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Double the Fun in KC
Let’s get started with a side and total correlated play in the first game of the weekend featuring the Jacksonville Jaguars heading to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. You’re going to hear plenty about Andy Reid’s excellence coming off a bye in over two decades as an NFL head coach. We’re writing this to tell you to not to blindly follow that trend. On paper, this looks like a talent mismatch in favor of the Chiefs. But there’s a quiet confidence that the Jaguars have to be carrying after last week’s incredible comeback from 27-0 against the Chargers. Speaking of trends, here’s one for you. Doug Pederson is 6-1 against the spread in the playoffs. All six covers are as a dog and five of those six were outright wins. Pederson’s arguably the front runner or Coach of the Year in the NFL and has had a knack for doing more with less in January and February. We’re not expecting his team to lay down now given his reputation in these spots and the quiet confidence we alluded to that this young Jaguars team has to be feeling. Jacksonville traveled to Kansas City back in November and lost 27-17 in a game it trailed in the entire way. Given that game script, coupled with the obvious first half disaster last week for the Jags, our guess is they come out looking to slow the tempo down and ease their way into this one. Even in a game that the Chiefs essentially dominated, there were still just 44 total points scored. That would suggest there’s quite a bit of wiggle room on going under the total of 52.5 in this game. The path for Jacksonville to be competitive in this game clearly correlates with the under cashing as well. We’re confident enough Jacksonville will hang around so we’re going to take Jaguars +8.5 and under 52.5 in the first game on Saturday.
Trench Problems Again for the Bengals
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Bengals are going to be dealing with offensive line concerns. Well, with guard Alex Cappa and tackle Jonah Williams held out of practice to start the week, things aren’t looking good for Cincinnati in the trenches on offense again as it heads to Buffalo. I have my doubts that the Bengals can continue to overcome these issues like they did in last season’s playoffs. Remember, while Cincinnati beat Tennessee in last year’s divisional round despite Joe Burrow getting sacked nine times, Ryan Tannehill certainly cooperated to the Titans’ demise in that game as well. I foresee the Bengals having similar pass protection problems and I’m confident Josh Allen will be able to clean some things up. Buffalo lost the turnover battle last week against Miami and still won the game to get to Sunday against Cincinnati. Turnovers have been problematic for Allen and company at times this season, but I’ll bank on some positive regression for the Bills in that department and their front seven being able to pin their ears back and tee off on Burrow. The Bengals appear to be one of the trendy underdogs in the divisional round and I don’t think they played well enough last week against Baltimore to feel good about going into Buffalo and emerging victorious. I’m willing to lay the 5.5 and back the Bills.
By Greg Frank
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