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NFL 2021 Postseason, Wild Card Round Picks

January 15th, 2022

Las Vegas (+6) at Cincinnati
The Raiders can win this game. But they probably won’t. It’s not that the Bengals aren’t beatable. It’s just that in order to win, the Raiders will need to hold onto the ball on offense and stop the run on D. I imagine they can pull off either of those things, but I’m not convinced they can do both. Cincinnati by three.

New England (+5) at Buffalo
The Patriots aren’t going to win this game the way they won the last time they visited the Bills. I suspect they’ll still want to lean on the ground game, but they’re going to have to be able to run a more balanced offensive attack. If they can produce on the ground and through the air, and if the defense can force Josh Allen to make one or two critical mistakes, New England can pull off an upset. It’s a lot to ask, particularly with a rookie quarterback. But upsets happen in the wild card round. And I don’t see many opportunities for them to happen elsewhere. So I’ll look for the Patriots to win it by four.

Philadelphia (+8.5) at Tampa Bay
Sure, the Eagles are the NFC seven seed. And there are reasons they landed there. But Philly also may the NFC team best suited to beat the Buccaneers. If Philly can grind away on the ground, keeping Tom Brady and the Tampa offense off the field, and possibly forcing the Bucs O to be one dimensional when they do have the ball, they can grab a win here (and move on to certain defeat in Green Bay next weekend). But I think Brady’s got something to prove, and I think he’ll get about proving it here. Buccaneers by seven.

San Francisco (+3) at Dallas
Here’s another game in which an upset is an absolute possibility. Thing is, if the Niners are going to make it happen, they’re going to need Jimmy Garoppolo to play like he isn’t injured. And he is injured. Cowboys by a point.

Pittsburgh (+12.5) at Kansas City
The Steelers will probably end up being the only underdog to come out of this weekend with a victory. Because there’s absolutely no possible way Pittsburgh should be able to keep up with Kansas City, let alone win. And that’s how these things always manage to go. Still, Kansas City by 14.

Arizona (+4) at LA Rams
These teams are both weird and hard to get a handle on. I really thing this game is a coin toss. And since I can’t see a lot of upsets in this weekend, I’m just gonna hold my breath and pick one here. Cardinals by three.

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