The NFL regular season is in the books and the playoffs are finally here!
There are 14 teams remaining in the hunt for the Vince Lombardi Trophy which means we can narrow things down when evaluating which teams are for real and which we can fade in this opening round. One of the best ways to do so is by looking at my favorite stat, Net Yards per Play.
What is Net Yards per Play?
Net Yards per Play is the figure you're left with when you take the average yards gained per play on offense and then subtract the average yards given up per play on defense.
Remember, Net Yards per Play doesn't take into account things like penalties, turnovers, and red zone efficiency. With that being said, it's a good starting point to see how well a team moves the ball down the field while preventing their opponents from doing so.
If you want my best bet for every game on the Wild Card slate, you can find them in the latest edition of the Road to 272 Bets here.
Net Yards per Play Standings for Wild Card Weekend
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Fade the Steelers vs. Bills
If you look at the above numbers, it's clear which playoff team is the odd one out; the Pittsburgh Steelers. They finished the season ranking 26th in the league in Net Yards per Play, the worst mark amongst all playoff teams. Now, they have to hit the road to take on the Bills, who finished the season fifth in Net Yards per Play.
The biggest no-brainer bet of the weekend, in my opinion, is for the Bills to end the Steelers Super Bowl hopes. They're set as 10-point favorites.
Browns are different team on the road
One of the biggest stories of Wild Card Weekend is how the Browns will fare on the road in Houston against the Texans. The Browns' Net Yards per Play this season drops from +1.1 on the road down to -0.7 on the road, a difference of 1.8 yards per play. That's the worst road vs. away splits in the entire league.
Sure, the Browns won in Houston a few weeks back, but that was when the Texans were without CJ Stroud. Can they do it again on Saturday? I'm not so sure.
The Browns are set as road favorites despite their play on the road this season.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.