Titans (-3 1/2) over Bengals: Hooray for the Bengals for getting their first playoff win in 31 years. They’re a fun, entertaining team to watch, with Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase reliving their LSU days. But their defense is decimated by injuries, and now here comes the most physical team in the AFC, plus Derrick Henry is returning. The Titans aren’t flashy, so they don’t get the hype, but they’re solid across the board, and still managed to go 6-3 without Henry, even while missing their top two wide receivers for much of that time. A workmanlike team picks up a workman like win.
49ers (+6) over Packers: So much going on with this one. Can the 49ers win their third straight game on the road against teams that won at least 12 regular season games? Is Jimmy Garoppolo’s arm going to fall off. Will the 49ers need to bring in Trey Lance? Can their secondary hold up against Rodgers and Davante Adams? Is this going to be Rodgers’ last game with the Packers if they lose? And the big question. Who is going to win? I don’t have a clue, and when that’s the case, I’ll take plus six.
Buccaneers (-3) over Rams: When it boils right down to it, I don’t trust Matthew Stafford enough to bet on him against Tom Brady in a playoff game. But one thing really bothers me about this line. The first books that opened this up made it Buccs -2 ½, surely knowing all the early bettors would take the Buccs and move the line to 3. I think 3 is the right line, but it seems like the bookmakers intentionally set it low to get a deluge of Buccs money in hand. That has me thinking Rams, except I’d never forgive myself for losing on Stafford against Brady.
Bills (-2) over Chiefs: It’s too bad this game isn’t next week for the AFC Championship, because these are the two best teams in the AFC. After their little lull late in the season, the Bills are on a serious roll, and the main reason is they started running the ball effectively with their running backs, and not just relying on Josh Allen. That, of course, has made Allen even more effective. The Bills have been on the verge before, and I think they’re a more complete team than the Chiefs and find a way to break through this time.