Since there aren’t many games in the playoffs, I also pick over/under point totals as well.
A few of these Wild Card teams were big underdogs to even make the postseason. The Bills needed a near-miracle and found themselves in the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Buffalo fans are donating money to Bengals QB Andy Dalton’s charity to thank him for his last-second touchdown pass to knock the Ravens out of playoff contention.
Is Buffalo just happy to be in the playoffs or are they a real threat to knockoff Jacksonville?
We pick every NFL Wild Card Weekend game against the spread.
Since there are only four games this weekend, as a bonus I will also pick the over/under for each game.
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5) – over/under (44) – My pick is Kansas City Chiefs and UNDER
This is an interesting game. I actually didn’t expect the Titans would make it into the playoffs. They did well against their own division, but struggled late in the season against the rest of the league. Titans QB Marcus Mariota has been playing ‘well enough’ and has relied on his running game all season. If they can’t run, they have trouble scoring. They ended the season 3-4 outright, but went 5-2 against the spread. They played teams tight thanks to running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. The Chiefs started and finished the season strong, but were soft in the middle. They have been strong at home and won and covered their last three home games. The Titans are expected to be without RB DeMarco Murray, and Derrick Henry has yet to be able to dominate a game without him. The Titans just need more help on offense and I don’t like the match-up. I’m taking the Chiefs to cover and I’m taking the under.
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) – over/under (48.5) – My pick is Los Angeles Rams and UNDER
The Falcons are another team that I wasn’t sure if were going to get in. They surprised me when they beat Carolina at home, especially after Carolina stuffed their running game. The Falcons defense (and the kicker) won the game for them. The Rams punted last week’s game against the Niners last week. They sat all their key players and come in rested. Atlanta has playoff experience and the Rams do not. I do worry about their experience level, but I think their overall talent level will trump playoff inexperience. If the Rams get an early lead (which they often do), I expect a lot of RB Todd Gurley to eat away the game. The Rams are hungry and will cover.
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (-9) – over/under (39.5) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars and OVER
The Jaguars skidded into the postseason. They lost back-to-back games to San Francisco and Tennessee, but I feel like they were just marking time until the playoffs. They let QB Blake Bortles throw a lot more and the outcome wasn’t very good. A more measured approach will take place this weekend. The Bills never thought they would be here after diddling with their starting quarterbacks mid-season. Buffalo is a better overall team than people realize, but I worry about the Bills offense against this Jags defense. I don’t see them scoring very much and fear turnovers will happen. I have to take the Jags to cover and I’m taking the slight over.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-6.5) – over/under (48.5) – My pick is New Orleans Saints and OVER
These teams have met twice this year and the Saints won and covered both of them. The games were spread out and were an accurate assessment of the Saints this season. They were a very good home team and were able to move the ball using their backfield in many different ways. The Saints no longer has to rely on QB Drew Brees to win games by himself. Their backfield is the key and will also need their defensive front-seven to show up against Carolina. If the Panthers can’t move the ball on the ground, it’s over. I’m taking the Saints to cover, again.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob