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2019 NFL Wild Card Games Odds and Game Previews, Saturday January 5

After 17 weeks of football, only 12 teams remain in the hunt for the Super Bowl. But to get to the Super Bowl, eight of those teams need to make it past Wild Card weekend. Up first on Saturday are the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans in an AFC South showdown, followed by the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys. The stakes are high, with the losers going home and the winners surviving another week and continuing on their quest to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII.

The early Saturday matchup features two teams very familiar with one another as the Indianapolis Colts (10-6) and the Houston Texans (11-5) square off for the third time this season.

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The Colts, led by Andrew Luck who is having a fantastic comeback season, are coming in as one of the hottest teams in the AFC having won their last four matches, including a crucial Sunday Night Football win over the Tennessee Titans in their regular season finale to clinch their spot in the playoffs. Luck has bounced back after several lost seasons due to injury with 39 touchdowns to 15 interceptions while leading the No. 5 scoring offense in the league, averaging 27.1 points per game. The defense led by Defensive Rookie of the Year frontrunner Darius Leonard has also been a force this whole season, holding opponents to just 21.5 points against.

The Texans are also coming into the playoffs with a win against the Jacksonville that gave them home-field advantage. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is showing what he can do when he’s healthy, throwing 26 touchdowns to just nine interceptions this season, getting a lot of help from star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has hauled in 115 passes for 1,572 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. And the healthy defensive front of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney has caused opposing quarterbacks problems all season long, allowing opponents just 19.8 points per game.

Indianapolis and Houston have split the season series with each team winning on the road. The Colts will be hoping to look for more of that road magic, while the Texans look to use the home field advantage that they earned with their season finale win to their advantage, going 6-2 when they play at NRG Stadium this season. The two teams are both pretty evenly matched, which is reflected in the line as the Texans are slim favorites, favored by just one point with odds at -1 – 100 and the money line at -130.

The second Saturday match features two teams that are no strangers to the postseason, though one has had more success in the past decade than the other. The Seattle Seahawks (10-6) travel to Arlington, Texas, to square off against the Dallas Cowboys (10-6) in a rematch of an early regular season test.

The Seattle Seahawks roll into town after clinching their spot in the postseason with a last-second field goal victory over the Arizona Cardinals, winning six of their last seven games to end the season. Quarterback Russell Wilson has put together another solid year, passing for 35 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, while Chris Carson has established himself as the lead runner in the Seattle backfield, rushing for 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns, though the offense may be without guard J.R. Sweezy, who is listed as questionable for the matchup. The defense, traditionally one of the most feared units in the NFL, has regressed a little bit but are still holding opponents to 21.7 points per game.

The Dallas Cowboys are also one of the hottest teams in the league having won seven of their last eight since a loss to the Tennessee Titans left them with a 3-5 record and dwindling hopes of a postseason appearance. The Cowboys even won their season finale against the New York Giants in what was deemed by many as a “meaningless” game, despite quarterback Dak Prescott playing every offensive snap of the game. Prescott, often criticized for taking too many sacks, has put together a solid season with 3,885 passing yards and 22 touchdowns and have added a few more scores of his own with his legs. The offense again will run through third-year running back Ezekiel Elliott, who once again leads the league with 1,434 rushing yards, despite not playing in the season finale. The defense has looked revitalized under defensive coordinator Kris Richard, with standout performances from rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and Byron Jones, who was moved back to his natural position at cornerback at the beginning of the season.

Both teams enter the game with a strong finish to the regular season. Despite the Seahawks taking the regular season matchup, the Cowboys are slim 2-point favorites with the odds at -2 -105

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