NFL playoff tips: Best bets for the wild card round
Jack Green predicts a comfortable victory for the Saints and a home win in Philadelphia in his NFL tips for the first round of the postseason.
Buffalo Bills to beat Houston Texans
These teams finished the season with matching 10-6 records, but home advantage means the Texans are narrow favourites for this game.
Houston lost three times at home during the regular season, however, while the Bills have a great record on the road, losing just two of their eight away games.
Prior to last week, when they lost to the New York Jets after resting their starters, Buffalo had held their last five opponents to an average of just 15 points.
The Bills lost only narrowly to the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens between Weeks 11 and 16, so are a good bet against a team that isn’t quite on that level.
Tennessee Titans (+5) v New England Patriots
The Titans won five of their last seven games to secure a playoff berth, and they have a real chance of causing an upset against the defending champions in Foxborough.
Since opening the season with an eight-game winning streak, the Patriots have lost four of their last eight, including last Sunday’s shocking 27-24 defeat to the Miami Dolphins.
New England’s offense has struggled over the past few weeks, whereas the Titans have been excellent since Ryan Tannehill took over at quarterback in Week 7, averaging 30.4 points over a 10-game period.
The Pats have a clear advantage defensively, but simply don’t look good enough to beat anyone comfortably, so it’s worth taking the points here.
New Orleans Saints (-8) to beat Minnesota Vikings
The Saints should gain revenge for the ‘Minneapolis Miracle’ by sending the Vikings home on Saturday evening.
New Orleans closed out the season with three successive victories and have scored at least 34 points in six of their last seven games.
They are primed to shred a Minnesota defence that has struggled against the pass all season.
The Vikings lost their last two games to the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, and won just four of their eight away games during the regular season.
Philadelphia Eagles to beat Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks were beaten 26-21 by the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17, meaning they closed the season with three defeats in four games.
Seattle’s offense has stuttered in the past few weeks, only scoring more than 21 points in one of their last four games.
They now face an Eagles team that won four in a row to secure a playoff spot.
Philadelphia’s defence tightened up over the second half of the season, conceding 17 points or fewer in seven of the last nine weeks, while they have scored 30 or more in three of their last five games.
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