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Bengals-Titans, 49ers-Packers start weekend's NFL divisional round

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Bengals-Titans, 49ers-Packers start weekend's NFL divisional round
Quarterback Joe Burrow (9) and the Cincinnati Bengals face the Tennessee Titans at 4:30 p.m. EST Saturday in Nashville. File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- The Tennessee Titans host the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday in the first divisional round of the 2022 NFL playoffs. Six more teams will take the field this weekend to determine who plays in the respective AFC and NFC title games.

Four teams will emerge to vie for spots in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13 in Inglewood, Calif.

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"This is the expectation," Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow told reporters Tuesday. "We had a solid year and could have won more games than we did. Now we're in the playoffs and anything can happen."

The Titans host the Bengals at 4:30 p.m. EST Saturday at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The game airs on CBS.

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The Titans, the No. 1 seed in the AFC, are 3.5-point favorites. The No. 4 Bengals come off an emotional high after ending the franchise's 31-year streak without a playoff win with a divisional-round victory over the Las Vegas Raiders last weekend in Cincinnati.

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Saturday's forecast for Nashville predicts temperatures in the 30s and light winds. No rain is expected. Ticket prices ranged from $182 to more than $5,000 on the secondary market as of Wednesday afternoon.

The Titans (12-5) have one of the best rushing offenses and best rushing defenses in the NFL. They rank in the bottom half of the league in pass offense and pass defense. They rank sixth in points allowed and 15th in points for.

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The Bengals (10-7) have the No. 7 pass offense and No. 26 pass defense. They rank 23rd in rushing and fifth in rushing yards allowed. The Bengals scored the seventh-most points in the NFL and rank 17th in points allowed.

"We've got some guys who have played in playoff games and won playoff games," Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters Tuesday. "What it really comes down to is executing and being able to maintain focus throughout the game."

Aaron Rodgers' top-seeded Green Bay Packers (13-4) host the No. 6 San Francisco 49ers (10-7) in an NFC divisional round game at 8:15 p.m. Saturday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. That game airs on Fox.

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The Packers, 6-point favorites to advance to the NFC Championship game, enter with an extra week to prepare, thanks to their first-round bye. The 49ers upset the No. 3 Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round.

"This is a special opportunity," Rodgers told reporters Tuesday. "We're not gonna make it bigger than it is.

"We've gotten this far being level-headed and even-keeled and not riding a roller coaster of emotions, and we're gonna keep on doing the same thing. If it was good enough to get us this far, it's good enough to get us past this point."

The Packers beat the 49ers 30-28 on Sept. 26 in Santa Clara, Calif.

Saturday's forecast for Green Bay predicts a 40% chance of snow and temperatures from 2 to 23 degrees F. Ticket prices ranged from $132 to nearly $9,000 on the secondary market as of Wednesday afternoon.

Rodgers, the 2020 NFL MVP and the 2021 frontrunner for the same honor, led the NFL with a 111.9 quarterback rating this season. He also completed 68.9% of this throws and threw 37 touchdown passes against a league-low seven interceptions.

The Packers totaled the league's fewest turnovers on offense and forced the eighth-most takeaways. They ranked 10th in points scored and 13th in points allowed. The Packers pass offense ranked eighth and their pass defense ranked 10th. They ranked 18th in rushing offense and 11th in rushing defense.

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The 49ers were known for their ground game, with the seventh-best rush offense and defense, respectively. They also had the 12th-best pass offense and sixth-best pass defense. The 49ers ranked 13th in points for and ninth in points allowed.

"Our guys are real confident," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Tuesday. "I think they've been that way for a while. It took us a while to earn that the way this year started out.

"We went into the year confident, had some rough patches, but we've believed in our team for a while and we've always felt we could play with anyone.

"And we've been doing that at some times, especially this last month or so, but we feel real good about ourselves and we're up for this challenge this week."

Sunday's slate starts when Tom Brady's reigning-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) host the Los Angeles Rams (12-5) at 3 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

The second-seeded Buccaneers beat the No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC divisional round. The No. 4 Rams dominated the No. 5 Arizona Cardinals 34-11 in their first-round game.

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The Buccaneers are 3-point favorites Sunday in Tampa, where temperatures are expected to range from 45 to 64 degrees. No rain is expected. Ticket prices ranged from $144 to more than $3,000 on the secondary market as of Wednesday afternoon.

Brady, another MVP favorite, led the NFL with 5,316 passing yards and 43 touchdowns this season. The Rams beat the Buccaneers 43-23 on Sept. 26 in Inglewood, Calif.

"He has so much experience, so smart, so twitchy in his upper half, he can speed it up and recognizes exactly what is going on," Rams coach Sean McVay said of Brady on Tuesday.

"The best way is to try to influence and affect. ... Easier said than done. It's why he is the most successful quarterback of all time."

The Buccaneers scored the second-most points and allowed the fifth-fewest points this season. They had the No. 1 pass offense and No. 21 pass defense. The Buccaneers had the 26th run defense and third-best run defense.

The Rams scored the seventh-most points and ranked 15th in points allowed. They totaled the fifth-most passing yards and ranked 22nd in passing yards allowed. The Rams ranked 25th in rushing offense and sixth in rushing defense.

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The No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs host the No. 3 Buffalo Bills (11-6) in the final game of the divisional round. That AFC matchup kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The game airs on CBS.

The Chiefs beat the No. 7 Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 last week and the Bills beat the No. 6 New England Patriots 47-17 in the wild-card round.

The Chiefs are 2-point favorites Sunday in Kansas City. The temperature is expected to range from 25 to 43 degrees at Arrowhead Stadium, but no rain or snow is forecast. Ticket prices ranged from $105 to nearly $6,000 on the secondary market as of Wednesday afternoon.

The Chiefs ranked fourth in points scored and eighth in points allowed. They had the No. 4 pass offense and No. 16 rushing offense. The Chiefs' defense ranked 27th against the pass and 21st against the run.

The Bills ranked third in points scored and allowed the fewest points in the NFL. They had the No. 9 pass offense and No. 6 rushing offense. The Bills defense ranked first against the pass and 13th against the run.

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The Bills beat the Chiefs 38-20 on Oct. 10 in Kansas City.

The Chiefs or Bills will face the Bengals or Titans in the AFC Championship game at 3:05 p.m. EST Jan. 30. The Buccaneers or Rams will face the Packers or 49ers in the NFC Championship game at 6:40 p.m. Jan. 30.

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