It’s officially business time in the NFL. It’s inarguable that the four best teams in both conferences are in the NFL’s edition of the Elite Eight, and this is where we’re going to see in the NFL odds whether any of the minnows from Wild Card weekend can rise up and knock off what are supposed to be the big boys on the block before Super Bowl 51.
Football odds courtesy of Bookmaker.eu
NFL Playoffs Odds: Divisional Rounds
Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) vs Seattle Seahawks (49.5)
Saturday, January 14, 4:35 p.m. ET, FOX
The Falcons and Seahawks played in a barnburner earlier in the season at CenturyLink Field, a game that proved that Atlanta belongs in the discussion with the big boys even though it didn’t win the game.
The Falcons have the best offense in the NFL, and even with the whole Legion of Boom healthy, they still threw the ball all over the place, particularly with Julio Jones having a 100+ yard game.
But this is a different time of year in the playoffs, and Matt Ryan has never really had a tremendous amount of success at this level, while Russell Wilson has. There’s no doubting the fact that Seattle isn’t the same team now that it was at that point with Earl Thomas no longer in the lineup.
However, let’s also remember that Wilson’s mobility appears to be back, and Thomas Rawls was a truck against the Lions and could be a big difference-maker in this one as well. This is going to be a heck of a test for both of these teams.
New England Patriots (-16) vs Houston Texans (44.5)
Saturday, January 14, 8:15 p.m. ET, CBS
The Texans are the biggest underdogs in the NFL playoffs since 1998, and they sure look and feel like they don’t have any shot whatsoever in this one. That said, they’re coming off of their best game of the season against the Raiders in which they dominated against a good team, albeit a team that was playing with a third string quarterback in Connor Cook instead of an MVP candidate in Derek Carr.
New England was always assumed to have a de facto double bye in the playoffs, and this is the reward for being the top team in the AFC. There’s flat out no excuse to lose this game when the team whooped up on the Texans 27-0 back in Week 3 with Jacoby Brissett and not Tom Brady playing quarterback.
Kansas City Chiefs (+1) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (46.5)
Sunday, January 15, 1:05 p.m. ET, NBC
It’s not often that you see road teams favored in the second round of the playoffs, but alas, that’s what we have with the Steelers over the Chiefs. And why not? A road team is going to win one of these games in all likelihood after a clean sweep by home teams in Wild Card weekend, and the Steelers whooped up on KC when these two met back in October.
That said, the Chiefs have an electrifying defense, and the world hadn’t really been introduced to Tyreek Hill at that point early in the year yet. Hill is a game-changer for sure, and if that defense can force some punts and give Hill a chance to return some, look out. This man is a walking six points when he has the ball in open space in his hands.
Dallas Cowboys (-4) vs Green Bay Packers (51.5)
Sunday, January 15, 4:40 p.m. ET, FOX
Perhaps the most polarizing game of the weekend. The Packers didn’t look good in the first 20 minutes or so against the Giants and looked like they were going to be on the ropes, but a Hail Mary at the end of the first half propelled them to a big second half and a 38-13 victory over a very good team.
Green Bay hasn’t lost since Aaron Rodgers told the world that the team was running the table, and that makes it a prime contender for an upset.
But it’s not like the Cowboys are slouches. When they’re at their best, they’re amazing, and they proved that when they went into Lambeau Field two months ago and walked out with a relatively dominant victory.
That said, they haven’t played a game of any note in a month, as they’ve had the No. 1 seed locked up to that point, and the team hasn’t advanced to the NFC Championship Game since Troy Aikman was the quarterback.
For more NFL playoffs news, check out Patriots Enter NFL Playoffs as Overwhelming Favorite on Super Bowl LI Odds