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NFL Wild Card Weekend Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Posted by in NFL Picks on January 2nd, 2008 | Comment »

I wish everyone a Happy New Year.  Hopefully 2008 brings some good fortune as always, starting with the Wild Card weekend.  Here are the picks.

NFL WILD CARD SATURDAY SPREADS:

Washington Redskins @ Seattle Seahawks -4

Who would have though Todd Collins would be the man to lead this team to 4-straight wins and a trip to the playoffs.  He’s helped provide an offensive spark: in that stretch the offense has averaged 26.25 PPG.  Santana Moss has been hot, which has helped out Collins: 75, 71, and 115 yards from him in the last 3 games with 2 TDs.  In that 4-game stretch the defense has done its part too: allowing an average of just 13.25 PPG.  Both sides of the ball are doing what they need to do and are playing playoff-caliber football.  Washington’s defense is ranked 8th in yards allowed (SEA ranked 15th).  However, Washington is ranked 11th in points allowed (SEA ranked 6th).

The Seahawks have had offense this season, mostly through the passing game, which is ranked 8th (WAS ranked 14th).  The running game, which is ranked 20th (WAS ranked 12th), has been a problem for them at times though.

61% of the consensus at Covers.com is taking the Redskins, but the “experts” are split 4/4.  I can’t help but overlook the fact that the Seahawks are 7-1 at home and the Redskins are 4-4 on the road.  The Redskins have looked scary over the last few weeks, which is holding me back from taking the Seahawks.  Don’t underestimate Seattle’s home-field advantage.  They play great football in Seattle and “the 12th man” always give them a boost.  Plus, their team has a ton of playoff experience.  I’ll have to go with Seahawks.

Prediction – Seahawks defeat Redskins – 27-23

Seahawks Moneyline – Confidence 3/5
Seahawks -4 Spread – Confidence 2/5

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers PICK ‘EM

The last time these teams faced each other, which was in week 15, I said watch out for the Jaguars, if any team is going to pull off an upset this week, it will be the Jaguars, and that was exactly what happened: the Jaguars defeated the Steelers 29-22.  I’m not going to go into a lengthy statistical analysis in this one because we know what each team brings to the table.  Based on the last game, it was clear that the Jaguars are the more physical team: they can run the ball, they play great defense, and they control the line of scrimmage.  In my opinion, the Jags are the scariest wild card team to face.

63% of the Covers.com consensus is taking the Jaguars and the “experts” are split 3/3.  I like the Jaguars here.  They already showed they can beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh, but will lightning strike twice?  Pittsburgh isn’t an easy place to play, but I’m going to stick with the Jaguars: they’ve won 4 of the last 5 games in Pittsburgh.

Prediction – Jaguars defeat Steelers – 24-20

Jaguars Pick ‘Em – Confidence 2/5

NFL WILD CARD SUNDAY SPREADS:

New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5

Before the Patriots game I would have said without a doubt, go with the Buccaneers, but now I’m not so sure about this one.  Eli is playing better: against the Patriots Eli went 22/32 for 251 yards with 4 TDs and 1 INT.  Much better than his TD-INT ratio from the previous 7 games: 6 TDs and 10 INTs.

The Tampa defense is scary though and should give Eli a tough time.  They’re ranked 2nd in yards allowed (NYG ranked 7th), 3rd in points allowed (NYG ranked 21st), 1st in passing defense (NYG ranked 11th), but 14th in rushing defense (NYG ranked 8th). If I’m Tom Coughlin, my game plan is to pound the ball with Brandon Jacobs.

Tampa Bay is 6-2 at home, 1 loss was to Jacksonville and the other loss was in the final game, which was meaningless and where Tampa was resting their players.  The Giants play good football on the road though: they have a 7-1 road record, albeit a relatively easy road schedule (Atlanta, Miami, Buffalo, and Chicago).

57% of the consensus at Covers.com is taking the Giants and 7/9 experts are taking them too.  I’m going to go with other way.  I’ll take the Bucs at home with their defense controlling the game; plus I love what the Three G’s (Garcia, Galloway, and Graham) have been doing.  Coughlin is also 0-2 in the playoffs with the Giants.

Prediction – Buccaneers defeat Giants – 23-17

Buccaneers Moneyline – Confidence 3/5
Buccaneers -2.5 Spread – Confidence 3/5

Tennessee Titans @ San Diego Chargers -9

The Chargers offense is playing the best offensive football they’ve played all year.  The Chargers averaged 30.5 PPG in their final 6 games.  Phillip Rivers is finally back to form after going through some struggles during the beginning of the season.  He had 10 TDs and 3 INTs in those 6 games.  He didn’t put up a ton of yards: he only broke the 200-yard mark twice in that stretch, but L.T.’s job on the ground makes up for the lack of passing yards.  Rivers also averaged a 60.5% completion percentage in that stretch, so that’s good.

The Titans will need to win this game with their defense because they’re not going to get a lot of production from their offense.  The Titans rank 22nd in PPG (San Diego Ranked 5th) and 21st in YPG  (San Diego ranked 20th).   However, the Titans have the 5th ranked defense in yards (San Diego ranked 14th) and are 8th in points allowed (San Diego ranked 5th).

These teams faced each other in the regular season and the Chargers won in overtime, 23-17.  In that game, Rivers completed 21/40 passes for 228 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs.  Vince Young had a horrendous game: he completed 13/21 passes for 121 yards, 0 TDs, and 2 INTs.  That game was mostly played out on the ground.  L.T. had 26 carries for 146 yards and 1 TD.  Lendale White broke the century mark with 113 yards on the ground and contributed a TD and Chris Brown recorded the other TD.

Over at Covers.om, 60% of the consensus is taking the Chargers and the “experts” are split 4/4.  I like the Chargers to win, but I’m not crazy about the spread because this one could easily be decided by a touchdown or less, especially if the Titans D can keep it close, like what we saw happen the last time these teams faced each other.

Prediction – Chargers defeat Titans – 27-17

Chargers Moneyline – Confidence 5/5
Chargers -9 Spread – Confidence 2/5



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