It's SUPER Wildcard weekend. The playoffs start and the real run to the Superbowl begins this weekend with our first ever 6 games slate, 3 games on Saturday, 3 on Sunday for us to get our teeth in to and fortunately for us in the UK they're better games are at reasonable times.
The Green Bay Packers and the Chiefs are on their bye week and will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They will play next week against the lowest remaining seeds left in the contest.
Colts (+6) vs. Bills: 51.5
The 7 seed Colts take on the 2 seed Bills in the opener for the weekend. The Colts won 11 games, but finished 2nd in the AFC South while the Bills won the AFC East at 13-3 for the first time since 1995.
Philip Rivers was brought in to take them to the next step and he has, it's not been entirely on his shoudlers though, the passing game has been varied, he likes his tight ends, Doyle, Burton and Alie-Cox get a lot of the ball as does Nyheim Hines from the backfield, while TY Hilton stepped up at the end of the season and Pascal and Pittman have chipped in as well. The key man for them in this game though in Jonathan Taylor who finished the season on fire with 7 TDs in his final 4 games and 253 rushing yards against the Jags last week.
The Bills were great on offense this season, the improvement that Stefon Diggs brought to Josh Allens' game clear for all to see. Diggs led the league in receptions and yards, while the team as a whole was 2nd in points, 2nd in total yardage and 3rd in points per drive and they dominated the final 8 games of the year, winning by 10 points in 7 of them and covering the spread in all 8.
Diggs will be the main target, and they may be without Cole Beasley through injury, John Brown and Gabriel Davis have done well in the passing game too, but the rushing game hasn't done a whole lot, Singletary and Moss sharing carries makes it tough to judge.
Bills have too much for the Colts.
Look for over Nyheim Hines rec. yards.
Rams (+3) @ Seahawks: 42
An NFC West clash kicks off the NFC playoffs, these two split the regular season, a 23-16 win for the Rams in LA, and 20-9 for the Seahawks in Seattle.
They know each other well and I'm expecting a fairly low scoring game. The QB position is up in the air for the Rams with Goff and John Wolford fighting for the spot, I think it will be Goff starting as he's been practising, but the news is deliberately mixed by Sean McVay who is 5-3 against Pete Carroll in his career. I actually think mixing it up with Wolford makes sense as he can at least move on the ground.
Kupp returns after missing last week with Covid, he and Woods are a good partnership and Higbee and Everett will get a lot of targets at TE whoever is at QB. Cam Akers will lead the run game after returning from injury last week while Malcolm Brown might get some carries near the endzone and has a habit of scoring twice if he gets one.
The Seahawks have had a season of two halves, the first half all passing, second half all defense and running. Russell Wilson has a good playoff record and does well at home vs. the Rams in general. Jalen Ramsey will likely cover DK Metcalf for most of the game, he's allowing 21 yards per game in coverage, and the games vs. the Metcalf this year he allowed just 1 reception for 11 yards from 4 targets. Tyler Lockett is hit or miss and David Moore can find the endzone.
Chris Carson will get the bulk of carries on the ground and they'll be hoping Carlos Hyde goes, if not Alex Collins and Rashaad Penny will get a few carries, Collins available at 16/1 still if you fancy a long shot.
I prefer the Rams winning here, but Unders would be the play.
Look for Seahawks/Rams HT/FT – Seahawks have won 11 1st halves, while the Rams have won 14 second halves. If the Rams lead at HT they will win.
Bucs (-8) @ Washington: 44.5
The Bucs have the best matchup possible getting to take on the 7-9 Washington football team who scraped into the post-season with the Eagles throwing the final match of the season to allow them in.
Tom Brady is in the wildcard round for the first time in aeons, he's usually on bye right now. He's been great this season though, 40 TDs on the year and he's got a bevy of targets to spread the ball around to. Mike Evans may miss out or be limited tonight, so I'm expecting bigger games for Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, while Gronk has been great in recent weeks.
Washington are defense based, they have only scored over 23 points once in the final 7 games, and while Alex Smith is rightfully going to win comeback player of the year he's the same as ever checking the ball down. Anotnio Gibson and Terry McLaurin are the shining lights on offense and both will play despite dings, Gibson had 11 rushing TDs this year but will find it tough vs. the best run defense in the league while McLaurin is great but will struggle due to their scheme.
Got to take the Bucs to win and a lean to the under.
Three team teaser;
Bills down to 0, Rams up to 9, Bucs down to 2 – comes out at 8/5
Check out TDTips.com for nearly 5,000 words of previews on these games.