NFL Wild Card: Picks, predictions against the spread

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Now that you've seen the 2018 NFL Wild Card schedule, which game are you looking forward to watching during Wild Card weekend? Rare in the National Football League for one team to beat another three times - they of course would have to be division foes. We know what the Falcons are capable of when they get in a rhythm. The Rams have the top scoring offense in the NFL. All four home teams are favored this week, with no spread under six points. The weather will be nice, and Atlanta will be as comfortable as any team theoretically could be in a road game in the playoffs. They've been viewed as a Super Bowl contender for quite some time.

Will a wild-card team make the Super Bowl?

Steelers-Patriots, Part II. Can we just fast forward to that matchup?

Titans at Chiefs (-9): The Titans got into the playoffs with a -22 point differential. Here Omnisport's Ron Clements makes his predictions for Wild Card weekend.

In Weeks 14-16, Gurley averaged more than 120 yards on the ground and 75 yards receiving while racking up eight total touchdowns, leading his fair share of Fantasy owners to a championship.

This could soon be "Bills starting running back Mike Tolbert", as LeSean McCoy is very iffy for this game following a Week 17 injury.

The matchup between Buffalo's offense and Jacksonville's defense firmly favors the Jaguars, so the Bills are going to have to work really hard to find ways to win this clash. I like the way Atlanta is playing and think they can go into L.A. and score the upset. Factor in a turnover or two from the Titans (9-7), and Kansas City moves on to the Divisional round for the third consecutive year.

Smith has been successful in the playoffs.

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Previous year was an anomaly when no wild-card teams won a first-round game.

In the same game, my sleeper tight end of the weekend plays - Delanie Walker. The Atlanta Falcons visit the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints host the Carolina Panthers in the other two games. But these aren't Jeff Fisher's Rams. This one seems most out of whack. The last team to win in the playoffs over a team that swept them during the regular season was when the New York Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys during the 2007 season.

As impressive as the Rams have been this season, turning things around under first-year coach Sean McVay, they have not been to the playoffs since 2004. Coming in as the second most expensive options ($200 more than Matt Ryan), Alex Smith is the best quarterback to pick for the Saturday slate of Wild Card games. They settle for too many field goals. Especially against the Panthers, who gave up the fourth-most Fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

The Rams are young and eager and explosive and dynamic and. well, superior. Call it Rams 34, Falcons 23.

If you're feeling odd about this year's NFL Playoffs, your feeling is appropriate-it's an unfamiliar field, with only 4 of the twelve teams returning from last season. They lost three in a row down the stretch and needed to squeeze past AFC South victor Jacksonville, which had nothing to gain last Sunday, to make the field. To note, the helmets indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. The Bills might be better than both the Texans and the Colts, but let's face it, they shouldn't be anywhere near the playoffs, either, and the Jaguars will prove it this weekend. Several future Hall of Fame quarterbacks (Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan) are making yet another trip to the postseason, but opposing defenses are licking their chops for the fresh meat that is Jared Goff, Case Keenum, Blake Bortles, Marcus Mariota, and Tyrod Taylor, all making their postseason debuts. Jacksonville's defense, led by Calais Campbell, makes a statement as Doug Marrone gets a win against his former team.

Carolina Panthers vs. 4.

This is the toughest game to call. He may well be motivated to do well in this one, though, given the history he has with the team he'll be facing. Well, how about three times? But it won't be easy. Week 17 showed once again how these familiar contests are always tricky.

"We look at it right around Game 12, you kind of see where they're at and if they have a bad play you say, 'Whoop!" New Orleans won both games by double figures and scored at least 30 points in each. This should be a fun one. The Falcons beat the Cowboys without Ezekiel Elliott, the Panthers without Jonathan Stewart and the Saints in a game during which Alvin Kamara was knocked out in the first quarter. Call it Saints 27, Panthers 24.


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