Playoff Saturdays are for the Locks
Bengals @ Titans (-3.5), O/U 47
Divisional weekend starts off with an awesome one. Both of these teams went largely under the radar all season long. Both of them turned in fantastic seasons resulting in division victories. The Bengals air attack and youth has fans buzzing. The Burrow-Chase combination is certainly going to torment defenses for the next decade. Their Wild Card round win last week wasn’t a dominant performance, particularly offensively in the Red Zone. But a win is a win, and they’ll look to continue that momentum into this game.
The Titans are getting their king back in Derrick Henry. While it’s unknown how healthy he truly is and where his stamina is at, I think it’s a bad idea to doubt him. I would argue he’s going to be the freshest player on the field, which is terrifying to opposing defenses. Not only will he be fresh, but the whole Titans team is coming off of their first round bye. Mike Vrabel is 8–0 in his career in games following 9 or more days off. The trio of Henry, AJ Brown, and Julio Jones hasn’t been together much this season, but that’s as good a trio as you can have. The only question mark is on Ryan Tannehill and the pass defense of the Titans against what is an explosive offense on the other side.
I began the week leaning towards to the Bengals here, but ultimately I’ve landed on the Titans. Henry being back certainly was a big factor here. My main reason for this pick is the Bengals have the feel of one of those “darling” types of teams that overachieved, had a great season, and it’s simply run its course. I’ll lay the points with the home team.
Picks: Titans -3.5 (Padlock), OVER 47 (Padlock)
49ers @ Packers (-5.5), O/U 47
This game has the largest spread in the divisional round, but I’m not letting that fool me. The 49ers have momentum, which is scary in the playoffs, and are the style of team that has historically given this Packers team fits. Remember Raheem Mostert a few years ago in January in this very matchup? It’s certainly not out of the question that their could be a repeat of that with Elijah Mitchell and/or Deebo Samuel. And defensively, it looks like both Bosa and Warner are both suiting up, which is crucial as they try to stop this Packers offense.
But can this Packers offense be stopped? It doesn’t seem like they can be. The Rodgers-Adams combination is almost unfair with how easy they make offense look. And the two-headed monster in the backfield of Dillon and Jones is a headache if you put extra resources outside to try to stop their aerial attack. And on the other side of the ball, this is the best defense the Packers have had in at least a decade. Oh, and it looks like they’re getting healthier as the postseason is beginning with a bunch of key guys returning healthy and rested.
I’m going with the Packers here. I simply can’t envision the Packers not scoring in the mid-upper 20s, which I expect to be enough to cover here. The 49ers are a team that need to dominate on the ground to set the rest of their offense up, and the Packers defense is much better on the ground than both the Cowboys and Rams defenses that the 49ers have faced the past two weeks. Sometimes, you have to look past who is the hot team and simply pick the better team. I’m laying the points with the better team here.