The NFL playoffs continue on Sunday with two up-and-coming young teams squaring off in the early game and two playoff stalwarts taking the stage yet again in the afternoon.
The Detroit Lions, just days after winning their first playoff game in 32 years, host Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 3 p.m. ET while the Buffalo Bills renew their playoff rivalry with the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The possibility of good games spikes in the latter half of the weekend. Unlike the Saturday games, both home favourites are laying less than a touchdown and, in Detroit’s case, less than a field goal.
Buccaneers vs. Lions odds
|Buccaneers Moneyline Odds
|Lions Moneyline Odds
|Lions -6.0 (-110)
|49.5 points (over -110, under -110)
|Jan. 21, 3:00 p.m. ET
About the Buccaneers (10-8 SU, 12-6 ATS, 6-12 o/u) and Lions (13-5 SU, 12-6 ATS, 11-7 o/u)
The dome in downtown Detroit will be rocking again as the Lions host their first divisional-round playoff game since Barry Sanders’ second season in the NFL. This game features two former No. 1 overall picks whose careers are on the upswing in Jared Goff, one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league, and Baker Mayfield, who no longer looks like a journeyman after settling in in Tampa.
Detroit took the regular-season matchup between these squads 20-6 in Tampa Bay, but that was all the way back on Oct. 15 in Week 6. Tampa was mired in a four-game losing streak but responded by ripping off four wins in its last five games and then dominating the Philadelphia Eagles Monday night in the wild-card round.
The Tampa Bay defence has been playing well lately and Mayfield appears to have recovered from rib and ankle injuries that slowed down the offence toward the end of the season. Tampa brings a lot of pressure on defence, having blitzed on 41% of dropbacks, the third-highest rate in the NFL, and Goff has tended to turn over the ball when blitzed.
But Detroit also makes life difficult on opposing quarterbacks, with Aiden Hutchinson emerging as one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. It will be crucial to Detroit that Hutchinson and the other rushers find some success as the Lions have been prone to allow big plays in the passing game this season.
Tampa Bay will need to figure out a way to contain physical receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who broke loose for 124 yards against them in Week 6.
Chiefs vs. Bills odds
|Chiefs Moneyline Odds
|Bills Moneyline Odds
|Bills -2.5 (-110)
|45.5 points (over -110, under -110)
|Jan. 21, 6:30 p.m. ET
About the Chiefs (12-6 SU, 10-8 ATS, 5-13 o/u) and Bills (12-6 SU, 8-9-1 ATS, 7-10 o/u)
While these teams are accustomed to seeing each other at this time of year, the venue is unique. The Chiefs have taken both post-season games they have played in recent seasons, in 2020 and 2021, but both of those games were at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
Buffalo has fared better in the regular season vs. Kansas City, having taken three of the last four meetings. This game features arguably the two best quarterbacks in the NFL in Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes and Allen, no doubt, will be looking to prove he can get past Mahomes when it matters most. On the other hand, if Allen tries to force things, he often gets into trouble. He led the NFL with 18 interceptions, but he threw none against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week in a game in which the Bills never looked threatened.
The Bills defence has dealt with injuries all season and they’re beginning to crop up again. The most worrisome area for Buffalo at the moment is the defensive secondary, where cornerbacks Taron Johnson, Rasul Douglas and Christian Benford are all dealing with injuries, a situation Mahomes and the Chiefs no doubt will look to exploit. The problem for Kansas City is finding reliable receivers, but Rashee Rice has emerged as a strong target for Mahomes, with 127 yards in the regular-season finale vs. the Cincinnati Bengals and 130 and a touchdown last week in a 26-7 win over the Miami Dolphins in even colder conditions than the teams will face Sunday night in Buffalo.
Bet on Chiefs vs. Bills
- Tampa Bay has a host of players who are questionable for this one: RB Chase Edmonds (toe), WR Chris Godwin (knee), LB Shaquil Barrett (ankle) and LB Yaya Diaby.
- The Lions are in better shape, with WR Kalif Raymond (knee) and TE Sam LaPorta (knee) both listed as questionable, but the return of LaPorta appears imminent as he returned to practice this week.
- Kansas City lists WR Kadarius Toney (hip, ankle), WR Justyn Ross (hamstring), CB L’Jarius Sneed (hamstring) and DT Derrick Nnadi (elbow) as questionable.
- The Bills have ruled out Benford (knee), LB Baylon Spector (back), S Taylor Rapp (calf) and WR Gabe Davis (knee). WR Stefon Diggs (foot) was limited in practice Friday but should play.
The Lions can set the temperature at whatever they want inside Ford Field.
It should be cold again in Orchard Park, but the snow finally ended late in the week. Expect temperatures of about -7 C with winds of about 19 km/h.
- The Chiefs have the top record in the NFL when it comes to staying under the total while the Bills and their opponents hit more unders than all but eight teams.
- Only the Raiders, who covered in 12 of their 17 games, were better ATS than the Lions and Buccaneers this season.
- Tampa Bay has taken most of the bets (55%), but Detroit has taken more money (52%), indicating the professional bettors are leaning toward laying the points.
- On the other hand, Kansas City has taken 69% of the bets and 65% of the money.
Player prop trends
- St. Brown has picked up at least 90 receiving yards in five straight games. That has moved his total all the way up to 92.5 (at -135) in this one.
- TE Dalton Kincaid has become a major target of Allen’s lately, with three straight games with at least 59 receiving yards. He’s -110 to exceed 38.5 yards in this one.
- After catching four touchdown passes in four games, Mike Evans has been kept out of the end zone in his last three games. He dropped a deep pass that would have likely resulted in a touchdown last week. Evans is +110 to score at any time.
Wagers to consider
- Both offences are locked in and both quarterbacks got any nerves out of their system last week, it would seem. With ideal conditions inside the dome, expect something of a back-and-forth game and 49 points seems a tad low here. Consider going with the over.
- St. Brown is among the most reliable pass catchers in the NFL and it’s obvious Goff has locked in on him in the team’s biggest games. The Buccaneers’ secondary won’t be able to cover a receiver this physical, giving him opportunities to make plays. Consider any of his overs, including receiving yards and scoring (at +105).