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Are Texans Biggest Underdogs in NFL Playoff History?

The spread of the Texans/Patriots game is the talk of the town these days. The spread on the game as of Monday afternoon had settled around Pats-16, this making people wonder whether the Texans/Patriots game has produced the biggest spread in postseason history. If you look at any site that offer AFC Championship and Division lines, you will find this topic dominating a number of forums.

Saturday night left the Houston Texans winners after they beat the Oakland Raiders. Questions about their next opponent arose; most people called the Steelers/Dolphins game beforehand, though some people were probably surprised when the Steelers took the game by 30-12.

This meant that the Texans were set to take on a 14-2 New England side, this quickly prompting questions about the spread of the game. Double digit spreads are not common in the postseason. However, the Texans are an extreme outlier who shouldn’t surprise anyone for eliciting such odds.

The Texans are hardly the most competent team around, yet they often take on far more powerful sides and achieve success despite the odds. Just consider the fact that their Quarterback is the 29th rated in the NFL.

Sure, no one can deny just how amazing their defense has been throughout the previous year, but radical betting threads are never driven by defense. The NFL is an organization that lauds and elevates quarterbacks, and they tend to drive everything.

So there is every reason to view the Texans as serious underdogs. But that doesn’t mean that the Patriots/Texans game has the biggest spread in postseason history. An expert like R.J. Bell will call this the largest spread of any postseason game, but only since divisional realignment in 2002.

The Arizona Cardinals were 16.5 point underdogs in the 1998-99 postseason; this was the time when they pulled off an upset against the Cowboys and then tried to take on a 15-1 Vikings team, losing by 20 as a result.

That doesn’t even compare to the New York Jets who were 18-point underdogs when they faced the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. In this case, the Jets delivered a real upset by taking the game with a score of 16-7.

Though, the one that really takes the cake is the San Diego Chargers/San Francisco 49ers game in Super Bowl XXIX which elicited a spread of 19 points; the 49ers took that game by a 49-26 score.

So the Texans are hardly the most impressive when it comes to spreads, though this is properly their most impressive. The team has attracted a spread of 14 points or more four times in their history.

It is worth pointing out that the Texans faced the Patriots the last time they played as underdogs with a spread greater than 10 points, and they lost that game. There is no reason to believe that the Texans will suffer that same 40-7 loss this time around; though, the Patriots are something truly impressive this season.

The Texans are hardly the most powerful team around, but they have shown an ability to overcome great odds; the fact that they are such underdogs this time might even give them an advantage.

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