The AFC Wild Card round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs is in the books. As the dust settles, the Buffalo Bills beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Miami Dolphins and the Houston Texans won over the Cleveland Browns. The Baltimore Ravens are coming off their bye and will hope that they don’t lose any momentum as they welcome the Texans to town in the Divisional Round. The Chiefs will hit the road for a showdown with the Bills.
The winners from the Divisional round will match up next week in the AFC Championship Game. Odds for this week’s game, come courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
2024 NFL Playoff Predictions
No. 1 Baltimore Ravens vs. No. 4 Houston Texans
Spread: Ravens -9.5
Moneyline: Ravens -440, Texans +340
Oddsmakers are not putting much faith in rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud going on the road for a playoff game. Stroud debuted against the Ravens in Week 1, and the Texans lost 25-9. Still, he finished his first career game 28-of-44 passing for 242 yards and added 20 yards rushing. Baltimore is the heavy favorite, especially if star tight end Mark Andrews is able to suit up.
Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has struggled in the playoffs to this point of his career. The good news is that he gets to play at home and take on a beatable Texans defense. Stroud was awesome against the stout Cleveland defense, but the question is whether or not he can pull it off again.
Baltimore was one of the most well-rounded teams in the league this season. They excel at all parts of the game. The Ravens only get stronger if Andrews is activated from injured reserve. Baltimore could also look to add key depth to the main roster after signing veteran running back Dalvin Cook to the practice squad. This is a game that it feels like the Texans aren’t able to make any mistakes and have to play at their best, and I think they come up just short on the road and end an otherwise impressive season.
Pick: Ravens 34, Texans 24
No. 2 Buffalo Bills vs. No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs
Spread: Bills -3
Moneyline: Bills -148, Chiefs +124
The Bills will be at home for this game, and Bills Mafia showed up and showed out despite the elements in the Wild Card round. This will also be Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes’ first road playoff game. Buffalo is favored, but it is tough to count out Kansas City with their recent playoff success.
Josh Allen looked like the quarterback Buffalo needs him to be for a deep playoff run against the Steelers. He only threw for 203 yards but had three touchdowns and picked up 74 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The extra week should allow Buffalo to get healthier with wide receiver Gabe Davis, but the concern now is for cornerback Taron Johnson, who is dealing with a concussion. Even in a down year, you don’t want to play the Chiefs missing any pieces on defense, especially in the secondary.
Kansas City got a good taste of what it could be like playing in Buffalo after playing in frigidly cold weather in the Wild Card round. I expected them to keep the ball on the ground playing in such conditions, but Mahomes threw the ball 41 times for 262 yards and a touchdown. Rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice has seemingly taken over as the WR1 on the team and came down with eight of his 12 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown.
Pick: Bills 31, Chiefs 27