The NFL Divisional Round has tons of intriguing matchups. The Bengals will look to advance to their first AFC Championship Game since 1988. The Bills want revenge from last year’s AFC Championship Game. The stories are endless this weekend.
When betting, it’s very easy to get caught up in these storylines. However, at Cold, Hard Football Facts, we pride ourselves on the numbers. Before placing your bets, here are three things to know ahead of the NFL Divisional Round.
The Bengals are More Efficient than the Titans
The Cincinnati Bengals have been given less than a 1% chance of winning this weekend, according to the bettors I have talked with over the week. However, the Bengals are actually better than the Titans in the Quality Stats Power Rankings.
Cincinnati is ninth in the Quality Stats Power Rankings compared to Tennessee in 13th. The Bengals also rank higher in the Real Quarterback Rating. Joe Burrow has the Bengals positioned in fifth in this metric.
Ryan Tannehill is in 19th, so the passing advantage belongs to the Bengals. The Titans will have Derrick Henry back on Saturday, but he has not played since Halloween. Do not count out Burrow and the Bengals.
The Packers are Susceptible on the Ground
I believe the Packers will roll on Saturday night, but we need to play devil’s advocate as bettors. The one thing the Packers struggle with is defending the run game. The one thing the 49ers do very well is run the ball with conviction.
When Kyle Shanahan calls run plays, they are meant to put a blow in the opposing front seven. I think San Francisco will be forced to throw the ball because of Aaron Rodgers’ scoring ability. Yet, if Green Bay struggles to score, look for this game to be closer than expected.
The Packers rank 18th in Defensive Rusher Rating, and they will face a top ten rushing unit in the Niners.
The Bills Have Struggled Against Good Teams
In the playoffs, you must beat good teams. If you cannot win against good teams, you will have an early exit from the playoffs. The Buffalo Bills have not proven they can get over the hump, so I am taking the Chiefs.
Buffalo looks excellent in the proprietary stats, but they did struggle in the Quality Standings. The Bills are just 5-5 against quality opponents this season, and it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the Chiefs are considered a “quality opponent.”