NFL Wild Card Round Point Spread Picks

Welcome to my NFL wild-card round point spread picks column. It was another rough weekend for me in the regular-season finale as I went 7-9 on my picks in week 18 to bring my overall record for the season to 145-127. I am now ranked 506 out of 8615. You can always view all of my previous picks here. For the first time in NFL history, there will be a Monday night NFL playoff game. There are two games on Saturday, three games on Sunday, and one game on Monday. Let’s take a look at my wild card round point spread picks!

Saturday, January 15th

Las Vegas Raiders (10-7) @ Cincinnati Bengals (10-7) Line: Bengals by 6 1/2

Las Vegas secured their spot in the playoffs with a thrilling 35-32 last second OT victory over the Chargers as time expired. Cincinnati lost to Cleveland 21-16 last week. The Bengals are 10-7 on the year against the spread while the Raiders are 8-9. The Bengals won a week 11 matchup between these teams by a score of 32-13. Both of these teams have been on fire recently to make it to the playoffs. The Bengals have won 3 out of their last 4 contests to secure the #4 seed with the AFC North title, whereas the Raiders have won 4 straight to make it in the NFL playoffs as the #5 seeded wild card entry. The Raiders secondary can be exploited as evidenced by them allowing an opposing 300 yard passer on four separate occasions this season. Las Vegas needs to put constant pressure on Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow if they are going to succeed on Saturday. The Raiders have a solid defensive front led by Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby that should be able to accomplish this task because the offensive line of the Bengals has allowed their QB to be sacked 55 times this season. I believe that the difference in this game could be Bengals RB Joe Mixon, who finished 3rd in the league in rushing yards with 1,205. If he is as heavily involved in the rushing and passing game as I believe that he will be then I believe that the Bengals will easily cover this spread. Pick: Bengals

New England Patriots (10-7) @ Buffalo Bills (11-6) Line: Bills by 3 1/2

This will be the third matchup of the season between the #3 seeded AFC East champion Buffalo Bills and the #6 seeded wild card entry New England Patriots. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 33-24 in week 18, meanwhile the Bills defeated the Jets 27-10. New England defeated Buffalo 14-10 in week 13, while the Bills defeated the Patriots 33-21 in week 16. This game could look a lot like their week 13 matchup where New England QB Mac Jones only attempted 3 passes in the entire game. The temperature for this game is expected to be around 0 Fahrenheit with a wind chill in the -15 range because of high winds. The Buffalo area also could be getting 12 to 18 inches of snow. All of these factors may lead to another heavy reliance on the run game from both teams. I believe that the Bills will be more prepared for New England to rely on their run game in this contest after what happened to them in their week 13 loss. The Bills also have the top ranked defense in the NFL despite being susceptible to the run at times. The Patriots are no slouches on defense either as they rank 4th in the league. I believe that this will be a very low scoring game with fewer than 30 total points scored. A score in the 13-6 range seems like a possibility to me. Pick: Bills

Sunday, January 16th

Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) Line: Buccaneers by 8 1/2

The Eagles lost in week 18 to the Cowboys by the score of 51-26 meanwhile the Buccaneers defeated the Panthers 41-17. Seventh seeded wild card entry Philadelphia won 4 out of their final 5 contests on the strength of their running attack which averaged a league high 159 yards per game. This will play right into the strength of the #2 seed Tampa Bay defense that allowed the third least rushing yards in the league at 92 per game. I have no faith that the Eagles will be able to rely on their passing game if they are unable to run the ball. Philadelphia ranked near the bottom of the league offensively in passing with only 200 yards per game. The Buccaneers will also be getting back many key players for this contest. Players expected back include linebacker Shaquil Barrett, edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul and running back Leonard Fournette. This should be more than enough to secure an easy victory for the defending Super Bowl champions. Pick: Buccaneers (Pick of the Week)

San Francisco 49ers (10-7) @ Dallas Cowboys (12-5) Line: Cowboys by 2 1/2

The sixth seeded 49ers cemented their playoff spot with a 27-24 win over the Rams last week. The third seeded NFC East champion Cowboys are the winners of 5 out of their last 6 games. This should be the closest contest of the week in my opinion. The San Francisco offense consists of rushing the ball and short drop back passes which should offset the big time play ability of Dallas linebacker Micah Parsons and cornerback Trevon Diggs. San Francisco plays well on defense against the run and pass while ranking 3rd overall in the league. This should help to counter the top rated Dallas offense and lead to the upset of the weekend. Pick: 49ers

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) Line: Chiefs by 12 1/2

Seventh seeded Pittsburgh has surprisingly extended the career of QB Ben Roethlisberger for at least one more game. This feel good story will more than likely come to a less than triumphant end on Sunday. The second seeded AFC West champion Chiefs have won 9 out of their last 10 contests. This includes a 36-10 drubbing of the Steelers on December 26th. Kansas City should see the return of running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams to bolster their rushing attack. Pittsburgh has a solid pass defense but ranks dead last against the run this year. This game feels like it has the potential to be a blow out. Pick: Chiefs

Monday, January 17th

Arizona Cardinals (11-6) @ Los Angeles Rams (12-5) Line: Rams by 3 1/2

Arizona has lost four out of their final five games to make it to the playoffs as a wild card and the #5 seed. The Cardinals were the last NFL team to suffer a defeat but that feels like a long time ago. Los Angeles is the NFC West champion and #4 seed. Both teams have received inconsistent QB play this season. Arizona QB Kyler Murray has fumbled the center-quarterback exchange 17 times this season. Los Angeles QB Matthew Stafford threw a league high 17 interceptions this year. The Rams had to be looking for more solid contributions from Stafford after giving up a ton in draft capital to acquire him. Arizona also has the 4th most penalties in the league with 114. This includes at least six penalties in each of their last five contests. Although Los Angeles is susceptible to the pass on defense, they are solid against the run. This should be enough to stop a Cardinals running attack that could be without RB James Conner. Pick: Rams

Written by Jeremy Thomas

Sports and fantasy sports fan, WWE and alternative rock music are some of my interests. Check out my weekly NFL point spread picks.

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