NFL Playoff Picture 2023: AFC, NFC Brackets, Odds, Scenarios and Picks

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2023

NFL Playoff Picture 2023: AFC, NFC Brackets, Odds, Scenarios and Picks

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    Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
    Chiefs QB Patrick MahomesChris Unger/Getty Images

    It's time for another rousing round of NFL postseason football. The playoffs resume this weekend with the divisional round, meaning only eight teams still have a chance to reach Super Bowl LVII.

    This weekend's slate will have a difficult time living up to what we saw over Super Wild Card Weekend—which provided an epic Jacksonville Jaguars comeback and nail-biters in the Buffalo Bills-Miami Dolphins matchup and the Cincinnati Bengals-Baltimore Ravens showdown.

    Yet the stage should still be set for some fairly memorable contests, especially with the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles entering the fray.

    Here's everything you need to know for the 2022-23 divisional round, including scheduling information, the latest odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and some game-day predictions.

Divisional-Round Bracket, Schedule and Super Bowl Odds

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    Giants RB Saquon Barkley
    Giants RB Saquon BarkleyBailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Divisional Round

    Saturday, January 21

    4. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. 1. Kansas City Chiefs at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC

    6. New York Giants vs. 1. Philadelphia Eagles at 8:15 p.m. ET on Fox

    Sunday, January 22

    3. Cincinnati Bengals at 2. Buffalo Bills at 3 p.m. ET on CBS

    5. Dallas Cowboys at 2. San Francisco 49ers at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox


    Championship Round

    Sunday, January 29

    NFC Championship: 3:05 p.m. ET on Fox

    AFC Championship: 6:40 p.m. ET on CBS


    Super Bowl LVII

    Sunday, Feb. 12

    AFC vs. NFC: 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox


    Conference-Round Scenarios

    The playoff scenarios for next weekend are fairly straightforward in the NFC. The top-seeded team left will host the NFC Championship Game, which means that the New York Giants are the only team without a chance to host.

    Things are a little different in the AFC, where a neutral-site game is in play for a potential Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs matchup. The NFL settled on the neutral-site possibility after it decided not to resume the Week 17 game between Buffalo and the Cincinnati Bengals—a game that was initially postponed after Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field and needed to be resuscitated.

    That decision left Buffalo with no chance to overtake Kansas City for the No. 1 seed—despite holding the head-to-head tiebreaker—if the Chiefs won in Week 18, which they did.

    Like the Giants, the Jaguars have no shot at hosting a conference title game. The Bengals can only host if Cincinnati and Jacksonville are the two teams to advance in the AFC.


    Super Bowl Odds

    Kansas City Chiefs 3-1

    Buffalo Bills 7-2

    San Francisco 49ers 9-2

    Philadelphia Eagles 5-1

    Cincinnati Bengals 8-1

    Dallas Cowboys 8-1

    New York Giants 25-1

    Jacksonville Jaguars 35-1

AFC Games, Lines and Picks

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    Bengals QB Joe Burrow
    Bengals QB Joe BurrowDylan Buell/Getty Images

    4. Jacksonville Jaguars (+9) at Kansas City Chiefs

    Can the Jaguars continue their surprising run and make an appearance in the AFC title game? It's impossible to rule out after the Jags surged from 3-7 in November to claim the AFC South title and then upset the Los Angeles Chargers after facing a 27-0 deficit.

    Yet the Chiefs have a loaded roster, headlined by Patrick Mahomes, and have had two weeks to rest and prepare. Unsurprisingly, Kansas City is a heavy favorite here.

    For Jacksonville to have a chance, it will need to lean on Travis Etienne Jr. and the ground game, control the clock and try keeping Mahomes and Co. out of rhythm offensively. Jacksonville has its own star quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, but engaging in a shootout with the Chiefs isn't the right plan of attack.

    Yet Lawrence and the Jaguars' won't-quit attitude will make it hard for Kansas City to put this one away. Over the past month (roughly), the Jags completed impressive comebacks against both the Chargers and the Cowboys. They'll make things interesting, even if Kansas City gets out to an early lead.

    Prediction: Chiefs 30, Jaguars 24


    3. Cincinnati Bengals (+5.5) at Buffalo Bills

    The Bills are the favorites here, though that's likely a product of them having home-field advantage and Cincinnati's offensive-line issues.

    The Bengals lost right tackle La'el Collins during the regular season and won't have left tackle Jonah Williams or guard Alex Cappa for this game.

    "Head coach Zac Taylor said that left tackle Jonah Williams and right guard Alex Cappa have been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Bills," Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk wrote. "Williams dislocated his kneecap last Sunday and Cappa has an ankle injury that kept him from playing in the win over the Ravens."

    That's a major issue against a Buffalo defense that finished the regular season ranked second in points allowed and with 40 sacks. However, the Bengals are a very resilient team—one that hasn't lost since falling to the Cleveland Browns on Halloween—and this isn't their first time in the playoffs with a lackluster offensive line.

    While Josh Allen and the Bills may have the more prolific offense, Joe Burrow and the Bengals are certainly capable of keeping pace. Don't be shocked if they set up another AFC Championship Game showdown with Kansas City.

    Prediction: Bengals 31, Bills 29

NFC Games, Lines and Picks

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    49ers QB Brock Purdy
    49ers QB Brock PurdyThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    6. New York Giants (+7.5) at 1. Philadelphia Eagles

    Like the Jaguars, the Giants are surprising entrants in the divisional round. They've taken massive strides under rookie head coach Brian Daboll, though, and they have also forged an identity as a team that just finds ways to win.

    Philadelphia meanwhile, has one of the most complete rosters in the NFL—which is, of course, how they claimed the top seed. However, quarterback Jalen Hurts has been dealing with a shoulder injury since December.

    After missing two games, Hurts returned for the season finale but was far less than 100 percent.

    If Hurts cannot be the same dynamic dual-threat he was early in the season, the Giants will have a legitimate chance to steal this game. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley will cause serious problems for a Philly run defense ranked 24th in yards per carry allowed.

    Expect the Eagles to escape, but this one could be uncomfortably close.

    Prediction: Eagles 27, Giants 25


    5. Dallas Cowboys (+4) at San Francisco 49ers

    The Cowboys rolled 31-14 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Monday, but the result may have been a bit deceptive. The Buccaneers offense has struggled all season.

    Dallas deserves credit for moving the ball against a good Buccaneers defense, but it will now face arguably the best defense in the league. At the same time, containing the likes of Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle will be difficult.

    The Cowboys' best chance of an upset will come via a bad game from rookie 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy. The former third-stringer hasn't had an awful outing yet, though. He finished the regular season with an impressive 107.3 passer rating and logged a 131.5 rating in the wild-card round.

    Expect Purdy to play the role of game manager as San Francisco looks to attack Dallas' 22nd-ranked run defense early and often. The recipe is right for the 49ers to reach their third NFC title game in four years.

    Prediction: 49ers 26, Cowboys 20


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