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NFL Divisional Round: Schedule, game picks from Behind The Steel Curtain

Will the Lions continue to roar against the surprise Bucs?

NFL: AFC Wild Card Round-Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the divisional playoff round, and some surprising exits have opened the door for some upstart teams. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles were once considered two of the favorites to win the Super Bowl, yet neither team made it past the first round.

That leaves the door open for teams like the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will battle for a spot in the NFC championship game. I’m going to preview that game, along with some clashes of Titans in the AFC.

Let’s break down the schedule of the games this weekend and allow me to help you try and win some cold hard cash courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook with three best bets. Here’s a look at our games of the week.

Divisional Round schedule 2023-24 NFL Playoffs

Saturday, January 20

  • Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens, 4:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN
  • Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers, 8:15 p.m. ET on FOX

Sunday, January 21

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions, 3 p.m. ET on NBC
  • Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills, 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS

Divisional Round predictions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions (-6.5)

The Lions won their first playoff game since 1991 this past Sunday night over the Los Angeles Rams. They will look to double that total as they enter a big favorite over the Bucs.

Back in Week 6, Detroit took down Tampa Bay 20-6 in St. Pete — as the Lions didn’t allow a single touchdown. But this is a completely different Bucs team. They’ve won five of their last six games with former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield under center, and their defense has allowed just 15.3 points per game in those contests. Tampa Bay went 8-1 against the spread in road games this season, but unfortunately for Bucs fans, they will soon be 8-2.

Detroit is simply the better football team. They got the monkey off their back last week with the win over the Rams and should be able to play loose behind a physical offensive line and dominant defensive front. I’m anticipating Dan Campbell’s team of destiny to reach the NFC Championship game.

Currently, 57% of bettors are backing QB Jared Goff and his upstart Lions. Those are some intelligent gamblers.

Pick: Lions -6.5

Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens (-9.5)

There are many words of endearment you could use to describe the Texans right now, but I’ll try and pick one; dangerous. This is a team playing with house money, with no expectations, and a rookie quarterback in C.J. Stroud who is currently playing like a ten-year veteran. However, the Ravens are a different animal. Their QB Lamar Jackson is likely going to win the NFL MVP. They lead the NFL in point differential (+203) and turnover margin (+12).

The key in this game will be Baltimore’s ferocious pass rush against a depleted Texans offensive line. The Ravens led the league in sacks while Houston gave up the most sacks of any team that made the tournament.

As good as he is, at some point Stroud is going to meet his match. The Ravens are a nine-and-half-point favorite for a reason. But that’s a LOT of points. And I trust Texans head coach Demeco Ryans will have his team up to the challenge.

Right now, 72% of bettors are backing the Texans, and I’m agreeing with the majority once again.

Pick: Texans +9.5

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills (-3)

In the least shocking news of all time, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes put together a sparkling performance in Kansas City’s wild card win over the Miami Dolphins last weekend. Why would we ever doubt that guy?

Mahomes and his reigning Super Bowl champs are about to enter uncharted waters. Believe it or not, the Chiefs’ signal-caller has NEVER played in a playoff game on the road. His previous 15 postseason games have all been in the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium. And unfortunately for Kansas City, their opponent has a heck of a home-field advantage.

The Bills are coming off a wildcard win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and have lost just one game at home all season. Bills polarizing QB Josh Allen will look to avenge a heartbreaking AFC Championship game loss to the Chiefs in 2021.

Currently, 61% of bettors are backing the Bills. I’m going with the grain and taking the Buffalo soldiers to finally get over the hump.

Good luck!

Staff picks for the Divisional Round

What are your thoughts on the team’s picks for the Divisional Round?

All odds are taken from DraftKings Sportsbook and are subject to change. See the current odds here.