Carson Wentz | Russell Wilson
© James Lang | 2019 Nov 24
Carson Wentz | Russell Wilson © James Lang | 2019 Nov 24

PFW's wild-card weekend Handicappers Corner, with odds provided by BetIndiananews.

Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans (-2.5)

Hub Arkush: The Houston Texans are clearly a more talented team than the Buffalo Bills, but the Bills were clearly a better and more consistent team than Houston all season long. Nobody stops DeAndre Hopkins, but the Bills have the tools to deal with him in Tre'Davious White and Jordan Poyer, and Buffalo has the pass rush to torture Deshaun Watson and his still-leaky offensive line. The Bills offense will never scare anyone, but Allen, Devin Singletary and John Brown give them just enough big plays to win a defensive tussle, and right now Buffalo is as well coached as any team in the league. Bills 19, Texans 17

Arthur Arkush: It may not always come down to the quarterbacks and coaches, but that’s usually the case, no? And while I’m very impressed with the Year 2 development of Buffalo’s Josh Allen and particularly the work done by Sean McDermott, making his second postseason appearance in three years at the helm, not enough to pick against the big-game experience of Deshaun Watson. Houston will have to prove it can stop the Bills ground game, but Watson’s poise and playmaking figure to be the difference. Texans 23, Bills 20

Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-5)

Hub Arkush: I cannot explain how the Patriots blew the second seed to Miami last Sunday, but having not made a bet in 40 years, if I was going to it would be that they won't be one and done in the playoffs, at home a week later. While Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry have had breakthrough seasons this year and carried the Titans this far, the Patriots have been easily the best defense in the league all season long and are well equipped to handle them. Tom Brady isn't the same guy he was even two or three years ago, but this is Brady time now, and I just don't see him failing to find a way to get this done. Patriots 27, Titans 20

Arthur Arkush: Surely you've heard by now that the Patriots are playing in the wild-card round for the first time since 2009, but did you know they still have the same number of victories there as the Titans since '06 (1)? Pedigree matters. So does a power run game in January, and while the Titans boast the NFL rushing champ in Derrick Henry, the Patriots quietly have jump-started their own ground game in the past month and boast a better defense to counter the Titans. Patriots 26, Titans 17

Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)

Hub Arkush: I can't really explain what happened to the Saints defense four weeks ago giving up 48 to the 49ers, but other than that this club has been rolling on both sides of the ball for most of the second half of the season, while the Vikings come in here beat up and limping to the finish line. Forget last Sunday, Minnesota's loss to the Packers two weeks ago was embarrassing. Xavier Rhodes is struggling, and Michael Thomas is likely to have a huge Sunday and while Dalvin Cook and/or Adam Thielen may be on the field, neither will be anywhere near 100 percent. Without those two, there is no chance Kirk Cousins can or will surprise us. Saints 31, Vikings 20

Arthur Arkush: After back-to-back playoff heartbreaks, the Saints won't get a chance to avenge last year's against the Rams but start off their potential Super Bowl run with vengeance for the "Minneapolis Miracle" by overwhelming the undermanned Vikings. Minnesota has morphed into an offense-driven team this season but is dealing with injuries to two of its top three skill players, in addition to the obvious big-game hurdle Kirk Cousins still must show he's capable of clearing. Not this week. Saints 31, Vikings 20

Seattle Seahawks (-1.5) at Philadelphia Eagles

Hub Arkush: This is the most fascinating matchup of the weekend for me and the only pick of mine that is as much gut as analysis. There is something about the Eagles. Philly is clearly not the team it was two years ago, but each of the past two seasons now they've been as much guts, heart and perseverance as talent. If Chris Carson and/or Rashaad Penny were available, I'd probably take the Seahawks. But even though they've been incredibly competitive against mostly good teams — explain the Arizona loss at home? — they still have dropped three of the past four. The Eagles are really good against the run, and "Beast Mode" and Robert Turbin won't be enough to keep the Eagles from making the 'Hawks one dimensional, which will be enough to help Philly's struggling corners from letting Wilson, Lockett and Metcalf beat them. Eagles 17, Seahawks 16

Arthur Arkush: It's a shame we won't get to see this matchup with either team at full strength, but when weighing the myriad injuries on both sides, and with all due respect to Carson Wentz, it's difficult to envision Russell Wilson — with his top pass catchers still at his disposal — not being the great equalizer. Seattle leaned on five takeaways in a defensive slugfest to win in Philly in Week 12, but it'll be Wilson making big plays with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf against a susceptible Eagles secondary this time around. Seahawks 24, Eagles 20


HA: 12-4 / 11-5 / 1-0

AA: 10-6 / 7-9 / 0-1


HA: 155-82-1 / 115-119 / 6-11

AA: 147-88-1 / 111-123 / 11-6