By Danny Carrington
Last Updated: 10th January 2020
The NFL Wildcard Weekend threw up some thrilling results, with two of the fixtures going to overtime. This weekend sees the arrival of the top seeds, as the best of the NFL enter the playoffs. We preview the Divisional Round.
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers
Minnesota Vikings performed magnificently last week in New Orleans, beating the New Orleans Saints in overtime after an excellent display by their defence and the reliable Dalvin Cook, while Kirk Cousins displayed plenty of poise in big moments. Their reward is a trip to number one seed the San Francisco 49ers, who will look to regain their momentum after a week off.
The 49ers are short on the moneyline at 5/16, while Minnesota are 13/5. The Vikings made a real impression last week, with their defensive line in particular bringing all sorts of pressure, regularly disrupting Drew Brees. If they can perform at the same level, and the Vikings offense performs with a similar level of efficiency, they could pull off another playoff upset.
They could be worth backing with a touchdown head start at 10/11.
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens
The Tennessee Titans surprisingly upset one AFC powerhouse last week in the New England Patriots, but the Baltimore Ravens look set to be a force for years to come. Star quarterback Lamar Jackson has had an exceptional year and their defense remains a top-five unit. The visitors will have to be at their absolute best to beat the Ravens in Baltimore, but even that might not be enough.
The Ravens are 10/43 favourites, and the spread sits at 9.5 points. The Titans are 7/2 outsiders, but can be expected to put up points with Ryan Tannehill feeding wrecking-ball running back Derrick Henry. The total points o/u sits at 47 and this could be a shootout, so back the over at 10/11.
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs
The Houston Texans overcame the Buffalo Bills in another overtime fixture during Wildcard Weekend, but now the Kansas City Chiefs lie in wait. The Chiefs have had another exceptional season with Patrick Mahomes at the helm, while their offensive arsenal continues to be upgraded. Kansas are considerable favourites at 5/22, while the Texans are 18/5 for an Arrowhead upset.
Deshaun Watson pulled off some exceptional plays last weekend, but also struggled in large patches of the game. Kansas should score early and often in this game and are 20/23 to be winning on the handicap (-5) at half-time.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
The Seattle Seahawks beat the Philadelphia Eagles last week on a healthy diet of aggressive defence and masterful quarterback play from Russell Wilson, a recipe which has served them well in recent years. After seven sacks last week, Aaron Rodgers will be hoping the Green Bay Packers offensive line can keep him upright.
The Packers are 20/43 favourites, while the Seahawks will have to overcome odds of 37/20 to continue their playoff adventure. Both quarterbacks have significant postseason experience, and both have a Super Bowl ring to their name. Two excellent quarterbacks will round off the Divisional Round and it should be an exciting fixture for the neutral. Over 47 points is 10/11 in what could be a Sunday night shootout.