Saturday in the wild card round is all about the AFC. The opportunity to put the Patriots on prime time in their first game in this round for 10 years was too hard to pass up. Equally the early Saturday slot has belonged to an AFC South team in 8 of the last 10 years, so it was a given that they the Texans would be hosting that game. Let’s take a look at what should be a very interesting Saturday in the NFL.
Here are this week’s NFL Picks:
Bet of the Week:
Buffalo Bills @ Houston Texans | 4:35 pm EST
1u – Buffalo Bills +2.5 @ -110
- Per statschecker, the Houston Texans are 2-6 ATS at home this season
- Per statschecker, the Buffalo Bills are 6-0-2 ATS on the road and 5-2-2 ATS as underdogs
This game is going to be fascinating, because the Bills defense is extremely good, but their offense struggles. This is a game where strength meets strength and weakness meets weakness. The Texans have really struggled with their pass rush this season, ranking outside the top-20 in the NFL in pass rush win rate. However, quite surprisingly, their pass block win rate is extremely high, which they will need against a very good Bills defense.
The concern for me here is the form the Texans have demonstrated this season at home. Their only two covers have come against a reeling Atlanta Falcons team, and as underdogs against the New England Patriots. Meanwhile the Bills have been extremely strong on the road and have managed to overcome the inconsistencies of their offense. In this game the key matchup will be the Bills run game against a Texans run defense which has struggled. The Bills should be able to control this game on the ground and put up enough points to at least stay close in this one.
1u – Under 43.5 Total Points @ -115
- Per statschecker, the under is 12-4 in Buffalo Bills game
- None of the last six Bills games have seen over 42 points scored
This game screams under to me. The Bills pass defense is superb and the Texans always look blunt when Will Fuller is either out or limited. The Bills are going to be desperate to control the ball with the run game. The Texans have been involved in high scoring games recently, but the Bills are immune to high scoring games. I also believe at least one of these offenses simply does not show up in this game, which means the under is looking even better.
Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots | 4:30 pm EST
1u – Tennessee Titans +5 @ -110
- Per statschecker, the New England Patriots are 3-4-1 ATS at home
- Per statschecker, the Tennessee Titans are 5-3 ATS on the road
One of the hottest teams in football against a team that just got embarrassed by the Dolphins in Week 17. On one hand, the Patriots surely have to be hurt, and we should see a reaction. However, the Titans offense has been so strong down the stretch that I believe they will push this stuttering Patriots offense to the wire. Throw in that just recently the ex-Patriot coaches have started to have the number of this offense and the points with the Titans feels an even better bet.
1u – Tennessee Titans Over 19.5 Points @ -120
- The Tennessee Titans have scored 20 or more points in all of Ryan Tannehill’s starts this season
- The New England Patriots have allowed over 20 points in four of their last five games
The Patriots defense looks really worn down and the Titans offense is rolling right now. Even without Derrick Henry in Week 16 they took it to the New Orleans Saints and demonstrated their potential. There is so much power in this offense, but there is also the opportunity for explosive plays with both AJ Brown and Jonnu Smith having plenty of potential. This line feels about a field goal too short, especially with the Patriots allowing 27 points against the Dolphins last week.
By Ben Rolfe