at Chiefs
MDS’s take: The Jaguars already being in the divisional round in Year One of Doug Pederson and Year Two of Trevor Lawrence is a great sign for where this team is heading. But they’re not yet on the level of the team Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have in Kansas City. This is where the Jaguars’ impressive season comes to an end.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 30, Jaguars 20.
Florio’s take: The Chiefs are on upset alert. It will not surprise me at all if the Jaguars win the game. They’re loose. They have nothing to lose. The Chiefs may be peeking past the Jaguars, with a much-hyped Bills rematch looming. But, ultimately, I’ve got faith that Patrick Mahomes will find a way to advance. Even if it isn’t nearly as easy as people think it will be.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Jaguars 27.
Giants (+7.5) at Eagles
MDS’s take: Brian Daboll has done an incredible job getting Daniel Jones to the point where he can have a playoff game like he had last week against the Vikings. This week against a much better Eagles defense, I find it hard to believe Jones can do it again. Jalen Hurts will put plenty of points on the board for Philadelphia, and Jones and the Giants won’t be able to keep up.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 31, Giants 17.
Florio’s take: It happened in 2008, when the Eagles beat the top-seeded Giants. It happened in 2007, when the Giants beat the top-seeded Eagles. And it could happen again, with the Giants getting their revenge, 15 years later. The Giants are gaining momentum, improving at the right time. The Eagles have been wobbly for the past few weeks. Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence have become superstars before our eyes. Saquon Barkley is running as hard as ever. Isaiah Hodgins is the guy opposing defenses refuse to take seriously. Brian Daboll outcoached Kevin O’Connell last week, and could be ready to outcoach Nick Sirianni. It won’t be easy, but nothing has been easy for the Giants this year. Expect a Saturday night classic, one that the Giants could indeed win.
Florio’s pick: Giants 24, Eagles 23.
Bengals (+5.5) at Bills
MDS’s take: Both the Bengals and the Bills struggled to beat overmatched opponents last weekend, but I’m expecting a well-played game between them on Sunday. Josh Allen will make one more big play than Joe Burrow in the fourth quarter, and that will be the difference.
MDS’s pick: Bills 24, Bengals 20.
Florio’s take: The Bengals are salty about many things. And that could be enough to fuel a second annual divisional-round road win. But the Bills will get a major lift from a pregame appearance by Damar Hamlin (if that happens), and quarterback Josh Allen will will his way back to the AFC Championship. It would help if someone other than receiver Stefon Diggs steps up, too.
Florio’s pick: Bills 31, Bengals 24.
Cowboys (+4) at 49ers
MDS’s take: After watching the Cowboys dominate the Buccaneers on Monday night, I’m tempted to pick an upset here. But I do think Brock Purdy will do just enough to keep the 49ers’ offense moving, and the 49ers’ defense will force Dak Prescott into a couple of turnovers to win a low-scoring game.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 17, Cowboys 16.
Florio’s take: The 49ers have a collection of badasses who can roll out of bed and run through a brick wall. And even though coach Kyle Shanahan has downplayed it, he knows having two extra days makes a world of difference, especially with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn interviewing for the Broncos job when he otherwise should be preparing to crack Shanahan’s code, and to not have his own code cracked.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 24, Cowboys 17.