Early NFL Divisional Round Predictions and Picks Against the Spread: Back the Ravens and Chiefs this Week

In our early NFL Divisional Round predictions, we take a first look at the NFL odds and make our initial picks for every playoff game next weekend.

The Divisional Round is set, and we have NFL odds up for each of the four playoff matchups this weekend. Should you back QB Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs as a road underdog against QB Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills? Can Houston Texans rookie QB C.J. Stroud and Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love pull off upsets two weeks in a row? Will the Detroit Lions continue rolling?

We break it all down in our early NFL Divisional Round predictions.

Early NFL Divisional Round Predictions and Expert Picks

All odds are from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens Prediction

  • Spread
    Ravens -8.5
  • Moneyline
    Texans +295, Ravens -370
  • Total

When we saw these teams play against each other in Week 1, the Ravens took care of business in a 25-9 victory, and C.J. Stroud looked like a rookie, as he struggled mightily against the Ravens’ defense.

Granted, a lot has changed since this matchup 19 weeks ago, but I’m expecting a similar result. Stroud has had a sensational season, and perhaps the best from a rookie quarterback we have ever seen. But during the season, Stroud’s numbers took a big dip on the road.

  • In eight home games:
    • 6-2 record, 310.8 YPG, 17 TDs, 65.47 CMP%, 8.94 YPA, 108.3 QB rating
  • In seven road games:
    • 3-4 record, 231.7 YPG, 6 TDs, 61.99 CMP%, 7.34 YPA, 91.5 QB rating

Specifically, Stroud performed much worse in his five outdoor games this season, where he threw just three touchdowns in five games and tallied a QB rating of 85.1. Unlike this past week, when he played at indoors at home, Stroud will be playing against an elite Ravens defense in cold temperatures in Baltimore.

I’m not trying to take anything away from Stroud’s rookie season, but I just think this might be the right time to sell. It could be another resounding home victory for the Ravens against a playoff team.

Pick: Ravens -8.5

Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers Prediction

  • Spread
    49ers -9.5
  • Moneyline
    Packers +350, 49ers -450
  • Total

Led by Jordan Love, the Packers’ offense scored 41 points (not including S Darnell Savage’s pick-six) and generated 415 yards of offense. In addition to Love, the stars of the game were RB Aaron Jones and WR Romeo Doubs. Jones rushed for 118 yards and scored three times, while Doubs had six receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown.

While the San Francisco 49ers have a better defense than the Dallas Cowboys and won’t lay an egg quite like they did on Sunday, this Packers offense seems matchup-proof at the moment.

This dates back to even before Sunday’s game, as they were one of the best offenses in the NFL during the regular season, finishing top 10 in yards per play, DVOA, EPA/play, and success rate. Unfortunately for the Packers’ defense, however, they’ll be facing the top-ranked offense in each of those categories.

Even though they were very effective in stopping the Cowboys’ offense and causing turnovers before garbage time on Sunday, I’m not expecting the Packers’ defense to have the same success two weeks in a row.

HC Kyle Shanahan’s unit is near-unstoppable when QB Brock Purdy has RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Deebo Samuel, WR Brandon Aiyuk, TE George Kittle, and OT Trent Williams all in the lineup — except for the Ravens game when they had five turnovers.

Given the explosiveness of both of these offenses, I’m expecting this to be a high-scoring game. It might be a square pick to be buying high on Love and this Packers offense when their stock is at an all-time high, but we have a large enough sample size to completely buy-in.

Pick: Over 50.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions Prediction

  • Spread
    Lions -5.5
  • Moneyline
    Buccaneers +205, Lions -250
  • Total

After playing the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card Round, you could argue that the Lions are facing a weaker opponent in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend.

Tampa has been a great story with QB Baker Mayfield having a career resurgence this season, but I’m not buying into them after they took advantage of a very flawed and defeated Philadelphia Eagles team.

The defense might be an area of weakness for the Lions, but at least they can make tackles in the open field and didn’t decide to make Matt Patricia their defensive playcaller late in the season.

I’m not expecting the Buccaneers’ offense to have the same success they did against Philadelphia — especially away from home.

One concern going into this matchup for the Bucs is their pass protection, as Mayfield was under duress against an Eagles pass rush that was invisible for the second half of the season. Like last week, EDGE Aidan Hutchinson should be in for another big performance.

There might be a ton of hype for the Lions right now, but I just think they’re the far superior team here.

The city of Detroit is buzzing right now, and this should give them a great home-field advantage again.

Pick: Lions -5.5

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills Prediction

  • Spread
    Bills -2.5
  • Moneyline
    Chiefs +128, Bills -152
  • Total

What better way to end the NFL Divisional Round weekend than with another playoff matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills?

Since the Chiefs beat the Bills in the Divisional Round in the 2022 playoffs, we have been highly anticipating a playoff rematch between these two teams. Two years and an overtime rule change later, it’s finally taking place — except this time, it will be in Buffalo.

We have seen these teams play each other twice in the regular season since that playoff game, and the Bills won both matchups by an average margin of 3.5 points.

Most recently, we saw the Bills win at Kansas City in Week 14, after an offsides call by WR Kadarius Toney negated a go-ahead touchdown by the Chiefs with 1:13 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Despite having matching 11-6 records, the Bills were the superior team during the regular season — particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The Bills’ point differential was nearly double Kansas City’s, and they averaged nearly 24 more yards and five more points per game.

MORE: NFL Playoff Bracket

I think this game is going to come down to the very wire, like they always do in this rivalry, so I’ll take Mahomes as an underdog — a spot where he has been very profitable over the years.

Pick: Chiefs +2.5

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