On Sunday, the NFL betting season completed its 256-game regular season without losing a single game due to COVID-19. Now the month-long playoffs begin, with 14 teams in the postseason for the first time ever and just 13 games to go before we crown a new Super Bowl champion.
American Football Conference
No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs – Bye
No. 7 Indianapolis Colts at No. 2 Buffalo Bills (Saturday) Odds by BetUs
|Colts||+6½ (-110)||51 (-110)||+245|
|Bills||-6½ (-110)||51 (-110)||-300|
No team is playing better football than the Bills. They clinched the second seed with a 56-26 demolition of the Dolphins – knocking Miami out of the playoffs and sending a message to the rest of the AFC that if you want to beat Buffalo, you better have your A-game.
The last team in, the Indianapolis Colts, as 7-point road dogs, will have the first shot at the Bills.
No. 6 Cleveland Browns at No. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday) Odds by BetUs
|Browns||+6 (-115)||47½ (-110)||+211|
|Steelers||-6 (-105)||47½ (-110)||-255|
These two teams just met in Week 17, with the Browns getting the needed win to end their 18-year playoff drought. Of course, Pittsburgh rested many of its starters in Week 17, and those players will be back.
But it’s worth remembering that even with Ben Roethlisberger under center, the Steelers offense has had a really bad last month.
If you want to bet online on this game, the Steelers are favored by 3.5 points.
No. 5 Baltimore Ravens at No. 4 Tennessee Titans (Sunday) Odds by BetUs
|Ravens||-3 (-122)||54½ (-110)||-180|
|Titans||+3 (+102)||54½ (-110)||+155|
The best running team in the NFL vs. the best running back in the NFL. The Ravens clinched their playoff spot with 404 yards rushing against the Bengals. They are 3.5-point favorites over Tennessee.
The Titans clinched the AFC South on the back of Derrick Henry, who ran for 250 yards against Houston, taking him over 2,000 yards for the season.
The back-to-back rushing champ is just the eighth player in NFL history with more than 2,000 yards rushing in a season.
National Football Conference
No. 1 Green Bay Packers – Bye
No. 7 Chicago Bears at No. 2 New Orleans Saints (Sunday) Odds by BetUs
|Bears||+10 (-117)||47½ (-105)||+384|
|Saints||-10 (-103)||47½ (-115)||-500|
The Bears are 8-8 and backed into the playoffs because Arizona lost. They ranked 25th in the NFL in offense this season.
Does that make them the sacrificial cubs for the second-seeded Saints? Any online sportsbook will say yes, installing New Orleans as 9.5-point favorites – the largest spread of any game in the Wild Card round.
No. 6 Los Angeles Rams at No. 3 Seattle Seahawks (Saturday) Odds by BetUs
|Rams||+3½ (-110)||42½ (-105)||+163|
|Seahawks||-3½ (-110)||42½ (-115)||-190|
The Rams played their way into the postseason even without quarterback Jared Goff, and his status for Saturday in Seattle remains uncertain.
What is certain is that when division rivals meet in the playoffs, anything can happen, especially when those two teams split their regular-season series. The Rams and Seahawks also split their two matchups in 2019.
The Seahawks are 4.5-point favorites.
No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 4 Washington (Saturday) Odds by BetUs
|Buccaneers||-8½ (-101)||45 (-105)||-400|
|Washington||+8½ (-119)||45 (-115)||+317|
Tom Brady finished his 43rd year of life by throwing 40 touchdowns. Not too shabby for a former “washed-up” quarterback with six Super Bowl rings.
Does Brady have enough magic left to carry the Bucs on a deep postseason run and possibly play the Super Bowl at their home stadium? Step one is to get past Alex Smith and the NFC East champion Washington Football Team. As 8-point road favorites, that’s exactly what the Bucs have in mind.