The Wild Card weekend didn’t go as expected, which is what was expected. Three road teams managed to win, with two beating the spread and going into overtime, while highly entertaining Josh Allen blew his chance to beat the spread and make it four road teams in the winner’s circle.
Houston Texans 22, Buffalo Bills 19
The Bills came into Houston as three-point underdogs, and much to the satisfaction of their betting backers, were up 16-0 midway through the third quarter. Unfortunately they drove into field goal range three times and got conservative by taking the three-points in every instance to build up those 16 points. That was the beginning of DeShaun Watson taking over. Watson rushed and threw for touchdowns, and pushed the game into overtime, where he magically got out of a sack and dumped it off to Taiwan Jones to put them in chip—shot range.
Josh Allen had chances to make plays to get Buffalo the win, but for every good Allen plan, there was a lateral to nobody or a throw to a fullback in double coverage. The Wild Card game was as Josh Allen as a game can get.
The three-point spread managed a push, although if you had the Bills at +2.5 as many did, the Bills early dominance and subsequent collapse had you feeling let down.
Tennessee Titans 20, New England Patriots 13
The Titans went into the world champion New England Patriots house as +4/5 point underdogs and took it to them on the ground with NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry. The Patriots defense stacked the box and still couldn’t hold Henry down as he totaled over 200 all-purpose yards on 36 touches and scored a touchdown. The game was close throughout, as there were four lead changes, but the Titans were never down more than three-points. Tom Brady and the Patriots manufactured enough plays to keep it close, but this Patriots team was severely lacking in offensive skill players and just couldn’t put up the points it needed to compete. Titans backers never really had much drama as they watched their plays come to fruition. A late pick-six likely hurt some Patriots backer who teased the line down though.
Minnesota Vikings 26, New Orleans Saints 20
This was the second overtime game of Wild Card weekend and it was also the matchup with the biggest spread. The Vikings came into face the red hot Saints on their home turf as +7.5 underdogs and came out as six-point winners. The Vikings never trailed by more than seven points and after Dalvin Cook’s first touchdown run to close out the first half, the Vikings never trailed. Taysom Hill was a one-man wrecking crew, as he threw for and caught a touchdown while ending the game with 50 yards passing, 50 yards rushing and 25 yards receiving to go along with his two touchdowns. But the Vikings defense harassed Drew Brees all game and it never felt like Vikings backers needed to sweat the spread.
Seattle Seahawks 17, Philadelphia Eagles 9
The Seahawks started the week as slight favorites, but by the time the game kicked off, this was a pick ‘em, and that appeared like a strong line. But then, Carson Wentz went down in the first quarter with a concussion, and all bets were off, but not really. Josh McCown played well in his stead but couldn’t get into the end zone while Russell Wilson and D.K. Metcalf shred the Eagles weak pass defense. Seattle never trailed and the loss of Wentz likely gave Seattle backers a bit of cushion to soak up any sweat.