2023 AFC Wild Card Weekend Playoff Picks

The 2021-2022 NFL regular season is over. 14 teams in two conferences (seven in each) have a shot at winning the Vince Lombardi championship trophy. The updated playoff format features an extra team. That means there’s one bye week for the top seeded team in each conference and a Monday night playoff game. Everyone wants to know which three teams in the AFC advance to the divisional round, so here are the best bets come Saturday.

#5 Los Angeles Chargers v. #4 Jacksonville Jaguars

Travis Etienne Jr.’s (1, white) promotion to starting runningback has balanced out Jacksonville’s offense and is a reason they won the AFC South.

Unfortunately this looks to be the AFC’s most competitive wild-card matchup. Injuries to Mike Williams and Joey Bosa could decide how often new starting runningback Travis Etienne Jr. takes control and becomes the focal point on Jacksonville’s offensive possessions. While quarterback Justin Herbert and runningback Austin Ekeler find ways to score often, the Jaguar defense is playing their best since early December and has everything going their way.

Prediction: Jaguars win 30-20

#7 Miami Dolphins v. #2 Buffalo Bills

It’s a shame either Stefon Diggs or Tyreek Hill will have their season end Sunday.

The first of two divisional matchups in the AFC, the home team has many advantages. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will not start for Miami and backup Jacoby Brissett is still working through a broken thumb on his throwing hand. That means third stringer Skylar Thompson will get the start against a top five defense in the league.

Buffalo’s offense will have a third opportunity to take on Miami’s middling defense. This could get ugly early.

Prediction: Bills win 41-14

#6 Baltimore Ravens v. #3 Cincinnati Bengals

Ja’Marr Chase had no sophomore slump this season. Cincinnati and Chase performed better the later the year went.

The last of the divisional games in either conference, the result should mirror the other two. A stronger, more balanced home team has an advantage over a road team that doesn’t have the final pieces on offense and defense. Like Buffalo, Cincinnati will have the harder test in the second round after seeing a divisional opponent two weeks in a row.

Prediction: Bengals win 30-17

2022 Regular Season AFC Playoff Predictions Record: 3-4


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