With a dramatic Wild Card Weekend in the books, the final eight NFL teams remaining in contention for a Super Bowl 54 title take center stage in the Divisional Round.
The doubleheader on Saturday showcases a pair of #6 vs. #1 matchups in terms of seeding, which leaves each conference’s respective #2 seed to host their first game of the postseason on Sunday. The last six Super Bowls have featured #1 or #2 seeds, making the Divisional Round a reliable launching point for eventual championship runs or runner-up finishes.
If that trend holds true this year, the Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) and/or the Green Bay Packers (13-3) could begin paving their path to a Lombardi Trophy this Sunday.
The betting previews found below are based on the latest point spreads and moneyline odds listed by online sportsbook Bovada.
#4 Houston Texans (11-6) @ #2 Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
Sunday at 3:05 p.m. EST on CBS
Two of the NFL’s most dynamic young quarterbacks square off to open Sunday’s slate, as Deshaun Watson leads the Texans into Arrowhead Stadium to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Mahomes may be the defending MVP, but it was Watson who stole the show last weekend in a thrilling 22-19 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills (10-7). After falling behind 16-0 by the third quarter, Watson simply took over the game and refused to let Houston add to the franchise’s history of disappointing early playoff exits.
First, he cut the deficit in half by dragging two defenders into the end zone on a 20-yard touchdown run parlayed with a diving 2-point conversion carry. After tossing for another touchdown + 2-point combo, Watson made what might be the play of the year.
When he somehow shrugged off not one but two potential sacks simultaneously, before scampering 34 yards to set the Texans up for a game-winning chip shot field goal, Watson showed he’s every bit Mahomes’ equal on the big stage.
Speaking of the big stage, that’s exactly the destination Mahomes and the Chiefs have their sights set on entering Sunday’s tilt with the Texans.
In his first year as the starting signal-caller in K.C., Mahomes managed to lead the Chiefs all the way to the AFC Championship game. And in an eerily similar performance to Watson’s recent heroics, Mahomes overcame a 14-0 halftime deficit to the New England Patriots and carried his team to overtime.
Unfortunately for him, the coin flip handed Tom Brady and Co. the ball to start the extra period, so Mahomes never had a chance as the Pats drove relentlessly to a win – and their sixth Super Bowl title two weeks later.
Sufficed to say, Mahomes and his head coach / play-calling guru Andy Reid – only one of the greatest leaders in NFL history to have never hoisted the Lombardi Trophy – have plenty of motivation as they prepare for Houston’s arrival.
Kansas City also has the benefit of extra rest thanks to a first-round bye, along with the more talented overall roster, and one of the most impactful home-field advantages in all of football on their side. Knowing this, the oddsmakers at Bovada have installed the Chiefs as major favorites with a (-9.5) number and a steep (-440) moneyline to (+320) for the Texans.
#6 Seattle Seahawks (12-5) @ #2 Green Bay Packers (13-3)
Sunday at 6:40 p.m. EST on FOX
Since the 2010 season began, the Seahawks and the Packers have sported distinctly similar track records of success.
Both teams have made eight trips to the playoffs during the decade, and they’ve each captured ultimate glory with a single Super Bowl win. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has played his way to the Pro Bowl on seven occasions, while his Green Bay counterpart Aaron Rodgers has him pipped at eight appearances. Rodgers led the league in touchdown passes in 2016, before Wilson took the TD leader torch one year later.
And in the 2014 Playoffs, it was Wilson who guided the Seahawks back from the brink of a 16-0 halftime hole to beat the Packers in the NFC Championship game.
Wilson famously made his bones as a college stud in Wisconsin, bringing the Badgers back to relevancy thanks to an 11-win season and a Rose Bowl berth. Unfortunately for him, and Seahawks backers, Wilson has struggled mightily in his three trips back to Wisconsin since entering the NFL in 2012.
In three career games played in frigid Lambeau Field, Wilson hasn’t so much as sniffed a win, losing all three by a combined margin of 82-36. Even worse, Wilson has completed only 57 percent of passes playing in Green Bay, while tossing six interceptions and registering a dreadful 60.4 percent passer rating.
That doesn’t bode well for Seattle’s chances this Sunday, especially given Green Bay’s stellar 7-1 home record over the regular season.
With a freshly rested roster and Rodgers looking to mirror Wilson once more with a second Super Bowl appearance, the Packers get the nod as (-4) home favorites. Moneyline bettors can buy Green Bay at (-190), while the underdog Seahawks are priced at (+165).