The Saturday Wild Card games provided us with two comeback wins, one a bit more dramatic than the other. Not only was the entertainment value high but we saw one favorite and one underdog come away with a win. On Saturday, our analysts went 3-3 including player props and anytime touchdown scorer picks. However, enough reminiscing, we’re onto Sunday’s NFL Wild Card Picks and game previews.
Miami Dolphins (+600) at Buffalo Bills (-850) – Sunday, 1:05 PM EST
It wasn’t the finish to the regular season the Dolphins wanted or expected, but they found their way into the playoffs. At one point in the season, they were 8-3 and in control of their own destiny. However, in Week 18 they snuck in with a narrow win over the Jets and help from their division rival.
However, how they got here doesn’t matter now as they will take on said division rival in Buffalo in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. This season, the Dolphins and Bills split the series with Miami winning at home by two points and Buffalo taking the second matchup in their home by a field goal. For Miami, both of those games were led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and running back Raheem Mostert. However, both of the aforementioned players will not be playing this week.
Enter rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson. He will need to engineer some long drives and put more points on the board than he did in the Meadowlands last week. Miami’s defense has played well this season, but they also must come up with an answer to Buffalo’s offense.
Miami Dolphins Notable Injuries: OLB Bradley Chubb (Q), Raheem Mostert (O), Teddy Bridgewater (Q), Tua Tagovailoa (O)
Buffalo comes into the playoffs finishing the season on a 7-game win streak. In this rubber match against Miami, the Bills need to focus on their passing game and specifically tight end Dawson Knox. The Dolphins’ defense was not effective in limiting opposing tight ends this season. Knox had 100 yards and a touchdown in the game Buffalo beat Miami, but only 25 yards receiving in the game Miami won. Knox’s success will also open the field up more for Buffalo’s other threats, such as Stefon Diggs and Devin Singletary out of the backfield.
On the other side of the ball, the Bills defense allowed more points against Miami in each game than their average for the season. However, they will benefit this week from making Thompson create plays with his arm, something he has not done all too successfully in his limited starts.
Buffalo Bills Notable Injuries: WR Isaiah McKenzie (Q), DT Jordan Phillips (Q)
Miami Dolphins vs Buffalo Bills NFL Wild Card Picks
It’s always an exciting playoff game when one team comes in a huge underdog and plays their hearts out. Especially with a rookie quarterback at the helm having the game of his life, and it would certainly make for great TV. However, that is not what we will see in this game.
Even with Miami’s solid defense, and deep threats at the receiver position, Buffalo is just too good this season and holds too much firepower. Buffalo’s offense will be able to find the endzone while Miami’s offense will struggle with scoring once again. Expect a lopsided game without the magic we saw in Saturdays games.
Final Score: Buffalo 31 – Miami 10
Wicked Wager – Under 43.5 (-115) / Buffalo First Half & Game Winner Parlay (-280)
Wicked Player Prop – Devin Singletary Total Receiving Yards Over 10.5 (-121)
The Bills are a terrific offensive team, and are even better at home. Singletary isn’t the most active player in the passing game week to week, but has had his share of work out of the backfield. He only has two games this year with less than two targets, and has gone over this number in 9 of 16 games. It won’t take much for Singletary to get to 11 yards. Additionally, in an expected blowout, you can bank on him catching two passes and breaking them for an easy cover of this light 10.5 yards.
Anytime TD Scorer- Dawson Knox (+205) has scored in four straight games, and Sunday will make 5. Lock it in.
New York Giants (+135) at Minnesota Vikings (-155) – Sunday 4:40 PM EST
The New York Giants got the rematch they wanted, heading back to Minnesota just three weeks after losing a tight game there on Christmas Eve. In that game, the Giants lost on a buzzer-beater field goal after four lead changes. Quarterback Daniel Jones had 334 yards through the air and running back Saquon Barkley rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown.
For this Wild Card matchup, the Giants will need another big game from Jones and the passing attack against a Viking defense that allowed quarterbacks an average rating of 91.6 this season. Since December, Jones has only had one game with a rating below that. Additionally, he finished his season with his second best career performance and a blowout win in Week 17 before taking Week 18 off. That week off proved valuable for the team as they come in healthy and ready to roll.
The New York defense finished the season middle-of-the-road on points allowed per game. However, they will need more than that against this powerful Viking offense. They held Minnesota off the board completely in the third quarter in the first matchup but ultimately allowed 400 yards of offense. Not to mention, allowed 17 points in the final frame alone.
New York Giants Notable Injuries: None
The Vikings come into the Wild Card round as the winner of the NFC North. There were also just one win back from being the top seed in the conference. The Vikings regular season was defined by both comeback wins and one score wins, mixed with blowout losses. Both types of games were heavily reliant on the offense, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins in his best season yet. Not to mention, wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who led the league in receptions and receiving yards.
This week, the offense will have to be consistent once more. After beating the Giants in Week 16, they had one of the worst offensive performances in Green Bay a week later. Minnesota will look to tight end T.J. Hockenson again, who had two touchdowns in the first match. He’ll draw attention which will open the field up for Jefferson and his fellow receivers. Additionally, the offensive line will have their work cut out for them, protecting Cousins from the Giants rush that sacked him four times in the first battle.
On defense, the Vikings know Barkley will hit them hard again so they must focus on keeping Jones in the pocket. They have been beat this season by running quarterbacks, despite playing the run well against most running backs. They absolutely cannot let the dual threat extend drives against them, and if they do that then they will move to the next round.
Minnesota Vikings Notable Injuries: CB Cameron Dantzler Sr. (Q), S Harrison Smith (Q)
New York Giants vs Minnesota Vikings NFL Wild Card Picks
Both teams come in with something to prove: the Giants want this rematch and the Vikings want to show they are the team that won big games not the one that got crushed in Green Bay. Every playoff also carries more for the Vikings who have yet to win a Super Bowl and haven’t won the NFC Championship in almost 40 years. In this round, they will be ready for the Giants again with a balanced offensive attack and defensive scheme to hold off the Giants. Watch for Daniel Jones to have one of his best passing games but ultimately it will be Kirk Cousins who comes out victorious on a game winning touchdown to Jefferson with under 2 minutes remaining.
Final Score: Minnesota 30 – New York 26
Wicked Wager – Vikings -3 (-105) / Over 48 (-110)
Wicked Player Prop – T.J. Hockenson Total Receiving Yards Over 49.5 (-114)
The last time these teams played, Hockenson had a monster game. He tallied 109 yards on 13 receptions for two scores, and it was a very impressive performance. The Giants made it a priority to try and take Justin Jefferson out of the last game, and there’s no reason to think they won’t do the same thing this Sunday. The Giants don’t have good cover linebackers and are weak at nickel safety, leaving them with limited options to cover Hockenson. He’s gone over this number seven times on the year, and he will be a big part of the Vikings offense on Sunday. This is another game with a high total, so we are going to see some points and you can expect Hock to have another big performance on their home turf.
Anytime TD Scorer- Alexander Mattison (+250) will steal a goal line carry or two from Dalvin Cook this week. Mattison is used in the red zone frequently, and gets to pay dirt this week.
Baltimore Ravens (+350) at Cincinnati Bengals (-435) – Sunday, 8:15PM EST
Baltimore is facing an uphill battle and the game hasn’t even started yet. Quarterback Lamar Jackson’s knee is still unstable, which puts Tyler Huntley in line to make his first playoff start of his career. A backup quarterback in a shootout with Joe Burrow doesn’t look good for the Ravens.
Without Lamar Jackson, the Ravens offense is one dimensional. Tyler Huntley has yet to eclipse 200 passing yards in any of his five starts. The Ravens only chance is to control the clock with their run game which ranks 2nd in the league (including a healthy Jackson). They’ll have to keep the ball out of Burrow’s hands and limit the Bengals time of possession.
Defensively, the Ravens have been stout against the run, but their secondary has been highly suspect. However, they do a good job at holding opponents to field goals when they get into the redzone. It’s the classic, “bend, don’t break” mentality for the defense and they’ll surely be stingy against a division rival.
Baltimore Ravens Notable Injuries: QB Lamar Jackson (O), QB Tyler Huntley (Q), CB Brandon Stephens (O)
Following a 2-3 start, Cincinnati bounced back to win the AFC North. Joe Burrow found his groove and looked like the quarterback we saw in the 21-22 season. They’re the hottest AFC team entering the playoffs and have won eight straight. After Sunday night, it’ll be nine straight and they’ll move on to the divisional round.
The Bengals offense is almost an exact opposite of the Ravens. They’re pass heavy with Burrow at the helm and they don’t run the ball particularly well. It’s surprising with Joe Mixon at the running back position, but they’re ranked 29th in rush yards per game. Expect a heavy dose of Ja’Marr Chase against one of the worst secondary’s in the league.
On the defensive side, Cincinnati is good against the run, coming in at 7th in rushing yards allowed per game. However, last week against the Ravens, the Bengals defense looked somewhat susceptible to the run. Baltimore will surely attempt to establish a run game early, and that should be all that Cincinnati has to worry about.
Cincinnati Bengals Notable Injuries: G Alex Cappa (O), OT La’el Collins (O)
Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals NFL Wild Card Picks
These two teams are always involved in close games when they play each other, and the regular season series was split at 1-1. Jackson was the quarterback in their first meeting, but without him on Sunday, the Ravens fall to the Bengals and Burrow. From a betting perspective, take Baltimore and the points in a 3rd divisional matchup that will be kept close throughout.
Final Score: Cincinnati 23 – Baltimore 17
Wicked Wager – Baltimore +8.5 (-112)
Wicked Player Prop – Ja’Marr Chase Receptions Over 6.5 (+104)
This is a terrific value considering Chase has had seven or more receptions in every game since week 5, and two of those games were against Baltimore. Despite an underwhelming year in terms of yards, Chase still caught a ton of balls, and it’s shocking this has money attached to it. Cincinnati is going to come out and prove a point this weekend, and Joe Burrow is going to be slinging the football around the field. Grab this line now before it flips to minus money.
Anytime TD Scorer- This Tyler Boyd (+250) prop is just simply good value. Boyd is the best 3rd receiver in the league, and he catches a slant in the endzone on Sunday.