By Maryam Naz
Last Updated: 9th January 2019
After the thrilling action delivered in last week’s Wild Card games, fans of the National Football League will now turn their attention to the highly-anticipated divisional round, featuring the heavyweights of the regular season. As always, our betting gurus have broken down their predictions for each game. So, without further ado…
Colts @ Chiefs
The first of our NFL divisional round predictions forecast a win for the Colts, who impressed in last week’s Wild Card game when they won convincingly against the Houston Texans.
Andrew Luck got the better of his opposite number Deshaun Watson, who was unable to add to his impressive rushing numbers, thanks to a dominant defensive display from the Colts. Yet given that Luck’s side have won all of their last five games by 14 points or more, it wasn’t too surprising to see them sweep aside the Texans with relative ease.
A T.Y Hilton-led attack will pose similar issues for the Kansas City Chiefs who aren’t the most adept when it comes to suppressing the rushing yard barrages from opposition teams. While their quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, has been firing on all cylinders on a weekly basis, issues within the defence could undo the Chiefs.
And with the odds trading at 38/20, betting on Frank Reich’s men could be well worth the money.
Cowboys @ Rams
Given that the Los Angeles Rams will be facing a Dallas side that shut down the Seahawks’ no.1 ranked ground game last week, following our NFL divisional round predictions where we’ve projected a win for the Cowboys might be the wisest bet to punt on.
Aside from their strong defensive performance, the Cowboys also impressed offensively, chiefly through Ezekiel Elliot. The 23-year-old tore through the Seahawks defence for 137 yards last weekend, and given the time and space, could do the same against the Rams.
It won’t be easy for Dak Prescott to lead his side to a win – he is currently trading as the most sacked quarterback in the regular season and will make himself a target, given that he likes to take his time in the pocket.
Yet with the odds priced up at 14/5, armed with the likes of Elliot and Amari Cooper, his side should be able to emerge victoriously.
Chargers @ Patriots
The stats aren’t in the favour of the Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, are they? With the 37-year-old leading the side, the Chargers haven’t won any games in Foxborough. In fact, he’s 0-7 against the Patriots in games when Tom Brady has started at quarterback.
Unless Brady is somehow miraculously sidelined, the Chargers could be in for a long night at the Gillette Stadium. And if Brady’s talent alone wasn’t enough to scare fans of the away team, they’ll be even more terrified at the prospect of the Pats quarterback teaming up with his favoured touchdown target Rob ‘Gronk’ Gronkowski.
Only one trend works in River’s favour: the Chargers have an excellent track record away from home this season, but with the odds wagering at 17/10 in our NFL divisional round predictions, there’s a strong chance that come Sunday, this will be put to disrepute.
Eagles @ Saints
The Eagles weren’t expected to win last week against the best defence in the NFC North, but they emerged as narrow winners. This time around, they might not be so lucky.
Nick Foles’ side will make the difficult trek to the Superdome to face a potent Saints offence who have won six consecutive postseason games on home turf. Alongside these postseason victories will be their 48-7 thrashing over their opponents who they welcomed to New Orleans in early November.
The travelling team’s only hope is that their defeats to the Saints came with Carson Wentz as the quarterback and not Foles, who has so far come up with the goods when asked.
All in all, the Eagles will have to channel last week’s narrow Wild Card victory and pull out all the stops if they’re to defy our NFL divisional round predictions – a prognosis which seems unlikely.
Maryam is a female football writer, who grew up playing a wide variety of sport. She slowly became converted as a lover of football around the age of 10, and her interest in it drove her to pursue it not only physically, but also academically. In her first year of college she cemented a placement at the Independent, whom she worked for before branching out to Premier League-accredited sites like the female-led 'Offside Rule' blog and RealSport. She studied English at University alongside this, and is now a digital copy-writer and editor, specialising in sports journalism.