AFC Divisional Round Playoff Previews & Predictions

By Ha Kung Wong

Twitter/X: @FBGarbageTime

Don’t forget to check out this week’s podcast to get a full breakdown of every Divisional Round Playoff game from Ryan Whitfield and me!

Houston Texans (10-7) @ Baltimore Ravens (13-4)

Saturday, January 20, 2024 – 4:30 PM ET

  • Spread: Baltimore by 9
  • Over/Under: 44.5
Houston Texans Stats

Offense per Game

  • Passing – 7th (245.5)
  • Rushing – Tied 22nd (96.9)
  • Points – Tied 13th (22.2)

Defense per Game Allowed

  • Passing – 23rd (234.1)
  • Rushing – 6th (96.6)
  • Points – 11th (20.8)
  • Turnover Differential – (+10) (Tied for 5th Best)
Baltimore Ravens Stats

Offense per Game

  • Passing – 21st (213.8)
  • Rushing – 1st (156.5)
  • Points – 4th (28.4)

Defense per Game Allowed

  • Passing – 6th (191.9)
  • Rushing – 14th (109.4)
  • Points – 1st (16.5)
  • Turnover Differential – (+12) (Tied for Best)

Preview & Prediction

The Texans really showed out against the Browns, with CJ Stroud continuing his dominance of rookie records and Nico Collins solidifying himself as a legit WR1 in the league.  The Browns had one of the most dominant defenses in the league so it’s impressive what the Texans did on offense, but the real difference in the game was the back-to-back pick 6’s by the Houston defense that put the game away.  Last week we predicted that Flacco’s turnovers would likely be the difference in light of how opportunistic Houston was on defense, but they won’t have as easy a time having that type of impact against the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson, who are tied for the best turnover differential in the league.

The Ravens defense also might not be as dominant as the Browns in turns of stats, but they’ve allowed the least points per game to opposing teams this season.  Add that to the turnover differential and you can see how this might go off the rails for Houston on offense.  But it’s not only the defense, the Ravens offense has also been impressive, having the number one run offense and scoring the 4th most points per game in the league.  I’d assume that Jackson will be a lot better protecting possessions than Joe Flacco and I can see the Ravens not giving up many TDs in redzone situations.  So although it may be closer than the spread, the Ravens should take this one.

Ravens Win

Kansas City Chiefs (11-6) @ Buffalo Bills (11-6)

Sunday, January 21, 2024 – 6:30 PM ET

  • Spread: Buffalo by 2.5
  • Over/Under: 46.5
Kansas City Chiefs Stats

Offense per Game

  • Passing – 6th (246.4)
  • Rushing – 19th (104.9)
  • Points – 15th (21.8)

Defense per Game Allowed

  • Passing – 4th (176.5)
  • Rushing – Tied 17th (113.2)
  • Points – 2nd (17.3)
  • Turnover Differential – (-11) (Tied 4th Worst)
Buffalo Bills Stats

Offense per Game

  • Passing – 8th (244.4)
  • Rushing – 7th (130.1)
  • Points – 6th (26.5)

Defense per Game Allowed

  • Passing – 7th (196.6)
  • Rushing – 15th (110.6)
  • Points – 4th (18.3)
  • Turnover Differential – (+2) (Tied 12th Best)

Preview & Prediction

This has got to be Josh Allens biggest game of his career.  The Chiefs have owned the Bills in the postseason, beating them twice, but the Bills get to face their nemesis at home this time.  Will it make a difference?  With Bills Mafia out in force, I wouldn’t be surprised if it did as Patrick Mahomes has never played a post season away game outside of Super Bowls at neutral sites.  Not to mention that the Bills are a whopping 31–7 at home over the last 4 years, which is actually slightly better the Chiefs at home.

The Bills have been on a roll, winning 5 of their last 6 in the regular season to get the 2nd seed, and then taking care of business against the Steelers.  But the Chiefs aren’t the Steelers.  Statistically, the Chiefs have lagged compared to previous years, but they’re veterans in the post-season and it appears that Rashee Rice has stepped up to be a real WR1 with 130 yards and TD on a team that led the league in drops.  And the Chiefs defense, which finished the season second in sacks (57), was absolutely dominant against the league leading Dolphins offense.

That being said, Allen has accounted for an NFL-best 44 touchdowns (29 passing, 15 rushing) in the regular season, a whopping 17 more than Patrick Mahomes (27 passing).  And clearly, stopping Tua, who was dealing with playing in temperatures he’s likely never seen before, is different that stopping Allen at home.  If Allen can’t win this one, against a Chiefs team that appears mortal and having to travel to Buffalo, he may never beat them.  I’m betting on him getting over that hump.

Bills Win