NFL Divisional Round Lines: Best Bets, Playoff Picks & Predictions for Saturday
Hey, Grinders! Long time, no see! After my family and I battled COVID for a little over two weeks, I’m ready to come back out of football-betting isolation and get back on the winning train. And what great timing for my reappearance—we have a fantastic slate with NFL Divisional Round lines on the docket this weekend, as eight teams hunt for conference championship berths.
Today, we will cover Saturday’s games: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers. You can check back between now and kickoff to view updated NFL lines from across our favorite sportsbooks.
NFL Divisional Round Lines & Schedule
Saturday, January 22nd
- Bengals at Titans -3.5, O/U 47.5 | 4:30 PM ET | CBS
- 49ers at Packers -5.5, O/U 47 | 8:15 PM ET | FOX
Sunday, January 23rd
- Rams at Buccaneers -2.5, O/U 48 | 3 PM ET | NBC
- Bills at Chiefs -2, O/U 54 | 5:30 PM ET | CBS
Best Bets, Playoff Picks for Saturday
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans -3.5, O/U 47.5
The divisional round kicks off with 2020 No. 1 pick Joe Burrow and the high-flying Bengals taking on Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, and the aptly-named Titans in Nashville. Cincy comes into Music City in full rhythm, riding a serious momentum from winning four of its last five games—including its first playoff win in 31 years, a 26-19 victory over the Raiders. Tennessee, the No. 1 seed, holds court with the perfectly-timed return of King Henry, the rushing champ in both 2019 and 2020. Henry missed nine games after suffering a foot injury in October, which derailed his seemingly-effortless path toward a rushing title three-peat.
While Burrow and his incredible cast of skill-position players have been awesome, Henry is the story here. Despite missing over half the regular season, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound behemoth somehow finished the campaign sixth in rushing touchdowns (10) and ninth in rushing yards (783). The reigning Offensive Player of the Year posted a league-best average of 117.1 rushing yards per game, which stood nearly 11 yards better than eventual rushing champ Jonathan Taylor, and 27.2 yards better than Nick Chubb at No. 3. Henry is an absolute beast of a man, and if his foot is anywhere near 100 percent Saturday, Cincy could be in for a world of hurt.
And that’s no offense to Ryan Tannehill, who led Tennessee to a 6-3 record in Henry’s absence. If the Titans get full participation out of stud second-year receiver A.J. Brown and veteran wideout Julio Jones, who have both battled injuries all year, this is a legit Super Bowl contender. Mike Vrabel’s squad has gone 6-3 against the spread at Nissan Field, where it allowed just 16.8 points per game this season (third-fewest in the NFL).
But of course, the Bengals are coming off their first postseason victory since January 1991, and they have every reason to believe they can run the table. Cincy averaged 27 points per game this season, good for seventh-best in the nation, and second-year Joe Burrow has his fingerprints all over this fantastic run. Just one season after a brutal ACL tear cut his rookie season short, the top pick of the 2020 NFL Draft threw for 4,611 yards, a league-best 8.9 yards per completion, and 34 touchdowns. He finished his Pro Bowl campaign with a league-best 70.4 completion percentage and an incredible 108.3 QB rating (second only to reigning MVP and presumed 2021 MVP Aaron Rodgers).
Burrow has a murderer’s row of weapons, including running back Joe Mixon and the receiving quartet of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and tight end C.J. Uzomah. It’s Chase, Burrow’s former teammate at LSU, that has been the revelation of the 2021 season. The Rookie of the Year frontrunner finished his debut regular season with 81 catches, 13 touchdowns, and a rookie-record 1,455 receiving yards, supplanting fellow LSU Tiger “(player-popup #justin-jefferson)Justin Jefferson”:/players/justin-jefferson-1844306’s mark of 1,400 from a season ago.
My gut told me to pick Tennessee -3 when the lines first opened, but I’ve since decided to lean toward Cincinnati—especially with the line shifting to -3.5. Burrow and the Bengals are riding high coming into this game, and there’s something to be said for a young, high-flying offense with momentum. It also remains to be seen if Henry’s foot will be ready for his bruising style of running, in a competitive playoff atmosphere after two months on the mend. The Titans may prevail behind Tannehill —who would earn his first home playoff victory since joining Tennessee (and third win in five postseason games)—but I don’t think they’ll win by more than a field goal. Go with Cincy behind its Pro Bowl Bengal Tigers.
- PICK: Bengals +3.5, OVER 47.5
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers -6, O/U 47
Aaron Rodgers never ceases to amaze. The three-time (and soon-to-be four-time) MVP led Green Bay to its third-consecutive 13-win season, behind a myriad of incredible stats. In addition to his 4,115 passing yards, and 37:4 TD:INT ratio, Rodgers finished the season with league-bests in QB rating (111.9 QB), QBR (68.9), net yards per pass attempt (8.0), and of course, touchdown percentage (7%) and INT percentage (0.8%). And he only played half of the Pack’s 17th game, a loss to Detroit that had no bearing on Green Bay’s No. 1 playoff seed.
Rodgers has quite the illustrious collection of honors, including a Lombardi Trophy and a Super Bowl MVP to go with it. But one thing he has never achieved is playoff victory over his hometown San Francisco 49ers. The last time these squads met in the postseason, back in 2019, San Fran forced two Rodgers interceptions while ramming its running game down Green Bay’s throats for 285 yards. Raheem Mostert had a whopping 220 on his own, as well as four scores, and we’re not talking about the Gettysburg Address here.
The Niners still value a ground-and-pound approach, but their running back rotation has suffered a number of key injuries this season. One of the most surprising elements of San Fran’s offense—which finished the 2021 campaign seventh in offense (375.7 yards per game) and seventh in rushing (127.4 ypg)—was the dual-threat emergence of wideout Deebo Samuel. The explosive All-Pro wideout finished his third season with 77 catches, 1,405 receiving yards (an NFL-best 18.2 yards per reception), 365 rushing yards, and 14 total touchdowns (6 in the air, 8 on the ground).
Samuel put the hammer down on Dallas last week, with a touchdown and 72 of his 110 total yards coming on the ground. Rookie Eli Mitchell added 96 yards and a score on a whopping 27 carries. Jimmy Garoppolo, ever the game manager, completed 16-of-25 passes for 172 yards. Jimmy G has a steady pass-catching nucleus of Samuel, Aiyuk, and perennial Pro Bowl tight end “(player-popup #george-kittle)George Kittle”:/players/george-kittle-37069—but Kyle Shanahan rarely has the veteran QB attempting long passes. This Niners squad relies on defense, power running, and short strikes that turn into game-breaking gains.
One of those components could be in serious jeopardy at Lambeau this weekend. San Francisco’s defense, which finished the season third in total yards allowed and ninth in scoring, could be without multiple key cogs Saturday evening. Elite pass-rusher Nick Bosa, who finished fourth in the NFL this season with a career-high 15.5 sacks, suffered a concussion in the first half of the Niners’ Wild Card tilt against the Cowboys. Fellow defensive end Jordan Willis left the game with an ankle injury, as did stud linebacker and leading tackler Fred Warner.
These defensive injuries must be music to the ears of all Cheeseheads, who look forward to an evening in the single-digits at Lambeau Field. Against a highly-motivated Rodgers, with a dominant 12-5 record against the streak—and an even better 7-1 mark ATS at home—I can’t possibly pick the 49ers. It’s one thing to upset Dak Prescott and the Cowboys in a dome (well, is it, really? Dallas always chokes). It’s a whole other triumph to overcome Rodgers and the well-rested Packers at Lambeau in nine-degrees late-January weather. I have Rodgers throwing three TDs in this one, two to elite wideout Davante Adams and one to stud running back Aaron Jones. Give me the Cheese and let’s make some cheddar.
- PICK: Packers -6, UNDER 47
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