Wild Card Weekend
Lose and go home and here it is the start of the playoffs – the wild card weekend is first up
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs – 10.35am Sunday NZ time
Tennessee managed to beat the Jaguars last week setting up a trip to AFC West divisional champs – the Kansas City Chiefs. This could be a shootout. The Chiefs are favoured by 9 points however the Titans have a real running quarterback in Marcus Mariota – and the Chiefs have struggled to contain mobile quarterbacks this season.
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid rested a number of his starters last week as the division was sown up so this week Alex Smith will be under centre and a number of other offensive players will be fresh. 9 points is a generous start – the Chiefs should take this one however it may not be the blow out predicted. Titans get the points start but not the victory
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams – 2.15pm Sunday NZ time
The Rams are the surprise team of the NFL this season. Rookie head coach Sean McVay has taken more or less last season’s 4-12 team and turned them into contenders. Last season’s Superbowl runner ups head to Los Angeles to face the Rams. 36 of the Falcons were in last season’s team and they may just have enough experience to take this one.
The Rams were blown out last weekend by the 49ers however a lot of their starters were rested. Can the Rams led by second year quarterback Jared Goff get to the next step? Favourites by 5.5 points the Falcons probably have too much experience here. Take them with a 5.5 point start.
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars – 7.05am Monday NZ time
Everyone’s feel good playoff team are the Buffalo Bills. 1999 was their last appearance and here they did it the hard way basically based on other results. They head to Jacksonville to face one of this seasons premier defences. Nicknamed “Sacksonville” they have surprised and won the AFC South this season comfortably.
20% of the crowd will be the passionate Bills fans however they will have to play their game of the season to get to the next step. Getting an 8.5 point start over Blake Bortles Jaguars is probably a fair line however it should be closer then that. Take the Bills to beat the points spread but not the game.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints- 10.40am Monday NZ time
The final wildcard game of the weekend is a NFC South match between two teams who have already played each other twice this season. Both teams finished with an 11-5 record however the Saints clinched the division and home advantage for this one based on their regular season head to head victories over the Panthers.
Drew Brees and Cam Newton are both premier quarterbacks however the Saints have the edge in their running backs. Rookie Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram both can be phenomenal on their day. The Saints have a 6.5 point starter which is the one to take. Offensively they have more than the Panthers will be should be able to handle.
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