The NFL playoff picture didn’t come into focus until the final seconds of the season. Now, it’s time to turn our attention to the NFL playoff odds for AFC home teams.
There are three intriguing matchups in the AFC this weekend. Let’s look at the best bets for AFC home teams this weekend.
Raiders at Bengals (-5.5)
- Date: Saturday, Jan. 15
- Time: 4:30 P.M. EST on NBC
- Venue: Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH
The Las Vegas Raiders have had an incredible run, winning their last four to make the NFL playoffs. Now, they travel to play the Cincinnati Bengals and will face a dynamic offense with playmakers at every position.
Cincinnati has the seventh-ranked scoring offense (27.1 points allowed per game). Ja’Marr Chase is one of the best receivers in the league, tallying 81 receptions for 1455 yards (18 yards per catch) and 13 TDs.
But against the Raiders’ 19th-ranked rush defense, Joe Mixon might be the difference in this game. The Bengals are 6-1 when rushing for more than 100 yards. Mixon has 1,205 yards rushing with 13 TDs on the season.
If the Bengals can run the ball and control the clock, there’s less time for Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense to score. The Bengals ran 38 times for 159 yards in Week 11 to beat the Raiders in Las Vegas, 32-13.
I see a repeat with the Bengals using the same strategy in this game. That’s why I’m taking the Bengals at home.
Patriots at Bills (-4.5)
- Date: Saturday, Jan. 15
- Time: 8:15 P.M. EST on CBS
- Venue: Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, NY
The Buffalo Bills have dominated teams offensively during their four-game winning streak, averaging 30 points per game. The Bills also lead the NFL in three main defensive categories: points allowed per game, yards allowed per game, and yards per play allowed.
The New England Patriots have the sixth-ranked offense (27.2 points per game), but the Patriots are 1-3 in their last four games. In the three losses, New England allowed an average of 31 points.
These teams have played twice this season already. The Patriots won the first matchup 14-10, but the Bills answered by beating the Patriots 33-21 in Week 16.
The Bills have only allowed 15 points on average in their past four games. The last time these teams played, Buffalo dominated the time of possession by over ten minutes. Considering the Patriots’ recent struggles against the run (allowing 129.7 rushing yards in their last three games, including 195 yards against the Dolphins), I expect the Bills to run the ball and control the pace of the game.
I like the Bills to win by more than a touchdown and cover the spread.
Steelers at Chiefs (-12.5)
- Date: Sunday, Jan. 16
- Time: 8:15 P.M. EST on NBC
- Venue: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
The past five weeks have shown why the Kansas City Chiefs have become favorites to reach the Super Bowl. They averaged 35.4 points per game in those games, posting a 4-1 record. That scoring average is almost twice the 19.8 points per game of the Pittsburgh Steelers throughout the same stretch.
In week 16, when these teams met in Kansas City, the Chiefs took a 30-point lead before the Steelers got on the board. Pittsburgh has the 21st-ranked scoring offense, and more importantly, they struggle to score points early. They rank in the bottom seven of the NFL in points scored in the first, second, and third quarter.
Kansas City is fourth in points per game, fourth in passing yards per game and third in total yards. At home against the Steelers defense that allows 361.1 yards per game (24th), I like the Chiefs to cover the 12.5 points.
AFC Home Teams Prevail
This week, I like all the AFC home teams to win their matchups and move on in the playoffs. Do you agree with these picks, or do you think there will be some upsets this week?
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