🖐 NFL wildcard weekend picks: Saints to march on, Bills to upset Texans | Sport | The Guardian

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One of my cop-outs for finishing two games below on my regular-season picks against the spread () was that I had to pick every game, even the.


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With 17 weeks of regular-season football in the books, the entire NFL now shifts its attention to the postseason and a four-game Wild Card.


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One of my cop-outs for finishing two games below on my regular-season picks against the spread () was that I had to pick every game, even the.


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nfl wild card weekend picks

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NFL picks against the spread for wild-card weekend. The New The first round of the NFL playoffs doesn't typically offer many surprises.


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NFL picks against the spread for wild-card weekend. The New The first round of the NFL playoffs doesn't typically offer many surprises.


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Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots. Saturday, pm ET/am GMT (Sunday).


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Can the Vikings stun the Saints in New Orleans? Who will prevail when the injury​-plagued Eagles and Seahawks meet? Gregg Rosenthal.


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Can the Vikings stun the Saints in New Orleans? Who will prevail when the injury​-plagued Eagles and Seahawks meet? Gregg Rosenthal.


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With 17 weeks of regular-season football in the books, the entire NFL now shifts its attention to the postseason and a four-game Wild Card.


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The last time a favorite covered the spread on Wild Card Weekend in the NFL, Barack Obama was still president of the United States.


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Go with the home underdog and the 'upset. But the Vikes aren't close to as good as the Saints, who will be playing in front of a raucous Superdome crowd. Buffalo's Josh Allen is next up. In fact, New England's pass defense is historically good, and top cornerback Stephon Gilmore is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. And while they could at least get Duane Brown back on offense and Diggs back on defense, Philadelphia could benefit just as much if Johnson and Ertz can return. They had won 18 consecutive regular-season home games before falling to both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in December. ET on Thursday, Jan. The Seahawks outscored their opponents by a grand total of seven points this season. The Eagles still have a strong defensive front, while Seattle is using spare parts at running back. The Eagles won just four of their last seven home games, while the Seahawks went on the road. It's the Patriots. Throw in the backdoor cover possibility, and I wouldn't spend whatever's left from the holidays on the Saints. That said, this spread's big enough that Tennessee and the points is the play against the spread. With Brees under center, the Saints are in home playoff games. Nobody expects either team to go on a Super Bowl run, but both have significant playoff pedigree and championship-winning coaches. Saints roll to a double-digit-point win, and the 'Kirk Cousins can't win the big one' narrative rolls on. Yes, you read that correctly. Brown, who put together four yard performances in the final six weeks of the regular season. That doesn't even take into account that Ryan Tannehill is playing better than Tom Brady this season. In playoff games against opponents who actually had their starting quarterbacks the last five years, they're with an average margin of defeat of Even with Allen making his playoff debut, and even with Watt returning and Fuller potentially back, none of our experts are willing to lay a field goal with the untrustworthy Texans. The only loss was their most recent Wild Card Game, when they were trounced by the Baltimore Ravens at home. While both Carson Wentz and Tannehill are joining Allen in making their playoff debuts this weekend, Philly's quarterback doesn't seem as likely as the others to become overwhelmed. But the Seahawks have injury issues of their own, and these two teams have been heading in opposite directions—the Eagles have won four straight, while Seattle's loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the finale was the team's third defeat in the last four contests. But only two of those six wins came by more than six points, so you're allowed to fear a 7. The Eagles quarterback performed at an MVP-level to elevate the play of those around him and carry his team. In a nutshell : The Patriots arguably haven't looked this vulnerable in a decade, while the Titans peaked late in the year and wound up with the league's highest-rated passer Ryan Tannehill and leading rusher Derrick Henry. Tennessee also crushed these Pats when they last met in , which could indicate former Bill Belichick disciple Mike Vrabel has an edge here. That's enough for me to pick Houston to finally grind out a home playoff win, but with its history and Watt and Fuller still question marks, I'm not laying a full three points. And while Wentz's supporting cast is a mess, he and the Eagles are remarkably resilient. And that one loss deserves an asterisk because they were jobbed by the officials when they fell to the Los Angeles Rams at the Superdome last year. The majority of our panelists see this as an opportunity to fade the public, which is heavily backing the Seahawks. All three experts agree the Vikings are in the wrong place at the wrong time against New Orleans. New Orleans likely isn't happy about even having to play on Wild Card Weekend, and there's the matter of payback for the Minneapolis Miracle of two years ago. So, why would anyone think the Bills will go into Houston and claim a victory? Random tidbit : The Vikings were against playoff teams this season, with three of those losses coming in the second half of the year. Meanwhile, the Saints averaged Our gang's only unanimous selection of the week just happens to be the biggest favorite on Wild Card Weekend. Houston's only playoff win under O'Brien came against a Oakland Raiders team that was without starting quarterback Derek Carr. But Tennessee doesn't have the pass-rushing prowess to get to Brady, which is undoubtedly the key to beating the Patriots in the playoffs. But all are expected to play. They're also getting points at home from a struggling opponent that has also been ravaged by injuries. In a nutshell : Both teams feature highly touted young quarterbacks with remarkable talent, while both franchises are looking to get monkeys off their backs. Watt back from a shoulder injury. Unfortunately for them, nobody else is healthy. He has a to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a Throw in that injury to Kendricks which could be huge for Alvin Kamara , and it's hard to buy into Minnesota's D in this matchup. Score Prediction: Patriots 24, Titans In a nutshell : In a potential Minneapolis Miracle revenge game, the smoking-hot Saints will attempt to lift a playoff curse against an opponent that struggles against high-quality competition, struggles on the road and struggles in big spots. That could put a lot of pressure on Wilson to do all of the work on the road. He's predicting a push, which essentially means he's sitting this one out. He's much more seasoned than Allen, he's facing a much weaker defense than Tannehill, he's been an MVP candidate in the past, and he's excelled in big games before. And we all know how good the Pats are at taking away their opponent's top weapon. Cousins has lost each of his last six road starts against teams that finished with winning records, and he's lost nine consecutive prime-time games against winning teams. Never bet against the Patriots," said Sobleski, who is taking Tennessee on the moneyline. Or just spend the money on popcorn, sit back and enjoy what is almost certain to be a wacky game between two fun teams that refuse to die.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} If they can remove Henry from the equation, I'm not betting on Tannehill in his first-ever playoff start or Brown in his first-ever playoff game against Gilmore, Belichick and the rest of that New England D. Houston has wins over three teams in the AFC playoffs, while the Bills are against playoff teams this year. But guess what? Put it all together, and we're picking Buffalo to cover in a really tricky game between two enigmatic squads. But Gilmore hasn't been himself in recent weeks, and the Pats have become a lot less efficient across the board on D. That has Davenport convinced this'll be a close game, even if he's not willing to go the moneyline route with Tennessee. The Eagles will now face another quarterback who's done that all season. He posted a mere He also hasn't been consistently supported by a depleted defense. So who really knows. Don't doubt Wilson. That was way back in Against playoff teams this season, the Patriots went just with a negative scoring margin. Considering his track record on the road, against high-quality opponents and on a national stage, that could be disastrous. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}In the last two years, teams favored in the opening round of the NFL playoffs have gone just straight-up and against the spread , and the only fave to walk away with a win in last January's wild-card slate was a Dallas Cowboys squad that beat the Seattle Seahawks by just two points. But I just can't see even these flawed Patriots losing two in a row at Gillette Stadium. It's not a good formula for the Vikings. And here's their underdog-heavy card for the four games slated for Saturday and Sunday in Houston, Foxborough, New Orleans and Philadelphia. The Bills haven't won a playoff game this century, while the Texans have been embarrassed in two of their three home playoff games under the tutelage of head coach Bill O'Brien. But Cook isn't percent and the Saints' fourth-ranked run D can probably force Cousins to do most of the heavy lifting. On the flip side, Houston is terrible against the run, while Buffalo owns the league's eighth-ranked ground game. But fortunately for them, the Seahawks aren't in substantially better shape and Philly is at home thanks to the fact it won the NFC East by default. Meanwhile, Davenport is sort of blocking a unanimous consensus against the spread. But the Texans have the more dynamic offense, the better quarterback in Deshaun Watson and the benefit of playing at home. Plus, Brees and the Saints are on fire offensively. They've looked utterly pedestrian, even in Foxborough. Injuries to watch : Bills cornerback Levi Wallace suffered an ankle injury in Week 17 and has been limited in practice. The league's leading rusher is also coming to town, and Bill Belichick's defense isn't exactly stout against the run. It's just ridiculous. Ditto for Fuller, who gives Watson another elite option if Buffalo's tremendous secondary takes Hopkins away. Give me Houston in a close one. Oh, and guard Brandon Brooks shoulder is freshly on injured reserve. The Bills' aggressive defense gives them an advantage over the Texans' weak front. This time, though, they actually have a healthy starting quarterback. But we don't have a unanimous consensus here because Gagnon is having a hard time believing in the Titans and a harder time giving up on the Pats. Now, only the Patriots are better than the Bills at taking away No. Saints record-breaking receiver Michael Thomas is dealing with a hand injury, but that's not expected to be a problem, and they're extremely healthy beyond that. New England isn't playing nearly as well as we've seen in recent years, and its personnel isn't nearly as good, especially on offense. With that in mind, the majority of our analysts are down with taking a handful of points with Tennessee on Saturday night. It's worth noting that Buffalo's one victory over a playoff team came on the road against the Tennessee Titans and that they actually went away from home against teams that were. It'd make a lot of sense to wait for more clarity on both teams' injuries before betting either way here. Statistically speaking, that's indisputable. Now they have to deal with one of the hottest offenses in the league, and Gilmore could have his hands full with top Titans wideout A.