AFC Playoff Preview - Wild Card Games

AFC Playoff Preview - Wild Card Games

In our previous article, we did a quick preview of each NFC Wild Card game.  Obviously, we cannot leave out the mighty AFC so let’s get to it.Can any of the AFC Wild Card teams playing this weekend challenge electric QB Patrick Mahomes and the reigning World Champion Kansas City Chiefs?  We will preview each of the AFC Wild Card games below, but before we do let’s look at the current odds to win the AFC title.


Current Odds to Win the AFC:

  • Kansas City Chiefs -105
  • Buffalo Bills +300
  • Baltimore Ravens +650
  • Pittsburgh Steelers +1800
  • Tennessee Titans +2000
  • Indianapolis Colts +2500
  • Cleveland Browns +2500


Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills:  1/9 @ 1:05PM EST

Current Odds:  Buffalo -6.5; O/U: 50.5

Philip Rivers desperately needs to win this playoff game to support his 87 children (I kid I kid).  All jokes aside, it’s put up or shut up time for Rivers and the Colts.  The 39-year-old gunslinger has allegedly been mulling over the idea of retirement. He has already been named Head Coach of St. Michael High School in Alabama whenever he decides to step away from playing quarterback in the NFL.

Can the Colts find a way to upset a red-hot Bills team?  By the numbers Indy has a slightly better defense than Buffalo.  The Indy D has given up 22.6 points per game while Buffalo is surrendering 23.4 points per game.  The Colts have also given up around 20 yards less per game than the Bills.  Indy will need a stellar defensive performance to pull off the outright upset.

Bills QB Josh Allen has quietly come into his own this season.  The former Wyoming Cowboy has thrown 37 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions.  This Bills offense is better than the Colts offense in almost every offensive statistical category.  The only negative for Buffalo is that expectations for this team are near an all-time high.  Will the pressure be too much for the Bills or will they make quick work of Rivers and the Colts in this matchup?


Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans:  1/10 @ 1:05 EST

Current Odds: Baltimore -3.5; O/U: 55

Holy Offense Batman!  This over/under of 55 points is the highest point total of the entire weekend!  The Titans needed a miracle (and a doinked field goal that actually went through the uprights) to defeat the Houston Texans and capture the AFC South crown.  The Ravens are probably slightly more talented than the Titans but have dealt with Covid issues most of the season.

How good is Lamar Jackson?  So good that throwing 26 touchdowns in 2020 feels like a “off year” (LOL).  Jackson’s 26 touchdowns were indeed 10 less than his 2019 total.  However, Lamar is still an insanely talented QB who can beat opponents with his arm or his legs.  Baltimore also has the far superior defense in this matchup and that could factor into the outcome.  The Ravens D is only allowing 5.2 yards per play while the Titans allow 5.9 yards per play.

All Titans fans breathed a huge sigh of relief when Kicker Sam Sloman’s field goal hit off the goalpost but still managed to make it through the uprights!  Tennessee gets rewarded with this home playoff game and “Nashvegas” will be rocking!  The Titans have put up superb offensive numbers all season long thanks to the trio of Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, and AJ Brown.  However, Tennessee has struggled on D the entire year and will need to outscore Baltimore to pull the slight upset.


Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers:  1/10 @ 8:15 EST

Current Odds:  Pittsburgh -6.5; O/U: 47

WOW!  Where do we even start with the story lines on this game?  It is interesting that these 2 rivals played each other just last weekend in a game that Cleveland narrowly won.  However, Big Ben and all the Steelers starters will be back for this game so the task will get more difficult for the Browns.  Can Cleveland overcome their Covid issues and upset their nemesis?

Cleveland will be without Head Coach Kevin Stefanski and a handful of players due to Covid-19 or contact tracing.  The Browns only had 7 players play all 16 regular season games this year, so they are used to playing with less than a full deck.  Former Oklahoma star Baker Mayfield has had a fine season by throwing 26 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions.  Mayfield gets a great deal of help from his running game.  RB Nick Chubb and the Browns O-line have been dominant this season by averaging a robust 4.8 yards per run.  Cleveland must run the ball and win the time of possession battle to keep Big Ben and the Steelers offense on the sidelines.

Pittsburgh started out the season white-hot by winning its first 11 games.  However, the Steelers stumbled down the back stretch of the season winning only 1 out of the last 5 games.  Can Big Ben get hot again and lead the Steelers to another Super Bowl appearance?  First, they must get by Cleveland.  What is interesting about this point spread is that the Steelers opened as only a 3.5-point favorite.  However, oddsmakers now list Pittsburgh as a 6-point favorite due to the Covid problems that the Browns announced.  Is such a big line-move warranted?



Browns/Steelers UNDER 47 


Article Contributed By: Mike Noblin
Twitter: @MikeNoblin
Youtube: Mikey Nobs

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