NFL Wild Card weekend: Predictions
Wild is a good word to describe the end of the NFL regular season. Now that we know who’s in, we predict the outcome of each Wild Card game this weekend.
The regular season is over, and we can finally take a look at all the games for the wild card weekend. It all came down to the wire last week with three overtime wins and one that nearly resulted in a tie between the Raiders and Chargers. In the end, the Chargers inexplicably called a timeout and gave the Raiders another opportunity to win it, ruining the Chargers’ chances at a playoff berth and handing it over to the Steelers to give Roethlisberger one last playoff run before retirement.
NFL Wild Card Predictions
Now that we know the 14 teams in the playoffs, let’s take a look at the 12 playing this weekend in the Wild Card Round. The Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans earned their bye week and will go automatically to the Divisional Round.
Bengals vs Raiders
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow came out of nowhere in weeks 16 and 17 of the regular season and just racked up the yards. The Bengals also have a big advantage with their two offensive weapons, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and running back Joe Mixon. The Bengals beat the Raiders by 19 points in their last matchup. Their ability to put pressure on the quarterback will be a threat to Derek Carr, who tends to just send the ball flying and threw a career high for interceptions this season.
Bills vs Patriots
In the regular season, the Patriots beat the Bills in Buffalo in their first matchup but the Bills won on the road in their second matchup. The Bills have the advantage of a seasoned quarterback in Josh Allen where the Patriots have a rookie in Mac Jones. Allen has his share of interceptions in the beginning of the season, but also set a career high in rushing yards and attempts. Jones, on the other hand, was limited to just three passes in the win over the Bills and threw two interceptions in their next game. He’s had an impressive rookie season, but he’s still a rookie. I like the Bills’ chances based on that alone.
Buccaneers vs Eagles
Okay, this one is just unfair. Tom Brady vs the league-worst defense in opponent’s pas completion? It’s a no-brainer. It’s a surprise the Eagles are even in the playoffs, but if you look at their record, the numbers add up. If you look at who they won against and the amount of backup QBs on those teams, it makes more sense. Bucs quarterback Tom Brady is pretty experienced where the Super Bowl is concerned, so he knows what it takes to get there. He and Gronk are a dynamic duo and should run a train on the Eagles’ defense, which gave up a league-high 107 receptions and 14 TDs to tight ends this season.
Cowboys vs 49ers
The reason I feel confident in this is the Cowboys defense. The offense is a little concerning, but the defense has been their saving grace. The Niners have made an impressive comeback after a 2-5 start, winning the last eight out of ten games, including beating three playoff teams and their defense is looking strong, too. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo gives some concern though, considering the amount of interceptions he’s thrown and the Dallas defense’s habit of snatching the ball away from their opponents. If the Niners work their run game well, they will have more of a chance against the Cowboys’ defense. I predict a close game.
Chiefs vs Steelers
The Chiefs had their share of problems, but made a big comeback too after a 3-4 start and that’s not only thanks to Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. The defense as well contributed a lot to the Chiefs’ success, holding opponents to a league-low 12.9 points per game over the last eight that they won. The Steelers haven’t been able to beat the Chiefs since Mahomes joined as QB. Roethlisberger also brings concern. He was able to get the Steelers into the playoffs, but he doesn’t have the arm he once did and the KC defense will take advantage of that.
Rams vs Cardinals
This is a tough one and I predict an exciting, close game between these divisional rivals. The Cardinals have been unstoppable on the road and they’ll be playing this one at the Rams’ stadium. Even still, I will take the Rams. They have too many weapons with Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and Jalen Ramsey. This game could really go either way, but if I have to pick one, I pick the Rams (by a field goal).