Can Underdogs Sweep the Board in NFL Divisional Round?

The Rams are set as 2.5-point underdogs to the Bucs on Sunday afternoon.
The Rams are set as 2.5-point underdogs to the Bucs on Sunday afternoon. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Who's ready for the Divisional Round of the NFL?

I know I am.

Favorites dominated the Wild Card round, going 5-1 both straight up and against the spread, with the 49ers being the only underdog to win their game. Will we see the same result in the Divisional Round, or will the 'dogs start barking?

I've made my claim that I think this is going to be the weekend of the underdogs. Not only am I betting on all four underdogs, but I'm taking all four to win outright. If you're feeling risky, you can try to parlay all four together for a big pay day.

While all four underdogs winning would be highly unlikely, I think there's a real chance that it happens. I'm going to break down the keys to victory for each of the four 'dogs this weekend. All odds listed are via WynnBET Sportsbook.

How the Bengals (+152) Can Upset the Titans

It's no secret what the Bengals need to do to beat the Titans. They need to stop the Titans rush attack. 41.29% of the Titans offensive yards gained comes on the ground, which is the fourth highest mark in the NFL. If the Bengals can stop their running game, they can beat the Titans.

It will be a tall order for the Titans to keep up with the Bengals offense, which ranks seventh in the NFL in yards per play, if they aren't able to generate any attack with their main weapon.

How the 49ers (+210) Can Upset the Packers

In a similar but opposite vein as the Bengals, the 49ers need to establish their running game and attack the Packers on the ground for 60 minutes if they want to return to the NFC Championship. The Packers rank 31st in opponent yards per carry, giving up an average of 4.7 yards per rush this season. They've been even worse as of late, allowing 5.6 yards per carry over their last three games.

Running the ball will move the ball and more importantly, keep Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' potent offense off the field. If you want an in-depth breakdown of why I think the 49ers will win this game, check out my article here.

How the Rams (+125) Can Upset the Bucs

The Rams need to generate pressure, specifically up the middle, against Tom Brady. Pressure up the middle has been Tom Brady's kryptonite his entire career. Los Angeles will receive a little bit of help in this category, as Ryan Jensen, the Bucs starting center, is questionable for the game due to an injury. Even if he doesn't play, he won't be at 100%.

Having a weak interior offensive line is going to spell disaster against Aaron Donald and the Rams defense.

How the Bills (+110) Can Upset the Chiefs

The strength of the Chiefs offense isn't on one player, coach, or scheme. The biggest strength of their offensive, in my opinion, is their ability to convert on third downs. They're first in the NFL this season in third down conversion rate, turning 53% of third downs into first downs. That's the best mark in the NFL by 5.4%, which is a significant margin.

If the Bills want to beat the Chiefs, they need to get Patrick Mahomes and company off the field by stopping them on third down. Luckily for them, the Bills have the number one ranked third down defense. It's going to be an interesting battle on Sunday.