Bills quarterback Josh Allen  walks of the field after fumbling the snap that turned into a Vikings touchdown.

OT loss costs Bills ground but still Super Bowl, AFC favorites

From a prohibitive favorite to narrowly leading the pack in a matter of hours on Sunday, oddsmakers are adjusting futures markets following Buffalo’s overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Still listed as the team to beat in the AFC East division, the Bills would be the No. 6 seed in the AFC if the playoffs began Monday.

At 6-3, they’re behind the Miami Dolphins (7-3) and New York Jets, who are also 6-3 but own a head-to-head win over the Bills.

Before Sunday’s kickoff, FanDuel had the Bills at -450 to win the division. By the time the Vikings recovered a fourth Buffalo fumble and pushed the game into overtime, the Bills dipped to -150 with the Dolphins +240 and Jets at +1100.

The Bills are still +200 and atop the AFC champion futures at FanDuel, with the Kansas City Chiefs +240 and the Baltimore Ravens +650.

Miami is +950 at FanDuel.

Buffalo also is the favorite to win the Super Bowl, but at +380 their odds are lower than they have been at FanDuel since July.

The Eagles and Chiefs are +500 and the Minnesota Vikings are +1300, even with the Ravens.

Caesars Sportsbook has the Bills at -180 in the division, +190 in the conference and +380 for the Super Bowl.

The Chiefs closed to +220 in AFC winner odds and +475 for the Super Bowl.

Minnesota is the largest favorite for a division title at -6000 in the NFC North. But Philadelphia is the big favorite in the NFC: +190 to claim the conference title and +500 to win the Super Bowl at Caesars.

–Field Level Media

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) runs off the field after defeating the Buffalo Bills 21-19 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Sept. 25, 2022.

Playoff buy-in builds at books for Dolphins, Packers

Public plays on the Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins making the playoffs are on the rise.

The Packers (2-1) outlasted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 and the Dolphins held off the Buffalo Bills to improve to 3-0. Those two-point wins provided a push for some bettors to jump on the “to make playoffs” futures at BetMGM.

Since those games went final, Green Bay moved from -275 to -400 and the Dolphins jumped from -200 to -400 entering Week 4.

At -400 odds, the implied probability is 80 percent that those teams are playoff bound.

The Packers host the New England Patriots (1-2) this week but are planning for quarterback Brian Hoyer instead of Mac Jones (ankle).

Miami visits the Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) on Thursday night with games against the New York Jets (1-2), Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2), Detroit Lions (1-2) and Chicago Bears (2-1) upcoming.

The Packers last missed the playoffs in 2019.

The Dolphins remain +210 to win the AFC East at FanDuel — the Bills are -240 — and Green Bay jumped the Minnesota Vikings and stand at -125 to win the NFC North at FanDuel. The Vikings are +165.

One of the largest adjustments in win total projections at FanDuel is Miami at 10.5, up from 7.5 prior to Week 1. The Dolphins are -135 to go over that total.

–Field Level Media

Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky is sacked by Browns linebacker Jacob Phillips during the second half Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Cleveland.

Brownssteelers 14

Mitch, please: Steelers down to 15 percent chance to make playoffs

Will the 1-2 Pittsburgh Steelers rebound and make the playoffs in 2022?

Bettors are banking on “No.”

BetMGM moved the Steelers down in a massive odds shift following Week 3 that pushed Pittsburgh from -350 to -750, an implied probability of over 85 percent.

The Steelers are riding with Mitch Trubisky at quarterback in the first season without Ben Roethlisberger since 2004 and play the Jets (1-2) in Week 4. But peeking around the corner, they play at Buffalo (Oct. 9), host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Oct. 16) and then visit the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles — both 3-0 this season — before Halloween.

A bye week, and golden opportunity for Pittsburgh to launch the Kenny Pickett era at quarterback, follows to kick off November.

Trubisky is averaging 5.5 yards per pass attempt and the Steelers have four offensive touchdowns and 54 points in three games. Trubisky has one touchdown run and two TD passes.

Pittsburgh’s lone win this season was a Week 1 overtime victory against the Bengals in which Cincinnati committed five turnovers.

Other teams who are being downgraded on the “to make playoffs” futures since Week 3 games were played include the Las Vegas Raiders (-350 to -550), Arizona Cardinals (-190 to -450), and Washington Commanders (-275 to -400).

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Network television commentator Al Michaels before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Al Michaels to call one playoff game for NBC as ‘emeritus’ contributor

Al Michaels and NBC Sports have reached an agreement that will keep Michaels on in an “emeritus role” going forward.

NBC announced the deal Tuesday, saying Michaels will continue to contribute to the network’s coverage of the NFL playoffs and the Olympics.

Michaels, 77, anchored NBC Sports’ “Sunday Night Football” broadcast team beginning in 2006, and his contract expired following the Super Bowl in February. NBC opted to promote Mike Tirico to the primary play-by-play announcer of “Sunday Night Football” alongside color commentator Cris Collinsworth.

Michaels, meanwhile, signed with Amazon to be the play-by-play voice of the company’s new “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts beginning next season.

Reports said Michaels will call one of NBC’s three playoff games next year with a partner yet to be named. Tirico and Collinsworth will handle the other games.

“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fallk,” Michaels said in a press release.

Michaels matched Pat Summerall by calling his 11th Super Bowl in February.

At Amazon, he will partner with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit on “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts. Herbstreit will continue in his role as ESPN’s lead college football commentator.

–Field Level Media

Jan 23, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce catches the game-winning touchdown in overtime in the AFC Divisional Round at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Germano-USA TODAY NETWORK

Nfl Afc Divisional Round Buffalo Bills At Kansas City Chiefs

NFL owners approve OT rules adjustment for playoffs

NFL owners on Tuesday approved a proposal to modify its overtime rule in the playoffs by ensuring both teams have a possession.

The proposal was brought forth by the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles.

Per ESPN, teams that won the overtime coin flip posted a 10-2 record in the playoffs, with seven of those wins coming on the opening possession.

Overtime in the regular season will remain under the current rules, with the game ending should one team score a touchdown on its opening possession regardless if the other side has touched the ball.

The change to the overtime rule in the playoffs comes on the heels of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 42-36 win over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Divisional round on Jan. 23.

The Chiefs won the coin toss prior to the start of overtime and elected to receive the ball.

Tight end Travis Kelce reeled in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to cap an eight-play, 75-yard drive on the first possession of overtime.

Quarterback Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense did not have a chance to respond.

–Field Level Media

Jan 15, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) runs for a touchdown during the second quarter of the AFC Wild Card playoff game against the New England Patriots at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Allen throws for 5 TDs as Bills maul Patriots

Josh Allen passed for 308 yards and five touchdowns as the third-seeded Buffalo Bills dominated the visiting New England Patriots 47-17 in an AFC wild-card matchup on Saturday night in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Allen (21-of-25 passing) guided the Bills to touchdown drives on their first seven possessions, a first for any team in a postseason game in the Super Bowl era. Devin Singletary rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns for the Bills.

The Bills became the first playoff team since at least 1950 to not punt or attempt a field goal and go the full game without a turnover.

Allen added 66 yards rushing on six rushes. He became the third player in NFL playoff history to throw for five or more touchdowns while tossing fewer than five imcompletions and no interceptions.

“We were ready to play. A lot of preparation went into this one,” Allen told the CBS broadcast in a postgame interview. “We just kept the momentum rolling all day today.”

Buffalo will face either Kansas City or Cincinnati in the divisional round next weekend.

Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones went 24-of-38 passing for 232 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his first playoff start. Kendrick Bourne had seven catches for a team-high 77 yards and two scores for New England.

The Patriots were playing their first playoff game without Tom Brady at quarterback since a loss at Jacksonville in the wild-card round on Jan. 3, 1999.

It was the first playoff meeting between the AFC East rivals since a then-Boston Patriots team earned a 26-8 win at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo on Dec. 28, 1963, in a divisional round game. The teams split their two regular-season meetings this season.

“It’s disappointing, especially when there’s no more games after this,” Patriots linebacker Matt Judon said. “Everything was kind of frustrating, honestly. … When they [are] hitting on all phases … that’s very hard to stop [as] a team. It was their night tonight.”

Allen led the Bills to touchdown drives in each of their four first-half possessions as Buffalo built a 27-3 halftime lead. It marked the largest halftime deficit for the Patriots in coach Bill Belichick’s tenure.

Jones was intercepted on the Patriots’ opening drive of the second half. On the next drive, Allen hit Emmanuel Sanders on a 34-yard bomb for another touchdown to make it 33-3 at the 8:48 mark of the third.

With the game already in hand, Jones tossed a three-yard pass to Bourne for the QB’s first postseason TD with 4:12 to go in the third.

Allen added a 19-yard scoring pass to Gabriel Davis and a one-yard TD toss to offensive lineman Tommy Doyle in the fourth quarter as the Bills ran up the score. Jones added another four-yard TD toss to Bourne late in the fourth.

Buffalo marched 70 yards on nine plays on the game’s opening drive to score as Allen found Dawson Knox for an eight-yard TD with 9:45 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Jones drove the Patriots to the Bills’ 34-yard-line before his pass intended for wideout Nelson Agholor was intercepted by Micah Hyde in the end zone for a touchdown.

Allen and Knox connected again for an 11-yard touchdown with 40 seconds left in the quarter to make it 14-0.

Singletary had a pair of TD rushes in the second quarter, scoring on a three-yard rush with 7:20 on the clock and again on a 16-yard scamper with 1:53 remaining.

Nick Folk’s 44-yard field goal six seconds before halftime put New England on the board.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson (2) celebrates with punter A.J. Cole (6) and tight end Foster Moreau (87) after kicking a game-winning field goal in overtime against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders beat Chargers on OT field goal to clinch playoff spot

Derek Carr threw a pair of touchdown passes to Hunter Renfrow and Daniel Carlson kicked the last of his five field goals as time expired in overtime as the Las Vegas Raiders clinched a spot in the NFL playoff field by holding on for a 35-32 victory Sunday night over the visiting Los Angeles Chargers.

Carr went 20-of-36 passing for 186 yards as Las Vegas (10-7) won its last four games to earn a trip to Cincinnati for a wild-card game Saturday.

Adding to the drama was that a tie game would have put both teams in the playoffs. Instead, the Raiders’ victory eliminated the Chargers and allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to make the playoff field.

Carlson kicked a 40-yard field goal on the first possession of OT to give the Raiders a 32-29 lead, with the Chargers tying the game 32-all on a 41-yard kick from Dustin Hopkins with 4:30 remaining in the extra period. Carlson won it on a 47-yarder on the final play of OT as the Raiders advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert completed 34 of 64 passes for 383 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Austin Ekeler had a rushing and receiving TD for the Chargers (9-8), while Mike Williams had nine catches for 119 yards.

The Raiders appeared to be in control when they took a 29-14 lead with 8:23 remaining after a 52-yard field goal by Carlson, which followed a 2-yard TD catch from Renfrow in the opening minute of the final quarter.

But the Chargers forced overtime after a 23-yard TD catch from Joshua Palmer on fourth down with 4:28 remaining, plus a 2-point conversion, and a TD catch from Mike Williams on the final play of regulation to cap a 19-play, 83-yard drive.

The Raiders burst out to a 10-0 lead less than 12 minutes into the game on a Carlson field goal and a 12-yard touchdown reception by Renfrow.

The Chargers’ answer came in the form of two second-quarter TDs from Ekeler, the first on a 14-yard run and the second on a 14-yard reception from Herbert to take a 14-10 lead 1:52 before halftime.

The Raiders got a Josh Jacobs 1-yard TD run with 37 seconds remaining before the break to take a 17-14 advantage.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and center Ryan Jensen (66) in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

NFL announces six-game wild-card schedule

The NFL announced the wild-card playoff schedule on Sunday night, providing an early look at the six-game slate that will take place next Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Saturday’s postseason action kicks off at 4:30 p.m. ET., when the Cincinnati Bengals will host the Las Vegas Raiders on NBC.

Fourth-seeded Cincinnati (10-7) captured the AFC North title, while fifth-seeded Las Vegas (10-7) completed a roller-coaster regular season Sunday night by sneaking into the playoffs with a last-second 35-32 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Bengals and Raiders met Nov. 21 in Las Vegas with the Bengals prevailing 32-13.

In Saturday’s nightcap, the Buffalo Bills will host their AFC East rivals, the New England Patriots, in an 8:15 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS.

The third-seeded Bills (11-6) won the division for the second straight year, while the sixth-seeded Patriots (10-7) are back in the postseason following a one-year absence. This will be the third meeting between the teams in just over a month, with each team previously winning on the opponent’s home field in December.

The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will open their title defense Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles.

The Buccaneers (13-4) earned the NFC’s No. 2 seed after winning the NFC South, while the Eagles (9-8) slipped into the playoffs with a late-season, four-game winning streak. Tampa Bay won 28-22 in Philadelphia on Oct. 14.

Sunday’s second contest (4:30 p.m. ET, CBS) pits the third-seeded Dallas Cowboys against the sixth-seeded San Francisco 49ers, two proud franchises seeking their first Super Bowl titles since the 1990s.

The NFC East champion Cowboys (12-5) won five of their final six games and will look to continue that momentum against the visiting Niners (10-7). San Francisco got into the postseason Sunday by rallying from a 17-0 deficit to stun the Los Angeles Rams 27-24 in overtime.

Another overtime winner on Sunday was the Pittsburgh Steelers, who slipped past the Baltimore Ravens to secure the final playoff spot in the AFC. Their prize is a wild-card matchup with the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Second-seeded Kansas City (12-5) will host seventh-seeded Pittsburgh (9-7-1) at 8:15 p.m. ET on Sunday on NBC. The AFC West champion Chiefs have won nine of their last 10 games, including a 36-10 victory over the Steelers on Dec. 26.

The final game of wild-card weekend, which will take place Monday at 8:15 p.m. ET. on ABC/ESPN, features the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Rams and the fifth-seeded Arizona Cardinals. The host Rams (12-5) captured the NFC West title by finishing a game ahead of the Cardinals (11-6). Each team won on the other’s home field earlier this season.

The No. 1 seeds are the Green Bay Packers in the NFC and the Tennessee Titans in the AFC. Each team will face the lowest remaining seed in their conference in the divisional playoff round Jan. 22 and 23.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Micah Parsons (11) rushes against Washington Football Team offensive tackle Sam Cosmi (76) in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dr. Allen Sills: NFL bracing for COVID surge as playoffs begin

There’s one wildcard the NFL expects to crash the playoffs: COVID-19.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills said on Thursday that overseas patters of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus indicate the NFL should brace for high numbers the next “2-3 weeks.”

“When we start talking about projecting where we’re going to be, I like to quote that great medical scientist Yogi Berra, who says it’s really difficult to make projections, especially about the future,” Sills said in an NFL Network interview. “If we’ve learned anything, it’s that COVID can take us a lot of different directions. If this follows the trend we’ve seen in other countries, we do expect there will be a rapid decline with Omicron.

“I would see us being in the thick of this the next 2-3 weeks. Then hopefully seeing declining cases as we get later in our playoffs. We’ve been wrong about where this thing goes before.”

Several prominent players were among the lot added to the COVID/reserve list this week, including front-and-center starters for playoff teams such as Bengals running back Joe Mixon, Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith and Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.

Parsons is officially out for Sunday’s game and won’t travel to Philadelphia with the team.

Protocol for COVID-19 testing and return to play shifted along with CDC guidelines shortening quarantine periods from 10 days to five days.

For playoff teams, that makes next Tuesday and Wednesday critical for testing, although asymptomatic, vaccinated players can be cleared before the five-day quarantine window.

An unvaccinated player testing positive next Tuesday would not be cleared to return for a Saturday wild-card game. The same is true of Wednesday testing for players scheduled to play wildcard Sunday.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday the team is opening hotel rooms at the team headquarters, The Star, for players planning to create a “bubble” environment for the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury looks on as Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up prior to the game against the Houston Texans at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals eye NFC West crown, wary of wounded Seahawks

Arizona clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2015, but the Cardinals have plenty to play for on Sunday.

The Cardinals can still win the NFC West title and earn a home playoff game by taking care of business against the Seattle Seahawks — and getting some help — in Week 18.

The Cardinals (11-5) are a game behind the Los Angeles Rams in the division chase entering Sunday’s regular-season finale with the Seahawks (6-10) in Glendale, Ariz.

Last week, the Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak with a 25-22 victory at Dallas as Kyler Murray completed 26 of 38 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 44 yards.

The Cardinals are just 3-4 at home, having lost four in a row.

“I think we just gotta play better at home. I think that’s what it comes down to. Nothing more, nothing less,” Murray said. “I definitely feel like as a team, it’s about getting hot at the right time and going into the playoffs. You wouldn’t want to go into the playoffs feeling how we felt three weeks ago, that’s for sure. I think that was a good head start to win this past Sunday and hopefully get the job done this weekend that we can feel even better going into the playoffs.”

Running back James Connor, whose 14 rushing touchdowns are two shy of the franchise record, missed two games in a row with a heel injury and has been limited in practice this week.

Chase Edmonds rushed for a game-high 53 yards against the Cowboys before leaving with an ankle injury and is also questionable for Sunday’s game.

“We’ll see how they progress in the next couple days. I don’t know how much we’ll use them, but we want to make sure they’re ready for the playoffs,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Connor and Edmonds. “That’s when we’ve been at our best when both guys are healthy and getting to play and taking some snaps off of each other. We’d like to get back to that …”

The Seahawks will finish with a losing record for the first time in the decade-long Russell Wilson/Bobby Wagner era. Seattle snapped a two-game skid last weekend with a 51-29 victory against visiting Detroit.

Wilson threw four touchdown passes – three to DK Metcalf – and Rashaad Penny rushed for a career-high 170 yards and two scores.

“Watching the film against Detroit, they were tremendous in all three phases, playing hard, playing to win,” Kingsbury said. “You would never guess that they aren’t going to the playoffs, honestly watching that team play.”

Wagner suffered a knee injury on Detroit’s first offensive play and didn’t return. The linebacker said he hopes to play Sunday.

“I think it’s just always important to try your best to finish what you start,” Wagner said. “So regardless of how the things play out, you never want your circumstances or what’s going on around you to dictate whether or not you’re going to play or how hard you’re going to play.”

Wagner is one of 10 Seahawks who have missed practice this week with injuries. The list includes linebacker Carlos Dunlap II (ankle), safety Quandre Diggs (knee) and tight end Will Dissly (heel).

The Cardinals won earlier this season in Seattle 23-13 behind backup quarterback Colt McCoy, who threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Conner scored on a 1-yard run with 2:20 remaining to clinch the victory.

–Field Level Media