The field is set for the NFL Divisional Round and let’s take a quick look at Saturday’s games for your NFL betting, which could be the last in a Green Bay Packers uniform for Aaron Rodgers if the Packers are upset at home by the San Francisco 49ers, although I doubt they will be.
NFL Divisional Round Game Analysis
Green Bay has opened as a 5.5-point favorite against the Niners, the team Rodgers grew up rooting for as he lived not far from San Francisco. The assumption surrounding Rodgers heading into the 2021 season was that it would be his final campaign in Green Bay. Last summer, Rodgers’ grievances with the front office were made public in the most lurid of ways. On the night of the 2021 NFL draft, reports of Rodgers’ displeasure stole every headline. During an offseason in which Rodgers did a lot of reflection and exploring interests outside of football, he said retirement was “definitely an option.”
However, after compiling an NFL-best 13-3 record in the regular season likely adding another MVP award, perhaps that perception is beginning to change.
“The grass is greener where you water it,” Rodgers said of whether his perspective has changed about leaving Green Bay for another team. “I really believe that. And you know, that’s an adage to dissuade people from going out and taking risk and chances, and you know, I think that where you spend your time and energy and what you choose to water will always be the greenest part of your life. I decided when I came back that I was going to be all in with the team and all in to see things move forward to a better place. And that’s what the conversations were about, you know, during the offseason, was about being a part of those conversations that impact my ability to do my job. And I, you know, from one of the first days, GM Brian [Gutekunst] and I sat it down and got on the same page and it’s been a really nice Fall and Winter. I appreciate his approach, how it’s been, and it’s been very meaningful to me. So I’m thankful for that relationship, where it’s at at this point, and that’s made my life that much more enjoyable. So I gotta give Brian a lot of credit for meeting me in the middle.”
The Packers and 49ers squared off in Week 3, when Mason Crosby hit a 51-yard field goal to win the game as time expired. They also met Green Bay led 17-0, but San Francisco rallied to take a 28-27 lead with less than a minute left.
They also met in the NFC title game following the 2019 season and the Niners rolled to a 37-20 victory. If the 49ers win Saturday, Rodgers would fall to 0-4 against his childhood team in playoff games, quite a stain on a Packers’ legacy that could end Saturday.
The earlier game Saturday is Buffalo at Kansas City, which opened as a 2.5-point favorite. Of course, the Chiefs beat the visiting Bills in last year’s AFC title game 38-24. Patrick Mahomes finished with 325 yards passing and three touchdowns, most of it to favorite targets Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, who complemented their star quarterback with a record-setting night of their own. Kelce finished with 13 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns, and Hill added nine catches for 172 yards, becoming the first duo in NFL history with consecutive games of at least 100 yards receiving each in a single postseason. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams added short TD runs for the Chiefs.
For Buffalo, Josh Allen finished with 287 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception, but a big chunk of his numbers came as the Bills tried to rally from a 38-15 deficit in the final minutes.
Allen comes off a spectacular playoff game in a blowout of the Patriots. The 25-year-old signal-caller completed 21 of his 25 passes for 308 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions. According to the good folks at NFL Research, Allen’s completion percentage (84.0) and passer rating (157.6) are the highest ever recorded by a quarterback (min. 25 pass att.) in a game vs. Bill Belichick as a head coach, playoffs or regular season. And if that wasn’t enough, he also ran six times for 66 yards.
These two teams met in Week 5, and the Bills blew out the Chiefs on their home field by 18 points.