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NFL Playoff Predictions 2024: DraftKings Network picks each Divisional game

We’re back with more staff picks, this time for the Divisional Round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs. Here’s who we think will make it to Championship Sunday.

Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens shares a moment with Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers after Baltimore’s 33-19 win at Levi’s Stadium on December 25, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images

The 2024 NFL Playoffs head into the second round, meaning this week we get to see how well the two No. 1 seeds return from their two to three weeks of rest. Looking over the odds at DraftKings Sportsbook shows us the 49ers remain the odds on favorites to win the Super Bowl at +175, with the Ravens second at +290. Then it follows, Bills (+500), Chiefs (+700), Lions (+900), Bucs (+2500), Packers (+2500), and Texans (+2800).

The next month will show us who comes out on top, but until then, we’ll take a shot at prognosticating the winners of the Divisional Round below.

2024 NFL Playoff Predictions

Divisional Round

Teddy Ricketson, Staff Writer

AFC

No. 1 Baltimore Ravens over No. 4 Houston Texans
No. 2 Buffalo Bills over No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs

We have seen the bye week work against teams in the past. For Baltimore, however, it may have been enough time for star tight end Mark Andrews to get healthy. Even if he doesn’t, the Ravens were already one of the best all-around teams in the NFL this season. Lamar Jackson has something to prove after not playing well in previous playoff trips. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud impressed in his first career playoff game, but I think injuries will keep the Texans from winning this game on the road.

The Bills are coming off a home playoff victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Buffalo went into Arrowhead earlier this season and picked up a win and now welcome the Chiefs to Orchard Park. Kansas City QB will play his first road playoff game. The Chiefs’ defense should give Josh Allen some trouble, but I think the team’s offensive woes continue in this game, and they aren’t able to pick up a win.

NFC

No. 1 San Francisco 49ers over No. 7 Green Bay Packers
No. 3 Detroit Lions over No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Niners are also coming off a bye, being the top seed in the NFC. It felt for most of the season like there was a big gap between the 49ers and the other NFC teams, and they will get a primetime chance to prove it. Green Bay heads into this one with a big win over the Dallas Cowboys. Quarterback Jordan Love was impressive in the win, but he would have to have another perfect game if he hopes to contend with the 49ers’ defense, and that feels like too tall of an ask.

The Lions picked up their first home playoff victory in 30 years in the Wild Card round. Detroit escaped with a one-point win over the Los Angeles Rams and former quarterback Matthew Stafford. Tampa Bay QB Baker Mayfield showed the talent that we expected of him as a former No. 1 overall pick as he and the Buccaneers exposed the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round. Still, The Bucs now have to go on the road and while they may keep the game close, the home town Lions fans are going to be the difference maker in getting Detroit to the NFC Championship Game.

Chinmay Vaidya, Sports Editor

AFC

No. 1 Baltimore Ravens over No. 4 Houston Texans
No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs over No. 2 Buffalo Bills

It was an AFC South team that took out the Ravens the last time they were the No. 1 seed in the postseason, but I don’t think that happens here. Lamar Jackson is unlikely to throw multiple pick 6s, and Baltimore’s defense should be fully healthy with a week off. Mark Andrews could also be back for the Ravens. The Texans have had a wonderful season and C.J. Stroud will have his moments in this game, but I’ll take the home team to advance without much trouble.

The Bills and Chiefs are set for another encounter in what should be the best game of the weekend. Buffalo is the hottest team in the league right now and welcomes Patrick Mahomes for his first ever road playoff game. More importantly, the Bills have to face a stout Kansas City defense which has prepared for Josh Allen before. The Chiefs know they have to force turnovers to rattle Allen, and I think they’ll be able to do that early. Mahomes and this offense hasn’t looked great but the defense is stepping up. I like Kansas City to win a close one.

NFC

No. 1 San Francisco 49ers over No. 7 Green Bay Packers
No. 3 Detroit Lions over No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I will once again be rooting for the Packers, who are following closely in the footsteps of the 2010 squad which took down the NFC East champion, No. 1 seed and NFC North champion as the lowest seed in the playoffs on the way to a Super Bowl title. That path is very much in play for this group, but I think there’s just too much of a talent gap in this one. Green Bay has shown it isn’t afraid of any moment, but the 49ers have a better group than the Cowboys on both sides of the ball. San Francisco won’t run away with this game but it is unlikely to be a close contest.

I’ll back the Lions to keep this thing rolling against a Tampa Bay squad which took out the Eagles in surprising fashion in the Wild Card round. Baker Mayfield was the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in a playoff game, and he’ll have his opportunities against this suspect Lions secondary. I think Jared Goff makes enough plays offensively, and the Lions survive a relatively close encounter to make the NFC Championship Game.

Ben Zweiman, Senior Managing Editor

AFC

No. 1 Baltimore Ravens over No. 4 Houston Texans
No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs over No. 2 Buffalo Bills

This is the most important season and game for QB Lamar Jackson, who will likely be named the 2023 NFL MVP. I just don’t see a scenario in which a rookie head coach and quarterback take down the MVP and a coach as successful and seasoned as John Harbaugh. Props to the Texans, DeMeco Ryans and CJ Stroud for a great season. It comes to an end on Saturday.

Chiefs-Bills is much tougher to pick (in fact my initial typing was Bills over Chiefs). But looking at what we saw in the Wild Card round, the Bills still gave us some pause. Pittsburgh was within a score in the fourth quarter and there were plenty of times the Steelers miscues fed the Bills momentum in that game. I just wasn’t all that impressed with the Bills in a game they were heavy favorites at home. Also, QB Josh Allen didn’t turn the ball over. He never does that. So I’d guess if it were a game Allen gives one up, that could alter things. The Chiefs have a defense that can do that.

I’m not buying any of the “Mahomes hasn’t won on the road in the playoffs” stuff either. Until proven otherwise, we’ll back Mahomes. There’s a chance he loses his first road playoff game. Until then I’m going to expect the same QB who has reached five straight AFC title games and has won two of the past four Super Bowls. Rookie WR Rashee Rice was great in that Wild Card game and could be the receiver Mahomes needs. Travis Kelce also looked solid. Andy Reid is a better coach than Sean McDermott. We’ll ride the K.C. wave until the wheels fall off.

NFC

No. 1 San Francisco 49ers over No. 7 Green Bay Packers
No. 3 Detroit Lions over No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Packers look like a team of destiny. The 49ers are also built different than the Cowboys. So while I don’t agree with the betting odds around this game, San Fran should win. That was the case last week with Dallas, though. And we’ve seen football teams do this in the past. You get hot at the right time. Your QB is playing great. You’re getting healthier on both sides of the ball. You’re (basically) two playoff games deep because of Week 18. On the flip side, the Niners haven’t played a meaningful football game since Christmas, when they lost to the Ravens. It’s not always easy to take that much time off and jump right back into things. San Fran may start slow but should recover in time to advance.

The Lions might be the actual team of destiny this season. Detroit won its first playoff game in three decades (barely) to get to the Divisional Round. Instead of facing the defending NFC champion Eagles you get Baker Mayfield and the Bucs at home. This feels like a game the Lions should lay the hammer down based on pure adrenaline. The Lions made easy work of the Bucs in the regular season without rookie RB Jahmyr Gibbs. Detroit should dominate the line of scrimmage and force Mayfield into some bad throws. Between all four remaining playoff games I think this one has the best chance of being lopsided.

Nick Simon, Staff Writer

AFC

No. 1 Baltimore Ravens over No. 4 Houston Texans
No. 2 Buffalo Bills over No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs

We’ll finally get to see Baltimore in action this postseason after getting rewarded with a bye as the top seed in the AFC. The Ravens were really rolling at the end of the regular season and will get even stronger on offense with Mark Andrews returning on Saturday. There is a bit of pressure on them, however, as Lamar Jackson has yet to make it past the Divisional Round in his career and it would be a massive disappointment fall flat on their face. I think they brush those concerns to the side and role here. Keep in mind that temperatures are going to be in the 20’s in Baltimore on Saturday, with the ground frozen from a week’s worth of snow and ice. Yeah, respect to CJ Stroud and Houston for they’ve accomplished this year, but this is where the ride ends.

KC-Buffalo has emerged as THE rivalry in the AFC of the early 2020’s and we’ll once again be treated to Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen duking it out. Both teams had little issues putting down their respective Wild Card opponents last weekend and both won under extremely cold weather conditions. The difference between this and their previous two postseason matchups is that its taking place in Buffalo this time around, marking the very first road playoff game for Mahomes. The Bills have been the hottest team in the league over the last month, but are under pressure to finally get over the Chiefs hump in the playoffs. I’ll side with Bills Mafia and say that they do step up at home and get the ‘W’.

NFC

No. 7 Green Bay Packers over No. 1 San Francisco 49ers
No. 3 Detroit Lions over No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This has been a very strange NFL season, so what would epitomize that strangeness more than a team that snuck into the playoffs in Week 18 handing the NFC’s top team an unceremonious exit in the Divisional round? Green Bay absolutely dismantled Dallas last weekend and we got a glimpse of the future with Jordan Love and his full cast of young receivers balling out at Jerry World. I can envision a scenario where the Packers jump out to an early lead and as talented as the Niners’ offense is, do you trust Brock Purdy orchestrating a comeback? Give me the Pack stunning everyone and moving on to the NFC title game.

The atmosphere at Ford Field was electric for Detroit’s Wild Card game last Sunday and that should be the case once again when Tampa Bay comes to town. The Lions were able to outlast their former quarterback Matthew Stafford in a one-point win while the Bucs hammered the Eagles to complete Philly’s epic collapse. We saw plenty of good Jared Goff this year, but there were a handful of weeks where bad Jared Goff would rear his ugly head. Which one will show up against a Bucs team that just blitzed Jalen Hurts into submission. I think this ancient NFC Central rivalry will be much closer than their regular season encounter, but I have the Lions gritting out another close victory.

Chet Gresham, NFL Editor

AFC

No. 1 Baltimore Ravens over No. 4 Houston Texans
No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs over No. 2 Buffalo Bills

I like the Ravens this year more than other years, as their defense remains strong, while their offense has more staying power than the last few times they were in the playoffs. Lamar Jackson appears to be a man on a mission and he should have a healthy Zay Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr., Isaiah Likely and Mark Andrews to throw to this week. If I wasn’t so high on the Ravens, this would be a prime upset spot for me due to the way C.J. Stroud is playing. I see this game being closer than the 9.5 point spread, but with the Ravens winning in the end.

The Bills are hot right now, but they’re also not clicking on all cylinders on offense. Josh Allen has been willing his team to wins, but I like the Chiefs defense enough to keep Buffalo’s point total down, while Patrick Mahomes does his best impression of a two-time Super Bowl MVP.

NFC

No. 1 San Francisco 49ers over No. 7 Green Bay Packers
No. 3 Detroit Lions over No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jordan Love has looked mazing of late and if it were a game between the quarterbacks, I’d lean Green Bay. Unfortunately for Green Bay, the 49ers have a well-rested set of offensive players like Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle to go along with the play-calling of Kyle Shanahan. Oh, and the 49ers rank 4th overall in defensive DVOA, while the Packers rank 27th. Stacking the teams next to each other has me firmly on the 49ers side.

The Lions can be beaten and I expect the 49ers to beat them in the championship game, but they should be able to beat this plucky group led by Baker Mayfield. The Bucs got lucky to face the remnants of whatever the Eagles are now, as well as getting a home game because they play in the awful NFC South. Playing in Detroit, with the hype that city has right now, should be enough to propel the better team to the win this weekend.