Super Wild Card Weekend NFL game picks: Chiefs, Bills, Cowboys..

Super Wild Card Weekend NFL game picks: Chiefs, Bills, Cowboys unanimous winners; Rams or Lions?

Why Tom is taking the Texans: It’s pretty easy to imagine Joe Flacco airing it out with Amari Cooper in Houston (again), steadying Cleveland with veteran savvy while the Texans falter against the Browns’ D. But it’s just as easy to picture C.J. Stroud and DeMeco Ryans rising to the occasion. Stroud, who missed Houston’s Week 16 loss to Cleveland due to a concussion, is better than any quarterback the Browns have faced since Flacco-mania really took off in Northeast Ohio, starting with a narrow home victory over the Jags and a compromised Trevor Lawrence in Week 14. I could be wrong, but I don’t get the sense that playoff jitters will be a problem for Ryans’ crew. To me, this is a bit of a toss-up, so I’m defaulting to the star QB at home.

Why Gennaro is taking the Chiefs: A laser light show in September, Miami hobbled into January as a severely diminished outfit. Adding insult to a devastating wave of injuries: The team from Miami must open the playoffs in Kansas City, where the forecasted temperature for Saturday night has been teetering around ZERO degrees. Welcome back, Tyreek! All that said, the Chiefs enter this postseason looking as beatable as we’ve ever seen them in the Mahomes era. Kansas City started the season at 6-1, but since Week 8, the Chiefs are 5-5 with an offense in this span that ranks 26th in scoring, one spot below the Steelers. We all keep asking the same question: Can K.C. flip the switch? Maybe, maybe not. But I’m not even sure Miami’s house has power.

Why Brooke is taking the Bills: Mike Tomlin may have just banked his 17th consecutive non-losing season, but the last time his Steelers won a playoff game, the Killer Bs — Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown — were on his side. This time around, Pittsburgh must rely on Mason Rudolph, whose presence admittedly has sparked a downfield passing game, and a steady backfield duo. Honestly, though, the defense has been the highlight of this team for most of the season, but it’ll be without star pass rusher T.J. Watt on Sunday. That’s a huge blow to Pittsburgh’s chances of frustrating the roller coaster that is Josh Allen, whose play is just too erratic for me to believe he’ll make it to Championship Sunday. The turnover-prone quarterback must protect the ball. If he does that, the Bills advance. If he doesn’t, it very well could be another lost season in Buffalo. It’s that simple.

NFL Trade Rumors: Ex-Cowboys star Dez Bryant wants Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs  to move for $124,000,000 Bills WR

Why Ali is taking the Cowboys: The Packers have won six of eight — including three in a row — thanks to Jordan Love’s second-half resurgence. Interception issues that plagued him during the fall have all but disappeared, with the first-year starter leading all passers in TD-to-INT ratio (18:1), yards (2,150) and total EPA since Week 11. His ability to push the ball downfield has kept defenses off balance and opened up opportunities in the run game — most notably for Aaron Jones, who leads the NFL in rushing (411 yards) since his return from injury in Week 15. Whether Love can sustain his excellent level of play against Dallas’ man-heavy defense will be the deciding factor on Sunday. Will we see the guy who sports 19 TD passes (with just one pick) against man looks this season? Or the guy who owns the league’s worst CPOE (-8.3%) against the coverage (min. 250 dropbacks, per NGS)? My guess is that Cowboys DC (and scorching-hot HC candidate) Dan Quinn will break tendencies enough to keep Love guessing, while ultimately leaning on a ferocious pass rush and opportunistic secondary to do what Dallas does best: hunt. And with space-eating DT Johnathan Hankins back in the lineup, Quinn should be able to confidently deploy extra DBs — as he prefers to do — to more effectively defend the Packers’ rising receiving corps without ceding too much ground against the run. The Cowboys advance, but not in the blowout fashion they’ve gotten used to at AT&T Stadium.

Why Gennaro is taking the Rams: These are heady times for football in the Mitten State. The week began with the Michigan Wolverines winning their first national title in 26 years, and it will end with the Detroit Lions hosting their first playoff game in 30. And that’s not all! In an inspired narrative twist, the man standing between the Lions and their first postseason victory in 32 years is none other than Matthew Stafford. The longtime face of the franchise returns to Ford Field for his first game since the rare win-win trade that ultimately gave the Rams a Lombardi Trophy and the Lions a brand new identity. So, in what could be the most electric atmosphere of Super Wild Card Weekend, why back the road team? The Rams’ offense is healthy, the Lions’ offense is not, and Detroit’s defense can’t stop the pass.

Why Dan is taking the Eagles: I know it’s the playoffs, but this has the feel of a consolation game. The Eagles last looked like contenders in November. They are stumbling into the postseason. Yet, there is still so much to like, at least on paper, which is why I continue to pick them. And this could be the right draw for Nick Sirianni’s collapsing crew. That might sound odd at first, considering Tampa Bay has won five of its last six games. But let’s not overlook that the Buccaneers were soundly defeated at home by the mediocre Saints two weeks ago and failed to score a touchdown last week in a division-clinching 9-0 win over the Panthers, who finished with the worst record in the league. Philadelphia’s vulnerability against the pass is no secret, but will a banged-up Baker Mayfield be able to take advantage? I’m not saying he will, but I wouldn’t rule it out — and the Eagles have injury concerns of their own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *