It’s the weekend preview of the NFL’s Divisional Round. Eight teams enter. Four come out.
Divisional Round-Up 101
Previews & Odds for Each of the 4 NFL Divisional Games
The Divisional Round is here, and the NFL Playoffs go from eight to four in a matter of days. The 1-seeds join the fun after their first-round byes, and we’ve got previews for each of the four matchups.
AFC: Bengals at Titans (Sat. 4:30 pm ET, CBS)
Tennessee expects to have star RB Derrick Henry back for Saturday afternoon, so expect a heavy dose of the run in Nashville. If the Titans can control the clock and keep it away from QB Joe Burrow and the ferocious Bengals offense, the 1-seed can get back to the AFC title game. If Cincy can jump in front early and force QB Ryan Tannehill to air it out in a comeback attempt, it could be another playoff miracle for the Bengals. Does Burrow have some more magic in him? Or can King Henry run wild into the next round?
Odds: TEN (-3.5) | O/U: 47.5
NFC: 49ers at Packers (Sat. 8:15 pm ET, FOX)
The 49ers were the only upset of the opening round, but now they get the test of facing Aaron Rodgers in a frigid Green Bay. San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo has never started a game below 40 degrees, and the weather calls for temps in the teens at kickoff. Rodgers has his sights set on a Super Bowl before jetting out of Wisconsin, and his first playoff test is a Niners defense that should make life uncomfortable. Will the 49ers play spoiler again? Or does Rodgers roll into the NFC Championship?
Odds: GB (-5.5) | O/U: 47
NFC: Rams at Buccaneers (Sun. 3:00 pm ET, NBC)
Sunday’s opener brings L.A. to Tampa Bay where the Rams and Bucs could see a high-scoring affair. Both defenses played stellar in Round 1, but Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady have offenses capable of scoring in bunches. The Buccaneers get RB Leonard Fournette back for Sunday, but the Rams are feeling good after Stafford’s first career playoff win. Will Stafford stall Brady in his quest for his eighth ring? Or does the 44-year-old Brady keep father time at bay?
Odds: TB (-3) | O/U: 48.5
AFC: Bills at Chiefs (Sun. 6:30 pm ET, CBS)
The highest-scoring teams of the first round square off at Arrowhead Stadium for the Divisional Round finale. Both Kansas City (42) and Buffalo (47) poured in the points last weekend. Quarterbacks Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes combined for 700-plus yards and 10 TDs. We’ll say the over is a safe bet, but this matchup features the closest spread. Does Allen get revenge on KC? Or do the Chiefs take another step towards a third straight Super Bowl appearance?
Odds: KC (-2) | O/U: 53.5
*All Links to Video Previews
The Ringer: The NFL Divisional-Round Entrance Survey
Hoosiers Snap the Streak
Indiana Ends 6-Year Losing Streak to Rival #4 Purdue (68-65)
Bedlam in Bloomington! The age-old in-state rivalry had been lopsided in recent years with Purdue winning nine straight games against Indiana dating back to 2016. The Hoosiers, with a new coach in Mike Woodson, welcomed the fourth-ranked Boilers for Thursday night’s marquee college hoops matchup. A back-and-forth affair came down to the wire before the Hoosiers got a pair of free throws from Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Purdue’s Jaden Ivey saw a game-tying 3-point attempt rim out at the buzzer. IU’s Rob Phinisee poured in a career-high 20 points off the bench, and the IU fans stormed the court at Assembly Hall. After six years, the Hoosiers own the state of Indiana once again.
NCAA Men’s Highlights
NCAA Women’s Highlights
MLBPA to Present Owners With Counter-Offer During Monday’s Meeting
Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association are set to meet again on Monday for the second time since the lockout on Dec. 2. The first meeting took place on Jan. 13 and ended with the MLBPA unenthusiastic about the offer. Monday’s in-person bargaining meeting may not conclude with a deal — it’s doubtful — but it’s a sign of progress as spring training nears. Here’s what was included in the MLB’s initial offer earlier this month:
MLB Owners Initial Offer
The MLBPA has repeatedly asked for more money to go towards younger players since the majority end up out of the league before hitting free agency to secure long-term deals.
Liverpool were 2-0 winners over Arsenal in Leg 2 of the Carabao Cup semifinal on Thursday thanks to a brace by Diogo Jota. Liverpool advanced, and they’ll face Chelsea in the final on Feb. 27.
Phoenix used a 4th-quarter explosion to take down Dallas on Thursday (109-101) and capture their fifth straight win. The Suns (35-9) have won eight of their last nine. They got 28 points from Devin Booker in the win and took a three-game lead over the Warriors in the West.
Colorado remains the hottest team on ice by extending their point streak to 11 games with a win over the Kings on Thursday (4-1). The Avalanche are 9-0-1 in their last ten games as they surged to the top of the Central standings. Their plus-46 goal differential is second only to the Panthers (+49).
The women’s draw in Melbourne saw more of a shakeup on Thursday when three more top players were upset. #12 Elena Rybakina, #15 Elina Svitolina and #17 Emma Raducanu were all ousted. Click the link to see all the latest news and highlights from the Australian Open.
On Saturday, Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane — former training partners under coach Fernand Lopez — will fight in the heavyweight main event of UFC 270 in Anaheim, California. (ESPN)
With half the regular season in the books, it’s once again time to hand out some imaginary hardware, from the best team and best player to the biggest surprise. (The Ringer)
Clayton Kershaw, Ichiro, Carlos Beltran? When will be the next time fans celebrate one of their own in Cooperstown? The 2022 BBWAA Hall of Fame vote is coming this Tuesday. (CBS Sports)
The Must-Watch List
The NFL Playoffs go from 8 to 4 in this weekend’s Divisional Round. We’ve got our eyes on the postseason, but there’s plenty more for sports fans to track. Here’s what we’re watching this weekend.
NFL Playoffs (Divisional Round)
AFC: Bengals at Titans (Sat. 4:30 pm)
NFC: 49ers at Packers (Sat. 8:15 pm)
NFC: Rams at Buccaneers (Sun. 3:00 pm)
AFC: Bills at Chiefs (Sun. 6:30 pm)
Australian Open (All Weekend)
Bulls at Bucks (Fri. 8:00 pm)
Lakers at Heat (Sun. 6:00 pm)
Jazz at Warriors (Sun. 8:30 pm)
Rangers at Hurricanes (Fri. 7:00 pm)
Flames at Oilers (Sat. 10:00 pm)
EPL: Chelsea vs. Tottenham (Sun. 11:30 am)
ITA: AC Milan vs. Juventus (Sun. 2:45 pm)
Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane (Sat. 10:00 pm)
NCAA Men’s Basketball
#14 Michigan State at #8 Wisconsin (Fri. 9:00 pm)
#12 Kentucky at #2 Auburn (Sat. 1:00 pm)
#13 LSU at #24 Tennessee (Sat. 6:00 pm)
NCAA Women’s Basketball
#2 Tennessee at #13 Georgia (Sun. 2:00 pm)
#7 Iowa State at #15 Baylor (Sun. 3:00 pm)
*All Times Eastern