Wild Card Sunday Locks
Eagles @ Buccaneers (-8.5), O/U 46
In a rematch of Week 6, it’s tough to take anything from that game and use it to give analysis on this game. That’s because both of these teams are completely different now than they were then. At that time, the Eagles rarely ran the ball. Now, they’re one of the best rushing attacks in the league. They left that game 2–4. They finished the season 7–2 (throwing out that Week 18 game which they didn’t care about). This team will compete. In addition to their strong running game, Devonta Smith turned in a quietly impressive rookie season. And they had 5 straight games holding their opponent under 20 points before that last game.
The Buccaneers are also vastly different. At the time, they were 5–1 and rolling. They had some injuries but nothing to the effect that they have now. They’re without Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, Chris Godwin and Antonio Clown (not a typo), along with key contributors on their defense. Still, they do have Tom Brady. That alone means they’re the heavy favorite, and for good reason.
I’m taking the Eagles with the points here. It’s a lot of points. The Eagles ground attack should be able to keep this game competitive, provided they don’t get behind big early. I don’t expect the Buccaneers to be able to build a huge lead with all of those injuries. Give me the Birds.
Picks: Eagles +8.5 (Deadbolt), OVER 46 (Padlock)
49ers @ Cowboys (-3), O/U 50.5
I’m very excited for this game. The 49ers grabbed a ton of momentum against all odds with their overtime win last week against the Rams. And that’s bad news for the NFC, as this team can be scary. Offensively, they can attack you in so many ways and with so much creativity that it’s tough to gameplan for. Defensively, they’re solid. And there’s something to be said for teams that get hot at the right time, which it looks like this team is.
And then there’s the up and down Cowboys. Multiple times this season, this team looked like the best team in the league. And multiple times this season, they looked like a mess. The roster is as talented as any in the playoffs. They have weapons all over the field, both offensively and defensively. But is Mike McCarthy going to make a questionable time management decision to cost them? Is Trevon Diggs going to get burned on one of his many gambles that he likes to take? These are the questions that surround this team.
I’m going 49ers here. I expect the Cowboys aggressive defense to get beat by the ground and pound plus creativity of the 49ers offense. I think the Cowboys offense puts up some points, and I expect this game to be close, so give me the points with the road team.
Picks: 49ers +3 (Padlock), OVER 50.5 (Padlock)
Steelers @ Chiefs (-12.5), O/U 46
The Steelers are still playing? How is that possible? This team is the worst team, specifically offensively, playing in the postseason in recent memory. But kudos to them, and Big Ben, for making it this far. Unfortunately for them, as much as you want to believe “anything is possible in the playoffs”, they got a tough draw here in the first round on the road against the Chiefs.
The Chiefs are awesome once again. They check all of the boxes. They’re a hot football team, having lost just once since October. They have the experience having made back to back Super Bowls. They have the QB and coach combo you want. They have a (surprisingly) great defense. They have explosive playmakers. The only weakness, if you really want to find one, is their ground game doesn’t really scare anyone. But that hasn’t hurt them the past two years so shouldn’t now.
I don’t care how many points this is. I’m picking the Chiefs. They’re simply on a different level than the Steelers. I’ll lay the points with the home team.