After a long and exciting NFL regular season, the playoffs are finally upon us! There are four big games to be played over Sunday and Monday (AEDT) this week, all of them straight elimination matches.
We have a full preview for all four games below!
Interesting matchup to get the playoff proceedings underway on Sunday morning as the Houston Texans host the Buffalo Bills at NRG Stadium. The Texans ended the season with a bit of a flurry, winning four of their last six games including impressive victories over the Patriots and Titans. They will start as 2.5 point favourites at home on Sunday.
The Bills weren’t as impressive to finish the season, losing three of their last four games including a horror loss to the New York Jets in Week 17. Buffalo are one of the best teams in the league against the spread on the road, maintaining a 6-1-1 record in that category throughout the regular season, bettered only by the New Orleans Saints.
What a tough game to call between two sides which have gotten the job done in contrasting ways this season. The Texans have a dynamic offence that loves to move the ball quickly while the Bills have had one of the best defences in the league this season. The Texans have been in better form to finish the season and in a game as close as this one, we like to go with the better quarterback, which the Texans most certainly have in DeShaun Watson.
The Patriots have had a horror finish to the season. After starting the year with an 11-1 record, the Patriots failed to secure the first round bye after losing three of their last five games. They lost hard fought games to the Texans and Chiefs in back to back weeks before a shocking loss to the Dolphins in Week 17 saw them surrender the No.2 seed in the AFC.
The Titans have been one of the more surprising teams of the year so far, finishing the regular season with a 9-7 record including winning seven of their last 10 games. They captured a fantastic win over the Texans in Week 17 which secured their spot in the playoffs, and have had one of the best offences in the league over the past seven weeks, averaging 33.4 points per game.
The Patriots have no doubt looked shaky over the past few weeks but the playoffs has been where star quarterback Tom Brady has stood up in the past, and we predict him to do the same here, especially at home. Brady is 20-3 at home in the playoffs over his career, we think he bounces back to cover the 5.5 point line here.
The Saints-Vikings rivalry has become one of the best in the league over the past five years. The two teams have played off in some thrilling playoff matches and will meet again at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday morning. The Saints finished the season with a 13-3 record to secure the No.3 seed in the NFC, winning sic of their last seven games and covering the spread in their last three in a row.
The Vikings lost their last two games of the season in tough NFC North divisional games to squander their chance at securing a first round bye. They have gotten the job done on both offence and defence at times throughout the season, but have lacked a true identity unlike some of the other top teams in the league.
The Saints start as 7.5 point favourites here, which we think is a little too high given the absolute thrillers these two teams have played in the past. The Vikings have lost just one game in their last 12 by over 7 points and we expect them to keep that streak alive here.
The final game of the week sees the Seattle Seahawks travelling to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles on Monday morning. The Seahawks were unlucky to finish with a 11-5 record, two wins better than the Eagles, and still have to travel to Philadelphia here, however, they have one of the better records against the spread on the road this season at 5-2-1 while the Eagles are just 3-5 against the spread at home.
The Eagles were the lucky winners of the NFC East division, earning a spot in the playoffs with a 9-7 record on the season. They had a strong finish to the regular season, winning their last four games in a row and have seemingly hit form at the right time of year. They have put up 27.7 points per game over those four and allowed just 17.5.
Love the look of the Seahawks here. The Eagles have gotten some buzz from their four game winning streak but at the end of the day, all four of those wins came against the woeful NFC East division. The Seahawks have been fantastic on the road this year and we think they cover here.
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