NFL Playoff Predictions: Our Best Bets for NFL Wild Card Weekend
#5 Las Vegas Raiders (+5) vs #4 Cincinnati Bengals
When: Saturday, January 15th at 4:30 PM EST Where:NBC, Peacock, fuboTV
Fire meets gasoline in this weekend's first game, as the red hot Bengals take on Derek Carr and his Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders snuck into the playoffs after winning one of the best games of all time, and will look to keep the momentum rolling with an upset win in Cincinnati.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, they'll have to get through cigar-smokin' Joe. In his last two games, Burrow has combined for 975 yards and 8 touchdowns--numbers that took Zach Wilson almost all season to compile.
The Raiders defense had the fewest interceptions in the 2021 NFL regular season, so Burrow should feel comfortable airing the ball out all game. Similarly, the Bengals defense was in the bottom third in the league in total passing yards allowed, so both quarterbacks should be slated for big games.
Ultimately, I think the Burrow and the Bengals should be able to edge this one out comfortably.
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Pick: Bengals -5
#6 New England Patriots (+4.5) vs #3 Buffalo Bills
When: Saturday, January 15th at 8:15 PM EST Where: CBS, Paramount+, fuboTV
The Patriots will face off against the Bills for the third time this season--a series that the two teams have split 1-1 so far. I never feel comfortable going into the playoffs with a rookie QB, but if anyone can pull this off it's Bill Belichick. Add on the fact that Josh Allen supremely underperforms in cold weather, and we might have an upset on our hands.
In the 5 games under 40 degrees that Allen has played in in his career, he averages just over 200 ypg, a 54% completion percentage, and a QBR of 78.3. Compare that to his numbers in games OVER 40 degrees (280 ypg, 66% completion, 97.6 QBR) and you see the issue.
Oh, did I forget to mention that it's going to be TWO DEGREES in Buffalo on Saturday night?
Prediction: New England Patriots +4.5
#7 Philadelphia Eagles (+8) vs #2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When: Sunday, January 16th at 1:05 PM EST Where: Fox, fuboTV
Tune into ESPN in the next few days and you'll be sure to hear about how the Eagles have a chance. Please.
They're trying to sell a fight more than Dana White tries to sell a flyweight main event.
Tom Brady won't let the Eagles take him out again...
...then again, Tom Brady isn't the best at getting his revenge (C.C. The Giants).
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles +8
#6 San Francisco 49ers (+3) vs #3 Dallas Cowboys
When: Sunday, January 16th at 4:40 PM EST Where: CBS, Paramount+, Amazon Prime, fuboTV
This is another upset that "experts" are trying to jam down your throats. Before you listen to them and take the Niners, let me remind you why you shouldn't.
When the Cowboys are hot, they can give any team a problem. They've scored over 30 points in eight of their regular-season games, winning seven of them. Dak Prescott also has eight games on the season where he's thrown for three or more touchdowns.
So if the Cowboys are on, the Niners don't stand a chance. And seeing how they won their Week 18 game against the Eagles? It's fair to assume they're riding into this game with some heat.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys -3
#7 Pittsburgh Steelers (+14.5) vs #2 Kansas City Chiefs
14.5 points is a lot. It's always hard to rely on a team to win by more than two touchdowns, but if it were to happen it would be in this game. The Chiefs have only given up a rushing touchdown to a running back twice since Week 5, so we can already take Najee Harris out of this one.
Big Ben's arms are about to fall off, and the Steelers defense hasn't given up a TD all year.
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs +14.5
#5 Arizona Cardinals (+4) vs #4 Los Angeles Rams
When: Monday, January 17th at 8:15 PM EST Where: ESPN, ESPN App, fuboTV
The Rams have been ice cold these last few weeks, especially since they ended their season with an OT loss to the Niners. The Cardinals on the other hand got their cold streak out of the way, and are primed and ready for this postseason. I think we like to forget how good the Cardinals were in the first 10 weeks of the season, so I love them to pull the upset this Monday night.
Pick: Arizona Cardinals ML (+160)