Believe it or not, the NFL Playoffs are finally here! It’s time to kick off the Wild Card Round of the playoffs with two games on Saturday, three on Sunday, and a brand new wrinkle of adding a game on Monday to the mix.
In this article, I will preview the six playoffs games with the spreads, moneyline and totals. Plus, I’ll discuss where I’m currently leaning with my Wild Card Weekend Picks.
Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5) – TOTAL: 49
Saturday at 4:30 pm ET on NBC
The Raiders weaseled their way into the playoffs with a last-second win in overtime against the Chargers in the final week of the regular season. Meanwhile, the Bengals rested most of their guys in Week 18 after winning the AFC North division title.
In my opinion, the line looks like it could be in favor of the Raiders here. We’ll look at the movements and betting landscape throughout the week to see where this final number ends up. As of now, I would probably lean Raiders +6, or even buying up to +7.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-4) – TOTAL: 43.5
Saturday at 8:15 pm ET on CBS
These two teams split the season series, with each win coming by the road team. However, I don’t see this one going to the road team this time around.
The Bills are playing some of their best football of the season, winning four straight games. One of those wins came against this same Patriots team a few weeks ago. The four-point spread puts the outlook for this game in a little bit of no man’s land, but I will lean Bills at this point in the week.
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8.5) – TOTAL: 49
Sunday at 1pm ET on FOX
You would think the Buccaneers would be at a higher number here, especially after beating the Eagles handily earlier this season. For one, the Bucs run defense is one of the best in football and has been for each of the last three seasons. Running the football is how the Eagles have been getting it done in recent weeks, so this will certainly be a tougher-than-usual task to do so.
At the end of the day, the Bucs have Tom Brady and that should be good enough to cover the spread. Based on the moneyline numbers, I am a little skeptical that the Bucs will cover the spread, but they should ultimately get it done.
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys (-3) – TOTAL: 51
Sunday at 4.30pm ET on CBS
This might be my favorite pick of the week, taking the 49ers to win outright in Dallas against the Cowboys. If you’re going to beat the Cowboys, running the football is how you’re going to get it done. Should the 49ers be able to run the ball effectively, that is going to set up things nicely in the play-action game for TE George Kittle.
Dallas is coming off a monstrous win on the road against the Eagles in Week 18. I don’t see there being any type of momentum to build off since that was against a lesser team. With the Cowboys favored by only three points, I am very skeptical about their chances this Sunday.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (-12.5) – TOTAL: 46.5
Sunday at 8.15pm on NBC
We just saw this matchup a few weeks ago, at the same exact stadium, with the Chiefs taking an early lead and never looking back. In my opinion, it’s an absolute farce that the Steelers even made it into the playoffs, so we should see the Chiefs kick them out just as quickly as they came in.
The Chiefs struggled a bit with the Denver Broncos in Week 18 on the road. However, now that the playoffs are here, I would assume Patrick Mahomes gets back in a groove and takes care of business against the Steelers.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) – TOTAL: 49.5
Monday at 8.15pm ET on ABC, ESPN
This is another divisional rematch where the road team won each meeting during the regular season. Of course, the NFL saved the most intriguing matchup of the bunch for last, and that’s not the greatest from a handicapping perspective.
The Cardinals squandered a golden opportunity to get another win before heading into the playoffs. However, they will take this chance to get another crack at the Rams and roll with it – I’m just not sure if it’s going to amount to a win or not. The Rams didn’t look great in their regular-season finale either, and they could be the more motivated ones in this matchup. Having the spread at -3.5 is just too difficult to try and predict at this stage of the week.