After the matchups of the #1 and #6 seeds on Saturday, Sunday sees the chance for the #2 seeds to take the field for the first time in these playoffs. The Chiefs will be hoping to make the most of their gift of a first-round bye from the Dolphins, while the Packers will be looking to demonstrate their struggles this season have been fixed by the bye week. As for the Texans and Seahawks, they are just fighting to stay alive one more week, with one or both having the potential of knowing a victory could mean a conference Championship game in their own stadium and a very good chance of heading to the Super Bowl.
Here are this week’s NFL Picks:
Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs | 3:05 pm EST
1u – Kansas City -9.5 @ -110
- Per Statschecker, the Kansas City Chiefs are 11-5 ATS this season
- The Chiefs ranked second in the league in overall DVOA in 2019, while the Texans ranked 19th
My instinct here was to never count out the Texans and Deshaun Watson, but that is likely the effects of that magnificent game winning play last Saturday. Realistically all signs point towards the Chiefs winning this by 10-13 points. They are 11-5 ATS, compared to the Texans 8-8-1. They rank 17th places ahead of the Texans in DVOA, with the edge on both offense and defense. Then there is Andy Reid’s record when coming off a bye. He is 18-3 in the regular season off the bye week, and 5-0 in the playoffs. This season they hammered the Oakland Raiders 40-9 coming off their bye, and the Raiders pushed the Texans close in a game this year.
Do not get suckered in by the Houston victory in Kansas City in the game earlier this year. The Texans controlled the ball for nearly 40 minutes to the Chiefs 20, and Patrick Mahomes was banged up in that game. Coming off the bye the Chiefs are the healthier team, and a 10-point win should be more than achievable.
Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers | 6:40 pm EST
1u – Seattle Seahawks +4 @ -105
- Per Statschecker, the Seattle Seahawks are 6-2-1 ATS on the road this season
- The Seahawks have the slight edge in overall DVOA
A game between Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson to end any playoff round is just perfect in my book. This rivalry in the NFC has been a lot of fun for quite a while now, and this year looks set to be another cracker. The Seahawks have a slight edge in overall and offensive DVOA, with the Packers having a marginal edge in defensive DVOA. The big differentiator might be the trenches. The Packers ranked higher in pass rush win rate this season and led the league in pass block win rate. However, the wonderful abilities of Russell Wilson negate the impact of this somewhat. This game should come right down to the wire and be won by a field goal either way. Give me the points.
1u – Green Bay Packers Under 25.5 Points @ -112
- Per Statschecker, the under is 5-3 in Packers home games
- The Green Bay Packers have scored over 24 points just once since Week 8.
The numbers really speak for themselves. This offense has been completely blunt in the second half of the season. Part of the problem is they have a frustrating tendency to only play for a half and then go AWOL in the other half. I also expect this game to be controlled on the ground with both teams running the ball hard. I just cannot see the Packers getting to 26 here. Three touchdowns and two field goals or four touchdowns just feels beyond them on a cold evening in Lambeau.
By Ben Rolfe