Where did the season go? In the blink of an eye we are already at Wild Card Weekend. It’s truly a wide open race for who will be raising the Lombardi Trophy at years end, but one thing’s for certain it will NOT be Aaron Rodgers!The NFL blessed us with two extra wild card games with the playoff expansion after the 2020 season. That means we have a grand total of 6 games. 2 Saturday, 3 Sunday, and 1 Monday. Every single matchup is a rematch of some sort, with 3 divisional rivalries too. Will home field advantage stay true, or will the road teams come in and quiet the fans? Will the teams who won in the regular season extend their streak, or will the losers get revenge when it matters most? Either way, it’s going to be must-watch football.
Here’s all my picks & predictions for who will be advancing to the divisional round next weekend.
Saturday 3:30 (FOX)
Seahawks @ 49ers (-10)Kicking off Wild Card weekend, we have two NFC Rivals facing off between the Seahawks and 49ers.
With the teams being in the same division they are forced to play at least two times a year. In the two matchups this season the 49ers went 2-0, winning 27-7 in week 2, and 21-13 in week 14. It’s hard to beat a team 3 times in one season, no matter how good you are.The 49ers responded with back to back losses mid season with a 10 game win streak to finish off the year. The Seahawks, on the other hand, have shocked the NFL by even being in this spot. They snuck into the last playoff spot after a OT win + a Packers loss this past Sunday. Can Purdy handle the pressure of his first playoff start or will Geno keep his magical season going?
This might be a shock to a lot of people but I think the Seahawks win this game outright. Feed me the +10, and also feed me that +390 ML. Yes, I know the 49ers have won 10 straight, and I know about all the weapons they have. But this is the playoffs, and we all know the Seahawks know a thing or two about finding ways to win on Wild Card weekend…
2006 Wild Card Weekend: Romo Botched Snap
2010 Wild Card Weekend: BEAST QUAKE
2015 Wild Card Weekend: Blair Walsh…
Advancing To Divisional Round: Seattle
Saturday 7:15 (NBC)
Chargers @ Jaguars (+1)
What a turnaround for this Jaguars team. #1 overall pick last year, while also going through the season they did with Urban Meyer. If you told them last year, or even at the end of October when they were 2-6, that they would be hosting a playoff game, I’m not sure even they would believe you. They had the benefit of playing in the weak AFC South, sure, but you have to give credit when credit is due. Doug Pederson.The Chargers on the other hand find themselves in one of the tougher divisions in football, but yet still found themselves with a 10-7 record. LA has all the talent on their roster to make a run at the Super Bowl, but unfortunately for them (and many bettors this week) it will not go like that.
The Chargers record against postseason teams this year is a weak 1-5, including a week three loss to Jacksonville 38-10. It’s always tough to bet against this high powered Chargers team, but I think their struggles continue this week. As much as I want the Chargers to win, I think Doug Pederson will have the game plan needed to win this game.
Advancing To Divisional Round: Jaguars
Sunday 12:00 (CBS)
Dolphins @ Bills (-10.5)
Another Wild Card matchup featuring two divisional rivals. The Bills find themselves as the #2 seed, and facing off in this Wild Card weekend after their game against Cincy was declared a no contest after Demar Hamlin’s scary injury. This game all really rides on if Tua is able to play. In the two previous matchups this year both teams defended their home field. The Dolphins won the first matchup 21-19 and the Bills winning the second, 32-29.
The Dolphins seemed like a sure playoff lock when they sat at 8-3. A 5 game losing streak against the 49ers, Chargers, Bills, Packers, and Patriots sent their record to 8-8 with one week to go. The loss against the Pats put them in a tough spot where they didn’t control their own destiny. Fortunately, the Bills were able to defeat the Pats, while the Dolphins were able to squeak out a very ugly win against the Jets, sending them to the postseason.
Ultimately I think this Bills team will be to dominate for this Dolphins team. If Tua plays it makes things a lot more interesting. Hill and Waddle both have the capability of turning any play into a big play, which the Dolphins will need if they want any chance to win this game. I’m going to stay away from the spread until the Tua news gets more clear, but the outright winner will be the same no matter who starts under center.
Advancing To Divisional Round: Bills
Sunday 3:30 (Fox)
Giants @ Vikings (-3)
Our Vikings are back in the playoffs after missing it the previous two seasons. I won’t spend too much time on this game, there’s not going to be anything wild about this prediction. Everyone thinks we are frauds, and I can already hear everyone on all sports networks picking the Giants over us. We needed a 61 yard’er on Christmas Eve to beat them. Am I scared? Fuck yeah. The Giants love to blitz and us Vikings fans all know where our OL sits at. All things considered we still win this game by AT LEAST two scores.
Instead of breaking down this game lets take a look at some of my favorite memories from this WILD Vikings season.
Week 4: DOUBLE DOINK
When I really started to realize luck was maybe on our side, unlike
last year every previous year of this franchise’s existence.
Week 9: Josh Allen Fumble
This game could be an article on its own. Had to pick just one clip to show.
Week 15: 33-0
Week 16: Greg Joseph Or Justin Tucker?
Advancing To Divisional Round: Vikings
Sunday 7:15 (NBC)
Ravens @ Bengals (-6.5)
Yet another rivalry matchup, this time between two AFC North teams. This game could be one of the biggest games of the Wild Card weekend if Lamar Jackson is able to play. The Ravens split the series with the Bengals this year, winning the first before
falling getting obliterated last week. It is worth noting the Ravens decided to rest most of their starters on offense, while also playing third string QB Anthony Brown.
I’m confident that the Ravens will cover the spread, it’s just if they will win outright or not. The QB situation makes everything confusing but the Ravens run game can take lots of time off the clock while wearing out the defense. The Bengals are red hot, winners of their last 7, but something tells me the Ravens will find a way to control most of this game. Ultimately, I think the Bengals will kick a game winner as time expires defeating the Ravens by 1 point.
Advancing To Divisional Round: Bengals (Ravens cover spread)
Monday 7:15 (ABC/ESPN/ESPN+)
Cowboys @ Buccaneers (+3)
Capping off our Wild Card Weekend, we have maybe the most enticing game on paper; the Cowboys travel to Tampa to take on the Bucs.
The Bucs and Cowboys played each other all the way back in Week 1 with the Bucs going into Dallas winning 19-3. The Cowboys would go on to only lose 4 more games the entire year finishing the year with a record of 12-5 earning the first Wild Card spot. The Bucs, on the other hand, have battled all year, finishing the year with an 8-9 record but still winning the NFC South, getting the
honor good fortune to host a playoff game.
Not going to lie, I’ve flip flopped 20 times on who is going to win this game. I was fully on the Bucs side this entire time until now, where all I can picture is the Cowboys throttling Tampa sending Brady on the first plane to LV to join the Raiders.
But then yet again it’s Brady in the playoffs, and Brady has famously never lost to the Cowboys (7-0). I’ve had this feeling we will get a Bucs @ Vikings divisional round matchup in Minnesota after the Hawks upset the 49ers. I seriously can’t pick, but I need to for the blog so I’ve resorted to flipping a coin best outta 7 series.
Bucs Heads, Cowboys Tails.
4-2 in the Cowboys favor. For all you Bucs bettors (and fans, I guess) out there, you’re welcome for almost a lock to hit after those results.
Advancing To Divisional Round: Cowboys
And just like that we have gave all 7 of our wildest predictions for this Wild Card Weekend. In total, we have 4/6 home teams winning, with the Cowboys and Seahawks picking up the wins on the road. Check back next week when I give my divisional round picks, to see exactly how I did.
Some people call me MarTy and some people call me Ryan. Wildcard when it comes to my writing. #FadeMe if I ever tweet out “locks”.