One early Divisional Round NFL line to follow


Early NFL thoughts for the Divisional Round

With Dallas’s win over Tampa Bay, all four Divisional Round games are set. Lines were posted on Sunday night for three of them, but we had to wait until the Cowboys vs. Buccaneers game was completed for the full menu of betting options. As a result, this week’s “early lines” article isn’t exactly the same as it was in the regular season, since we’ve seen some settling of the other three games.

Here is one early line I’m following for the Divisional Round:


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New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5, 48)

Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka drew up an incredible plan to exploit all of the Vikings’ deficiencies on defense. The Giants had 20 plays of 10 or more yards and had at least three 10+ yard plays on all but two of their drives per this excellent post-mortem tweet from Minneapolis sports anchor Chris Long.

This week, the Giants run into a top-five defense by EPA/play and one that recorded 70 sacks this season. The 2022 Eagles are third all-time in sacks in a season, though they did obviously play a 17th game. In the 48-22 win over the Giants during the regular season, Daniel Jones was sacked four times and only had four carries for 26 yards. He was 18-of-27 for 169 yards. This will be a much different matchup this week.

However, I think we should also be concerned about the Eagles offense with Jalen Hurts. Hurts missed Weeks 16 and 17 and came back in Week 18 against the Giants backups and didn’t look all that polished. He threw for 229 yards and ran nine times for 13 yards. In the two games against the Giants, Hurts was sacked seven times.

I wouldn’t recommend jumping on this line right away, as I think it could go up to 48.5 or even 49, given the 70 points in the only real regular season meeting, the high-scoring nature of the postseason so far and what the Giants just did to carve up the Vikings. I think it can get a little higher, but we wanted to keep the “early lines” article in play and this is one on my radar as the week goes along. The weather forecast also looks clear, which will likely entice some over money.

Lean: Under 48 (wait for a better number)

Quick thoughts on the other games…

Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5, 51.5)

The Chiefs will be an extremely popular teaser leg and a lot of people will have Chiefs/Eagles teasers for the Divisional Round. This is the Spiderman meme of games with Doug Pederson up against mentor Andy Reid, so there won’t be a lot of offensive secrets between these two guys. The total could be a little bit high here based on that, but it is tough to want to step in front of either offense and either play-caller.

The early forecast does look great, though. It will be a little chilly for the Florida Men, but wind and precipitation are not factors as of now.

Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills (-5, 50.5)

The offensive line injuries and issues for the Bengals are a lot to overlook heading into this game. Both the Bengals and Bills struggled in big favorite roles last week and many would argue that the Bengals should have lost the game outright. Usually, the best time to bet on a team is when you can buy low and maybe that’s the case here with the Bengals.

That being said, the Bills were -2.5 in Cincinnati in Week 17 when the Damar Hamlin incident happened. Flip home field and you’ve probably got a line that looks pretty close to this. Mix in Cincinnati likely missing three offensive linemen and all of the sudden, this starts to make more sense.

Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers (-4, 45.5)

Dallas played a great game against Tampa Bay, so I don’t want to take anything away from the Cowboys. They fixed a lot of their late-season mistakes on both offense and defense, while the Bucs did nothing of the sort. Todd Bowles was badly outcoached by Mike McCarthy and Tom Brady looked every bit of 45 years old. Kudos to the Cowboys for changing a lot of minds this week.

However, the 49ers are a top-five offense and defense. The Cowboys have that ceiling, but the 49ers are actually playing up to it and have been for a while now. They had well over seven yards per play against the Seahawks. Seattle’s defense isn’t very good, but that was an offensive clinic, particularly in the second half. I don’t know if Dallas matches up well with San Francisco (not sure anybody really does) and I’ll be very curious to see where this line goes during the week, especially with some likely to be skeptical of Brock Purdy as he faces a really good defense for the first time.

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