By News Team
Last Updated: 11th January 2021
For American football fans, it’s the most exciting time of the year – the NFL Playoffs. A slightly expanded format this season sees 14 teams involved in the postseason, with only one first round bye per conference.
What this means is we have a bumper wildcard weekend, with six games to watch over the weekend. We preview three of them below.
Indianapolis @ Buffalo
The Buffalo Bills have had another exceptional season with Josh Allen at the helm, winning their first AFC East title in a generation, and enter the postseason with real hopes of making the Super Bowl.
Indianapolis, in their first season with Philip Rivers under centre, have put together a strong season, going 11-5 and cementing their spot in January’s fixtures.
With Rivers possibly not returning to Indy and time catching up with him, this may be his last chance to have a Super Bowl run, so you can expect him to leave everything on the field. If things get desperate, which they could in Orchard Park, expect the gun-slinger to up his passing attempts so taking over 36.5 attempts at 4/5 could be solid prop bet.
With the Colts 5/2 underdogs, there’s an expectation this may be a short lived playoffs for Indianapolis. Buffalo have looked electric this season, with Josh Allen getting legitimate MVP looks. One would expect the Bills to handle the Colts with ease and are 1/3 to do so.
Baltimore @ Tennessee
A rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional round fixture, this game is a year on from when star running back Derrick Henry coronated himself as King Henry with a phenomenal 205-yard performance as the Titans stunned the Ravens in Baltimore.
This year the Titans have home advantage, but Henry has only got better. Lamar Jackson has faced some questions for the first time in recent years about his ability to drive this team to a championship, but the Ravens still enter as the comfortable 5/9 favourites.
Tennessee are 8/5 despite being the home side, but it will all depend on if the Ravens’ defence can shut down Henry. If he can get the hard yards early, keep the chains moving and allow Tannehill time in the pocket on third down, Baltimore will struggle hugely.
The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner is in irresistible form at the moment, and he could drive the Titans to victory and add another impressive chapter to his career.
Cleveland @ Pittsburgh
The longest playoff drought in the NFL is over. The Cleveland Browns, just three years removed from going 0-16, are back in the big time. Their reward is an immediate rematch of the Week 17 clash against Pittsburgh, who were unbeaten for so long this season.
Cleveland will be without head coach Kevin Stefanski, but there will be a real excitement around the Browns’ return to the playoffs.
Pittsburgh will be looking to regain some of the momentum they lost as winter crept in after starting the season on fire, but head coach Mike Tomlin has bags of experience and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be keen to add another ring to his collection.
The Steelers are just 20/53 to progress at Heinz Field, with the Browns 9/4 to pull off a shocking return victory to the postseason. While it has been a season of real progress for Baker Mayfield and Cleveland, a seasoned, hungry Steelers team should be too much for them. Steelers -6 at 10/11 looks good value in the final fixture of Wildcard weekend.