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NFL WILD CARD PREDICTIONS
Updated: January 2022

 

2022 NFL WILD CARD ROUND PREDICTIONS

 

 

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Saturday, Jan. 15th

 

Las Vegas Raiders - Cincinnati Bengals
Both the Raiders and Bengals had issues with consistency this season. The Bengals lost games to the Bears and Jets but would beat Baltimore and Kansas City down the stretch to capture Cincy’s first AFC North title since 2015. QB Joe Burrow threw for almost 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns in the wins over the Ravens and Chiefs

 

The Raiders lost games to the Bears and Giants and had a mid-season three-game losing streak that included a loss to these same Bengals. Cincy won 32-13 in Las Vegas behind a big day from Bengals RB Joe Mixon. The Bengals defense held the Raiders to 278 total yards. Can they do it again?

 

Las Vegas won four games in a row, including last week’s thriller in overtime over the Chargers, to secure a playoff spot. Keep in mind the Raiders are 6-2 straight up and against the spread in their last eight games as a road underdog. Still, you have to like the Bengals at home… CINCINNATI 28, LAS VEGAS 24

 

New England Patriots - Buffalo Bills
The Patriots won seven straight games but lost three of their final four games to concede the AFC East Division to Buffalo. The Bills won the division for the second straight season and will host their division rival. The two teams played at Buffalo on Dec. 6. The Patriots ran for 222 yards and won 14-10 in driving winds.

 

Buffalo will want to stop the run. In games where they gave up at least 100 yards rushing, the Bills are just 3-4 this year. New England ran for a total of 372 yards against Buffalo this season. The Bills still have the No. 1 defense in the NFL in terms of total yards allowed and points allowed. Last week, the Bills sacked Jets QB Zack Wilson nine times and gave up just 53 yards. Look for more of that this week… BUFFALO 23, NEW ENGLAND 16

 

Pittsburgh Steelers - Kansas City Chiefs
Ben Roethlisberger led Pittsburgh to two wins in the Steelers last two games and then they got some help from Jacksonville to make the playoffs. The problem is Pittsburgh has to go up against Kansas City, a team that beat the Steelers 36-10 just a few weeks ago.

 

The Steelers offense only averages 20.2 points per game and if they don’t keep this game close there is no way they can stay with Kansas City. Since 2003, home double-digit favorites (KC is a 12.5-point favorite) are a perfect 5-0 and have covered by an average of over five points. The Steelers may put up a fight, but not for long… KANSAS CITY 29, PITTSBURGH 17

 

Arizona Cardinals - Los Angeles Rams
The Rams and Cardinals battled for the NFC West Division all season long. The Cardinals struggled at the end of the season losing five of their last six games. They played the Rams twice and the road team won both games.

 

That’s interesting because Arizona became just the ninth team in NFL history to win at least eight games on the road in a single season. The Cardinals ran for over 200 yards in their win at SoFi Stadium earlier this year. If they can get close to that again, they have a chance.

Rams QB Matthew Stafford threw an NFL-worst 11 interceptions over the season’s final eight weeks. Four of those picks were returned for touchdowns. Oh, and J.J. Watt will be back in the lineup for Arizona. The Cardinals went 7-0 in the games he played this season… ARIZONA 29, LA RAMS 27

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2021 NFL Wild Card Predictions:

 

 

Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills

BetOnline odds: Bills -6.5 and O/U 51.5


The Bills haven’t lost since a Hail Mary on the game’s final play allowed Arizona to pull a 32-30 upset over Buffalo. That was November 15. Buffalo has won six straight since and really hasn’t been tested. The Colts won four of their last five games finding a fairly explosive offense behind rookie RB Jonathan Taylor who finished the regular season with 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns.

 

Buffalo is a 6.5-point home favorite, which isn’t surprising. The Bills defense did improve over the second half of the season. They will need to be up to the task of stopping Taylor. Colts QB Philip Rivers has had his share of ups and downs. Indy’s biggest weakness might be that they are simply good at everything and great at nothing.

 

That said, Buffalo has the better roster. WR Stefon Diggs led the NFL in receptions and QB Josh Allen was an early season MVP candidate and played himself back into consideration over the last few weeks of the season. At home, the Bills win… BUFFALO 38, INDIANAPOLIS 30

 

 

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Saturday, Jan. 9th

 

Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks

BetOnline odds: Seahawks -3.5 and O/U 42.5


The Rams and Seahawks will meet for the third time season in the Wild Card round. The teams split the season series with each team winning at home. If there is one certainty in Saturday’s game, it will be defense. The Rams won 23-16 at home and Seattle returned the favor in Week 16 with a 20-9 win at CenturyLink Field.

 

The big question of course is whether Rams QB Jared Goff will be ready to play. If not, it will be John Wolford who scrambled his way to a win last week over Arizona to clinch a playoff berth. Without Goff, the Rams might not be able to attack what is one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.

 

It’s also worth noting the Seahawks are 53-35 against the spread when playing as a home favorite. The Seahawks are a 3.5-point favorite and backing Seattle QB Russell Wilson is usually a good thing for bettors. At home, the Seattle went 7-1 this season… SEATTLE 23, L.A. RAMS 16

 

 

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Saturday, Jan. 9th

 

Tampa Bay Bucaneers @ Washington Football Team

BetOnline odds: Bucs -8 and O/U 44.5


The Football Team is a 7.5-point home underdog thanks to backing into the playoffs with a 7-9 record. Only one team (2010 Seattle) has ever won a playoff game after a sub-.500 regular season. Don’t expect Washington to do the same that is unless their defense can rattle a Tom Brady-led Bucs offense.

 

The bottom line is that betting against Brady just doesn’t pan out that often. Brady is 258-82 straight up as a starter in his NFL career. In the postseason, he’s 28-10. At 43 years of age, Brady threw for 40 touchdowns this season. Wide receiver Mike Evans, the recipient of 13 of those scoring tosses, should be okay after hurting a knee last week.

Washington’s best win was over a Pittsburgh team caught in a late-season funk. The Football Team is just good enough to beat bad football teams. Tampa Bay is not a bad football team… TAMPA BAY 33, WASHINGTON 23

 

 

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Sunday, Jan. 10th

 

Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans

BetOnline odds: Ravens -3.5 and O/U 55


The one team that should give Kansas City a run for its money in the AFC is Baltimore. After a midseason slump, the Ravens cranked it up and went 5-1 down the stretch. They own the league’s best rushing offense averaging over 177 yards a game. Baltimore gashed Cincinnati for 404 yards on the ground in the season finale.

 

The Titans know a thing or two about running the ball. RB Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing for the second consecutive season and became just the eighth player in league history to top 2,000 yards in a season.

Along with QB Ryan Tannehill, the Titans may have the more explosive offense but Tennessee’s defense is suspect. They have recorded just 14 sacks the entire season. Baltimore has a superior defense, better special teams, and the NFL’s best kicker in Justin Tucker… BALTIMORE 28, TENNESSEE 27

 

 

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Sunday, Jan. 10th

 

Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints

BetOnline odds: Saints -9.5 and O/U 47.5


Don’t let the Chicago Bears fool you. There is a reason why the Saints are an 8-point favorite in this wild card matchup. Chicago started the season 5-1 but suffered through a six-game losing streak at midseason. The Bears even lost in Week 17 badly to Green Bay yet backed into the playoffs.

 

New Orleans has had its own share of difficulties but navigated them with a powerful defense and the next man up. RB Alvin Kamara missed Week 17 after testing positive for the coronavirus. WR Michael Thomas didn’t play either because of an ankle injury. Both could return which would be a boost to the Saints.

 

The Saints beat Chicago 26-23 in overtime in Week 8 of the regular season. They did it without Thomas. New Orleans can’t let the Bears hang around as the Saints have a history of losing home playoff games. Not this one though… NEW ORLEANS 27, CHICAGO 20

 

 

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Sunday, Jan. 10th

 

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers

BetOnline odds: Steelers -6 and O/U 47


The Browns made the playoffs for the first time since 2002. They did so by beating Pittsburgh 24-22 in Week 17. Now, Cleveland gets the opportunity to play the Steelers again in the wild card round. This time, however, the Steelers will play with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.

 

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin decided to rest Roethlisberger in Week 17 and give backup Mason Rudolph the start. Rudolph almost pulled off the win, but Pittsburgh fell a two-point conversion short of tying the game late in the fourth quarter.

 

The Pittsburgh defense is the best in the NFL. The last time Cleveland won a game in Pittsburgh was 2003. In fact, since then the Browns have only five wins against Pittsburgh. Two of those victories have come in the past two seasons.

 

The Browns will rely on the ground attack of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Chubb had 108 yards and a touchdown in the Week 17 win. Pittsburgh rattled Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield sacking him four times and holding him under 200 yards passing (196). Cleveland may have earned a playoff berth, but they are going home early… PITTSBURGH 28, CLEVELAND 24

 

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