Right now, 14 of the NFL’s 32 teams could still win Super Bowl LVI and enter the storied list of world champions of professional football. After this weekend, though, that number will drop from 14 to 8, as six wild-card round games will winnow the field almost in half. The Green Bay Packers and the Tennessee Titans have earned byes to the divisional round, but the other 12 teams will put their postseason lives on the line this weekend.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at each of the AFC’s wild card matchups as you decide how to risk your NFL betting dollars.
NFL News: AFC Divisional Betting Predictions
AFC Playoff Bracket
(1) Tennessee Titans (bye)
(7) Pittsburgh Steelers at (2) Kansas City Chiefs (-12.5, O/U 47)
Sunday, January 16 | 8:15 pm ET, NBC
This is a rematch of the Week 16 showdown that took place at Arrowhead Stadium, with the Chiefs rolling over the Steelers, 36-10. Ben Roethlisberger said in an interview that the Steelers should “just have fun” in the game, given the steep odds against them winning. Last year, the Steelers hosted a playoff game only to get run out of their own stadium by the Cleveland Browns.
The Chiefs have figured out how to beat teams that want to play a two-safety alignment, taking a more measured approach instead of going for big shots down the field each time. They have a solid running game that they can use to set up the pass. The defense has improved dramatically in the second half of the season, playing as well as the team that won Super Bowl LIV did on that side of the ball.
The Steelers will hope that T.J. Watt can harass Patrick Mahomes and that tailback Najee Harris can loosen up the Chiefs’ defense and set up Roethlisberger for reasonable passes. I’m not sure the Chiefs will push hard enough to cover this immense line, so I’m going with Steelers to cover.
Steelers to cover: Bet the Game Today
(6) New England Patriots at (3) Buffalo Bills (-4.5, O/U 43.5)
Saturday, January 15 | 8:15 pm ET, CBS
Both teams won the road game in their AFC East rivalry this season. The first time, the wind in Buffalo was so chaotic that the Patriots decided not to pass the ball at all; Mac Jones only attempted three passes. Buffalo tried to stay with the passing game and suffered. In the rematch, Buffalo’s defense was much tougher against the run, and the Bills’ offense had the conditions it needed to run and pass. Expect this to be a low-scoring affair, as both teams struggle to move the ball, but expect the Bills to get the key plays when they need them.
Bills to win and cover: Bet the Game Today
(5) Las Vegas Raiders at (4) Cincinnati Bengals (-6, O/U 48.5)
Saturday, January 15, 4:30 pm ET, NBC
Yes, the Bengals lost in Week 18 to Cleveland, but they had already wrapped up the AFC North and knew that they could not rise to the top seed. Joe Mixon was out due to COVID-19 protocols, and Joe Burrow and other important starters were on the bench, resting ahead of the playoffs. The Bengals will come in fresh looking to win a postseason game for the first time in 32 years.
The Raiders went to overtime on Sunday night and had to use their starters, and now they turn around and play in the Eastern time zone on a short week. Their defense has some holes – even though they can rush the passer, coverage on the back end can be a real problem. Expect Joe Burrow to find Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins over and over again – and expect the Bengals to win and cover.