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Sunday, January 5, 2020
PATRIOTS VS TITANS
Venue: Gillette Stadium | Start: 12:15pm AEDT
The New England Patriots make their first wild-card playoff appearance in 10 years Saturday night when the Tennessee Titans visit Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots’ loss to Miami Sunday cost them a first-round bye for the first time since a 33-14 wild-card loss to Baltimore at home in January 2010. While New England closed the season 4-4, the Titans finished on a 7-3 run, spurred by the switch to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. While playing in 12 games total, Tannehill led the NFL in passer rating (117.5) and yards per attempt (9.6), tossing 22 touchdowns against six interceptions. Rookie wideout A.J. Brown erupted over the final six weeks. He totaled 25 catches for 605 yards (24.2 average) and five touchdowns, plus a 49-yard touchdown run. The Titans’ offense, though, still runs through Derrick Henry. The pending free agent racked up 896 yards and 10 touchdowns — including 211 yards and three scores in Sunday’s playoff-clinching win at Houston — over the final six games to win the rushing title. The Patriots’ offense is inconsistent, with Tom Brady posting just one game over his final 11 with a passer rating over 100. New England’s run game is improving, however, topping 100 yards in five of the final six games. The Patriots beat the Titans 35-14 at home in the divisional playoffs two years ago.
Win: New England Patriots
Line: New England Patriots -5.5
Total Points: Under 44.5
TEXANS VS BILLS
Venue: NRG Stadium | Start: 8:35am AEDT
The Houston Texans are getting back their best defensive player just in time for a wild-card playoff visit from the Buffalo Bills on Saturday. Three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, who tore his pec Oct. 27, was activated from injured reserve and said he could play every snap Saturday “if I had to,” although he appears more likely to start in a rotation emphasizing passing-downs work. The fourth-seeded Texans, who won the AFC South, could also get wideout Will Fuller (groin) back after he missed the regular-season finale, a 35-14 loss to Tennessee in which Houston rested its starters. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is battling a back issue and has thrown five interceptions in his last three appearances, but he is expected to be healthy for Saturday. He’ll face a Bills defense that finished second in scoring defense (16.2 points per game) and third in total defense (298.3 yards). On offense, Buffalo will ride second-year quarterback Josh Allen and rookie running back Devin Singletary. Allen barely played in Sunday’s meaningless loss to the Jets, and Singletary sat out. A third-round pick, Singletary has averaged 18.9 touches and 92.4 total yards per game over his last eight games. The Bills have lost four of their last five meetings with the Texans, including all three in Houston.
Win: Houston Texans
Line: Houston Texans -2.5
Total Points: Under 44.5