The divisional round of the NFL playoffs is arguably the best weekend of the season. All of the narratives disparaging the Super Bowl contenders are thrown out the window as contenders settle the score on the field.
Look at the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers squaring off. Ditto with the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. All four of these teams are amongst the best in the league, but this weekend will prove how good each of these teams are as they face a team with equal talent across multiple areas on the roster.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs are out to prove they are deserving of the No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences. On the other side, the underdog New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars are seeking to prove their trip to the divisional round wasn’t a fluke.
While the games are going to be settled on the field, how would we rank each of the eight playoff teams left? Part of these rankings compute the path to get to the Super Bowl, but talent level on the rosters plays a huge role.
All NFL odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
8. New York Giants
- Odds to win Super Bowl: +3000
- Odds to win NFC: +1300
The Giants deserve a ton of credit for being here, beating the Minnesota Vikings on the road to have an opportunity to play Philadelphia in the divisional round. New York doesn’t turn the football over (7.3% turnover rate on offense is the best in the NFL) and can run the ball, ranking fourth in the league in rushing (148.2 YPG) and fifth in yards per carry (4.8).
The offense only has two games in which it scored 30-plus points all season (although they have come in the past three games) and is just 15th in points scored per game (21.5) and 18th in yards per game (333.9). The defense is 17th in points allowed per game (21.8) and 25th in yards allowed per game (358.2), with a run defense that is 27th in yards allowed per game (144.2) and 31st in yards per carry allowed (5.2).
New York needed Daniel Jones to play his best game of the year against a bottom-three defense to get past Minnesota. The Giants are 3-6-1 in their past nine games, but have made it to the final eight.
The talent discrepancy is apparent when comparing the Giants to the rest of the field. However, Brian Daboll and the coaching staff seem to know what they’re doing, and they play a style of football that lends itself to knocking off better opponents. Because of those factors, New York has a shot.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
- Odds to win Super Bowl: +3500
- Odds to win AFC: +1300
The AFC South champions weren’t supposed to be here six weeks ago, sitting with a 4-8 record and a small chance of winning the division. Jacksonville hasn’t lost since, thanks to the play of Trevor Lawrence and a run defense that has allowed just 90.5 yards per game over the past four contests. Then there’s Doug Pederson, whose in-game adjustments and creative fourth-down play calls have helped Jacksonville win games, not to mention what he has done with the culture of the locker room.
Jacksonville is in the divisional round for the first time since 2017, as Pederson is playing with house money against his former coach in Andy Reid. The Jaguars are still riding high after erasing a 27-0 first-half deficit to stun the Los Angeles Chargers last weekend.
The Jaguars have a top-10 offense in points (23.8) and yards per game (357.4), while Mike Caldwell’s defense has allowed just 13.0 points per game over the past four. Its 27 takeaways is also fifth in the NFL.
Don’t sleep on Jacksonville, but the Jaguars have a tall task against Kansas City.
Featured Game | Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
6. Cincinnati Bengals
- Odds to win Super Bowl: +800
- Odds to win AFC: +400
The Bengals are red hot heading into this stage of the playoffs, winning nine in a row to capture the AFC North — beating the Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens (twice) in the process. The defending AFC champions deserve respect with Joe Burrow at quarterback throwing to playmakers like Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Cincinnati showed it can go into Kansas City and win a playoff game last year, so the Bengals’ ability to win big games shouldn’t be questioned.
The Bengals don’t have a good run offense, ranking 29th in rush yards per game (92.9) and 29th in yards per attempt (3.8). The pass defense can be a weakness, too, ranking 23rd in pass yards per game (227.9) despite allowing just 17 passing touchdowns (fourth in NFL). The Bengals give up yards, but are sixth in scoring defense.
The offensive line injuries are why the Bengals are this low. Losing La’El Collins and Jonah Williams are huge blows for a team that needs to protect Burrow, not forgetting Alex Cappa is also week-to-week. These injuries may be too much for Cincinnati to overcome, but teams with Burrow shouldn’t be counted out.
5. Dallas Cowboys
- Odds to win Super Bowl: +850
- Odds to win NFC: +350
The Cowboys have been one of the best teams in the NFL all season, and they are as good as any team in the league when Dak Prescott isn’t turning the ball over and the offense isn’t going through lapses where it can’t move the ball. This team was fourth in scoring (27.5 PPG) despite being 11th in yards per game (354.9) and 19th in yards per possession. The run game of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard makes the Cowboys dangerous, despite the Cowboys only ranking 18th in yards per carry (4.3). Their 24 rushing touchdowns was second in the NFL, while their red-zone scoring percentage of 71.4 was the best in the league.
Dallas had the most takeaways in the league (33) and has one of the top-five defensive players in the game in Micah Parsons. They’re fifth in the league in points allowed (20.1 PPG) and eighth in pass yards allowed (200.9). The clear weakness is the run defense, which ranks 22nd in yards allowed per game (129.3) and 17th in yards per carry allowed (4.4). Over the past four games, the run defense has allowed just 96.8 yards per game — massive for a team that struggles to tackle at times.
Dallas has the most experienced quarterback of the remaining NFC clubs in Prescott, but can this team beat San Francisco? Can it beat Philadelphia with a healthy Jalen Hurts? This is a Super Bowl contender, yet there are questions.
Featured Game | San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys
4. San Francisco 49ers
- Odds to win Super Bowl: +380
- Odds to win NFC: +160
How can a team as talented as the 49ers be in the middle of the pack? All San Francisco has done is win 11 games in a row — six of which have been with a third-string quarterback who has a 121.4 passer rating in those starts. Brock Purdy has been great, yet he hasn’t faced a pass rush that can get to the quarterback like Dallas and Philadelphia yet. Sunday will be the biggest test for Purdy this season.
Besides the Purdy reservations, this 49ers team is loaded. They have Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle — all of whom are considered top five at their respective positions. Brandon Aiyuk is also a very good receiver, and Kyle Shanahan is a master at putting these guys in the best situations to win football games. San Francisco is sixth in points per game (26.8) and fifth in yards per game (365.6), while the rushing offense has averaged 175.3 rushing yards per game over their past six games.
The 49ers defense is No. 1 in points (16.3) and yards allowed (300.6) while allowing the fewest points per possession in the league. The run defense is second in yards allowed (77.7) and in yards per carry allowed (3.4), but the pass defense is 20th in yards allowed (223.2). That said, the unit does have the most interceptions in the NFL (20).
San Francisco is the hottest team in the NFL, but its path to the Super Bowl is very difficult. This is another team that has a legitimate argument to be No. 1.
3. Buffalo Bills
- Odds to win Super Bowl: +350
- Odds to win AFC: +165
Buffalo could easily be No. 1 on this list with the talent on this roster. The Bills are built to win the Super Bowl this season with Josh Allen at quarterback, leading the No. 2 offense in points (28.8) and yards (399.1) per game. Buffalo — not known as a running team — also finished seventh in rushing yards per game (137.6) and second in yards per carry (5.2). The Bills were also second in points and yards per possession, making this offense one of the most dangerous in the NFL. Their three losses were by a combined nine points.
The defense was second in points allowed per game (18.6) and fifth in yards allowed per game (313.9). They have a top-five run defense in yards per game (100.9) and rank seventh in rushing touchdowns allowed (10). Buffalo’s pass defense isn’t as strong as in years past (15th in yards allowed and 13th in touchdown passes allowed), but this defense creates turnovers (27 takeaways are fourth in NFL).
This Bills team is good enough to win the Super Bowl, and they’ll get the benefit of playing the Chiefs in a neutral-site title game if it comes to fruition. If Josh Allen can take care of the football, Buffalo is going to be very hard to beat — even if its path to the Super Bowl includes Cincinnati this week.
Featured Game | Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals
2. Philadelphia Eagles
- Odds to win Super Bowl: +525
- Odds to win NFC: +165
Somehow, the Eagles aren’t getting the respect for how good they’ve been all season long. This team cruised to the No. 1 seed in the NFC and was 14-1 in games Jalen Hurts started at quarterback. Perhaps the Hurts shoulder injury affects Philadelphia, but the reality is the Eagles had to win just one of their last three games to wrap up home-field advantage and had an extra week of rest to prepare for their next opponent — which is huge for Hurts and the offense.
Philadelphia had the No. 3 offense in points per game (28.1) and yards per game (389.1) while also having a top-five rushing offense (147.6 YPG) and leading the league in rushing touchdowns (32). It was also top five in points and yards per possession.
The defense is a top-five unit, too, ranking eighth in points per game (20.2) and second in yards per game (301.4). Philadelphia had the No. 1 pass defense (179.8 YPG) with James Bradberry and Darius Slay and also had 70 sacks on the season. Four players had 10-plus sacks on the Eagles, the most by any team in NFL history.
The Eagles are one of the most complete teams in the NFL, and Hurts has had plenty of rest to get that shoulder right. This team wins when Hurts is on the field.
Featured Game | Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
1. Kansas City Chiefs
- Odds to win Super Bowl: +310
- Odds to win AFC: +145
Not only are the Chiefs the No. 1 seed in the conference, but Kansas City has Andy Reid as its head coach and Patrick Mahomes as its quarterback. Those two factors alone make Kansas City dangerous come this time of year (remember that Mahomes has never played a road playoff game, nor has he ever had a season as a starting quarterback during which he failed to reach the conference championship game).
The Chiefs had the top scoring offense (29.2 PPG) and the top offense in yards per game (413.6). They had the top offense in points and yards per possession, and the run game has significantly improved over the final nine weeks of the season. The defense gets pressure on the quarterback (second in league with 55 sacks) and has the highest-ranked defense in points per game allowed (11th) since Steve Spagnuolo took over as defensive coordinator in 2019.
Kansas City lost to Buffalo and Cincinnati this year, but this team has the ultimate advantage in Reid and Mahomes. That puts the Chiefs as the best team remaining in these playoffs.