It’s do or die for eight teams in the NFL this weekend as the playoffs kick off with the Wild Card round.
Some of the best teams in the NFL are playing this week, including the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and the L.A. Rams, but only four teams will progress through to the divisional championships next week.
The first game kicks off on Sunday with the Chiefs vs. Titans and concludes on Monday with the blockbuster Saints vs. Panthers.
8:20am Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tennessee Titans @ Arrowhead Stadium
Bookmakers have the Kansas City Chiefs as the dominating favourite against the Titans and it’s not hard to see why.
Despite looking below average throughout the mid stages of the season, the Chiefs have rebounded in style with four consecutive victories against teams such as the Chargers, Raiders and Broncos.
Although they haven’t defeated any of the top teams throughout that winning streak, the confidence is high and this team is starting to play much better football at the right part of the season.
Punters shouldn’t give up on the Titans just because they’re $4.50 in the head-to-head markets.
They have made the Wild Card round despite losing three consecutive games and that came via a victory over the Jaguars last week.
The Jaguars didn’t need to win that game so the victory was soured a touch, but quarterback Marcus Mariota can produce some magic.
The current line is 8.5 and we think the Titans can make a game of this.
Betting tip: Titans +8.5 @ $1.92 (BET NOW)
Chiefs by 6
12:15pm L.A. Rams vs. Atlanta Falcons @ L.A. Memorial Coliseum
It will be sad to see one of these two teams be eliminated, but we feel especially sorry for the L.A. Rams.
They have had an historic season with 11 wins and five losses, but see themselves in the Wild Card round against the Super Bowl runners up from last season.
The Rams were only 4-4 at home this season which doesn’t read well, but their head coach and quarterback have been impressive throughout this season and we can’t find any weak links in their outfit.
Running back Todd Gurley has made a case for league MVP and the Falcons are going to need to pull out all the stops to slow them down.
The problem for the Falcons this season has been scoring points. QB Matt Ryan hasn’t been as effective this season and that has stifled their ability to post touchdowns.
Do they have enough firepower to defeat the Rams? Yes, but we’re not sure it will count for much this Sunday.
Betting tip: Rams –6.5 @ 1.92 (BET NOW)
Rams by 12
5:05am Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills @ EverBank Stadium
How the Buffalo Bills made it into the playoffs is anyone’s guess, but the loss from Baltimore last week was enough to see the New York-based franchise squeak in.
The Bills looked awful for the most part of the season, but they managed to record a 9-7 record. We’re unsure if that record is enough to convince us that they will beat the Jaguars this Monday – in fact, we are predicting this game to be one-way traffic.
The Jaguars will come at the Bills with a heavy-powered offence which starts at the running back position. Leonard Fournette is one of the rising stars in the NFL and the rookie is putting up good numbers, but then there’s quarterback Blake Bortles.
Not fancied by many at the start of the season, Bortles has improved to become one of the more dynamic QB’s in the league and his confidence is at an all-time high.
This should be the most one-sided game of the week.
Betting tip: Jaguars –8.5 @ $1.91 (BET NOW)
Jaguars by 14
8:40am New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers @ Mercedes Benz Stadium
We liked both teams to progress through to the latter stages of the playoffs, but they’ll meet this Monday and one quality team will be packing their bags.
The Saints (11-5) have looked both good and bad this season, but there are plenty of positives to take from it. The season wasn’t meant to be a success, but they have found great production at the running back position from Mark Ingram and Alfred Kamara.
We haven’t forgotten about Drew Brees, who has thrown for 23 touchdowns this season and has looked like the old Drew Brees.
On the other side of the coin are the Panthers (11-5), which looked like Super Bowl contenders throughout the most part of the season, but suffered a poor loss coming into this game.
We’re not convinced that QB Cam Newton really wants to be there and he looks disinterested, but there’s no denying his talent when he’s on form.
If the Panthers can get production from Newton and their defence can hold strong, they’re a strong chance of pulling off the upset.
Betting tip: Panthers +7.5 @ $1.85 (BET NOW)
Saints by 3