The NFL playoffs’ divisional-round schedule for the 2022 season is stacked with nice matchups, and we’ve got you lined with what it is advisable know heading into the weekend. Our NFL Nation reporters deliver us the most important keys to each sport and a daring prediction for every matchup.
Moreover, ESPN Stats & Data gives a giant stat to know and a betting nugget for every contest, and our Soccer Energy Index (FPI) goes contained in the numbers with a sport projection. Matt Bowen picks out a key game-planning matchup to observe in each sport, and Kevin Seifert tells us what to know concerning the officiating. Lastly, Seth Walder and Eric Moody give us ultimate rating picks for each sport. The whole lot you need to know is right here in a single spot that can assist you prepare for a loaded weekend of NFL playoff soccer.
Let’s get into the complete divisional slate, together with Trevor Lawrence vs. Patrick Mahomes in Kansas Metropolis, an NFC East battle in Philadelphia, two high-octane offenses going through off in Buffalo and a pair of elite pass-rushers getting after the QB in San Francisco.
Word: New for this season’s playoffs, every group will probably be assured a possession if a sport goes to additional time.
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET | NBC | Unfold: KC -8.5 (52.5)
What to observe for: The Chiefs had practically 500 yards in opposition to the Jaguars when the groups met in November, and that is with Kansas Metropolis committing three turnovers and dropping a possession when the Jaguars recovered an onside kick. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes stated he was anticipating a a lot totally different model of the Jaguars this time round, and there is good cause for that. Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell was on the employees of the Bucs in 2020 when Tampa Bay allowed greater than 500 yards to the Chiefs throughout a late-season sport after which shut down Kansas Metropolis a number of weeks later in Tremendous Bowl LV with a very totally different sport plan. — Adam Teicher
Daring prediction: Mahomes and Trevor Lawrence will mix to throw 10 landing passes. Mahomes had 4 of their earlier assembly in Week 10 and has thrown 11 TD passes in his previous three playoff video games. Lawrence is coming off a four-interception, four-TD efficiency within the wild-card victory over the Chargers. It’d take 40 factors to win this sport. — Mike DiRocco
Stat to know: Producing stress was one of many keys to Jacksonville’s late-season surge. The Jaguars had a 38.6% stress fee throughout their five-game win streak to finish the common season, which was second greatest within the NFL over that span, and so they sacked Justin Herbert thrice within the wild-card spherical. However the Chiefs led the NFL in move block win fee (74.7%), and Mahomes is No. 1 within the league in QBR (84.7) and completion proportion (77.2%) when he does not face stress.
Bowen’s game-plan key: The Jaguars must discover a approach to isolate receiver Christian Kirk in opposition to man protection, which the Chiefs threw at Lawrence 66.7% of the time in these groups’ regular-season assembly. Kirk has the agility to shake protection and get open on high-percentage throws. Learn extra at ESPN+.
What to know for officiating: Referee Shawn Hochuli’s regular-season crew threw the second-most flags within the league (14.6 per sport). That included 10 flags for roughing the passer, tied for second most within the NFL. The Chiefs have been particularly delicate about roughing calls since a Week 5 name in opposition to defensive sort out Chris Jones overturned a fumble restoration. — Seifert
Betting nugget: Jacksonville is 8-5 outright and in opposition to the unfold as an underdog, tied for essentially the most underdog wins in a single season within the Tremendous Bowl period. And coach Doug Pederson is 6-0 ATS and 5-1 outright as a playoff underdog. No different coach has as many playoff video games as an underdog with out an ATS loss within the Tremendous Bowl period. Learn extra at ESPN+.
Moody’s decide: Chiefs 37, Jaguars 27
Walder’s decide: Chiefs 34, Jaguars 27
FPI prediction: KC, 78.5% (by a mean of 9.2 factors)
Matchup must-reads: Why Doug Pederson is the proper coach for the Jaguars … How Andy Reid saved the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs … Pederson uncertain Jags are ‘cockroaches,’ however they ‘hold preventing’
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET | Fox | Unfold: PHI -7.5 (48)
What to observe for: The Giants are available in using the momentum of a 31-24 upset win over the Vikings within the wild-card spherical, whereas the Eagles try to get again to dominant type after going 1-2 to complete the common season. All eyes are on the best shoulder of Jalen Hurts and the way it will reply to contact. He was not listed on the damage report this week however just isn’t believed to be one hundred pc wholesome. Good good friend A.J. Brown stated the vibe round Hurts is “he is able to go, able to do no matter it takes to get it completed.” With the good thing about a few weeks’ relaxation, count on extra designed runs for Hurts after the coaches stayed largely away from them within the regular-season finale. — Tim McManus
Daring prediction: The Giants will rating a particular groups return landing. It is solely proper on this season of surprises that they get one now. They have not had one but this season — or since 2015 for that matter. Now appears pretty much as good a time as any for no cause aside from they’re due. — Jordan Raanan
Stat to know: Hurts (760) and Daniel Jones (708) mixed for 1,468 speeding yards within the common season, offering essentially the most ever in a QB playoff matchup. It is also the primary playoff matchup through which each quarterbacks had 700-plus speeding yards within the common season. Jones bought nearly all of his speeding yards through scrambles (402, third most), whereas Hurts relied on designed rushes (434, third most).
Why Stephen A. thinks the Giants are ‘taking place’ vs. the Eagles
Stephen A. Smith explains why the Giants will not beat Jalen Hurts and the Eagles on Saturday.
Bowen’s game-plan key: On the lookout for an X issue participant who may play a job within the Giants’ upset bid? Receiver Richie James has seen a minimum of six targets in every of his previous three video games, and New York ought to attempt to get him unfastened off the ball in opposition to man protection and let him use his catch-and-run traits to make performs in huge spots. Learn extra at ESPN+.
What to know for officiating: Referee Clete Blakeman’s regular-season crew tied for the fourth-most flags within the NFL at 14.4 per sport. However it threw solely 30 flags for offensive holding, tied for the fifth fewest. That could possibly be of notice for the Eagles, who dedicated the NFL’s fourth-most holding fouls (30), as they attempt to sluggish the Giants’ energetic defensive entrance. The Giants drew the NFL’s fourth-most offensive holding calls throughout the common season (24). — Seifert
Betting nugget: New York is 17-5 in opposition to the unfold and 14-8 outright as a playoff underdog within the Tremendous Bowl period. That is essentially the most wins, the perfect successful proportion and the perfect cowl proportion by any group as a playoff underdog within the Tremendous Bowl period. Learn extra at ESPN+.
Moody’s decide: Eagles 33, Giants 31
Walder’s decide: Eagles 34, Giants 10
FPI prediction: PHI, 80.1% (by a mean of 9.9 factors)
Matchup must-reads: Respect for Giants QB Jones is ‘going up’ across the NFL … How GM Howie Roseman constructed the perfect roster within the league … ‘We’ve an elite quarterback’: Giants laud Jones after victory … Sanders is having the breakout 12 months he all the time knew he may … Hurts: ‘Bought a bounty on me each week’
Sunday, 3 p.m. ET | CBS | Unfold: BUF -5.5 (49)
What to observe for: The Payments and Bengals will meet in Orchard Park, New York, after the regular-season assembly between the 2 groups in Cincinnati was initially postponed after which canceled due to Payments security Damar Hamlin struggling cardiac arrest on the sphere within the first quarter. Each groups come into this sport using lengthy win streaks (9 for the Bengals and eight for the Payments), making this the seventh-ever playoff assembly between groups on successful streaks of a minimum of eight video games, and the primary earlier than the convention championship spherical. The Payments are 4-0 in residence playoff video games underneath coach Sean McDermott, whereas the Bengals gained two playoff highway video games in 2021. — Alaina Getzenberg
Daring prediction: The Bengals will pressure three turnovers. They’ve pressured 11 turnovers within the postseason in 5 video games courting to final 12 months’s wild-card win over the Raiders. With Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen turning over the ball at a excessive fee, Cincinnati’s opportunistic protection will probably be trying to bait Allen into dangerous performs. Allen turned the ball over thrice within the wild-card spherical after main the NFL in turnovers throughout the common season (19). Per Elias Sports activities Bureau, solely two gamers have led the league in turnovers and nonetheless reached the convention championship spherical over the previous 45 seasons (Eli Manning in 2007, Jim Kelly in 1992). If Cincinnati can efficiently create turnovers, the Bengals can have probability of returning to the AFC title sport. — Ben Child
Stat to know: Cincinnati receiver Ja’Marr Chase has 9 straight video games with a minimum of seven receptions, the fifth-longest streak for the reason that 1970 merger (together with playoffs). And Buffalo receiver Stefon Diggs has three 100-yard receiving video games within the playoffs with the Payments — the second most in Buffalo historical past behind Andre Reed’s 5 — after going for 114 yards within the group’s wild-card win.
Bowen’s game-plan key: The Bengals ought to look to blitz slot cornerback Mike Hilton to generate stress on Allen. Cincinnati blitzed defensive backs at a fee of 10.7% this season, tenth most within the league, and Hilton is usually a disruptor in these spots. Learn extra at ESPN+.
What to know for officiating: Referee Carl Cheffers’ regular-season crew tied for the fourth-most flags within the NFL at 14.4 per sport. The Bengals dedicated the NFL’s third-fewest penalties throughout the common season (95) however have been flagged for seven of their win over the Ravens within the wild-card spherical. The Payments, who ranked No. 19 within the NFL throughout the common season with 115 flags, bought out of the wild-card spherical with solely three penalties. — Seifert
Betting nugget: Cincinnati is 15-4 in opposition to the unfold on the highway for the reason that begin of final season, together with 7-2 ATS this season, 7-1 ATS in its previous eight video games and 4-0 ATS in its previous 4 video games on the highway. And the Payments are 3-7-1 ATS of their previous 11 video games. Learn extra at ESPN+.
Moody’s decide: Payments 27, Bengals 24
Walder’s decide: Payments 31, Bengals 20
FPI prediction: BUF, 65.2% (by a mean of 4.5 factors)
Matchup must-reads: Bengals say LT Williams has dislocated kneecap … Miller brings Tremendous Bowl trophy to encourage Payments … Bengals proprietor needs to maintain Burrow for lengthy haul … Untold tales on the making of Payments star Allen … Bengals, Burrow not shopping for underdog tag vs. Payments … Hamlin at Payments facility nearly day by day as he recovers
Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET | Fox | Unfold: SF -4 (46.5)
What to observe for: Niners quarterback Brock Purdy has handed each check positioned earlier than him thus far, however the Cowboys’ protection represents the most important problem Purdy and the 49ers’ offense have confronted. The Cowboys led the NFL in stress proportion (39%) and completed second in sacks per dropback (8.6%) throughout the season. Purdy has dealt with stress properly in a smaller pattern, with 4 landing passes and no interceptions when underneath duress since changing into the starter in Week 14. How he handles what Dallas throws at him will go a great distance in figuring out a winner on this traditional playoff rivalry. — Nick Wagoner
Daring prediction: Brett Maher will make a 47-yard discipline objective to win the sport in opposition to the 49ers to ship the Cowboys to their first NFC Championship Sport for the reason that 1995 season. After lacking 4 point-after makes an attempt within the wild-card win in opposition to the Buccaneers, all eyes will probably be on Maher. And he’ll present the type of the kicker who set the Cowboys’ document for factors in a season and missed simply three discipline objective makes an attempt and three PATs throughout the common season. Now that’s daring. — Todd Archer
Stat to know: Dallas’ Micah Parsons and San Francisco’s Nick Bosa know a factor or two about getting after the quarterback. Parsons led all defenders throughout the common season with 74 pressures, whereas Bosa ranked third with 58. And Parsons led all edge defenders in move rush win fee this season (30.4%), whereas Bosa ranked ninth (21.5%). Bosa topped the NFL in sacks with 18.5, whereas Parsons was seventh (13.5).
Woody downplays further relaxation for 49ers: ‘No one cares!’
Damien Woody and Bart Scott assume that the remaining disparity between the Cowboys and 49ers will not play a job of their divisional matchup.
Bowen’s game-plan key: Can Dallas get quarterback Dak Prescott to the perimeters? I actually like the thought of Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore scheming extra play-action and boot ideas. This season, together with final week’s wild-card sport, San Francisco has allowed 8.1 yards per try on play-action throws and seven.9 yards per try on boot play-action. Each rank twenty second within the league. Learn extra at ESPN+.
What to know for officiating: Referee Invoice Vinovich’s regular-season crew continued its lengthy streak of throwing the fewest flags within the NFL, averaging 10.9 per sport. That pattern has sometimes prolonged into the postseason as properly. Will probably be examined on this sport, although. The Cowboys dedicated the NFL’s sixth-most penalties this season (125), whereas the 49ers have been shut behind with 120 flags. Vinovich threw 4 flags for roughing the passer, and just one referee (John Hussey) threw fewer. — Seifert
Betting nugget: Dallas has misplaced seven straight playoff video games as an underdog (2-5 ATS). Its final playoff upset was within the 1992 convention championship sport in opposition to San Francisco (+4). And whereas Dallas is 13-5 ATS on the highway for the reason that begin of final season, San Francisco is 8-1 ATS as a house favourite this season (8-2 ATS total at residence) with six straight covers. Learn extra at ESPN+.
Moody’s decide: 49ers 34, Cowboys 27
Walder’s decide: 49ers 30, Cowboys 28
FPI prediction: DAL, 53.2% (by a mean of 0.9 factors)
Matchup must-reads: Prescott rebounds with ‘assertion sport’ in Cowboys’ wild-card win … 49ers’ Purdy would be part of uncommon membership with win over Cowboys … Jerry Jones attracts comparability to ’90s dynasty after Cowboys finish highway playoff skid … How DeMeco Ryans of 49ers turned prime NFL head-coach candidate … Cowboys signal kicker Vizcaino amid Maher’s woes