Wild Card Weekend Preview
Buckle up, we could be in for a bumpy ride people! Joey Berra here, giving you a run down on the NFL Wild Card Weekend with four games on tap. As seen at America’s Bookie, the road teams opened as the favorite in all four games, however the money has shifted the Washington Redskins currently to a 1-point home favorite. I’m going to give a quick rundown of all four games with my picks for each.
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans – Saturday, 4:20 PM ET
The Kansas City Chiefs (11-5, 8-8 ATS, 8-7-1 O/U) travel to play the Houston Texans (9-7, 9-7 ATS, 8-7-1 O/U) riding a franchise best 10-game winning streak after starting the season 1-5. Houston has won three in a row and seven of their last 9 to claim the AFC South title.
Football odds makers have the Chiefs a 3-point favorite with the total dropping and currently at 39½. The low total is consistent with the play of these two defenses that finished the regular season in the top 7 of most defensive categories, including yards/game as the Texans finished 3rd (310.2) and the Chiefs 7th (329.3).
The Chiefs last won a playoff game 22 years ago, ironically right there in Houston. Although Andy Reid has his squad playing great football, I’m calling an upset for the NFL 2016 playoff opener as the Texans will win a close one.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals – Saturday, 8:15 PM ET
The Saturday night Wild Card game features an AFC North rivalry, as the Cincinnati Bengals (12-4, 12-3-1 ATS, 7-9 O/U) host the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6, 9-6-1, 6-10-0 O/U). Without their starting QB Andy Dalton, the Bengals are a 2-point home dog with the number set at 45.
Even though the Bengals defense finished the season allowing the second least points per game, they will have their work cut out having given up 33-points in a loss to the Steelers on December 13th. The Ben Roethlisberger led Steelers amassed the third most yards in the regular season, and that was without their starting QB for four games.
This will be a close one between this heated rivalry that I see getting very chippy after their last game led to tons of drama and trash talking. Mike Tomlin will get his team’s mind right enough to win this one and I’ll take the Steelers to cover the 2-points.
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings – Sunday, 1:05 PM ET
The Minnesota Vikings (11-5, 13-3 ATS, 4-11-1 O/U) will host the Seattle Seahawks (10-6, 8-7-1 ATS, 7-9 O/U) to open play on Sunday. Experts at America’s Bookie have the Seahawks a 4½-point favorite with the total at 40 for these two teams that allowed less than 19-points per game.
Although the Seahawks lost in Week 16 to divisional foe St. Louis Rams, they have won 8 of their last 10 including an impressive 36-6 win in Arizona last week. QB Russell Wilson has been like a man possessed throwing for 1906 yards with 24 touchdowns and only 1 interception in his last seven games.
With Seattle’s recent playoff experience and the lack there of from the Vikings, the Seahawks will dominate this game and easily cover the 4½.
Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins – Sunday, 4:40 PM ET
To close out the Wild Card action, we have the Green Bay Packers (10-6, 9-7 ATS, 5-11 O/U) visiting the Washington Redskins (9-7, 9-7 ATS, 9-7 O/U). The Redskins finished out the season winning their final four games, a push that gave them the NFC East title and a trip to the post-season and are looking for their first win there since the end of the 2005 season.
Washington QB Kirk Cousins looks to have turned the corner and is making Head Coach Jay Gruden look like a genius after benching RGIII. Cousins has a more yards (with less passing attempts), a better completion percentage and passer rating that reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers while throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions with a glistening 142.8 passer rating in Washington’s last three games.
The Packers have been way too inconsistent this year for me to even think about putting anything on this one, but if I had to, I’d take the Redskins at the -1 they’re currently at. The O/U is set at 45, and I’d take the OVER before I’d take a side.
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