AFC Wild Card Games Preview: Times, Channels, Odds
The AFC Wild Card games are set to kickoff with stakes raised for all four teams. Not only is elimination on the line, but pride. Buffalo looks for their first playoff win since 1995 and the New England Patriots enter a Wild Card game they haven’t played in since 2009.
Buffalo Bills (10-6) at Houston Texans (10-6)
The Buffalo Bills are set to take on the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston today with kickoff at 4:35 p.m. ET. The game is sure to be back and forth, but what to watch for is which quarterback will find more success with the run game. The Bills’ Josh Allen (third) and Texans’ Deshaun Watson (fourth) were among the top quarterbacks in rushing yards this season.
Houston defensive end J.J. Watt will return after suffering a torn pectoral, something the Texans’ defense will welcome with open arms.
Eyes will be on Tre’Davious White in the secondary as the Bills hope he can shut down DeAndre Hopkins, limiting Watson’s ability to rely on him. White ranks in the top five for interceptions and passes defended.
Tennessee Titans (9-7) at New England Patriots (12-4)
Taking the field at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, the New England Patriots find themselves in the unfamiliar position of a Wild Card game. The Titans closed with a 5-2 mark earning a wild-card berth, but come into hostile territory against a very tough Patriots defense.
The Titans offense, led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry, have given them hope. Henry totaled 896 of his 1,540 rushing yards after Week 10, but did so against teams that did not qualify for the playoffs.
Tannehill’s totaled 2,742 yards and sits middle of the pack with 22 touchdowns. His role will be outsmart the Patriots defense and continue the momentum his team has coming into the playoffs.
New England faces some concern in aging star quarterback Tom Brady whose passing numbers have taken a downward turn. Tennessee’s passing defense has not been anything great, but Brady may have an out with James White if he can utilize his run and pass game.
Both games will be fierce with clearly a lot at stake for all four teams. Side stories surround both games, but the biggest may be Brady’s return to either the Patriots or the NFL, and that is yet to be known.
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