The National Football League will decide next week’s championship games matchups with a pair of contests today. The defending Kansas City Chiefs host the Cleveland Browns in a contest scheduled to begin at 12:05 p.m. Pacific Time, with the New Orleans Saints entertaining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers set to start at 3:40 p.m.
The Browns advanced to the Divisional Round by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers last week in their first playoff action since the 2002 season. The Chiefs rolled to the Super Bowl title last year while falling behind by double-digits in all three of their playoff games only to come-from-behind and win them all by double-digits.
The weather at Arrowhead Stadium will have temperatures in the mid 30’s at game time without any precipitation. The Buccaneers and Saints meet in New Orleans’ Superdome.
The Chiefs have not covered a point spread since November 1, when they pinned the New York Jets with a 35-9 defeat. Despite not beating a point spread in more than two months, Kansas City had also not lost a game until they dropped their season finale two Sundays ago against the Los Angeles Chargers.
When a team is consistently winning straight-up but failing to cover a point spread while still collecting public backing, the books have the talent to set lines that make the popular public play less likely to win. Yet, once a team in this mode loses a game straight-up, like the Chiefs did two weeks ago, they are in position to again win by double-digits.
This trend is based both on two factors working together. First, the books doing what they do best, separating gamblers from their money. And second, when a team is winning they don’t have the call to action to throttle an opponent. Even though the Chiefs didn’t need the game they lost to the Chargers, they had already clinched the top seed in the American Football Conference playoffs, the loss still puts them back into a new call to action mode that should result in a lopsided win over the Browns.
Additionally, no coach in NFL history has a better record off a bye week than head coach Andy Reid. This longtime pattern for Reid dates back not only for his eight years with the Chiefs, but also the 14 seasons he coached the Philadelphia Eagles.
In the late game today, we find the two quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, who rank one-two in both touchdown passes and total passing yards. They also combine for seven Super Bowl wins, with Brady engineering six of those titles.
Brady is making his first playoff appearance with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, after participating in 18 postseasons with the New England Patriots.
This weekend the three most popular plays for the public were the Green Bay Packers (-7) over the Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills (-2½) over the Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints (-3) over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As for the Qoxhi Sunday Divisional Round Plays, those selections are now posted on this site.