Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM
AFC Wild Card Notes
NFC Wild Card Notes
Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS)
Buffalo at Houston
Saturday, Jan. 4 (ESPN-ABC, 4:35 p.m. ET)
Bills Road Record: 6-2 SU, 6-0-2 ATS
Texans Home Record: 5-3 SU, 2-6 ATS
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened Houston -3 with a total of 39 ½. The overnight line has held steady while the total was pushed up to 41 ½.
Buffalo and Houston did not meet this season, as the Texans defeated the Bills, 20-13 at NRG Stadium in 2018, but failed to cash as 10-point favorites. Buffalo has dropped four of the past five meetings with Houston dating back to 2009, with three of those losses coming in the Lone Star State. These teams are hooking up in the playoffs for the first time as the last time Buffalo faced a Houston franchise in the postseason, it was the Oilers who blew a 35-3 advantage in a stunning 41-38 overtime defeat to the Bills in 1992. But the Oilers are now the Titans, so that doesn’t apply for this matchup.
Houston has claimed the AFC South title six times in the last nine seasons, as the Texans are 3-2 all-time in the Wild Card round. All five of those games have been played at home, but the Texans lost to the Colts last season in the opening round, 21-7. Houston has never reached an AFC Championship in its short history, but have scored 7 points total in its two losses in the Wild Card round in 2015 and 2018.
The Bills last won a playoff game in 1995 against the Dolphins in the Wild Card round, while their previous postseason appearance came in a 10-3 setback at Jacksonville in 2017. Buffalo captured four straight AFC titles from 1990-1993, but are 1-5 in the playoffs in the last 25 seasons.
The Bills were one of the top ‘under’ teams in the league this season by cashing the ‘under’ in 12 of 16 games. Buffalo yielded 17 points or fewer 10 times, including five times on the road. In all five opportunities as an away underdog, the Bills tallied 17 points or fewer, with its highest output in this role coming against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving in a 26-15 triumph.
The Texans were a streaky team in the totals department this season. After eclipsing the ‘over’ in the season opener at New Orleans, Houston hit three consecutive ‘unders,’ followed by three straight ‘overs’, then four ‘unders’ in a row. The ‘over’ went 4-4 at NRG Stadium, although they finished the season with three consecutive ‘overs’ at home. Houston topped the 30-point mark only twice this season and not since a Week 5 victory at Kansas City, 31-24.
Tennessee at New England
Saturday, Jan. 4 (CBS, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Titans Road Record: 5-3 SU, 5-3 ATS
Patriots Home Record: 6-2 SU, 3-4-1 ATS
The SuperBook sent out New England -5 ½ and that opener has held overnight but the total has gone from 41 ½ to 43 ½.
The two teams did not meet this season as the Titans rolled the Patriots in Nashville, 34-10 as 6 ½-point home underdogs in 2018. That loss snapped a seven-game winning streak by New England over Tennessee dating back to 2003. The Titans have never won in Foxborough since relocating to Tennessee in 1997, with each of the past three losses coming by double-digits.
The Titans are back in the postseason for the first time since 2017 when they rallied to stun the Chiefs in the Wild Card round, 22-21. Tennessee was knocked out by New England in the divisional playoffs, 35-14 at Gillette Stadium, but the Titans own a 3-1 record in the Wild Card round since moving to Nashville from Houston.
For the first time since 2009, the Patriots are playing the first weekend of the playoffs after owning the bye for nine straight years. New England has won its first playoff game in each of the last eight seasons, while representing the AFC in the Super Bowl in four of the last five seasons. The Patriots are 9-0 in their last nine home playoff contests with the last loss coming to the Ravens in the 2012 AFC Championship.
The Titans started the season on a 5-1 run to the ‘under’ with Marcus Mariota as its starting quarterback. However, since Ryan Tannehill has taken control of this offense, the ‘over’ has cashed in nine of 10 games, including all four games played away from Nissan Stadium. In seven of Tannehill’s 10 starts, the Titans have scored 27 points or more, while allowing 21 points or fewer in three straight road contests.
The Patriots hit the ‘under in eight of the first 11 games of the season, but the ‘over’ has come through in four of the final five contests. The ‘over’ went 4-4 in eight games at Gillette Stadium, while giving up 17 points or less in six home contests before yielding 27 points to the Dolphins in the season finale. The offense posted 30 points or more in each of their first three home wins, but failed to put up more than 27 points in any of their last five contests at Foxborough.