Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) reacts after wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (1) catches a touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the New England Patriots, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
Bill, Chiefs rout their opponents, clash in Divisional Playoff
The San Francisco 49ers had the only upset win on Wild Card Weekend
Check out the updated Super Bowl odds after Saturday’s games
And then there were eight.
Wild Card weekend is now in the books, and ended how most of the games did — with a wicked blowout. The latest team to fizzle out were the Arizona Cardinals, clubbed 34-11 by the Los Angeles Rams.
‘Zona once held the best record in the NFL at 10-2, and were a perennial top team in the 2022 Super Bowl odds.
Now, the field is mostly chalk, save for a few surprises in the form of the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals.
The Divisional Round is highlighted by a dynamite matchup at Arrowhead, a rematch of the AFC title game from a year ago between the Bills and Chiefs. These two are top-3 title favorites, and one won’t make it to the Conference Final.
2022 Super Bowl Odds
Green Bay Packers
Kansas City Chiefs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Odds as of Jan 17 from FanDuel.
Buffalo vs Kansas City
At least one championship-caliber team will get bounced next week.
The Buffalo Bills put together a virtuoso performance in an 47-17 evisceration of the New England Patriots.
THE BILLS STRIKE AGAIN!
Josh Allen finds Emmanuel Sanders for the 34-yard TD!
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 16, 2022
Historic doesn’t even do Buffalo’s play justice: the NFL record for most consecutive TD drives in a playoff game was four. The Bills ran the table, finding paydirt on seven straight drives.
It’s the first time a team has never had to punt, kick a field goal or commit a turnover in a game ever.
Kansas City’s 42-21 win over the Steelers wasn’t historic, but retro. An offense that’s been bottled up by defensive two-deep looks finally rediscovered the long ball.
Kelce coming right into your living room 🔥 @tkelce
📺: #PITvsKC on NBC
📱: NFL app pic.twitter.com/SyJ0qnAIks
— NFL (@NFL) January 17, 2022
Patrick Mahomes threw for 404 yards and five TD’s matching Josh Allen’s passing output. Neither is a serious contender in the NFL MVP race odds, but make no mistake, they’re the most dangerous pivots still standing.
The Chiefs have +400 Super Bowl odds, while the Bills are +500. Only the Packers have better title odds.
Los Angeles vs Tampa Bay
Matthew Stafford finally shook the playoff gorilla that’s been hanging on his back for 13 long years, leading the Rams to a win over Arizona, the first time in four tries he’s advanced in the postseason.
Odell Beckham Jr. scores his first playoff TD. pic.twitter.com/rjG0LKgyzZ
— TigerDroppings (@TigerDroppings) January 18, 2022
His rewards? A trip to Florida and a date with the defending champs.
Despite injuries to a receiving corps and a defense that has sagged down the home stretch the Buccaneers took care of business in the Wild Card round, building a 31-0 lead on the Eagles before cruising to a 31-15 win.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski make playoff TDs look easy as the #Bucs are dominating
— PFF TB Buccaneers (@PFF_Buccaneers) January 16, 2022
Stafford finally put together a mistake-free game with no interceptions, and that helped the Rams’ offense look sharp. He was 13-for-17 for 202 yards, with TD passes to Odell Beckham Jr and Cooper Kupp.
Sony Michel and Cam Akers combined to rush for 118 yards on 30 carries. Stafford added a rushing touchdown as well.
Of concern for the Rams is the status of veteran Andrew Whitworth, who was visibly hobbled after having bodies roll up on his ankle during a run play in the first quarter.
LA’s defense was in full attack mode, hounding Kyler Murray, forcing a brutal pick-six.
RAMS PICK OFF KYLER MURRAY FOR SIX! 😲 pic.twitter.com/fV8PW1djFH
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 18, 2022
Will the Rams learn from Philadelphia’s errors? The Eagles sat back in zone coverage and let Tom Brady pick them apart. When they went to man coverage, those quick hitters weren’t there, resulting in four sacks of TB12 on third down.
LA’s win vaulted them to +700 Super Bowl odds, good for fifth-best, just behind the Bucs, who sit at +550. Another game, another favorite will drop off the board.
BetMGM Sportsbook Is Launching Monday in New York
Do 49ers or Bengals Present Value?
San Francisco showed they can both run the ball and defend like hell.
They showcased that for much of a 23-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys – representing the only upset during Wild Card weekend.
Deebo Samuel is the real MVP! #49ers pic.twitter.com/G8zVU66oCw
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers) January 16, 2022
The Niners ran the ball relentlessly, producing 169 yards on 38 carries, a healthy 4.4 yards per tote. Their defense limited the Cowboys to just 77 yards on 21 carries.
Their defensive front sacked Dak Prescott five times and produced 14 QB hits. That’s 27 QB hits and nine sacks the last two games for the 49ers.
GIVE DJ JONES THE BAG 💰 #49ers pic.twitter.com/WWvU9KqkCR
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers_) January 16, 2022
Their title odds shortened dramatically, from +2100 to +1000, but that Jimmy Garoppolo turnover factor hangs over them. Gambler beware.
And what are we to make of the baby Bengals? Joe Burrow looked every bit the franchise pivot the Bengals hoped for when they made him the #1 pick of the 2020 draft.
JOE BURROW THROWS THE FIRST TD OF THE PLAYOFFS 🔥
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 15, 2022
He was 24-for-34 for 244 yards and two TD passes in his postseason debut, and the Bengals beat the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19.
Ja’Marr Chase, who is the runaway favorite to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, hauled in nine balls for 116 yards.
Matchups matter: while the Bills and Chiefs put the scoreboard lights to work, Cincy has a date with the top-seeded Tennessee Titans.
The Bengals enter the Divisional Round with the lowest title odds at +1300. The title is a longshot, but they have a path to the NFL’s final four, and that’s enough for a value wager.