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2024 NFL playoff bracket: Divisional round schedule, odds, TV, streaming as Bills and Chiefs renew rivalry

The NFL playoffs are in full swing. Super Wild Card Weekend just got into our rearview mirror and we’re now rocketing toward the divisional round that features some tremendous matchups. 

Patrick Mahomes will go on the road for the first time in his playoff career as the Chiefs will travel to Buffalo to face the Bills. Meanwhile, the other matchup in the AFC has a stellar QB head-to-head with MVP favorite Lamar Jackson squaring off against Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite C.J. Stroud. In the NFC, the Niners emerge from the bye week and will host the Jordan Love-led Packers, who just upset the Cowboys in Dallas. Fresh off their first playoff victory since 1991, the Lions will host the Buccaneers, who upset the Eagles at home on Monday night. As I said, we have another awesome weekend of football on deck, and we’re here to give you a first peak into the action. 

Here’s an early look at the divisional round and some storylines to keep an eye on.

AFC divisional round lookahead

Texans (4) at Baltimore Ravens (1)

Saturday, Jan. 20 at 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, ABC, fubo)
Odds (via Caesars Sportsbook): Ravens -9.5, O/U 45.5

This is a game that features two quarterbacks who will likely be bringing home some hardware at the NFL Honors. Lamar Jackson is the presumptive MVP after leading the Ravens to the No. 1 seed in the conference, while C.J. Stroud dazzled in his first year in the league and is the overwhelming favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. From a quarterback matchup standpoint, it’s a phenomenal head-to-head and one that we could see for years to come with Jackson being just 27 and Stroud a mere 22 years old. 

As for their teams, the Ravens were dominant this season, particularly on defense. They were the second-best unit in the league in the red zone, allowing opponents to score on just 40.8% of their trips. They were also tied for a league-best 4.6 yards per play allowed and were top-10 on third down as well. Offensively, they could be getting a major piece back with tight end Mark Andrews being designated to return off of injured reserve following an ankle injury that held him out for the second half of the regular season. 

With the Texans, the offense led by Stroud has been extremely smart with the football. They had the fewest giveaways in the league this year, including zero in the wild-card win over Cleveland. Nico Collins will be the key weapon for Stroud that Baltimore will need to try and contain. He exploded for six catches, 96 yards, and a touchdown in the win over the Browns. Houston’s offense also leaned on explosive plays in that playoff win with four different pass catchers hauling in a pass that went 25 or more yards. While Baltimore’s defense is elite and will garner most of the attention, this Texans unit has been solid. They ranked 13th in the league in red zone efficiency, 14th in yards per play allowed, and seventh in the league on third down. 

Kansas City (3) at Buffalo Bills (2)

Sunday, Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+)
Odds (via Caesars Sportsbook): Bills -2.5, O/U 46

 It doesn’t get much better than this — Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen

This will be the third time that these rivals have squared off against one another in the playoffs with Mahomes owning a 2-0 record. However, this will be the first time that their matchup will be played in Buffalo. In fact, this will be the first time in Mahomes’ playoff career that he will be on the road. Overall, this is the seventh meeting between these two QBs, and the record is currently knotted up 3-3. The most recent head-to-head came at Arrowhead Stadium earlier this season. In that Week 14 matchup, the Bills were able to notch a 20-17 victory. 

The Chiefs come into this game after taking down the Dolphins in a rather convincing fashion. The defense stifled Tua Tagovailoa as Miami managed just seven points in the losing effort. That unit has truly been the calling card for Kansa City this season. They were a top-five unit in the league on third-down during the regular season and held the Dolphins to just one third-down conversion in that playoff win on 12 attempts. As for the offense, the wide receivers were a storyline throughout the year due to their drops, but Rashee Rice has been a bright spot. He exploded for eight catches, 130 yards, and a touchdown in the win on Saturday. If he can continue this strong play, he’s a strong complement to tight end Travis Kelce for Mahomes in the passing game. 

As for Buffalo, there are injuries worth monitoring heading into this game. Linebackers Terrell Bernard (ankle) and Baylon Spector (back) exited this playoff win over Pittsburgh along with corner Taron Johnson. On top of those players, linebacker Tyrel Dodson, safety Taylor Rapp, and corners Rasul Douglas and Christian Benford all did not play on Monday due to injury. How they all progress entering this short week will be worth keeping an eye on. That said, Buffalo has continued to stay hot. They won five straight to end the regular season, which thrust them up to the No. 2 seed in the conference. Josh Allen has been playing at an MVP level throughout this run and did a little bit of everything in the victory over the Steelers. He had three passing touchdowns and a 52-yard touchdown win on Monday. 

NFC divisional round lookahead 

Green Bay Packers (7) at San Francisco 49ers (1)

Saturday, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo)
Odds (via Caesars Sportsbook): 49ers -10, O/U 50

The Packers gave us the stunner of the opening weekend of the playoffs as they rolled into Dallas and upset the Cowboys, 48-32 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated. Jordan Love had shades of Aaron Rodgers in this playoff victory, completing 16 of his 21 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns. He spread the ball around to seven different pass catchers and also enjoyed some help from a lethal backfield attack from Aaron Jones. The veteran back rushed for 118 yards on 21 carries and had three rushing touchdowns in the winning effort. 

As for the 49ers, they are coming off of their first-round bye and seem poised to make a deep run. They were looked at as the team to beat for most of the year and are currently the betting favorites to win Super Bowl LVIII. They were the No. 2 scoring offense in the NFL, led the league in yards per play, and were fifth-best on third down. Defensively, they continue to be top-notch, ranking inside the top 10 in the league in yards per play. Brock Purdy played himself into the MVP conversation this year with a spectacular sophomore campaign, as did running back Christian McCaffrey, who led the league in total yards from scrimmage. 

Of course, this coaching matchup will also garner some attention given the relationship between Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur and San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan. When Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Washington from 2010-2013, LaFleur was his quarterbacks coach. The two then reunited when Shanahan became the OC for the Falcons from 2015-2016 where LaFleur also served as the QB coach before ascending to the coordinator role with the Rams (2017) and Titans (2018) before accepting the Packers head coaching job in 2019.  

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4) at Detroit Lions (3)

Sunday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. ET (NBC, fubo)
Odds (via Caesars Sportsbook): Lions -6, O/U 48.5

The Lions just had their first home playoff game since 1993 and will now have their second in as many weeks as they are set to host the Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon. Detroit earned its first playoff win since 1991 after taking down the Rams during Super Wild Card Weekend, snapping the longest playoff losing streak (9) in league history. The Lions offense got off to a blazing start against L.A., scoring touchdowns on its first three possessions of the game and moved the football with relative ease in that first half. In the second, it was the defense that played a major role, not allowing the Rams to find the end zone on two red zone trips and three overall for the game. That said, the secondary has been susceptible against the pass, proven by Puka Nacua recording a rookie playoff record 181 yards against them, albeit in a losing effort. It’ll be fascinating to see how this second decides to defend the Buccaneers collection of pass catchers, headlined by Mike Evans and Chris Godwin

As for Tampa Bay, they slayed the defending NFC Champion Eagles on Monday night to advance to the divisional round. Baker Mayfield continues to be arguably the most underrated offseason addition by any team this year. In the win over Philly, he threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns. From a gambling perspective, it’ll be interesting to see if the Buccaneers can continue their success against the spread on the road. Away from Raymond James Stadium during the regular season, Tampa Bay was a league-best 8-1 ATS. 

The Lions defeated the Buccaneers in Tampa 20-6 back in Week 6 of this season. In that game, Jared Goff threw for 353 yards and two touchdowns while Amon-Ra St. Brown caught 12 of his 15 targets for 124 yards and a touchdown. Will we see a repeat? Or is this version of the Buccaneers able to pull off another upset? 

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