After the excitement of Saturday’s playoff games in the NFL, we move onto Sunday and the
remaining three Wildcard fixtures, two from the AFC and one from the NFC.
These games feature a couple of teams with genuine Superbowl aspirations, as well as teams that performed very well in the playoffs last season.
The three winners from Saturday’s matches, plus the NFC and AFC top seeds Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs lie in wait for the winners of this trio of mega-matchups.
The action gets underway on Sunday at 1.05pm ET at the Nissan Stadium where two fierce rivals will once again renew their rivalry after meeting in the playoffs last season, as well as during the regular season.
We’ve previewed Sunday’s Wildcard matches below and using the odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook, we have picked our projected winner for each of the three games.
Baltimore Ravens (11-5) @ Tennessee Titans (11-5)
A few weeks back, the Baltimore Ravens seemed out of contention in the AFC North, however a crucial win over the Browns and a return to form for quarterback Lamar Jackson has seen them battle their way into the playoffs where they meet the team that ended their hopes in the playoffs last season, the AFC South Champions, Tennessee Titans.
Mike Vrabel’s Titans offense is a juggernaut when on form but they do have a problem with a very leaky defense, which suggests to me a game that will see points scored. The Ravens lost in overtime to the Titans earlier this season on home soil.
The Titans will have home field advantage in the playoffs, something they didn’t have last season when beating New England and Baltimore on the road to the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs. I expect this to be a dramatic shootout but Derrick Henry’s legs to be the difference maker once again as the Titans clinch a narrow win late on.
Score Prediction – Baltimore Ravens 31 Tennessee Titans 35
Moneyline Odds – Ravens -182, Titans +160
Chicago Bears (8-8) @ New Orleans Saints (12-4)
Chicago may have lost last weekend against the Packers, but a loss for the Cardinals meant they qualified for the Wildcard round and face second seed New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees is back and looking sharp for the Saints which will be a worry for that talented Bears defense.
However, it is on offense where I think the Bears will struggle the most and I can see a game that starts off relatively tight, but as the game wears on, the Saints high octane offense starts to rack up points and the Bears just cannot keep up with the pace.
This is one of those game where the scoreline will make it appear easier than it was for the Saints I feel as I think a couple of late scores, maybe a turnover score as the Bears get desperate, will make it look like it was more comprehensive win for the Saints than you would expect.
Score Prediction -Chicago Bears 17 New Orleans Saints 37
Moneyline Odds – Bears +375, Saints -455
Cleveland Browns (11-5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
So where is the big shock going to happen this week? In my view, it is going to happen in Pittsburgh. The Steelers did get back to winning ways against the Colts, but their lack of added dimension in the running game and how out of sorts Ben Roethlisberger looked up until the second half of the Colts game, is a worry.
For me, Big Ben needed to play last week to keep that rhythm going and the fact he sat out does make me worry. The Browns had to win that game against the Steelers second string and duly did. The expectation is the first string Steelers will now gain revenge and move on.
Only I’m not so sure. I think the Browns are starting to click and they have an offense which, when it clicks, can put up points against any defense. They also have a marketable running game, which is something the Steelers do not have. For me, this is where the big upset in the Wildcard game will come as I am backing the Browns to snatch a victory by a field goal.
Score Prediction – Cleveland Browns 27 Pittsburgh Steelers 24
Moneyline Odds – Browns +200, Steelers -230
*All odds shown were correct with DraftKings Online Sportsbook at the time of writing.