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Patriots, 49ers Poised For Postseason Upsets?

We made it, soccer followers. The NFL playoffs are lastly right here, and it’s among the finest occasions of 12 months to be a sports activities bettor.

It may not be an particularly worthwhile time, although. NFL traces already are the sharpest in sports activities, and the hyper-focused nature of the postseason may as properly be a whetstone for the chances. However that’s not going to cease us from betting into them and making our predictions.

NESN.com’s Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle are again to make their weekly against-the-spread picks. The duo is happy for a contemporary begin after a pedestrian common season, and so they get their first likelihood Saturday afternoon because the NFL kicks off its Tremendous Wild Card Weekend.

Earlier than we get to the picks, although, right here’s how they fared final week within the regular-season finale.

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Now, listed below are their wild-card spherical picks, with traces from DraftKings Sportsbook.

SATURDAY, JAN. 15

Las Vegas Raiders at (-5) Cincinnati Bengals, 4:30 p.m. ET
Mike: Raiders. The one factor Vegas actually does properly is strain the quarterback, and the Raiders don’t should blitz a lot as a way to do it. The Bengals allowed Joe Burrow to be pressured on 25% of his dropbacks, leading to Burrow — regardless of his greatness — main the league in QB miscues (mixed interceptions, fumbles, sacks). Whereas a Vegas outright win feels unlikely, the Raiders can do sufficient to maintain it throughout the quantity.
Ricky: Raiders. Nonetheless don’t assume Vegas is that good. The Raiders gained six video games on the ultimate play and had a minus-65 level differential, worst amongst playoff groups. They’re additionally in a troublesome spot scheduling-wise, enjoying the early recreation Saturday, on the street, after an emotionally draining, pressured-packed Sunday evening showdown with the Los Angeles Chargers, whereas the Bengals are coming off a de facto bye in Week 18. However generally, you simply must let it journey. And Cincinnati, which hasn’t gained a playoff recreation since 1990, has issues of its personal. The Bengals confronted a a lot softer schedule, deploy a susceptible offensive line and will have hassle stopping the Darren Waller/Hunter Renfrow combo.

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New England Patriots at (-4) Buffalo Payments, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Patriots. Josh Allen’s issues within the chilly have develop into a reasonably standard storyline this week with frigid temperatures within the forecast for Orchard Park, N.Y. The Patriots have been particularly efficient within the common season towards turnover-prone groups, and solely three QBs had extra turnover-worthy performs than Allen (per Professional Soccer Focus). The Patriots ought to simply bulk up and attempt to bully Buffalo on the bottom till the Payments show they’ll cease it. New England appears very stay, though it could possibly be a area objective recreation both means.
Ricky: Payments. The Patriots hit a wall down the stretch, throughout which a few of their largest flaws have been uncovered. The Payments, in the meantime, are peaking on the proper time, on prime of simply usually being the extra proficient, extra well-rounded crew. If New England falls behind early — which has been an issue — and must throw its means again into the sport, this could possibly be an extended evening for Invoice Belichick’s bunch. We additionally ought to remind you, only for kicks, {that a} rookie quarterback hasn’t gained his first playoff begin since Russell Wilson in 2012. Mac Jones has his palms full, each with the Payments and defying history.

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SUNDAY, JAN. 16

Philadelphia Eagles at (-9.5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bucs. It’s a brutal matchup for the Eagles, who really want to run the ball to have success. The important thing to beating the Bucs, although, is to reveal that secondary, which Philly appears unlikely to do — particularly if Tampa Bay will get out to an early lead. The Bucs’ offense doesn’t have the identical weapons it did two months in the past, however don’t be stunned if it’s an enormous recreation for Rob Gronkowski. No crew allowed extra receptions or touchdowns to tight ends than the Eagles.
Ricky: Bucs. Perhaps the Eagles strain Tom Brady sufficient to throw him off his recreation. And perhaps Tampa Bay’s lack of weapons turns into a difficulty. However the extra possible situation is the Bucs stuff the Eagles’ floor assault, forcing Jalen Hurts to throw much more often than Philadelphia would really like whereas attempting to maintain tempo with one of many NFL’s finest offenses. The Eagles completed simply 9-8 straight-up regardless of dealing with the league’s second-easiest schedule, per Professional Soccer Focus. They didn’t beat a single crew with a successful report and suffered six losses to eventual playoff groups by a mean of 13.3 factors per recreation.

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San Francisco 49ers at (-3.5) Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m.
Mike: 49ers. This one comes all the way down to Jimmy Garoppolo. Extra particularly, can he keep away from the pricey turnovers? Just one QB with no less than 400 dropbacks had a better price of turnover-worthy performs. But when he avoids the meltdown, the 49ers ought to win this outright. The Cowboys battle to cease the run, and no crew has a extra superior working assault than San Fran. Even when Dallas took away the run, a Garoppolo-led quick passing assault could possibly be problematic, too, with the Niners rating first in yards after catch per reception and the Cowboys permitting the fourth-most YAC.
Ricky: 49ers. Management the road of scrimmage and deal with the soccer. That was San Francisco’s recipe for achievement two years in the past when it reached the Tremendous Bowl, and the elements are there to serve that dish once more this postseason. The Niners lastly are wholesome, which is unhealthy information for the remainder of the NFC, and an outright upset definitely is in play this Sunday if Dallas’ run protection doesn’t step up. It’s price mentioning the Cowboys went 6-0 SU towards the (weak) NFC East and 6-5 towards everybody else. It’s a proficient crew, positive, however on no account indestructible.

Pittsburgh Steelers at (-12.5) Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Chiefs. Hammer the Patrick Mahomes unders on this one, as KC’s path to a simple win ought to come on the bottom. No crew within the NFL allowed extra dashing yards per carry than Pittsburgh, and if the Chiefs make the most of that, there’s not almost sufficient offensive firepower to make the most of alternatives when the Steelers have the ball.
Ricky: Chiefs. Kansas Metropolis beat Pittsburgh 36-10 in Week 16 after leaping out to a 30-0 lead. Has something actually modified since then? The Chiefs cleaned up their early-season turnover issues, and regardless of the optics veering a bit from what we’re accustomed to seeing, Kansas Metropolis nonetheless ranked second in offensive effectivity, fourth in factors per recreation (28.2) and fifth in yards per play (5.9). No means the Steelers, with Ben Roethlisberger’s rag arm, can preserve tempo.

MONDAY, JAN. 17

Arizona Cardinals at (-4) Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Rams. Getting J.J. Watt again theoretically ought to assist an Arizona protection that went from first in factors per drive with him on the sector to one of many worst groups with out him. But when he’s not 100% and might’t make a big effect, the Cardinals may get torched within the secondary. A Week 14 loss to the Rams began their tailspin, because the Arizona secondary allowed opposing QBs to submit a 121.9 passer score (worst within the NFL) regardless of the Tenth-best strain price. Even after they get house, they’ll’t decelerate the passing recreation, which ought to have Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. ecstatic.
Ricky: Rams. The Cardinals have a ton of expertise. However in the end, their Tremendous Bowl hopes fall on the shoulders (and legs) of 1 man: Kyler Murray. And whereas Murray is a dynamic QB, he’s additionally streaky and liable to placing the ball in hurt’s means. Curiously, Murray had 13 fumbles in the course of the common season however didn’t lose any of them. That development modifications this week due to among the game-wreckers — most notably Aaron Donald — on the Rams’ protection.

Thumbnail photograph by way of Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports activities Photos

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