After a thrilling Wild Card Weekend, where four of the six games were decided by seven points or fewer, we now move on to the Divisional round. After these four games, we will know which four teams will battle it out for a place in Super Bowl LVII in Arizona on Sunday, 12 February. The number one seeds from the AFC and NFC, the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, enter the playoffs this weekend after their bye weeks. The Chiefs host the Jaguars on Saturday, while the Eagles will face their NFC East rivals, the New York Giants for a third time this season.
The leading NFL betting sites have the Chiefs as favourites, with the Buffalo Bills close behind them. The San Francisco 49ers have overtaken the Eagles as the NFC team most likely to win the Super Bowl, which would be their sixth.
The Jacksonville Jaguars pulled off the third biggest comeback in the history of the NFL playoffs, when they rallied from 27-0 down to beat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-30. After throwing four first-half interceptions, Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw four touchdowns to complete the stunning comeback. The Jaguars cannot afford to let the Chiefs get away from them on the scoreboard this weekend, even if seven of their last eight wins have come after conceding the opening points.
Kansas City start this game as heavy favourites with many sports betting apps not only to win this game, but to win the Super Bowl itself. The Chiefs have had an extra week to come up with more clever plays in the red zone, just like they have done throughout Patrick Mahomes' time as starting quarterback. The Chiefs have hosted the last four AFC Championship games, and it would be a massive shock if Arrowhead wasn't hosting the game again this year.
Brian Daboll has emerged as a viable candidate to win this season's Coach of the Year award, after taking the New York Giants to the Divisional round of the playoffs. The Giants' 9-7-1 record was their first winning season since they last made the playoffs, when they were one and done after losing 38-13 at the Packers in January 2016. Their reward for beating the Vikings in Minnesota last weekend, is a trip to Philadelphia to face the NFC's number one seed.
The Eagles earned a first-round bye, which will have given quarterback Jalen Hurts more time to recover from a shoulder injury that forced him to miss two of the Eagles' last three regular season games. Philadelphia won both meetings with the Giants this season, winning by 26 points in the Big Apple, and by six points in Week 18 in Hurts' return to action. The Giants need a clean game from quarterback Daniel Jones if they are to advance to the NFC Championship game for the first time since winning their last Super Bowl title in February 2012.
It promises to be an emotional occasion in Orchard Park on Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Bills in Buffalo. It's a re-match of the Week 17 contest in Cincinnati, when Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest forcing the game to be cancelled. Hamlin has since returned to Buffalo to continue his recovery, and what a boost it would be for everyone involved with the Bills if Hamlin could attend the game.
It's not been confirmed whether Hamlin will be at the game, and indeed it might be a late surprise on the day of the game. As for the game itself, home advantage should be enough for the Bills to progress, but they will need to play a lot better than they did last weekend, when they were pushed all the way by the Miami Dolphins who were led by their third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson. If quarterback Joe Burrow starts well, the Bengals should make this a closer game than the leading sports betting sites might expect.
Dallas Cowboys' trip to San Francisco rekindles memories of their past meetings in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the two sides represented the NFC in six of eight consecutive Super Bowls. They also met in three consecutive NFC Championship games with the Cowboys winning twice after the 1992 and 1993 seasons, before the 49ers triumphed following the 1994 campaign. A place in this year's NFC decider awaits the winner of this game.
The 49ers are favourites with many NFL betting apps, not just because they have home advantage, but because they are on the longest winning streak of any team right now. Last weekend's 41-23 win over the Seahawks was San Francisco's 11th straight win. The 49ers have the best scoring defense in the league, conceding just 16.6 in the 18 games they have played.