NFL Divisional Round Bettors Guide: Momentum on Giants side vs. Eagles


Saturday, 8:15 p.m., Eagles by 7 ½, 48

HANK’S HONEYS: The Eagles are the better team but not by more than a touchdown. The Giants have all the momentum coming in. Playoff games between divisional rivals tend to be closer and the hook makes this a Giant lean. The Giants, suddenly full of confidence and bravado, have shown they can win games in more than just one way now that Daniel Jones and the passing game has stepped up. While he’s not going to have the kind of day he had against the woeful Vikings’ secondary, Jones’ ability to keep the chains moving, combined with Saquon Barkley’s production on early downs, can shorten the game and keep this one tight.

The Eagles were a dominant team before injuries to QB Jalen Hurts and OT Lane Johnson but haven’t been the same since drubbing the Giants, 48-22, just over a month ago when the Giants’ D was riddled with injuries. The bye week was crucial to the Eagles, giving Hurts’ shoulder an extra week to heal. But will he be rusty? With Johnson hoping to get back in the lineup, Philly’s offensive line can neutralize the strength of the Giants’ defense as C Jason Kelce goes up against Dexter Lawrence. That may be enough to back the Birds on the money line but not against a motivated Giants team that has been beating the spread all year.

IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Giants and the under.


Sunday, 6:30 p.m., Niners by 3 ½, 46 ½

HANK’S HONEYS: Forget the recency bias from the Cowboys’ perfect game in Tampa. The 49ers are the most complete team in the playoffs and should be able to exploit each one of the Cowboys’ weaknesses. Their run defense is even better than last season when they limited Dallas to 77 yards rushing in a 23-17 wild card win. If Dak Prescott has to stand back in the pocket and throw all day, odds are he’ll revert to his 15 INT ways. OT Jason Peters’ hip injury weakens the O-line and even if he can play, Nick Bosa has had good success against the veteran in the past. The Cowboys managed to cover up their holes in the secondary against the Bucs but with no run game to worry about, that wasn’t hard. However, Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme can leave gaps against the run and the Niners have the personnel to make the Boys pay. There hasn’t been any dip in the 49ers’ play since Brock Purdy took over. You can’t say that about the Cowboys and their week-to-week roller coaster. Can they bring their A-Game two weeks in a row? Hasn’t happened a lot.

IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: 49ers and the over.


Saturday, 4:30 p.m., Chiefs by 8 ½, 53

HANK’S HONEYS: It’s time the magic runs out on the Jaguars against a well-rested, playoff-tested Chiefs team. Andy Reid has been money with a week to prepare for an opponent and, while it works both ways, he has a lot of insight into Doug Pederson after coaching with him for 10 years. There are reasons to back the Jaguars for sure. Trevor Lawrence has come into his own and will be facing a less-than-stellar K.C. pass defense. The Jags also know they’re never out of a game. The Chiefs won the regular season meeting 27-17 when the Jaguars weren’t playing this brand of football. However, let’s look at that game in particular. The Chiefs were minus-three in turnovers and coasted to a 20-0 lead before letting Jacksonville back in it. Reid tended to take his foot off the gas in those spots this season but he won’t against these comeback kids. He’s much more aggressive in the postseason. Look, also, for Reid to take advantage of the Jags’ trouble covering tight ends with Patrick Mahomes hooking up with Travis Kelce for chunk plays.

IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Chiefs and the under.


Sunday, 3 p.m., Bills by 4 ½, 49

HANK’S HONEYS: Our advice is to bet the over and enjoy the show as two elite QBs battle it out in what could be a who-has-it-last kind of game. In that event, take the points. The Bills have been a bit over-valued all year and are just 8-8-1 ATS with a 3-5 home ATS record while going 7-1 SU. Not true of the Bengals, whose 7-2 away mark ATS is second only to the Giants. We got a brief glimpse of this matchup before the Damar Hamlin scare and saw that Joe Burrow can move the ball against the Buffalo secondary with a 158.3 passer rating after starting 4-for-4 for 52 yards and a TD. There is certainly concern with three starters missing from his O-line but Burrow has been rising above that. He will probably take some sacks but he can also make plays that were there for the Dolphins last week with his quick-release mobility. Josh Allen’s INT woes resurfaced against the Dolphins last week when he got too aggressive again. If he doesn’t clean that up, it could be a deciding factor. The Bengals are plus-seven in turnover ratio in their last nine games.

IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Bengals and the over.

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WEEK’S BEST BET: 49ers. Purdy, Purdy, Purdy good.