After a woeful Wildcard Weekend that bordered on the unwatchable at times, last week's divisional round action turned out to be compelling viewing.

The Kansas City Chiefs' win over the Buffalo Bills proved a fitting finale – with one notable exception – on what may have been the most enthralling weekend in the history of the NFL. Three games were decided by walk-off field goals and the Chiefs prevailed in overtime in an all-time classic of wild momentum swings as regulation time drew to a close.

All four encounters could have had different results, but the one unsatisfactory outcome was the manner in which the Chiefs achieved their victory.

We know that securing first possession confers an advantage to the team that wins the overtime coin toss, a fact backed up by a sizeable data set. That advantage was always likely to be magnified in a game where offence reined and defence was negated by the brilliance of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.

Over a long enough time span, it's often assumed that luck evens out, only that's not true. And they say in the long run, we're all dead, but for NFL players, a more pressing concern is that in the short to medium term, they're all retired. The average NFL career is just 3.3 years long.

If luck really is where preparation meets opportunity, the Bills' defeat has to be laid mainly at the door of head coach Sean McDermott. Mahomes boasts talents that seem in the realms of the ethereal and divine at times. A squib kick or cynical fouling after that late Bills touchdown significantly reduces the 13 seconds the Chiefs had to respond. At times, NFL seems little more than violent chess, with a huge playbook of strategies, but McDermott was badly shown up as more patzer than grandmaster.

Kansas City Chiefs v Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, 8pm
Handicap: Chiefs -7.5

The AFC decider promises to be the highest scoring of Sunday's two conference showdowns, with two explosive offences on show.

Mahomes, Tyreek Hills and Travis Kelce had few problems dismantling the Bills pass defence through the air a week ago, and while the Bengals did subdue Mahomes' most potent downfield threats in their 34-31 regular season win, it's unlikely that the Cincinnati Bengals defence will overperform and the Chiefs offence underperform to the same extent at Arrowhead.

This is the third season that Mahomes and the Chiefs are unbeaten in the play-offs, but Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow boasts an impressive 6-0 play-off record of his own, although four of those wins came in the college game.

If the Chiefs played an almost perfect game on offence against the Bills, the same can't be said for the Bengals in their win over the Tennessee Titans. Burrow took an alarming nine sacks in that 19-16 win, but Ryan Tannehill's three interceptions proved more significant in deciding the result. However, the Chiefs pass rush is vastly inferior to that of the Titans, and Burrow can expect to have a more productive day than a week ago.

Bengals fans will cling to their earlier win over the Chiefs, but their two best players enjoyed career days and the winning margin was still just three points. Burrow completed 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards for four touchdowns and no interceptions, with Ja'Marr Chase's 266 receiving yards a single game record for a NFL rookie.

A repeat win over the Super Bowl favourites will require Burrow and Chase to eclipse Mahomes and Hill/Kelce once again and the fortunes of the Chiefs defence have fluctuated wildly over the course of the season. The Bengals have hope, albeit faint hope.

LA Rams v San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, 11.30pm
Handicap: Rams -3.5

The Green Bay Packers beat themselves a week ago as the San Francisco 49ers edged out a side with a much-vaunted offence led by a MVP favourite who put just 10 points on the board. Not to be outdone by their stagnant attack, the Packers special teams unit delivered an inept performance in keeping with what we saw during the regular season.

The LA Rams also came close to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory with a nervy display down the home stretch against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers side that never really fired, with Tom Brady posting a lowly passer rating of just 72.2.

The 49ers rush-orientated brand of football was ideally suited to the weather they experienced in Green Bay, an advantage they won't have at SoFi Stadium, and the Rams possess the better pass offence and pass defence.

What inspires confidence that the 49ers can pull the upset is the sides' head-to-head record. Kyle Shanahan's side have won their last six matches against the Rams. This dominant head-to-head record could be the result of variance, but the careers of Shanahan and opposite number Sean McVay closely overlap and they were colleagues early in their careers.

It does feel as if Shanahan has McVay's number. In McVay's defence, he was saddled with the limited Jared Goff in four of those six losses, but upgrading to Matthew Stafford still couldn't get the Rams a win in two games earlier this season.