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NFL Playoffs 2020: AFC, NFC Schedule, Odds and Predictions

Jake RillSenior Analyst IJanuary 9, 2020

Russell Wilson, de los Seahawks de Seattle, festeja durante el encuentro de comodines ante los Eagles de Filadelfia, el domingo 5 de enero de 2020 (AP Foto/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Wild Card Round brought an exciting weekend of NFL playoff action, and everyone will be hoping the divisional round can do the same.

This past weekend, all four wild-card matchups were decided by eight or fewer points, and two of them went to overtime. The reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and the 13-3 New Orleans Saints were both knocked off at home, proving that this postseason could be filled with surprises.

Here's the full schedule for the upcoming divisional round, along with odds and predictions for each matchup.

        

Divisional-Round Schedule

Saturday, Jan. 11

No. 6 Minnesota Vikings at No. 1 San Francisco 49ers (-7), 4:35 p.m. ET, NBC

No. 6 Tennessee Titans at No. 1 Baltimore Ravens (-10), 8:15 p.m. ET, CBS

      

Sunday, Jan. 12

No. 4 Houston Texans at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs (-10), 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS

No. 5 Seattle Seahawks at No. 2 Green Bay Packers (-4.5), 6:40 p.m. ET, Fox

Odds obtained via Caesars.

      

Predictions

AFC

The AFC divisional round is likely go in favor of the top two seeds in the conference.

First, the Ravens will host the Titans on Saturday night for the first time in the playoffs since the 2008 season. Baltimore, which went 14-2 during the regular season, has been the clear top team in the NFL this season and is well-rested after sitting many of its starters in Week 17 and receiving a first-round bye in the playoffs.

The Titans are coming off an impressive Wild Card Round victory, as they went on the road and took down the Patriots this past weekend. After losing two of its last three regular-season games and not securing a playoff spot until Week 17, Tennessee now has some momentum entering its most challenging matchup of the season.

Against the Pats, the Titans had only 272 total yards, yet that was enough for them to secure a 20-13 win. That's not going to be the case in Baltimore, where they'll be going head-to-head against a Ravens offense that ranked No. 2 in the NFL during the regular season with 407.6 total yards per game.

Tennessee will have trouble trying to contain Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson, so the Ravens should pull away for a sizable victory to advance to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since the 2012 season.

The other AFC divisional-round matchup should be more competitive, with the Chiefs hosting the Texans on Sunday afternoon.

The only previous time that Kansas City and Houston played in the postseason came during the 2015 season, a wild-card contest that the Chiefs won 30-0. This time, it should be a closer game, as the Texans have momentum coming off an overtime win over the Bills in the Wild Card Round this past weekend.

It should be exciting to watch a pair of top quarterbacks—Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes and Houston's Deshaun Watson—face off in a matchup that could feature a lot of offense on both sides. That was the case when the two teams played in Week 6, a matchup that the Texans won 31-24 in Kansas City.

After that loss, the Chiefs will be motivated to get revenge against the Texans. Expect a big game from Mahomes that will lead Kansas City to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year.

       

NFC

The 49ers and Seahawks won't be playing each other for the third time this season during the divisional round. But don't rule out a potential matchup between the NFC West rivals later in the playoffs.

In order for that to happen, San Francisco and Seattle will have to win this weekend. And that's exactly what will happen.

First, the 49ers are hosting the Vikings, who are coming off an upset road win over the Saints this past weekend. Minnesota beat New Orleans 26-20 in overtime to earn only its second playoff victory since the 2009 season.

While the Vikings offense totaled 362 yards against the Saints, they're going to have a greater challenge against the 49ers, whose defense ranked No. 2 in the NFL during the regular season with 281.8 total yards allowed per game. Plus, San Francisco is well-rested after a first-round bye.

Before this season, the 49ers hadn't reached the playoffs since 2013. So, some of their players will be making their postseason debut, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. And what better way to mark San Francisco's return to the playoffs than a win to advance to the NFC Championship Game?

The 49ers defense will make some key late stops, and their offense will help them pull away in the second half to earn the victory.

On Sunday, the Seahawks will earn the only upset win of the weekend. And it won't be the first time that Seattle earns a big playoff victory over Green Bay. The last time the two teams met in the postseason was the 2015 season, when the Seahawks won in the NFC Championship Game.

Russell Wilson will continue to play well while leading Seattle's offense, which has received a boost of energy from the return of running back Marshawn Lynch. Although the veteran hasn't carried the ball much in his two games since coming out of retirement, he's scored a pair of touchdowns and has likely raised morale after the Seahawks suffered numerous injuries to key running backs.

It will be a close game, but Seattle will edge Green Bay to advance. Then, it will set its sights on avenging its Week 17 loss to San Francisco.

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