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NFL: AFC Wild Card Playoffs Preview

The Kansas City Chiefs get to rest this week as the six other AFC teams to make the postseason do battle over Super Wild Card weekend.

Jacksonville hosts its first playoff game since 2017 when the Los Angeles Chargers make the cross-country trek, there's an AFC East clash in Buffalo, and the conference champions face the same team as they did last week to wrap it all up. 

Tight contest in Florida

WhatLos Angeles Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars
WhereTIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
When20.15 ET/17.15 PT Saturday, January 14th, 2023
How to watchNBC, Streaming via Peacock, FuboTV
OddsLA Chargers -135, JAX Jaguars +115

This is rated the closest contest of the six to be played over Super Wild Card weekend with the Chargers favoured by two points against the AFC South champions.

Their Week 3 regular season match-up finished as a 38-10 blowout win for the Jags as Los Angeles struggled amid a raft of early-season injuries.

But the Bolts are healthier now and, with wide receiving duo Mike Williams and Keenan Allen back on song, can exploit some weaknesses in a Jacksonville secondary that has been getting away with it lately.

The Jags may have won five straight, but three of those were when facing quarterbacks with ratings below 80 and the Chargers' Justin Herbert is a much tougher proposition.

Trevor Lawrence got better as the season went on and could make things interesting in what will be both QBs' first-ever NFL playoff experience.

But Los Angeles' defence ranked second in DVOA from Week 13 through Week 17 with Joey Bosa, who should be OK to play on Saturday, crucial to its resurgence.

Overall, it is expected that the Chargers will score multiple times, but the game will likely stay under the 47.5 point Total at odds of -110.

Dolphins rookie up against it

WhatMiami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
WhereHighmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
When13.05 ET/10.25 PT Sunday, January 15th, 2023
How to watchCBS, Streaming via Paramount, FuboTV
OddsMIA Dolphins +550, BUF Bills -800

Tua Tagovailoa has again been ruled out by the Fins, who will probably turn to third-stringer Skylar Thompson again on Sunday.

The rookie could not lead a touchdown drive at home to the slumping New York Jets last weekend and it seems too much to ask for him to hurt a Bills' defence that ranks sixth in yards allowed and second in points allowed in only his third career start.

The Buffalo Bills are 13-5 at home in the playoffs all-time and 3-0 in postseason games at Orchard Park under Sean McDermott, who should be able to come up with a game plan that keeps his team on track for the Super Bowl.

The Bills won a narrow regular season shoot-out with Miami in mid-December by just three points when the teams combined for over 850 total yards.

This could be a little more circumspect, although going Over 2.5 Passing Touchdowns in the game at -140 seems a good bet given there were six in the last contest.

Jackson absence could be key in Ohio

WhatBaltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
WherePaul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
When20.15 ET/17.15 PT Sunday, January 15th, 2023
How to watchNBC, Streaming via Peacock, FuboTV
OddsBAL Ravens +325, CIN Bengals -425

According to The NFL Network, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is facing an "uphill battle" to play in Sunday night's clash between these AFC North foes and his probable absence has seen the line move from -6 to favour the Bengals by 8.5 points.

But even without their star under center, the Ravens were able to compete against Cincinnati in their Week 18 meeting which finished 27-16.

A week on from that dress rehearsal, it could be down to third-stringer Anthony Brown to run Baltimore's offense again if both Jackson and backup Tyler Huntley aren't good to go.

Brown had three turnovers that led to 21 Bengals points and will have to be sharper in his processing and passing to keep the Ravens from being left behind by Cincy's high-powered offence.

The doubts surrounding Baltimore's QB here make the markets hard to assess but, generally speaking, when these two teams play within the division, the Total hits the under more often than not - in 60% of Cincy's games and 83% of Baltimore's.

The 40.5 Total for this clash is the lowest of all the Super Wild Card weekend games, but the under still appeals at -110.

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