The first round of the NFL playoffs is now set. Bookmaker Sportsbet is offering 32 markets for each of the four games. The Seattle Seahawks will travel to Minnesota to play the Vikings.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will make a short trip to Cincinnati to play the Bengals. The Green Bay Packers will travel to Washington D.C. to play the Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs will visit the Houston Texans.
In a league where much emphasis is placed on home field advantage, visiting teams are favoured in three of the four matches, with The Redskins being the only home team favoured by Sportsbet.
This is the result of a NFL rankings system where won-lost records do not always determine venues. Teams that win their division gain home field advantage even if their records were poorer than those of their playoff opponents. Thus the wild-card Kansas City Chiefs, winners of 11 games, must travel to Houston to play the Texans, even though those Texans won only nine games in the regular season, but won their AFC South division title due to the weakness of the other teams in that division.
The same scenario applies to the Washington Redskins. They won only nine games to win the NFC East division.
New York Jets fans have to swallow the bitter pill of missing the playoffs, even though they won 10 games, one more than the number of victories by divisional champs and playoff bound Washington Redskins and Houston Texans. The final ignominy of that scenario is that three teams with identical 10 – 6 records are playing in the post season because of the ineptitude of other teams in their divisions.