2018 NFL Playoffs – Wild Card Picks

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Tennessee at Kansas City

Saturday 4:20pm

The Titans look like one of the worst teams to make the playoffs in years. They finished the season losing three of their last five games and but for a narrow victory over Jacksonville in the season finale, Tennessee would be on the outside looking in. Kansas City, on the other hand, ended the year on a roll ripping off four straight victories to end the season after it looked like they might cough up the AFC West title during a stretch of six losses in seven games. Demarco Murray has been ruled out for the Wild Card game, which puts more pressure on Derrick Henry to produce in the running game. Marcus Mariota will also be expected to take care of the ball, which could be a tough ask against a Kansas City defense that lives on forcing turnovers. Look for a double dose of Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill running and catching the ball. And don’t expect much from Mariota (except interceptions) who will be forced to throw the ball if Henry isn’t effective.

Kansas City – 42
Tennessee – 17
Tennessee – 24
Kansas City – 21

Atlanta at Los Angeles

Saturday 8:15 pm

Somehow the Falcons survived the dreaded post-Super Bowl loss disaster season that has plagued countless teams in past seasons. Despite some inconsistent play from Matt Ryan and a key injury to Devonte Freeman, Atlanta was able to sneak into the playoffs as the third NFC South team.
Also, somehow the Rams and Jared Goff are good. Like really good. MVP candidate Todd Gurley II’s stats speak for themselves (2,093 combined yards rushing and receiving) but the Goff’s play has been a nice surprise (3,804 yards, 28 TDs, 7 picks) considering 18 months ago he didn’t know the sun rose in the east and set in the west.
I have a feeling Atlanta will be a sexy upset pick in this matchup considering LA’s home field advantage is minimal and the Ram’s lack of playoff experience, but I’m gonna go with LA mostly because Aaron Donald is a mutant.

Los Angeles – 29
Atlanta – 21
Los Angeles – 31
Atlanta – 21

Buffalo at Jacksonville

Sunday 1:05 pm

Buffalo was gifted their first playoff appearance of the 21st century by way of a Joe Flacco interception to eliminate Baltimore in Week 17. No matter what happens in this game the most important part of the 2018 NFL Playoffs is that Bills Mafia gets to drink Keystone Light and break folding tables before a Bills game in January. The last time they played a game after Week 17 was the Music City Miracle in 1999. The Jaguars also ended a playoff drought of their own, qualifying for the first time since 2007.

If Shady McCoy were healthy I would give Buffalo even odds in this game, because I don’t trust Blake Bortles. But since McCoy is banged up, Tyrod Taylor will be asked to do a lot more through the air, giving more opportunities for the lethal Jacksonville defense to relentlessly harass him in the pocket. Shouts to Yannick NGakoue.

Jacksonville – 21
Buffalo – 10
Jacksonville – 28
Buffalo – 14

Carolina at New Orleans

Sunday 4:40 pm

Getting the chance to play your division rival for the third time in the playoffs is the best kind of late Christmas present. The Saints took care of business in Weeks 3 and 13 with relative ease, but Carolina could change their fortunes in the rubber match if they can disrupt Drew Brees. That’s, of course, a tough ask for the Carolina defense who have to stay honest now that Brees can hand off to Alvin Polaroid Kamara who is a legit star in the making.

Cam Newton isn’t going to outgun Drew Brees in this game, but he doesn’t need to. If Carolina can control the ball with a healthy dose of the run game (and maybe a 100 yard game from Cam) and limit their turnovers, the Panthers will have a chance. If Drew Brees is allowed extra opportunities to pick apart the Panthers secondary he will not hesitate and it could get ugly.

Carolina – 31
New Orleans – 27
Carolina – 35
New Orleans – 24

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