NFL Playoff Picture 2022: Updated Title Odds and Most Compelling Scenarios

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2022

NFL Playoff Picture 2022: Updated Title Odds and Most Compelling Scenarios

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    The divisional round is set for the 2021-22 postseason. Four tremendous games are on tap for next weekend, one of which features perhaps the most compelling quarterback dual of the postseason.

    When the Kansas City Chiefs host the Buffalo Bills, it will be a battle between two quarterbacks—Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen—who each threw five touchdown passes in the wild-card round. It's also a rematch of last year's AFC title game.

    "We're expecting a fight, we’re expecting a battle. They have a great offense, great defense, great special teams," Mahomes said, per Pro Football Talk's Michal David Smith.

    The Bills handled the Chiefs 38-20 back in Week 5, and this is shaping up to be quite the conference rivalry. In many ways, this is the most compelling quarterback matchup of the postseason—but we could have some equally juicy scenarios for the championship round.

    Here, you'll find a look at a couple of scenarios we'd love to see play out this weekend. You'll also find a look at the remaining postseason schedule and the latest Super Bowl odds.

Remaining Playoff Schedule

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    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    Divisional Round

    Saturday, January 22

    4:30 p.m. ET: Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans on CBS, Paramount+

    8:15 p.m. ET: San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers on Fox


    Sunday, January 23

    3 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers on NBC, Peacock

    6:30 p.m. ET: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs on CBS, Paramount+


    Championship Weekend

    Sunday, January 30

    3 p.m. ET: AFC on CBS, Paramount+

    6:30 p.m. ET: NFC on Fox, Fox Sports app


    Super Bowl LVI

    Sunday, February 13

    6:30 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock

Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills

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    Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

    With all due respect to Mahomes and Allen, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is the new hot young quarterback in the AFC. In two short seasons, he's transformed Cincinnati from an also-ran to a legitimate title contender.

    Burrow and rookie phenom Ja'Marr Chase are the new hot young quarterback-receiver duo in the NFL. Now that Cincinnati has handed the proverbial keys to Burrow, there's no foe it cannot knock off.

    "We trust in Joe," Bengals coach Zac Taylor said, per The Athletic's Paul Dehner Jr. "The more I've been around, I've learned to just shut my mouth and let the magic occur."

    It'd be a lot of fun to see Burrow and the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game. It'd be even more fun to see them take on Allen and the Bills.

    We've already seen Burrow versus Mahomes this season, and we're about to get Round 2 of Allen versus Mahomes. A game featuring Burrow, Chase, Allen and Stefon Diggs would be thrilling. So too would be the chess match between Burrow and the Bills' first-ranked defense.

    Fortunately for the hopeful, this is an entirely plausible scenario. Buffalo has shown that it can get past Kansas City. It won't be as easy a second time, as the Chiefs defense has gelled since the first meeting. However, the Bills won't be intimidated to walk into Arrowhead and battle the reigning AFC champions.

    The Bengals match up surprisingly well with the No. 1 seed Tennessee Titans. Derrick Henry could be a problem if he's anything close to 100 percent, but the Titans defense ranks just 25th against the pass.

    Few have been able to contain Burrow, Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd this season. If the Cincinnati passing attack gets rolling early, the Titans will be on upset alert. A year ago, Cincinnati beat Tennessee 31-20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    If we can get the young guns in the AFC, why not another old-guard showdown in the NFC? Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers won't play forever—though Brady continues to out-pace Father Time. Another duel between these first-ballot Hall of Famers would be terrific.

    The Green Bay Packers hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in last year's NFC title game. Neither quarterback played particularly well, and the Buccaneers defense out-did Green Bay.

    That game was notable for Packer coach Matt LaFleur taking the ball out of Rodgers' hands late in the game. with a 4th-and-goal opportunity from the 8-yard line, Green Bay opted for a field goal and a five-point deficit with just over two minutes remaining in regulation.

    Green Bay never saw the ball again.

    Things would undoubtedly be different in a rematch, and a similar scenario would likely see the Packers' trust in Rodgers, Davante Adams and the passing attack. Rodgers has been on fire this season and is likely your 2021 NFL MVP.

    According to The Athletic's Matt Schneidman, Rodgers edged out Brady in the All-Pro voting, 34 votes to 16. 

    This is another entirely possible scenario, though the Buccaneers matchup with the Los Angeles Rams could be tough. The Rams dominated the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, and they have the firepower to go punch-for-punch with Brady and Co.

    Los Angeles handled the Buccaneers back in Week 3, winning a decisive 34-24 contest.

    If the Bucs can survive, though, there's a good chance that this is the matchup we get. The Packers only need to overcome the San Francisco 49ers' rushing onslaught to advance. They cannot take the 49ers lightly, but they should be able to hold serve at home.

    Green Bay beat San Francisco 30-28 in Week 3.

Super Bowl LVI Odds

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    Nic Antaya/Getty Images

    Green Bay Packers 7-2

    Kansas City Chiefs 19-5

    Buffalo Bills 5-1

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-2

    Los Angeles Rams 15-2

    Tennessee Titans 17-2

    San Francisco 49ers 10-1

    Cincinnati Bengals 15-1


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