NFL Divisional-Round Teaser Picks: Top Seeds Should Handle Business

These teams have been dominant for most of the season

by

January 19

There’s an interesting group of teams heading into the NFL divisional round.

Some were favored to make it this far all season while others are continuing to shock the football world with their late regular season and early postseason success. Let’s stick with two squads that have been favorites throughout the season, and tease them down through multiple key numbers at home.

Of note, if you pair two teams in a 6-point teaser at DraftKings Sportsbook, you get a line of -120 (risk $120 to win $100). If you want plus money, you can pair three teams in a six-point teaser for a payout of +160 (risking $100 wins you $160). Shopping around for the best number is important here — some sportsbooks will offer two-team 6-point teasers juiced at -140, while others offer -110 or -120.

Kansas City Chiefs -8.5 to -2.5 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
What a run Doug Pederson and this Jags squad have had. As fun as it’s been, I do believe it ends at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday.

Jacksonville needed touchdowns on four straight drives from Trevor Lawrence to complete the third-largest comeback in NFL postseason history, after trailing the Los Angeles Chargers by 27 points on wild-card weekend. I don’t see Andy Reid’s squad allowing that sort of comeback to happen, especially at home in one of the toughest environments in sports. The Chiefs defense has been nothing special this season but it has gotten them by — which is all you really need in a defense when you’re backed by the best offense in football. Patrick Mahomes and friends finished the season ranked No. 1 overall in DVOA on offense by a comfortable margin — 25.2%, with Buffalo next at 19.0% above league average. Lawrence and Mahomes already met in Week 10, resulting in a 27-17 win for the Chiefs. I would expect a similar result here, but perhaps closer with the momentum Jacksonville is riding. Still, the Chiefs offense should dominate. Jacksonville finished just outside the bottom-five in team sack percentage and third-worst in pass DVOA defensively this season.

I am sure Jags defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell has a game plan to make Mahomes look human (including getting pressure on him without blitzing, which makes his numbers take a massive hit), but I trust the Chiefs will be ready for whatever the Jags throw at them. Let’s play it safe though and tease them through the key numbers of seven, six, and three.

Philadelphia Eagles -7.5 to -1.5 vs. New York Giants
While we’re at it, let’s give the Giants their flowers too. If you said you saw them making it this far, congrats (but I’ll need to see some receipts).

While head coach Brian Daboll deserves the credit for getting his team this far, we can’t ignore the fact the Giants got here by playing the easiest schedule in the NFL. Their last four wins have been over the Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Commanders, and Houston Texans. Fourth-year QB Daniel Jones has gained a lot of respect this season with his success, but we can’t forget who he is going up against here in a massive game. We’re talking about the best pass rush in the NFL.

The Eagles squad generated 70 sacks this season, the most in the league and the third-most in NFL history. Philadelphia also finished first in DVOA defending the pass this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jones has some pre-game jitters, especially remembering back to Week 14 against the Eagles, when he was sacked seven times at home in the 48-22 loss. More importantly, they were able to stifle the G-Men’s most important weapon in Saquon Barkley. The running back was held to just 28 yards on nine carries. The Giants have had the luxury of facing much lesser defensive fronts the last few weeks. This should be a rude awakening. Philly is going to get pressure on Jones, limit Barkley on the ground and quiet this offense quickly. My main reason for teasing the Eagles down here is fear that Jalen Hurts’ shoulder is not 100%, despite his name coming off the injury report. What keeps me hopeful is that he is backed by a plethora of weapons that make up a top-five offense alongside a top-five defense. Like I mentioned, just a few weeks ago, we saw this same Eagles squad put up almost 50 points on a Giants defense that finished bottom-five in overall DVOA this regular season. A healthy Hurts and team should be able to end the Giants season, but it’s the playoffs and anything is possible, especially with a team that finished with the best against the spread record in the league. Let’s take the Eagles and tease them down under a field goal.

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Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images

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