Divisional Round Preview

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We look ahead to the coming weekend’s matchups, potential storylines, and a whole lot more. Follow along this week on all Chiefs Focus social media platforms, the 1st and 10 Podcast, as well as the blog for coverage and insights.

Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus Charles Robinson @CRob5769

Blowouts. Blowouts, galore. The “Super” Wild Card weekend came and went, and in it we did not see a lot of competitive football. The average margin of victory for the teams that moved on was 17.2 points, and the only two games that were within one score at the final whistle were Cincinnati’s 7 point win over Las Vegas, and San Francisco’s 6 point win at Dallas. The Bills won by 30, the Bucs by 16, Chiefs by 21, and the Rams by 23. A lot of folks on the Twitter are claiming that the extra team in the playoffs is bad, we only need 6, yada yada yada. The bottom line is there was football on all weekend, and we all watched it. Also, I would give those fans a word of advice – don’t fly too close to the sun. When your team is on the brink of a playoff berth, and there isn’t an additional seed, you’re going to regret wishing the extra spot away. 

The divisional round may just be the conference semifinals, but it is the last full weekend of football we have until college football and the preseason come back around. Chiefs fans have grown to appreciate Championship weekend and Super Bowl Sunday quite a bit over the past few seasons, but we cannot lose our appreciate for the divisional round. Look at these matchups. You have collisions of styles in the Titans vs. Bengals and Packers vs. 49ers games. The Rams travel to Tampa to try to unseat Tom Brady and the Bucs. And the final game of the weekend features arguably the two best teams in the AFC in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game. 

(4) Cincinnati Bengals at (1) Tennessee Titans – AFC – Saturday 3:30 CST; CBS, Paramount+

On the Call : Ian Eagle and Charles Davis 

  • Cincinnati, coming off of their first playoff win since 1991 against the Las Vegas Raiders, will travel to Nashville to face the 1 seed Titans, who are of course coming off of a bye week. 
  • The million dollar question this week – will Derrick Henry play, and if so how much? The Titans all-world running back was activated off of IR before week 18, but sat the last game and rested last week. Against a banged-up Cincinnati run defense, he could be a key to victory for the Titans. 
  • Joe Burrow hits the road to face a Titans defense that excels at creating pressure with their front 4. 
  • This will be the second all-time playoff matchup between the two franchises. The Bengals defeated the Houston Oilers back in the 1991 AFC Wild Card round by a score of 41-14. 
  • Coaches Mike Vrabel and Zac Taylor will meet for the first time. Vrabel is the front runner for NFL coach of the year, and Taylor has taken the Bengals from 2-14 to the Divisional round in his third season at the helm. 
  • The Titans are currently 3.5-point favorites. 

(6) San Francisco 49ers at (1) Green Bay Packers – NFC – Saturday 7:15 CST; Fox

On the Call : Joe Buck and Troy Aikman  

  • The 49ers, coming off a 23-17 win over the NFC’s 3 seeded Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday, travel to Green Bay to take on the 13-4 Packers. 
  • In a rematch of the 2020 NFC Championship game, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks to avenge the loss to reach his third consecutive title game. Green Bay has not reached the Super Bowl since 2011. 
  • The Packers Davante Adams and the 49ers Deebo Samuel will meet in a matchup of 2 of the 3 wide receivers from this year’s All Pro First Team. 
  • San Francisco enters after back-to-back wins against the Rams in the final week of the regular season and Cowboys in the Wild Card round. This will be a rematch of a Week 3 thriller that Green Bay won 30-28. 
  • Several key players on both sides are either slated to return from injuries, or are nursing new ones, including the Packers offensive line duo David Bakhtiari and Josh Myers, and 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa.
  • The Packers are currently 6-point favorites. 

(4) Los Angeles Rams at (2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – NFC – Sunday 2:00 CST; NBC

On the Call : Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth

  •  Los Angeles takes on of the longest road trips in the NFL as they head to Tampa to take on Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champion Bucs 
  • Both teams won in the Wild Card round with relative ease, with the Bucs handling the Eagles 31-15 and the Rams dismantling division rival Arizona 34-11. 
  • Buccaneers starting offensive linemen Tristan Wirfs and Ryan Jensen are both nursing ankle injuries (Wirfs is in a walking boot) – something that could play a huge role against a Rams team that can generate pressure from the interior with Aaron Donald and and on the edge with Von Miller.
  • Tom Brady will be in search of his 36th playoff victory (tops in NFL history by a mile), Rams QB Matt Stafford will be looking to notch his 2nd career playoff victory. 
  • The Buccaneers are currently 3-point favorites. 

(3) Buffalo Bills at (2) Kansas City Chiefs – AFC – Sunday 5:30 CST; CBS

On the Call : Jim Nantz, Tony Romo 

  • These two teams had the most impressive offensive performances, particularly from their quarterbacks, in the Wild Card Round. Buffalo’s Josh Allen was 21 for 25 for 308 yards and 5 TD against New England, and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes went 30 for 39 for 404 yards and 5 TD against Pittsburgh. 
  • This will be the teams’ second meeting this season. Buffalo won a week 5 contest in Arrowhead Stadium by a final score of 38-20. It is also a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game, one that Kansas City won 38-24 at home. 
  • Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones and cornerback Charvarius Ward will be available to play in this game. They both missed the week 5 matchup with Buffalo due to injuries. Buffalo will be without cornerback Tre’Davious White who tore his ACL against the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving night. 
  • Mahomes holds the advantage in the 3 contests these quarterbacks have squared off in thus far at 2-1. 
  • Mahomes and the Chiefs have a 6-1 record at home in the playoffs including last week’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. 
  • Kansas City is currently a 1.5-point favorite. 

Stay tuned to the blog all week for coverage on these games, as well as in depth coverage on the Chiefs and Bills Sunday night matchup at Arrowhead Stadium!

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