NFL playoff predictions: our picks in the wildcard round

The NFL Playoffs are here and with it comes the added theater of Monday night’s first wildcard game and two team matches coming together...


The NFL Playoffs are here and with it comes the added theater of Monday night’s first wildcard game and two team matches coming together for the third time this season that will anchor the opening weekend of the playoffs.

Saturday night’s Patriots-Bills III and Monday’s game three between the Cardinals and the NFC West Rams are sandwiching a weekend where parity – and familiarity – should be in the spotlight. A rematch between the Raiders and the Bengals, and a game between the Cowboys and the 49ers, two of the NFL’s most famous franchises, are also expected to escalate the drama after Las Vegas and San Francisco both needed hours. extra to claim their posts in the playoffs.

This weekend, however, NFL sudden death overtime rules will apply: The length of the overtime ranges from 10 minutes to 15 minutes, and there will be no question of whether kneel down as matches will continue until someone scores.

Here’s a look at the NFL Playoff Wildcard Round, with all the picks made ATS.

Last week’s record: 6-10

Regular season record: 129-143

All hours are oriental.

The Las Vegas Raiders at the Cincinnati Bengals, 4:30 p.m., NBC

Line: Bengals -5.5 | Total: 49.5

There are few more interesting playoff stories than the Raiders (10-7), a team once considered to be out of the playoffs until they closed out the regular season by winning four straight games in a row. score to get a wild card spot. They face an attack from the Bengals (10-7) that thrived under Joe Burrow, who comes into the game on a tear, having thrown more than 300 yards in three of his last four starts.

Burrow could exploit the Raiders ‘secondary, Las Vegas’ most vulnerable defense unit, which has allowed more than 300 passing yards four times this season. Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby and another lineman can generate pressure against a Bengals front that allowed 55 sacks. But the Bengals have a Plan B with Joe Mixon, who was third in the league in rushing yards (1,205), and could thrive as a receiver on control roads against the Raiders’ zone defense. Cincinnati beat Las Vegas comfortably in Week 11, and there’s little reason to believe it won’t happen again. Take: Bengals -5.5

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, 8:15 p.m., CBS

Line: Invoices -4 | Total: 42.5

Round 3, anyone?

Every good fight needs a third installment, and this meeting between the Bills (11-6) and Patriots (10-7) could be similar to the first, in Week 13, when New England left Mac Jones attempting just three assists in his victory. on Buffalo. Forecasts in Orchard Park, NY on Saturday call for temperatures to hover around 0 degrees and a 30 percent chance of snow, a prospect that once again fosters a heavy addiction to the racing game.

The Bills’ defense has allowed the league to dip in yards and points in the regular season, but it has been sensitive to the run. In the late-December team reunion, a win in Buffalo, the Bills forced Jones to put in a 14 of 32 pass performance with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Taking on more of the offensive load in recent weeks, Jones has looked like the rookie he is, and trusting a freshman passer to overcome the gap, on the road, in the cold, against a rising team is not really a safe bet. Take: Tickets -4

the Philadelphia Eagles to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: Boucaniers -8.5 | Total: 49

Tom Brady will have to endure Super Bowl LII and Philly Special mentions as he prepares for the Eagles (9-8), who have pivoted their season by focusing on racing to such an extent that Philadelphia finished with the league’s highest rushing average (159.7 yards per game). The Eagles’ salute is a major asset for Tampa Bay, as they allow just 92.5 yards per game, the third under in the league.

And the injured starters of the Buccaneers (13-4) are back in the lineup. Coach Bruce Arians said Monday he expected running back Leonard Fournette (hamstrings), linebacker Shaquil Barrett (knee) and point pitcher Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) to play on Sunday. . This bodes well as they attempt to defend their Super Bowl championship, not revisit Brady’s nightmares. Take: Buccaneers -8.5

San Francisco 49ers to the Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m., CBS

Line: Cowboys -3 | Total: 50.5

It’s the closest wildcard weekend, and for good reason: the 49ers (10-7) can block anything Dallas does well defensively. The short pullbacks and rushing attacks that are staples of Coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense negate linebacker Micah Parsons’ ability to generate pressure and sacks (he’s 13 this season). San Francisco doesn’t rely on deep throws, which could neutralize Trevon Diggs, the Dallas cornerback who led the league in interceptions (11).

Despite the beating Dallas (12-5) gave Philadelphia reinforcements last week, the Cowboys offense has more often suffered from communication problems between Dak Prescott and his receivers and inconsistent running play. Behind versatile wide receiver Deebo Samuel and a defense that has allowed just 260 yards in its last four regular season games, the 49ers could be looking to get a surprise, or at least keep the score uncomfortably close. . Take: 49ers +3

Pittsburgh Steelers in Kansas City, 8:15 p.m., NBC

Line: Kansas City -12.5 | Total: 46

Arguably the Steelers (9-7-1) are the luckiest team in the playoffs, as they took advantage of the Colts’ inexplicable breakdown in Week 18 against the Jaguars to sneak into the playoffs. That magic – and Ben Roethlisberger’s career in the NFL – is set to end against Kansas City (12-5), which blew Pittsburgh by 26 points in Week 16.

Kansas City coach Andy Reid predicts Tyreek Hill (heel) and running backs Darrel Williams (toe) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) will all play. Of course, Kansas City disappointed in their season-ending win over the Broncos, but nothing in Pittsburgh’s recent performances to indicate the Steelers are more than a bump in the road. Take: Kansas City -12.5

Arizona Cardinals at the Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

Line: Rams -4 | Total: 49.5

The NFL’s top team through October, the Cardinals (11-6) have lost four of their last five games and lost home court advantage, and they now have to travel to face the Rams (12-5). Arizona could get some much-needed help if JJ Watt, who returned to training this week after a three-month absence, is available, though his status is still uncertain. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has a knee injury and hasn’t played since Week 14, will not be available.

Matthew Stafford finished the season tied for first in the league in interceptions (17), and his decision making will be scrutinized with scrutiny as the playoffs progress, given the draft capital, general manager Les Snead dropped out in Detroit to trade for him. But at least for the first round, he can count on the Cardinals’ mistakes to be more damaging: Arizona was flagged for at least six penalties in every game in a five-game streak, and missed a huge 17 central quarterback snaps this season. Take: Rams -4

A quick primer for those unfamiliar with betting lines: Favorites are listed next to a negative number which represents the number of points they need to earn to cover the spread. Raiders -5.5, for example, means Las Vegas has to beat Chicago by at least 6 points for its backers to win their bet. Players can also bet on the total score, or whether the combined score of the teams in the game is above or below a pre-selected number of points.

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Newsrust - US Top News: NFL playoff predictions: our picks in the wildcard round
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