The NFL playoffs are here and with them comes the excitment of the first Monday night wild-card game. We also have two matchups of teams meeting for the third time this season that will anchor the postseason’s opening weekend. I can’t wait for to see how these games play out and determine what matchups we will have next week!
Sat. January 15th
4:30 p.m. No. 5 seed Las Vegas Raiders at No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals (-5)
Stat You Need To Know: Jerome Boger will be the referee for Saturday’s Wild Card Playoff between the Cincinnati Bengals and Las Vegas Raiders. If you’re a believer in history with certain referees in games, then you might not be 100 percent excited about this draw. Since 2008, the Raiders are 9-5 in games with Boger as referee while the Bengals are just 5-8.
Gambling Pick: Raiders +5
Opinion: Derek Carr and Joe Burrow are both playing in their first playoff game and their teams don’t have much experience behind them. Carr has thrown for 4,804 yards this year while his favorite targets Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow have caught 1,703 of those yards. I expect those two targets will be a problem for the inconsistent Cincinnati Defense as they give up an average of 248 yards which is 26th worst in the league.
My Pick: Raiders
8:15 p.m. No. 6 New England Patriots at No. 3 Buffalo Bills (-4)
Stat You Need To Know: BUF: Bills led the league in total defense only giving up 272.8 total yards per game (202 yards per game the last 3 games). Also, the Bills and the Patriots were No.1 and No. 2 in the NFL in scoring defense, only giving up 17 and 17.8 points per game.
Gambling Pick: Under 44
Opinion: The Bills defense has allowed 15 points per game over the last 3 games and I don’t see this trend stopping. Mac Jones has 2 fumbles and 5 interceptions in the last 4 weeks. If I am Bill Bellicheck, that is not something you want to see going into a playoff game against a veteran defense.
My Pick: Bills
Sunday, Jan. 16
No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles at No. 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9)
Stat You Need To Know: Tom Brady is 2-2 in the Wild Card round.
Gambling Pick: Eagles +9
Opinion: Not even going to lie, if the Eagles stun everyone and win this game then I won’t be shocked. On Sunday there will be a 80% chance of precipitation meaning this game is going to be won on the ground game. The Eagles rank #1 in the NFL averaging 159.7 rushing yards per game. Tampa Bay is at #26 with 98.6 rushing yards per game. I hate going against the greatest of all time because Tom Brady is one guy that is able to overcome anything.
My Pick: Buccaneers
No. 6 San Francisco 49ers at No. 3 Dallas Cowboys (-3)
Stat You Need To Know: Deebo Samuel has 9 TD’s (2 receiving, 7 rushing) in the past 8 games.
Gambling Pick: Deebo Samuel Anytime TD (-120)
Opinion: San Francisco winning this game might be a stretch but I don’t think it’s an impossible feat. San Francisco averages 6.1 yards per game which is tied for 1st in the NFL. The Cowboys have a talented roster on paper but the 49ers grit is something that I would not want to see in these playoffs.
My Pick: San Francisco 49ers
No. 7 Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs (-13)
Stat You Need To Know: Najee Harris had 19 rushes for 93 yards against Kansas City on Dec. 26th on 19 attempts. The Chiefs are 21st in the league allowing 117 yards per game. Harris also is 4th in the league with 1,200 yards this year.
Gambling Pick: Najee Harris over 62.5 rushing yards (- 110 )
Opinion: The Chiefs are undoubtedly one of the most talented teams we’ve ever set our eyes on. Kansas City’s organization is wanting to build a dynasty and winning playoff games you’re expected to win is a good start. It was a good run, Big Ben, enjoy retirement!
My Pick: Kansas City Chiefs
Monday, Jan. 17
No. 5 Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams (-4)
Stat You Need To Know: Cardinals give up an average of 28.4 points per game over their last 5 games while Rams have averaged scoring 25.4 points in their last 5 games.
Gambling Pick: Over 49.5
Opinion: I expect this to be a shootout from two of the best arms in the NFL, Matthew Stafford and Kyler Murray. Despite the Cardinals losing 4 out of their last 5 games, I have seen them unravel the Rams better than anyone else in the NFL. I am not too confident in my game pick but I have seen the Cardinals beat the Rams by 17 points (Oct. 3rd, 2021) and I wouldn’t be shocked if I saw that show again. Cardinals are also 8-1 on the road in the regular season.
My Pick: Cardinals
The NFC’s top-seeded Green Bay Packers and the AFC’s top-seeded Tennessee Titans are on bye.