The NFL playoffs are here. It's an amazing time, but it's also a little depressing because it means the NFL season is quickly coming to a close. There's a month-long sprint to the Super Bowl -- this year feels like it could be even more intense than usual because of the quality of teams in the postseason bracket.
Each week we'll take a look at the odds for the upcoming matchups. You can see the full 2019 NFL playoff schedule here and you can get a deep dive breakdown of every single piece of Week 17 action, in addition to the playoff matchups, by subscribing to the Pick Six Podcast here. If you want to sample our daily NFL pod, just hit play in the player below.
Sat., Jan. 4, 4:35 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC
This is a pretty standard and expected line for this game. Basically this is Josh Allen's first playoff game and just the second for Deshaun Watson. We've seen Watson play on a big stage, but there are definitely some questions about how he'll do in this particular matchup. The Bills are pretty good at stopping the run but they are excellent at stopping the pass. Houston typically succeeds when it's winging the ball around to DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Kenny Stills. Fuller is still very much TBD, although if I was guessing now I would think he's not playing. The total should tell you this won't be a high-scoring game, which is not surprising given Houston oftentimes leans on the ground game and Buffalo is extremely conservative and not at all high-powered.
Sat., Jan. 4, 8:15 p.m. ET, CBS
This is a SHOCKING number. It's shocking because the Patriots are actually hosting a game during Wild-Card Weekend, the first time they'll do so since 2010 when the Ravens blitzed them in Foxborough. It's also shocking because the Patriots are a small favorite at home in a playoff game. The Patriots have only played in three previous wild-card games, going 2-1 in those situations. Only once have the Pats been less than a touchdown favorite in a home wild-card game, and that was the last time they were hosting during the first weekend of the playoffs. That week, the Ravens throttled the Pats, with Ray Rice ripping off a huge touchdown run to start the game. This Patriots team isn't built to come from behind -- if they give up early runs to Derrick Henry, New England could be in danger.
Sun., Jan. 5, 1:05 p.m. ET, FOX
Biggest spread on the board by far. It may be a bit of recency bias, with the Saints throttling multiple teams over the last few weeks, including a destruction of the Panthers on Sunday. The Vikings, meanwhile, lost to the Bears (albeit while playing backups) on the heels of being embarrassed at home by the Packers at home on Monday night. The line appeared to open at Saints -7 and it's already moving up, which could be telling. The Saints are peaking right now on offense, while the Vikings will be plagued by question marks about their performance. The Saints have to be miffed about Russell Wilson not finding his way into the end zone -- they would have been the No. 2 seed instead of hosting a Wild-Card Weekend game. It's going to be tough to take the Vikings catching points with how they've looked, but this is a substantial number.
Sun., Jan. 5, 4:40 p.m. ET, NBC
This line is also moving rapidly. The Eagles opened as favorites and the Seahawks are already a slight road favorite. Seattle has beaten the Eagles in this position already in 2019, having taken down Carson Wentz and Co. in Philly during an ugly, rainy game during the regular season. Both of these teams are really banged up. We don't know if Zach Ertz or Lane Johnson will be ready to go for Philly. Wentz was throwing to dudes who felt like they've been created in "Madden" in the Eagles Week 17 win. Russell Wilson was handing off to Marshawn Lynch, who was brought out of retirement to bolster the run game. I would say this total feels high, but there's so many questions about both defenses, from a health and performance perspective.