Playoff Saturdays are for the Locks

Raiders @ Bengals (-5), O/U 48

Great game to kick off Wild Card weekend between two teams that faced long odds at the beginning of the season to still be playing into the postseason. The Raiders appear to be a Team of Destiny, having gone through everything they went through this season and to still be playing. You have to give a lot of credit to their coach and QB for keeping this team rolling through adversity all season long. They won’t be easy to knock off either, as their pass rush can certainly present problems for the Bengals.

The inconsistency displayed this season from the Bengals, along with their inexperience, makes it difficult to have true confidence in them to go far, despite their obvious advantage from a talent-perspective. Offensively, they’re explosive in the air and steady on the ground. Defensively, they’re solid as well.

I’m going with the Bengals here. Both teams lack playoff experience, so I consider that a wash. Ultimately, despite the Team of Destiny factor, I have to go with the team with more talent. I find it hard to believe the Raiders will put up enough points to keep up with the explosiveness of the Bengals. I’ll lay the points with the home team.

Picks: Bengals -5 (Padlock), UNDER 48 (Padlock)

Patriots @ Bills (-4), O/U 44

Round 3! I love divisional matchups in the playoffs. Both teams know each other so well. There’s no surprises. It just comes down to who plays better for those 60 minutes. I’d say to throw out their first matchup from an analysis standpoint, considering how crazy that game was weather-wise, but it’s looking like this game will be played in negative degrees as well. So it’ll be interesting to see if the Patriots can replicate that gameplan that worked so well, or if the Bills will be able to adjust. Remember, despite the appearance that the Patriots dominated that game, if it weren’t for one explosive run by the Patriots and a missed 30 yard field goal by the Bills, the game would’ve had a very different result.

I’ve been very low on the Patriots all season long, something that for a while looked like the wrong opinion, but wound up being quite accurate. The Patriots have a great defense and a great coach, along with a solid rushing attack. That’s a great formula to beat up on bad teams, which they did, but that proved not enough to compete with top-tier teams, such as the Bills. The tricky part is that’s also typically a successful formula to win in the playoffs, particularly if weather is a factor, which it likely will be. On the other hand, the Bills may have a home field disadvantage here as their team seems built to put up points through the air in warmer weather or a dome environment. They do have an elite defense however, that I’m sure will be extremely motivated to shut down the Patriots rushing attack.

I’m going with the Bills. I think this line is only this low due to the weather forecast and the result from the first game. I expect Buffalo to stifle the Patriots defensively, and do enough offensively to win this one. I’ll lay the points.

Picks: Bills -4 (Deadbolt), UNDER 44 (Deadbolt)

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