AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: The NFL Playoffs

Game 1 – Buffalo Bills (10-6) v Houston Texans (10-6)

All roads lead to Miami Gardens on February 2nd in the Hard Rock Stadium for Superbowl 54. Before then is a matter of the playoffs to get past. With wildcard weekend showcasing some big names this Saturday/Sunday night there are sure to be some upsets after a hard-fought campaign which started back in September.

First up on Saturday evening at 9.35pm GMT Houston Texans host the Buffalo Bills who both ended with a 10-6 season. They haven’t met since October 2018 where on that occasion the Texans came out on top. A lot has changed since then as is the case with most NFL teams.

Houston Texans had won five of their last six prior to last week’s defeat to Tennessee which can be taken with a pinch of salt as they had already clinched their wildcard spot, whereas their visitors needed a big game to grab their ticket. Much can be said the same about the 13-6 Buffalo Bills loss where they fielded a much weaker team in preparation for this week. Even with star names sitting out the coaches went about their usual business of being very defensive having been the third best in the league this season. They average 16.2 points against as compared with Houston who are 24.1 per game. When we look at both of their offensive stats, Houston who you would expect to be much stronger are only slightly ahead with 23.6 points per game with Buffalo tallying up 19.6 Pts/G. It is hard to think either team has any strong advantage. Houston obviously have home field but have not impressed this season with so much hype around QB Deshaun Watson. Buffalo will be heavily reliant on their defence standing tall again with three key players potentially missing and will be late calls. Their veteran and star running back Frank Gore has not played well this year with career lows which may be due to the fact QB, Josh Allen has scored the most touchdowns in the team in which he is 13/8 to score anytime. Frank Gore would represent value at over 3/1 to score if they gave him the ball more which if key figures do not turn up due to injury then he may be a possible outcome. Neither side look to have a strong upper hand and it could be down to who makes the fewest mistakes

Verdict: Low scoring close game which could take a while to get into action and neither team will want to make any bad decision which will see a lack of points on the bird from many three and outs, if they get that far down the field, field-goals at three points can help keep the score low

Total points: Under 45.5 points @ 3/4


Game 2 – Tennessee Titans (9-7) v New England Patriots (12-4)

Six-time Superbowl winners and current holders New England Patriots kick off at 1.15am GMT Sunday 5th. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, Tom Brady, step forward. The most decorated QB in NFL history will find himself in an unfamiliar position this weekend in the wild card game for the first time since January 10th, 2009. The first play of that game Ray Rice ran through the Pats defence and set the tone for what everyone thought was the downward spiral of the Patriots era. How wrong they were with Superbowl wins in 2015, 17 and 19 and making two other finals in that decade, dominating the modern era. This time the 6ft 3, 108kg Tennessee running back Derek Henry will charge into the Gillette Stadium with his hair described as the eighth wonder of the world to try and repeat what Baltimore did in 2009 with his power house runs. Could this be Deja vu all over again?

The visitors star man Henry averages 102.7 yards per game rushing and was one short on 18 Touchdowns being tied for leading that chart too. Marcus Mariota at QB started the season well without pulling up trees but has been banished to the bench for a reborn Ryan Tannehill whose passing creativity adds to their already fantastic running game.

New England have had the best defence all season, but some may argue that was against inferior opponents. Within recent weeks even that has started to let up. With a broken offence, Edelman carrying injuries, N’Keal Harry just learning the ropes, late trade Sanu not in the same stratosphere as previous iron man Ron Gronkowski it has been hard for brady to get anything going all season. With all this factored in, this is Brady’s least productive year in his illustrious career, and on the season, is one of the least productive QBs remaining, but try telling Tom that going into this game. One area they seem to be going places with on offence is with their running game and Sony Michel a regular ball carrier and Touchdown scorer could be key. With backups James White, Rex Burkhead and Brandon Bolden there are plenty of opportunities to get past the Tennessee line who are ranked 21st. In recent years Brady has had time in the pocket and his attention to detail shines through but injuries and new players on the roster has seen opponents break through and give the veteran soon to be hall of famer plenty of hits. With what has been by any standards a poor season for New England, even being 12-4 one better than last year they face an offence who ranks 12th compared with their own of 15th. Tennessee will be heavily reliant on their star man Henry rushing as passing is a dangerous game against potential Defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore who has been truly outstanding all year who will likely match up against wide receiver A.J. Brown who has been the star Tennessee rookie. But will the league’s best rusher outfox the best defence at Foxborough? This is uncharted waters for New England but in times like this you need someone where situations are error-free, which the razor-focused veteran is more than capable of doing. If any team comes to the fore when the playoffs start, New England find an extra gear.

Verdict: An interesting match-up with Tennessee putting plenty of points on the board in many games this season but facing the number one defence in the league in the play-offs who in the last decade have been to fiver Superbowl’s’ will they be able to do so at The Gillette Stadium. New England will look to control this with home territory as they have been here many times against far superior teams. Covering 5.5 without a converted touchdown looks the most likely outcome and with the ball on the ground likely to factor Sony Michel at 11/10 to score anytime is likely fair which I would expect to go off odds on

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK UNDER 45.5 points (Buffalo Bills v Houston Texans) 5 pts at 4/5 with
BACK NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -5.5 (Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots) 5 pts at 9/10 with
BACK Sony Michel – Anytime Touchdown scorer (Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots) 3 pts at 11/10 with


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