After the longest regular season in NFL history, the NFL Playoffs are finally here. The NFL Wild Card weekend will provide us a jam-packed weekend with six total games, three on Saturday, two on Sunday, and for the first time, one game featured on Monday Night.
Storylines will be plentiful over the weekend. Division foes are facing off for the third time, Big Ben’s last ride, and five different quarterbacks are making their playoff debut.
Below we will break down each of those six games and provide you with analysis, betting odds, and picks.
Super Wild Card Weekend
Las Vegas Raiders @ Cincinnati Bengals
Saturday, January 15th, 4:30 p.m ET (NBC)
Line: Bengals -5.5
Total: Over/Under 49
The Cincinnati Bengals opened up as -6.5 point favorites, and with heavy action coming in on the Raiders early, the line has dropped to -5.5. A lot of the action could be recency bias as the Raiders pulled off an impressive upset win against the Los Angeles Chargers last week to punch their ticket to get into the playoffs.
This Wild Card matchup will be the second time these two teams face off against each other, as they met in week 11 when the Bengals won on the road 32-13
Pick: Over 49
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
Saturday, January 15th, 8:15 p.m ET (CBS)
Line: Buffalo Bills -4
Total: Over/Under 44
These division foes are ready to battle for the third time this year. New England and Buffalo split their season series, with the home team losing each time.
While both teams are evenly matchup on paper, id gives the Bills a slight edge because of the Quarterback play. Josh Allen is an MVP candidate and having another stellar year, while the Patriots are going with rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Jones is having a great year and is a candidate for Rookie of the Year, but historically rookie QBs don’t play well in their playoff debut. Quarterbacks making their playoff debut against a quarterback with at least one previous postseason start under their belt have gone 14-30 straight up and 12-31-1 ATS since 2002.
Pick: Bills -4
Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, January 16th, 1:00 p.m ET (Fox)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8.5
Total: Over/Under 48.5
Another quarterback is making his playoff debut as Jalen Hurts, and the Eagles travel to Tampa Bay to defend the Super Bowl Champions. Hurts and the Eagles look to avenge their 22-28 loss against these same Buccaneers back in Week 6. the Eagles went 7-2 over its last nine games to clinch a playoff spot for the 4th time in the last five years.
The growth of Jalen Hurts in his second season has been fun to watch, and this Eagles team is very easy to root for, but unfortunately, the ride comes to an end during Wild Card weekend. Philly went on a nice 7-2 run to end the season, but looking at its competition over that span helps understand why they could make the run they did. Of those seven wins, two came against the Giants, another two wins over the Football Team, and wins over the Jets and Broncos, all teams in the league’s bottom half.
Picks: Buccaneers -8.5
San Francisco 49ers @ Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, January 16th, 4:30 p.m ET (CBS and Nickelodeon)
Line: Cowboys -3
Total: Over/Under 51
Let one of the oldest, most storied rivalries begin again. These two teams have met in the playoffs on seven occasions, the first time since 1994 in which the 49ers went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
Running the ball on offense and stopping the run on defense has been a problem for Dallas, which could pose a huge issue against this 49ers team. The 49ers rank 5th in Rushing DVOA and average 127.4 rushing yards per game, which is 7th best in the NFL.
Pick: 49ers +3
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, January 16th, 8:15 p.m ET (NBC)
Line: Chiefs -12.5
Total: Over/Under 46.5
I am still trying to figure out how the Steelers snuck into the playoffs. Big Ben’s retirement tour will be extended at least one more week as the Steelers travel to Kansas City looking to dethrone the back-to-back AFC Champion Chiefs.
This is the biggest mismatch of Wild Card weekend, and I expect the final score to reflect that. The Steelers lucked their way into the postseason and didn’t do anything extraordinary. They rank 29th in the league in rushing yards per game at 93.1 and 15th in passing yards per game with 222.2 yards. Defensively they aren’t much better as they rank 20th in opponents per game (23.4).
Pick: Chiefs -12.5
Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams
Monday, January 19th, 8:15 p.m ET (ABC/ESPN)
Line: Rams -4
Total: Over/Under 49.5
The second matchup for the NFL Wild Card Weekend will face the thirst time this season. Once again, these two division foes split their season series, with the home team losing each time.
This matchup should provide some fireworks. Kyler Murray finally made his playoff debut and the Rams’ high-powered offense led by Cooper Kupp and newcomers Matt Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr.
The Rams have won nine of the last 10 in this rivalry, with the Cards failing to reach double digits in half of those games. Coach Sean McVay is 4-1-1 against the spread (ATS) head-to-head against Kingsbury.
Pick: Over 49.5
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Super Wild Card weekend should provide some fireworks and great headlines. Will Big Ben and the Steeler’s luck run out? Will Tom Brady continue his dominance and make another run to the Super Bowl? Can one of these young quarterbacks make a name for themselves and carry their team to the next round? Only one way to find out, sit back, relax, kick your feet up and watch the drama unfold. Happy Wild Card Weekend.
Kurt Blakeway – Sporting Betting Analyst
Kurt is a Sports Betting Analyst for Safest Betting Sites. He enjoys all things MLB, NFL, CFB, and CBB. While he is a fan first, he is always trying to gain an edge on the books to make a little bit of money.