For the first time since 2009, the New England Patriots (12-4) will be playing on Wild Card weekend, hosting the Tennessee Titans (9-7) as consensus 4.5-point home favorites on the NFL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com on Saturday in the second AFC game. The Patriots have never won the Vince Lombardi Trophy without earning one of the top two seeds, although they have played in the big game once, when they lost to the Chicago Bears 46-10 in Super Bowl XX.
While this is unchartered territory for New England to some degree, the defending Super Bowl champions still have one of the best defences in the NFL, giving up a league-low 275.9 yards and 14.1 points per game. Meanwhile, Tennessee will bring the 2019 rushing champion to Gillette Stadium in Derrick Henry, who rumbled for 211 of his career-high 1,540 yards in the regular-season finale versus the Houston Texans.
The Titans beat the Texans 35-14 as 10-point road favorites at online betting sites last Sunday behind Henry’s performance that included three touchdowns after the Patriots suffered an embarrassing 27-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins as 17-point home chalk earlier in the day. Tennessee ended an eight-game series skid that included two playoff losses at New England with a 34-10 rout as a 6.5-point home underdog in Week 10 of last year.
Earlier on Saturday, Houston (10-6) will host the Buffalo Bills (10-6) in a matchup that has seen early betting action come in on the visitors. The Texans opened as 3.5-point home favorites, but they have seen that number come down a full point as support for the Bills continues to grow.
Houston is expected to get three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt back from a pectoral injury that took place in Week 8 against the Oakland Raiders. The Texans are also hoping wide receiver Will Fuller will return from a groin injury as they look to win their second playoff game in five years. Buffalo has not won a postseason game since 1995 but appeared in the playoffs two years ago and lost 10-3 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, covering the spread as an 8.5-point road underdog. This could be a similar defensive battle at NRG Stadium, and the UNDER is on a 5-1 run for the Bills.
On Sunday, the New Orleans Saints (13-3) will host the Minnesota Vikings (10-6) as 8-point home favorites before the Seattle Seahawks (11-5) visit the Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) as 2.5-point road chalk in a pair of NFC Wild-Card games. The Saints finished the regular season as one of three 13-3 teams in the conference but lost tie-breakers to the top-seeded San Francisco 49ers and second-seeded Green Bay Packers, relegating them to play on the first weekend. Seattle is one of five teams that went 7-1 straight up on the road in the regular season along with New Orleans, San Francisco, the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens. The Seahawks are also 9-3-1 against the spread in their last 13 games away from home, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.