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The first game of the weekend is the Houston Texans game against the Baltimore Ravens. I expect less than (minus) 44 points to be scored in this game.
Why do I prefer the under in this interesting match? First, because of the Ravens' offense against the Texans' defense. Lamar Jackson hasn't had much success in the postseason in his career. Not only is he 1-3, but the offense has averaged 13 points per game.
Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans is a former linebacker. He also spent several years as defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, including a season in which his defense led the league in both points and yards allowed. He has what it takes to develop a strategy against the Ravens. They won't stop them, but they can limit the damage.
The Texans' offense meets the Ravens' solid defense. The latter led the NFL in points allowed. She also ranked sixth in yards allowed per game.
But here's a more important fact that may go unnoticed: The Ravens had the most sacks this season, while Houston's offensive line ranked 11th.
But that's not all! Rookie sensation CJ Stroud excels at deep passes. However, Baltimore's defense ranked first in the advanced Defensive Adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) statistic when teams attempted to throw the ball in deep zones.
Timing is important when it comes to moving the ball on offense. I'm afraid the Ravens might have a tougher first half because their starters haven't played in three weeks.
And here is a final argument. As good as Stroud is, I worry about how many reliable targets he sees in front of him. The team lost Tank Dell this season and Noah Brown will also miss the game. Nico Collins is a solid weapon, but the depth behind him is concerning.
For all of these reasons, I think the best bet for the Houston-Baltimore game is to go with the lower number.
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Finally we have a great classic matchup between the Chiefs and Bills. Patrick Mahomes versus Josh Allen in the bitter cold of January. It can't be better.
You've probably heard that Mahomes will be playing in his first road playoff game of his career. But some people will make the following argument: Mahomes is an underdog at 8-1-1 against the spread. In a situation like this, all he had to do was lose to the same Bills last year.
After thoroughly analyzing this game, I chose Buffalo. I could have accepted the spread, but I fear a very close win for the Bills.
Let's start with the bad news. Kansas City enjoys two additional days off since its last game on Saturday, while Buffalo played the Steelers on Monday.
Additionally, the Bills were already weak on defense. Things got even worse last week with a few more injuries. After losing Matt Milano for the season, they also have three linebackers who are currently questionable: Dodson, Bernard and Spector.
Cornerback Tre'Davious White has been out for some time, and there are also three players who are showing signs of questioning: Taron Johnson, Rasul Douglas and Christian Benford.
From what I've read, many of them could still be playing on Sunday, which is more reassuring.
The Chiefs defense is much better at defending against the pass than against the run. This does not necessarily pose a major problem for the bills.
They have shown that they can also crush the ball when necessary. Just ask the Cowboys, who were beaten for a total of 266 rushing yards in Buffalo. And since Joe Brady became offensive coordinator, Josh Allen has been running the ball more often.
Patrick Mahomes doesn't trust his receivers except Rashee Rice. Even Travis Kelce fumbled the ball surprisingly often. This could prove costly.
The Bills are 8-1 in real home games at Highmark Stadium. I know Mahomes is a true winner, but I believe Buffalo will finally rid itself of its demons by beating the Chiefs this weekend.