The New England Patriots are the number one seed in the playoffs. The Pats finished the NFL 2016 regular season with a 14-2 record. Despite the best efforts of Roger Goodell on behalf of certain despicable owners such as Jim Irsay, Woody Jones, John Mara, Jerry Jones, no other team finished with a better record than the Patriots.
Pittsburgh and Houston are locked in as the number three and four seeds respectively. That leaves three games to determine the conference playoff seeding. The three AFC games that actually matter today are Miami at New England, Kansas City at San Diego and Oakland at Denver. There are a total of eight possible combined outcomes to those games.
The New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers have both opened up as 3-point favorites in early odds for the NFL conference championship games for the 2015-2016 season. The Patriots travel to Denver to play the Broncos at 3:00 pm ET on Sunday, while the Panthers host the Arizona Cardinals at 6:40 pm Sunday. The notable difference in these two betting lines is that New England is a 3-point favorite despite playing on the road, while Carolina is only favored by three while playing at home.
Most of the focus in the mid-west is on Andy Reid mismanaging the clock – but only a minority recognized the reality that the Patriots outplayed the Chiefs. Forget the time issues for a moment; was Reid lulled into an improper game plan based on New England’s final game(s) of the season?
Three weeks ago the Arizona Cardinals bludgeoned Green Bay in a shockingly one-sided 38-8 victory. Saturday evening the Packers will have an opportunity to prove that game was an anomaly as they travel to Glendale for the first of this weekend’s NFC Division Round playoff games
Thanks to the epic meltdown by the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers advance in the NFL playoffs – and the New England Patriots will host the Kansas City Chiefs rather than Cincy in the division round of the 2015-2016 post-season.
In a 180 degree swing from last week, all four home teams are favored in this weekend’s NFL division round playoffs. The Patriots are favored by 5 over KC, Denver by 6½ over Pittsburgh, Arizona by 7½ over Green Bay, and in the closest line Carolina – the team with the NFL’s best record – is only a 3-point home favorite over Seattle.
NFL wild card weekend kicks off Saturday afternoon as the Kansas City Chiefs travel to Houston to take on the AFC South champion Texans. Both clubs overcame the common obstacle of extremely unsuccessful starts to the 2015 season; Houston did not win their second game of the year until Week 6, and KC did not get their second victory until the following week. To accomplish that rare feat both teams leaned heavily on their defenses, both of which ranked in the top ten in the league in points allowed. After a five-turnover debacle against Denver in Week 2, the Chiefs gave the ball away just ten times over the next fourteen games, and finished with a plus-14 turnover differential – second best in the league this year. On December 27 the Texans lost to the Patriots to drop to 6-7 and their playoff chances appeared bleak. Houston’s defense forced ten turnovers over the next three games to carry the team to an improbable comeback, and into the post-season.