NFL Playoff Bracket 2022: Odds, Predictions for AFC and NFC Divisional Round
The second week of the 2021-22 NFL postseason is nearly here. Six teams emerged from Super Wild Card Weekend, while the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans were on bye. All eight teams will be in divisional-round action Saturday and Sunday.
Which teams have the best chances of making it to their respective conference title games? Vegas certainly has its opinion.
Here you'll find a look at the weekend's schedule, the latest odds for each game, updated Super Bowl odds and predictions for the divisional round.
Saturday, January 22
4:30 p.m. ET: Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) at Tennessee Titans on CBS, Paramount+
The Cincinnati Bengals have the keys to making an appearance in the AFC title game. Namely, they are quarterback Joe Burrow and rookie wideout Ja'Marr Chase. The duo has been fantastic down the stretch, and Burrow is playing as well as any signal-caller in football.
In his last two regular-season starts—against the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs—Burrow threw for a combined 971 yards with eight touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Against the Tennessee Titans' 25th-ranked pass defense, the Bengals will find success.
A lot in this game will hinge on whether Titans running back Derrick Henry can return to form after a lengthy layoff following foot surgery. He last played in October. However, he did return to contact practice Wednesday.
"I felt great," Henry said, per ESPN's Turron Davenport. "I just wanted to get some pads on. Haven't them on in a while and got some contact going."
Even more will hinge on Cincinnati's ability to protect Burrow against a fearsome Titans pass rush. Led by Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry, Tennessee can attack an offensive line that surrendered 55 sacks in the regular season.
Expect the Titans to force a rare mistake out of Burrow and for Tennessee to narrowly escape.
Prediction: Titans 33, Bengals 30 (OT)
8:15 p.m. ET: San Francisco 49ers (+6) at Green Bay Packers on Fox
The San Francisco 49ers were the only wild-card team to emerge from the round with an upset win. Can they do it twice in a row? With a stingy defense and a dominant run game led by Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel, it's possible.
However, the Green Bay Packers have been the league's most dominant team this season and will be particularly tough to beat in Lambeau Field. Green Bay only lost two games in which quarterback Aaron Rodgers started and finished this season.
49ers pass-rusher Nick Bosa was limited in practice Wednesday following a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys. His availability will be a big key to this game. If San Francisco cannot make Rodgers uncomfortable with a four-man rush, he's likely to carve up the secondary.
Also key to this game will be Jimmy Garoppolo's ability to avoid mistakes. A late interception nearly allowed the Cowboys to crawl back Sunday. A similar situation could be devastating against Rodgers and Green Bay.
Garoppolo, by the way, is still dealing with a torn thumb ligament on his throwing hand.
When these teams met in Week 3, the Packers won by a mere two points. However, Garoppolo was healthier then, and the 49ers were playing at home. In a game that will undoubtedly hinge on quarterback play, take Rodgers and the Packers at home.
Prediction: Packers 28, 49ers 21
Sunday, January 23
3 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Rams (+3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers on NBC, Peacock
Every game this weekend is going to be a fun one, and three of the four contests will be rematches from the regular season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope that their second meeting with the Los Angeles Rams doesn't go as the first did.
The Rams were at home in Week 3, and they handled the Buccaneers in a 34-24 contest.
Los Angeles has a stronger roster now too, with Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. both being added around the trade deadline. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, are without receivers Chris Godwin (torn ACL) and Antonio Brown (released).
Still, it's hard to bet against Tom Brady at home in an elimination game. He can make the offense work. The big question is whether he will have the time to do so. Right tackle Tristan Wirfs and center Ryan Jensen are dealing with ankle injuries and may not be at 100 percent if they are able to play at all. Against Miller, Aaron Donald and the Rams pass rush, that's a problem.
Expect this game to be close. Very Close. While it could easily go either way, Tampa's fifth-ranked scoring defense will be the difference. Brady has been here multiple times before. L.A. quarterback Matthew Stafford—who won his first playoff game Monday—has not.
A game-changing mistake by Stafford late puts the Buccaneers back in the NFC Championship Game.
Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Rams 30
6:30 p.m. ET: Buffalo Bills (+2.5) at Kansas City Chiefs on CBS, Paramount+
The Buffalo Bills handled the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5, winning 38-20. Like that game, this one will be played in Kansas City.
The difference here is that the Chiefs defense has come together since then. After allowing more than 28 points in each of their first five games, the Chiefs have allowed more than 28 points only once since then.
That came in a shootout loss to the Bengals. That marked Kansas City's only defeat since Week 7.
Both Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen are coming off of stellar performances in the Wild Card Round. Each man threw five touchdown passes, and this should be the quarterback matchup of the weekend.
While Kansas City's defense was better than it was in the first meeting, Buffalo's defense is well-suited for this matchup. The Bills rank first in passing yards allowed, first in total defense and first in points allowed.
Still, you have to like Kansas City here. The absence of star Buffalo cornerback Tre'Davious White (torn ACL), will loom large, while the Chiefs can attack on the ground. The Bills run defense has been shaky—it allowed five games of at least 130 rushing yards over the final eight weeks—and Kansas City has learned to lean on Darrel Williams, Jerick McKinnon and the run game.
Beating an Andy Reid-coached team twice in a season is hard, and the Chiefs have the firepower to survive.
Prediction: Chiefs 33, Bills 30
Updated Super Bowl Odds
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
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
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