NFC & AFC Playoff Previews: Sunday

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The NFL’s Divisional Playoff round begins on Sunday and concludes on Monday.

Unlike last week the games are split between conferences, so there is one NFC game and one AFC game on each day.

The winners meet in the conference championship games next Monday.

Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at San Francisco 49ers (13-3)

Sunday, 8:35 am AEDT, ESPN & 7mate

49ers
-NFC West champions, #1 seed.
-Bye last week.
-Ranked #9 in total offense.
-Ranked #2 in total defense.
-Overall series between the teams is tied at 23-23-1, but San Francisco has a 4-1 advantage in the post-season.
-The 49ers have won 9 of the past 10 home games, but they’ve only played 10 games in the Bay Area since 1988.
-Only one game between the teams (a 20-3 Niners win in 2015) has been played at Levi’s Stadium.

Vikings
-Wild Card, #6 seed.
-Beat New Orleans 26-20 in OT last week.
-Ranked #16 in total offense.
-Ranked #14 in total defense.
-Vikings have won 6 of the past 8 meetings overall.
-The last time they met (a 2018 game won by Minnesota 24-16) it was the first game as a starter for both Kirk Cousins in Minnesota and Jimmy Garoppolo for San Francisco.

Keys to the game

Although the 49ers pass rush tailed off near the end of the season, they should be able to take advantage of a weak Minnesota offensive line and a quarterback (Kirk Cousins) who isn’t mobile and holds the ball longer than any quarterback (3 seconds). Dalvin Cook, however, is one of the league’s best runners and he made a big impact last week. If he can clock up some yards, it will make Cousins more effective with play action passes.

Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers’ offense is creative and unpredictable and the matchup with Mike Zimmer’s stout defense will be fun to watch. QB Jimmy Garoppolo is making his first career playoff start but he has plenty of weapons, including tight end George Kittle, wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel and running backs Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert.

Match Betting
$1.3o San Francisco
$3.57 Minnesota

Handicap
$1.86 San Francisco -7
$1.94 Minnesota +7

Total Match Points
$1.86 Under 44.5
$1.95 Over 44.5

All markets here.

 

Tennessee Titans (9-7) at Baltimore Ravens (14-2)

Sunday 12:15 pm AEDT, ESPN & 7mate

Ravens
-AFC North champions, #1 seed.
-Bye last week.
-Ranked #1 in total offense.
-Ranked #4 in total defense.
-Ravens come into the game on a 12-game winning streak (last loss was September 30 to the Browns).
-Ravens lead all-time series 12-11 (2-1 in post-season), but teams have only met four times in the last 10 years.
-Teams have alternated wins in the last eight games, with Ravens winning last meeting 21-0.

Titans
-Wild Card, #6 seed.
-Beat New England 20-13 last week.
-Ranked #12 in total offense.
-Ranked #21 in total defense.
-Franchise has played the Ravens under three different names (Houston Oilers, Tennessee Oilers, Tennessee Titans).
-Titans have won 2 of the last 3 played in Baltimore.

Keys to the game

Both teams will want to establish the running game, although Baltimore’s is more dynamic, with Lamar Jackson leading the way and Tennessee’s more smashmouth, with Derrick Henry the main man. Henry has more than 1,000 yards in his last seven games and stopping him is the key to a Ravens’ win. The Titans are playing with house money after beating New England and Mike Vrablel has his men believing they can go further.

Although Jackson has played in the playoffs – he lost to the Chargers last year – so even though he’s had an unreal year and is likely to be named MVP, the post-season nerves could come back. Running back Mark Ingram is expected to play, but his calf may not be 100%. Don’t discount the fact that Baltimore has the most accurate kicker in NFL history, Justin Tucker.

Match Betting
$1.22 Baltimore
$4.35 Tennessee

Handicap
$1.90 Tennessee +9.5
$1.90 Baltimore -9.5

Total Match Points
$1.90 Over 47
$1.90 Under 47

All markets here.

What do you think?