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Bets Dressed - Divisional Round - Uniform Matchups, Picks, and Player Props

Ding, ding. Round 2. The Divisional Round is upon us. Wild Card Weekend came through in the uniform department. But the games themselves left something to be desired. I have no such concerns this weekend with four gridiron gems. While none of these uniform matchups will be competing for best of the year, we still have some well dressed teams remaining - and a legitimate shot at an aesthetically elite Super Bowl.

A quick note on (playoff) methodology.

I’m still analyzing every NFL uniform matchup and picking a winner against the spread based on who dresses best.  And just because a team is ranked higher in the Uniform Wardrobe Power Rankings doesn’t mean it will automatically win the uniform matchup. It’s what you wear in the instant matchup that counts.

We're not shaming teams that made the playoffs.  So we're only crowning the best matchup of the weekend from here on out.  And still betting the over. 

Looking back at Wild Card Weekend.

If the first round of the playoffs is any indication of how our postseason is going to go, we’re in for a treat. 5-1 on the weekend. And now 143-127-8 on the season. Let’s keep pressing.

Divisional Round Uniform Matchups and Picks.

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Texans at Ravens has the makings of a dark and dreary uniform matchup. While the Ravens black pants would benefit from a stripe, I respect Baltimore running it back with the same outfit from their 2011 Divisional Round victory over the Texans. Unfortunately, Houston did the same and we’re left with navy pants* against the purple and black of the Ravens. Baltimore it is.

CJ Stroud, you have the world’s attention. What a playoff debut for the best rookie quarterback in recent memory. There’s nothing I would enjoy more than watching this Cinderella story continue all the way to Las Vegas, but I can’t shake the feeling that this is Baltimore’s year. MVP Lamar. That defense. And John Harbaugh pulling all the right strings. Like all other games this week, I want things to be close and exciting. But I’m expecting Lamar to take care of business and get the playoff monkey off his back.

*White pants from the Texans would have benefited the overall aesthetic. And I was pulling for Houston to shock the world with red pants. With the redesign coming this offseason, use it before you lose it.

The Pick: Ravens -9.5

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Packers at 49ers was right up there for best of the week. But the yellow-against-gold overload is too much to overcome. With that being said, this is a solid (and classic) matchup - thanks in large part to the 49ers and their glorious red jerseys.* And it should be no surprise that San Francisco runs away with this one.

Speaking of running away, if there was one game I’d choose to be a blowout this weekend, it’s this one. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the emergence of Jordan Love. And Matt LaFleur has established himself as one of the best coaches in the league (and not merely reliant on the excellence of Aaron Rodgers). But the 49ers have been the NFC buzzsaw all year long. This is the best team of the Kyle Shanahan era, and I cannot see him dropping one at home to his former protege.**

*Which are critical in offering sharp contrast to cut through the yellow-on-gold.

**LaFleur is a Shanahan Tree disciple and was a member of the infamously stacked coaching staff under Mike Shanahan in Washington. I’m sure it won’t be mentioned on the broadcast at all.

The Pick: 49ers -9.5

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Buccaneers at Lions had the potential to be a sneaky best of the week contender. But the Lions just can’t quit the Honolulu Blueberries. In their defense, I can’t blame them for refusing to mess with the mojo. Detroit is 6-0 on the season in the blue unitard - including last week’s playoff win over the Rams. While I respect the decision, that doesn’t mean I’m giving them the nod. That honor belongs to the Bucs.

It’s been a long time since these teams met back in Week 6 where the Lions cruised to a 20-6 win at Tampa Bay. And I’m not sure there’s much to read into from that earlier matchup. One thing’s for sure: both teams are coming into this one hot. The Bucs and Lions are each 4-1 in their last five (and 4-1 against the spread). While the Lions have a slight analytics edge, both Tampa Bay and Detroit are Top 13 in net EPA per pay with nearly identical Pythagorean win totals. Stated differently, I expect this one to be closer than the spread indicates. So consider me content to be riding with the Bucs and the points.

The Pick: Buccaneers +6.5

Best NFL Uniform Matchup of the Divisional Round.

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Chiefs-Bills finds itself in the Divisional Round top spot* - aesthetically and otherwise. While this showdown won’t be a best of the year contender, it is a well-balanced, complementary uniform matchup between two AFC juggernauts wearing their best. And I couldn’t be more excited to see it on the screen (and in Buffalo** for a change).

They meet again. Chiefs versus Bills has been a playoff mainstay in recent years. In the Allen-Mahomes era, the overall series is tied 3-3 (but both playoff matchups were claimed by Kansas City). Until Buffalo wins one when it counts, it’s hard to consider this a true rivalry.*** And for the Bills: if not now, then when. The Chiefs are lurking as the most dangerous team in the playoffs no one is talking about, which is especially surprising given they are the defending champs and quarterbacked by the best player on the planet. But Josh Allen and the Bills can render that under-the-radar narrative obsolete by finally slaying the dragon. For our purposes, it’s all about the over. And these teams aren’t shy about scoring points - averaging 54 total points in the Allen-Mahomes era and clearing the number in three of their last five meetings.

*This is an eye-of-the-beholder week. I wouldn’t hold it against anyone having Packers-Niners in the top spot. But the complementary contrast here takes the cake for me.

**These teams haven’t met in Buffalo since 2020.

***In a lot of ways, Bills-Chiefs and Allen-Mahomes reminds me of Colts-Pats and Manning-Brady. That was all New England until Manning flipped the script and ultimately got the better of Brady in the postseason - especially when you factor in the Denver years.

The Pick: Over 45.5

Club SDR - Divisional Round Prop Plays.

Our strong playoff start wasn’t limited to game picks. 3-0 on the week to return us to a 2:1 ratio overall. 38-19 on the year. Let’s push for a batting average above .700.

CJ Stroud - Over 243.5 Passing Yards

It’s hard to have a better playoff debut than CJ Stroud - 274 yards, three touchdowns, and a beatdown of one of the best defenses in the league. Out of the frying pan and into the fire going from the Browns defense at home to the Ravens defense on the road. While an outright victory may be too tall of an order, Stroud is going to need to throw and throw and throw some more to keep things interesting. He threw for 242 yards against Baltimore back in Week 1 in his first professional start. I think he exceeds that figure and clears the number here in his first road playoff start.

Lamar Jackson - Over 226.5 Passing Yards

This has been the year of Lamar. His second MVP award is all but in hand. And a Super Bowl victory victory would cement his legacy as an all-time great.* He didn’t have to do much in Week 1 against the Texans - throwing for only 169 yards en route to an easy 25-9 win. I think Houston gives them more of a game this time, and I expect Lamar to rise to the challenge. He’s averaging 265 passing yards in his last four games, and I like that trend to hold.

*NFL quarterbacks with multiple MVPs: Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Kurt Warner. All Hall of Famers or future Hall of Famers. And everyone on that list has at least one ring.

Jameson Williams - Over 32.5 Receiving Yards

Despite only having 19 yards against the Rams last week, Jamo was settling into his role over his last three starts of the regular season with receiving totals of 47, 43, and 69. And back in Week 6 against the Bucs, he had 53 yards (the second highest total of his season). Riding with Williams is always a dice roll, but I’m ready to shout Yahtzee when he comes through here.

The Gridiron Uniform Database.

The uniform graphics you see here are courtesy of The Gridiron Uniform Database. If you’ve never paid their site a visit, stop what you’re doing right now and check it out. Best site on the Internet and an invaluable resource to uniform nerds and casuals alike.

Coming Attractions.

We’re in the swing of this playoff thing now. We'll be back next week for Championship Sunday.

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