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Divisional Round In Review – Ravens & 49ers Advance While Chiefs & Lions Keep Their Dreams Alive

Only four teams remain in the NFL this season. While the 49ers and Ravens were expected here, the Chiefs and Lions are continuing to dream.

A Blowout In Baltimore

There was always hope for the Houston Texans against the Baltimore Ravens.

Everything had to go right: Some Ravens rust, a fast Texans start and on-fire C.J. Stroud. However, the Ravens defence did what it needed to do early before Lamar Jackson and the offence ran away with it late. A 17-point 4th quarter blew the score out to 34-10 and the Ravens made it look easy in the end.

As expected, Jackson dominated for 152 passing yards, 100 rushing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. He’s the Most Valuable Player in the NFL right now and showed exactly why in this one. He faced a career-high blitz rate of 75% but still managed to complete 13 of the 18 passes for 120 yards. Jackson became the first quarterback in NFL history to have two passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, 100 rushing yards and a 100 passer rating in the same game.

The Ravens defence impressed, too.

While they didn’t force a turnover or earn a sack, the defence allowed only a field goal. Houston’s lone touchdown came from a punt return.

Baltimore dominated and may yet have Mark Andrews available for the Conference Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Ravens have been installed as $1.57 and +3.5 favourites after the Chiefs upset the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round.

49ers Sneak Past Packers

The San Francisco 49ers made things look difficult for periods of this one.

Poor weather didn’t help, but they looked rusty after the bye. Losing Deebo Samuel to injury didn’t help either. Still, they did enough to beat the Green Bay Packers 24-21 and earn a place in the Conference Championship for the fourth time in five seasons.

Brock Purdy struggled in the rain at times. You could hear the thumbs gleefully tapping on social media, ready to highlight his shortcomings. However, as he often has throughout the NFL season, he came up with the goods when it mattered most. With the game on the line, Purdy led the 49ers up the field before Christian McCaffrey scored what ended up as the winning touchdown with one minute left to play.

To the dismay of many, Kyle Shanahan kept putting the ball in Purdy’s hands for the quarterback to complete only 23 of his 39 pass attempts. That last drive is why…

Dre Greenlaw’s second pick of the night put an end to Green Bay’s season shortly after.

Interestingly, like the Ravens, the 49ers finished the game without a sack. But the defence applied enough pressure and produced the big plays when required to give Purdy and the offence the opportunity to win it.

All eyes are now on Samuel. He is still getting tests on his injured shoulder. It’s the same shoulder that ruled him out of games earlier this season. It remains to be seen whether or not he’s available for the 49ers when they take on the Detroit Lions as significant $1.32 and -6.5 favourites.

Detroit Keeps Doing It

Baker Mayfield did it for us with his passing yards but couldn’t quite lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory. Instead, the celebrations continue for the Detroit Lions who are off to the Conference Championship following the 31-23 win.

Jared Goff continued his impressive season to secure the game in the 4th quarter. He hit his first 11 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown as the Lions extended their lead. Jahmyr Gibbs was again fantastic for his 74 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. The typically excellent Lions running game was slow to start but came to life late. Gibbs’ 31-yard touchdown carry changed the game early in the 4th quarter.

The Lions are up against the best offence in the league next week but are in a good position to test the 49ers with what we’ve seen from them with the ball this season.

The Lions have opened as $3.40 and +6.5 underdogs. However, they’re one of the few teams in the NFL that might be able to keep up with San Francisco in a shootout.

It’s a tough end for Mayfield, though. He resurrected his NFL career this season but ended it with a pick that cost the Buccaneers any chance of victory. After grossly outperforming his contract, his negotiations will be something to keep an eye on over the offseason. He’s a bonafide starter in this league.

You Can’t Count The Chiefs Out

The Kansas City Chiefs entered this one as underdogs.

We heard about this being Patrick Mahomes’ first-ever road playoff game ad nauseam throughout the week. Now Mahomes is back to the Conference Championship for the sixth time in as many years since he became a starter in the NFL. Regardless of their form throughout the regular season, Playoff Pat is different.

He finished up with 215 yards and two touchdowns, outplaying his opposition away from home.

The end of this one had everything from a fake punt to a touchback to a missed game-tying field goal, but it ended how most playoff games do for Kansas City: A Win.

Travis Kelce played as he typically does in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Isiah Pacheco is making a name for himself as one of Kansas City’s most reliable performers. They’re all of a sudden back in the Super Bowl LVIII conversation at $4.20.

It’s the third time in four seasons that the Bills have had it all ended by the Chiefs. While it took a near-perfect game from one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, the result still hurts. There will be part of the fan base that is happy to have made it this far following the 6-6 start. However, this is where they were meant to be at a minimum. The year started with Super Bowl LVIII expectations and the Bill ultimately fell short once again.

NFL  Super Bowl LVIII Odds

And there there were four…

The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens are both favourites to make it through the Conference Championship and into Super Bowl LVIII. They’ve been among the favourites all season and are at $2.30 and $2.88, respectively, after the Divisional Round.

After causing the upset on the road, the Kansas City Chiefs are on the third line of betting to go back-to-back at $4.20. You just can’t keep this group out. We waited all season to see them put it together, and they’ve done it just at the right time.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions have been there or thereabouts all year. Never really expected to contend, they’re out at $8.50 to do the unthinkable.

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