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What an effort by Jacksonville last week to advance after starting the game the way they did. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence gifted the Chargers four interceptions, and the Jaguars faced a 27-point deficit, trailing 27-7 going into the half. But the team never stopped fighting, found a way to win, and now travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs.
Not many people are giving the Jaguars a chance in this one. Although they came back to win, that was against a team with no real playoff experience. This game is different. Things will be over quickly if you spot Patrick Mahomes four turnovers and the Chiefs are given extra opportunities with their offense on the field. The Chiefs are clearly the better team, and I don’t expect this one to be an upset. The Jaguars’ best chance is if the Chiefs come out flat after their bye.
This can easily turn into a blowout, but the Chiefs have been playing down to their competition level for most of the season, so I can see the Jaguars beating the spread. But the Chiefs move on to the AFC championship game once again; doing so would mark their fifth straight appearance.
Brian Daboll is a heck of a coach. He has led his team to the playoffs and won in the wild card round in his first season. Running back Saquon Barkley is the offense’s best player, and he’s inspired enough to be the catalyst for the rest of the team. His two touchdowns led the way to an upset win over the Minnesota Vikings on Super Wild Card Weekend, and quarterback Daniel Jones probably played the best game during the biggest moment of his professional career.
But now it’s time to face the NFC’s best team from the season. The Eagles are stacked offensively and defensively. According to reports, quarterback Jalen Hurts is fully healthy for this game, and when he plays, Philadelphia is tough to beat.
Everything in me wants to root for the Giants to pull this game out, but I just can’t do it. I think the Eagles are too good, and the only way they lose this game is if Hurts plays his worst game of the season. The Eagles win, but Daboll shows how brilliant he is offensively again, and the Giants beat the spread.
The one game in the AFC everyone has waited for. There was such a major build-up to this game that was supposed to be played in Week 17, but after Damar Hamlin’s scary injury, the game was suspended and the NFL decided not to move forward with re-scheduling.
Bengals fans have a lot to complain about here. Had they beaten the Bills, they could have potentially been playing this game in Cincinnati again. Instead, this game’s happening in Orchard Park, NY, and it’s the Bills that are ready to host the game of the year.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen can’t turn the ball over like he did against the Miami Dolphins, and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will need to lead a better offense than he did against the Baltimore Ravens. But this game is about as evenly matched as it can get.
Since “13 seconds,” I’ve felt that Allen and the Bills were on a mission to get back to the playoffs and run through anyone that was put in front of them. That feeling doesn’t change now. The Bills win at home and cover the spread.
How ‘bout them Cowboys? I was wrong last week when I predicted they would lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’m so used to them playing well in the season, and falling apart in the playoffs. I’m also used to seeing Tom Brady do incredible things in the postseason. That wasn’t what we saw Monday night at all. Brady looked flustered all night as the Cowboys’ defense applied pressure and made it difficult for his receivers to get open.
Now, they face rookie quarterback Brock Purdy and the 49ers. Purdy has impressed so many people this season, and that continued in his first postseason game. Now is the time to see if he can hang with a prolific offense. The 49ers have the best defense in the league, but we have seen them struggle against offenses that really have the ability to move the ball.
This game will come down to which quarterback will be able to move the ball better. That’s why the spread is so close. These teams are so evenly matched that there will need to be great plays made to win this game. This isn’t going to be a blowout. I’m going to take the 49ers to win and cover the spread in a game that will come down to the final drive.