No time to rest! Except for the Tennessee Titans and the Green Bay Packers. That’s their reward for finishing a thrilling regular season atop the AFC and NFC.
For the other 12 teams, the journey to Super Bowl LVI begins this Saturday in the Wild Card Round. No, that’s not a typo, the rules changed prior to the start of the season. From now on, seven teams, per conference, qualify for the NFL Playoffs.
Anyway, we already have the Wild Card Playoffs odds fully loaded. Every game is crucial now, so be sure to check ‘em and pick your favorites!
NFL Wild Card Playoffs Preview
So…the Indianapolis Colts lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars to give Ben Roethlisberger one last chance to win another Super Bowl. What a great gesture. It’s not going to be easy, but don’t underestimate the effect that knowing it’s his last detour can have. Remember Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens?
The first round of the postseason also includes two divisional matchups and the resurrection of an old, hectic rivalry.
The NFL Wild Card Playoffs odds are ready and waiting as we look through each game.
NFL Games of the Week
San Francisco 49ersSaturday, January 14th
The 49ers, with Brock Purdy, aka the most relevant “Mr. Irrelevant” to ever hit the league, and the league’s best defense will begin their playoff run by playing host to the Seahawks.
Seattle, who went from being on almost everybody’s list of teams doomed for failure this season, managed to do two of the best things they could. One, silence the critics who thought that the team would crack and break without Russell Wilson. And two? Manage to squeeze their way into the postseason, led by Geno Smith, who showed the league what redemption is all about, and a slew of rookie talents that did not hold back in their first year as pros.
With the Niners already taking both of their matchups in the regular season, it’s inevitable to notice that a trend has formed. So what can Seattle do to try and steal what could be one of their biggest wins in years?
The Seahawks will have to rely on a strong defensive scheme where their secondary plays their best lockdown coverage on San Francisco’s receivers, all while the front defense takes care of Christian McCaffrey and pressures Purdy.
For the Niners, the task is more simple. This offense can ball like nobody’s business, just like the defense. So what should San Francisco focus on? Avoiding Seattle’s secondary by having a strong rush offense and hitting Smith like there’s no tomorrow.
With San Francisco coming into this game as overwhelming favorites, will they cruise to a win at home and move on in the playoffs, or will Seattle deliver the first big shock of the postseason?
Los Angeles Chargers
Jacksonville JaguarsSaturday, January 14th
No, this is not a joke, the Jacksonville Jaguars really are in the playoffs. After finishing the last two seasons as the worst team in the league, a much-needed coaching change was key for Jacksonville to step up and show the league that they can function as a football team.
Now, for those ready to dish out hate with the usual comments about the AFC South being one of the two worst divisions in the NFL, the other being their NFC counterparts, that still shouldn’t take away from the fact that the Jaguars can ball.
After beating out the Titans in the last game of the season, thus scoring their divisional title, Trevor Lawrence and the Jags are not ready to let the hype die down. Now, as they get ready to welcome Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers, the mission is simple, win, and don’t look back.
Of course though, said mission would be much simpler if we were talking about that Chargers team that Jacksonville routed early in the season. But no. We’re talking about an LA team that managed to beat all of their injury problems and make their way into the playoffs.
The real question here is, do you take an almost healthy Chargers team who is coming into this game after getting banged up by the Broncos in their season finisher, or do you go with Jacksonville, who might not have as much firepower, but are growing constantly?
For LA to come out victorious, protecting Herbert will be key, as well as exploiting Jacksonville’s deficiencies in their defense against the run. For the Jaguars? Lawrence will have to become more mobile in his pocket, and the team’s secondary will need to make it a point to make Herbert’s passing routes their property.
So which of the two young, QB studs will move on to the AFC Divisional rounds, Herbert or Lawrence? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Buffalo BillsSunday, January 15th
While fans were expecting an offensive battle between Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa, that showdown will have to wait. As the Dolphins get ready to head up north to Orchard Park once again to face the Bills, they’ll have to do so without their starting QB, who was not clear of his concussion protocol by the team’s medical staff.
So what does this mean for the Dolphins? That they’ll have to face this season’s perennial Super Bowl favorite Bills without one of their most important leaders on offense. Talk about having a bad day in the office huh?
Still though, the Bills should not be resting on their laurels under any circumstance as they will still be facing one of the toughest offenses in the AFC. Led by the likes of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, Miami knows a thing or two about torching opposing defenses.
And with the chance of taking one of the league’s most dangerous teams out of the postseason equation, you know that the ‘Fins won’t go down without a fight.
For Buffalo to move on to the divisional round unscabbed though, Allen, Stefon Diggs, and the rest of the Bills’ offense will need to bring the heat from start to finish. Of course, that shouldn’t be much of an issue when you have one of the highest-scoring offenses in the conference.
With their season series tied at one win each, who will end up taking this AFC-ridden wildcard matchup and move on to bigger things?
New York Giants
Minnesota VikingsSunday, January 15th
The fact that Justin Jefferson hasn’t gotten the amount of respect, love, and credit he deserves after posting one of the best seasons for a receiver in recent times should be illegal. But hey, instead of focussing on that, how about we talk about Minnesota’s upcoming wildcard game at home against none other than Brian Daboll’s New York Giants?
For a vast part of the season the Vikings were one of the strongest teams in the NFC. With an offense that constantly brought the heat and tore opposing defenses a new one, Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Jefferson, and company were putting on point-scoring shows week after week.
New York on the other hand, with Saquon Barkley leading the helm, and one of the stealthiest defenses in the NFC went from being a team that not many people gave two cents for, to becoming one of the better and most physical teams in the conference.
At one point the Giants were even considered one of the league’s biggest surprises and contenders, all thanks to coach Daboll and the newfound energy he injected into his team. Now, as both teams get ready to square off in Minnesota, this matchup has all the ingredients to become a physical battle from beginning to end.
Playing a team as explosive on offense as the Vikings is never easy. To try and beat the Vikings, New York will have to shift their attention to keeping Jefferson under siege and making it a point to pressure Cousins into committing turnovers constantly.
Cousins is the kind of QB that when in the zone can become one of the best in the game, but when off, can become one of the biggest disappointments on the field, something that the Vikings cannot afford to have.
With New York bringing their A-caliber defense to try and stop Jefferson and the Vikings, who will end up coming out victorious?
Cincinnati BengalsSunday, January 15th
What’s more dangerous than Joe Burrow when he is in his groove? Burrow when he is in his groove and with playoff and championship plans running through his mind. After conquering the AFC north divisional title, Joe “Cool” and the Bengals will be playing host to the Lamar Jackson-less Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football.
But in all seriousness, how much can the Ravens be affected by not having Jackson back for this game? A lot. To say that Baltimore’s offense lives and dies for what Jackson brings to the field in every game is treading lightly. Now, as they get ready to face one of the hottest teams in the AFC lately, it will be their defense that will once again have to step up and try to hoist the Ravens to a victory.
Cincinnati is looking to make it to the Super Bowl once again, which means that starting out strong with a win against Baltimore is a definite must. Thankfully, playing against a Baltimore team that won’t be counting on their top star should come as a blessing.
Hitting Baltimore’s secondary with a strong passing offense will be one of the main keys for Burrow and Cincinnati’s offense to thrive. On defense, given that Jackson will be out, focusing on stopping Baltimore’s rushing attack should be enough to keep the Ravens grounded and under control.
With Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and the rest of Cincinnati’s offense firing on all cylinders, will the Bengals be able to cruise to an easy win?
Tampa Bay BuccaneersMonday, January 16th
Tom Brady is back in the playoffs once again! Surprising? Not really, but that still doesn’t take away from the fact that the NFL’s bonafide GOAT managed, even in an off-season for him and his team to lead the Buccaneers back to the playoffs once again.
Awaiting them in the initial round of the playoffs will be none other than Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. If we’ve learned something from the recent Bucs vs Cowboys matchups, it’s that both teams love to play each other without holding back, both on offense and defense.
While the Bucs, even when playing in the NFC South, the conference’s worst division this season, still had to battle to win the divisional crown, the Cowboys put the NFC on notice with the way they played this season, almost capturing the No.1 seed in the conference.
So what can the Bucs do to try and stop the Cowboys from leaving Tampa with the ‘W’? Easy. Tampa’s defense needs to make it a point to focus their plans on pressuring Prescott as much as possible and keep Tony Pollard under siege.
If you’ve been watching Cowboys football lately, you’ve probably noticed how shaky Prescott has been in the past games. Dishing out interceptions and turning passes over like it was nobody’s business, Dallas has suffered greatly because of Prescott’s imprecision when moving the ball down the field.
Once Tampa’s defense can gain control of Prescott’s actions and push him to turn the ball over, Brady and his offense can take over and turn on the heaters.
With this maybe being the last time Brady plays in the playoffs with the Bucs, or in the league in general, will he be able to guide Tampa to another postseason win?
NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend News
Our NFL news page has all the NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend content you could want. That’s right, you will be able to find the latest team, player and NFL News, stats, injury & weather reports, highlights and betting trends for all 32 teams right before you head to the NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend Odds to place your ticket!
NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend Picks
After an in-depth analysis of the NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend betting lines & news, our panel of experts share their betting predictions for all the matchups. Here’s the rundown.
NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend FAQ’s
Which teams will be on bye during the NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend?
Green Bay Packers
Which teams have the home advantage heading into NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Rams
Which players are being considered for MVP heading into NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend?
Aaron Rodgers -550
Tom Brady +450
Joe Burrow +2000
Jonathan Taylor +4000
Josh Allen +5000