The Wild Card Round of the NFL playoffs for the 2018 – 2019 season was notable mostly for the amount of discussion the on field referees required in order to reach anything resembling a consensus over what had just happened on the field of play.
If these blokes worked in the AFL, the 2019 Brownlow Medal winner would not be decided during the playing career of the eventual recipient.
The hot team at the moment is the Indianapolis Colts. They started the season with one win against five losses and appeared dead so far as qualifying for the tournament was concerned, but they won nine of their last 10 games.
The Colts beat the Houston Texans, in Houston, and now face the daunting task of another road game with the spelling Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. One bookie, by which we mean most bookies, in all probability, has the Colts as five-point underdogs.
The other AFC game will be the Los Angeles Chargers, who restored the league’s credibility by eliminating the Baltimore Ravens, traveling to Foxborough, Massachusetts to take on the New England Patriots.
New England is favoured by 4.5 points and they are tough to beat on their home turf. Comments have been made about the challenge of a California team playing in New England during the winter, but U.S. winters are not what they used to be, so this game could be tighter than the spread.
The other L.A. team, the Rams, will host the Dallas Cowboys. The Rams are 7.5-point favourites, but this could be a good game if the right Cowboys show up.
The best storyline will be the game between the New Orleans Saints hosting the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles won the Super Bowl last year, but were mediocre during the regular season and qualified for the playoffs on the last day of the season. As was the case last year, the Eagles’ fortunes improved when starting quarterback Carson Wentz was replaced at quarterback by Nick Foles.
The Eagles are eight-point underdogs.