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Wild Card Picks

January 4th, 2018

Well, I managed to get through the entire regular season without embarrassing myself too badly. That’s a relief.

Despite a few completely unpredictable results in week 17, I managed to come in at 11-5 straight up, 8-8 against the spread.

I end the season with a fairly respectable record of 177-79 (.691) picking them straight, and a not completely awful 124-119-13 (.510) with the points.

Of course, this all points to an awful showing in the postseason. In fact, I kind of expect to go 0-4 this week. Wild card weekend always packs a few surprises, and I’ve never been particularly good at figuring out where they’re likely to come. This weekend, I can’t see a single upset in the offing, even though I know a few are bound to happen. Which means we’ll probably see all four road teams walk away victorious.

Here’s more on what not to expect in the days ahead.

Tennessee (+8) at Kansas City
The more I hear from the experts about how the Titans don’t really belong in the tournament, the more tempted I become to think Tennessee’s going to find a way to pull off an upset in this game. But that’s about the only reason I can think of to like the Titans here. I haven’t bought in to the notion that Kansas City has completely turned things around following the brutal 1-6 run they went on from week six through week thirteen. But neither do I see anything impressive in Tennessee’s journey to 9-7 and the six seed. The Titans really just don’t do anything well enough to lead me to believe they can keep up with the Chiefs, particularly not while playing in Kansas City on short rest. I can’t even bring myself to hedge and take the Titans with the points. Kansas City by 10.

Atlanta (+6.5) at LA Rams
The Falcons absolutely can win this game. If the Atlanta defense can limit the Rams’ ground game, while the Falcons’ offense leans on its own rushing attack and doesn’t commit turnovers, they can move on to a divisional round match with Philadelphia, which likely would mean a return to the NFC Championship (which they would lose). Can they do all of those things? I doubt it. But perhaps they can manage to of three. So while I’ll take the Rams straight up, I guess I like the Falcons to make it a game and keep the difference to something like a field goal.

Buffalo (+8) at Jacksonville
Listening to Bills players talk this week, it’s struck me that they accomplished their goal for this year simply by qualifying for the postseason. That’s nice and all, I suppose. Buffalo overcame some obstacles, ended the league’s longest playoffs drought, and blah, blah, blah they’re “on the right track.” But being content just to make the playoffs doesn’t typically add up to winning games once January rolls around. I think this one’s over by halftime. Jaguars by 17.

Carolina (+6.5) at New Orleans
Although both of these teams bring solid defenses to the field, I still think this game turns into an airshow. New Orleans wins the turnover battle and that’s what makes the difference in a high scoring game. Saints by four.

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