NFL Wild Card weekend lived up to its title once again this year with three of the four games going down to the final minutes. A quick look at the sports betting odds reveals that the sportsbooks are expecting things to play out differently this week with a number of substantial point spreads. Let’s take a look the contests as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds return from their byes.
Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs
Saturday, 4:35 PM ET
Line: Kansas City -5.5
The Chiefs are the No. 1 seed in the AFC following an outstanding season in which they posted a 12-4 record. Now, they will open their playoffs as 5.5-point favorites at home against the Colts. Indianapolis is coming off an impressive 21-7 win over the Houston Texans last weekend and have now won 10 of their last 11. Led by Comeback Player of the Year favorite, Andrew Luck, the Colts are not your usual No. 6 seed. Their defense is allowing a league-best 14.0 points per game over their last eight.
The question is can they slow down Patrick Mahomes and company? Kansas City was 1-4 against the spread in its final five home games. Perhaps Indianapolis has enough firepower to keep this game close and at least cover on the road.
Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Rams
Saturday, 8:15 PM ETL
Line: Rams -7
The Rams matched the New Orleans Saints for the best record in all of football this season at 13-3. Now, they are listed as a seven-point favorite against a talented Dallas side that actually beat the Saints earlier this season. Do the Cowboys have enough talent on both sides of the ball to make it 2-for-2 versus 13-3 teams? Well, Dak Prescott looked really good in last week’s 24-22 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Plus, Ezekiel Elliott is one of the best running backs in the NFL and Dallas owns a pretty good defense.
The key here will be the Rams’ run defense. They allowed a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry. If they can’t get their defense off the field and their offense is stationary on the sidelines, they could lose their first playoff game for a second year in a row.
Los Angeles Chargers @ New England Patriots
Sunday, 1:05 PM ET
Line: Patriots -4.5
The Patriots are actually the smallest favorite on the board for this weekend at -4.5. Tom Brady hasn’t put up the big numbers he did in past years and there are some obvious concerns about a New England defense that has looked very average at times this season. On top of that, the Chargers actually finished with the better record between the teams.
Philip Rivers is just 1-7 in his career against the Patriots, though, and 0-7 when Brady starts. That doesn’t bode well for the Chargers.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints
Sunday, 4:40 PM ET
Line: Saints -8
The final game on the board for this weekend will feature the Saints as the biggest favorite. Despite an impressive final quarter from Mitchell Trubisky, Philadelphia survived with a 16-15 win over the Chicago bears last week after Cody Parkey missed a potential game-winning field goal. While Nick Foles wasn’t exactly outstanding against the Bears, he improved to 4-0 in the playoffs over the last two seasons – including a Super Bowl win. All of that said, the Saints are a much different team than Chicago with a veteran Pro Bowl quarterback in Drew Brees and an outstanding defense that should cause all kinds of problems for Foles and company. New Orleans absolutely dominated the first meeting between these teams 48-7 back in Week 11 and it’s hard to imagine the rematch being dramatically different.