Just when it seemed as though everything was about to go to script, Week 17 delivered a thrilling finale that has NFL fans looking forward to more drama this weekend. Here is your betting rundown for Wild Card Weekend.
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs
Odds: Kansas City -7.5
Following three straight losses, Tennessee’s playoff fate was on the line in Week 17. The Titans beat Jacksonville to secure the fifth seed in the AFC and a date with Kansas City. Tennessee will rely heavily on its run game with Derrick Henry leading the way on the ground. However, quarterback Marcus Mariota is going to need to produce at a higher level if the Titans are going to win on the road this weekend. He has just seven touchdown passes and 10 interceptions in the second half of the season.
What makes this matchup interesting is that Kansas City’s run defense has been awful this season. They ranked 25th in rushing yards per game allowed, giving up 15 rushing touchdowns – the fourth-most.
Atlanta Falcons @ Los Angeles Rams
Odds: Los Angeles -6
The Falcons’ road back to the Super Bowl will be that much more difficult this time around. Los Angeles will be a tough first opponent with first-year head coach Sean McVay designing one of the elite offenses in the NFL and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips leading a dominant defense. Can the Atlanta offense keep up? Los Angeles led the league with 29.8 points per game this season while the Falcons’ out-of-sync unit averaged just 17.6 over its last five games.
Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Odds: Jacksonville -8
While football fans in Buffalo celebrate the team’s first playoff berth since 1999, the Bills will have a tough time this week in Jacksonville. The Jaguars led the NFL in sacks this season and should be able to key in on an offense that could be without its most important piece: running back LeSean McCoy. He was carted off the field last week with a gruesome ankle injury but X-rays were negative. The Jags run defense has been much improved since the acquisition of former Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Marcell Dareus.
The Bills run defense has had some issues of its own, giving up 124.6 rushing yards per game this season (29th in the NFL). The team with the better ground game will likely win this weekend.
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints
Odds: New Orleans -6.5
The Saints held on to the NFC South title with a Falcons win over Carolina in Week 17. That means they will have home-field advantage against the Panthers this weekend. New Orleans went 7-1 at home this season and won each of its two meetings with Carolina. Carolina only had one road win over a team with a winning record, so home-field advantage should be crucial.
The issue for the Panthers is their passing game has been non-existent (28th in the NFL). Can they go on the road and win while being one-dimensional?