Welcome to wild card weekend! The playoffs are finally here and it’s time to pick the outcomes of the first round. The wild card round features two key quarterback injuries this year: Lamar Jackson of the Ravens and Tua Tagovailoa of the Dolphins. Right now the spreads and the odds are telling us both of them are unlikely to play, so that’s how we’ll make our picks. Last week our picks went 8-6.
Seahawks @ 49ers
The Seahawks squeaked into the playoffs with an OT win against the Rams and a Packers loss to the Lions. They’ve ultimately lost 5 of their last 8 games. The 49ers on the other hand haven’t lost since October 23rd and boast the best defense in the league.
The pick: 49ers -10
Chargers @ Jaguars
Both of these teams are playing their best football this winter. The Jaguars are riding a 5 game winning streak and just usurped the Titans as AFC South division champs, and the Chargers had won 4 straight until losing to the Broncos in Week 18. The Jaguars have covered the spread in 5 of their last 7 games and Trevor Lawrence gets to play his first playoff game at home.
The pick: Jaguars +1.5
Dolphins @ Bills
This won’t be much of a contest if Tua Tagovailoa can’t play. The Bills and Dolphins played each other twice this season, the Dolphins won by 2 and then the Bills won by 3, but Tua played in both games. Skylar Thompason and Co. managed just 11 points against the Jets in Week 18.
The pick: Bills -10.5
Giants @ Vikings
The Vikings handled the Giants by exactly 3 points when they played each other in Week 16. These two teams combined for 24 one-score games this season so a 3 point spread feels exactly right.
The Bengals have not lost a game since Halloween, and have covered the spread 7 out of 8 times since then. They just beat the Lamar Jackson-less Ravens by 11 in Week 18, we should see a similar result this weekend.
The pick: Bengals -6.5 (BEST BET)
Cowboys @ Buccaneers
The Cowboys have had a rocky road over the last month culminating in a 26-6 blowout at the hand of the Commanders. They had their starters in for the majority of the game and Washington had a rookie quarterback start the first game of his career. The Bucs have been shaky too, but it’s Dak Prescott on the road vs. Tom Brady at home.
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