NFL Wild Card Round Team Total Predictions

NFL Wild Card Round Team Total Predictions

It's a funny thing regarding "momentum" as we come into the playoffs. With the whole mad scramble for wild card spots, there are fewer "meaningless" games, or so it seems.

But there was also that dynamic going on where teams who already found themselves in the postseason did the whole "rest the starters" thing. Oddly enough, the Philadelphia Eagles, who had the last seed in the NFC, was one of those teams, and that was a factor that led to them giving up 51 points to Dallas.

Cincinnati went into "rest" mode too, which now presents them with something of a scheduling advantage against the Las Vegas Raiders, who expended a lot of energy in clinching their playoff spot against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Raiders vs. Bengals Team Total Picks

Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals Preview

Time: Saturday, January 15 @ 4:30 PM ET

Team Totals Odds: Cincinnati Bengals - Over 27.5 Points (-128) / Under 27.5 Points (-102)

The Play: BENGALS UNDER 27.5 POINTS (-102)

There is no doubt about the fact that Cincinnati has the offensive weapons to compete. Joe Burrow, who had the highest passing grade with the analytics guys at Pro Football Focus this season, threw for over a thousand yards over his last two games. He's got a couple of thousand-yard receivers, including terrific rookie Ja'Marr Chase (1456 yards).

But you know, in only six out of 17 games have the Bengals exceeded this total. One of the reasons is that the Bengals are oh-so slow; in fact, the third slowest team in the NFL in terms of time elapsed between plays.

The first meeting was a 32-13 Las Vegas victory, but it was 16-13 with five minutes left. Cincinnati barely got to 300 yards. Sure, there are a couple of marks against the Raiders here - they are playing on a Saturday afternoon after going ten minutes of overtime on a Sunday night. And they have proven to be unspeakably bad in the red zone, allowing touchdowns 81.4% of the time. But they have also held their last six opponents to 294 yards, which represents a lot of progress. So considering the price, we're okay with going "under."

Eagles vs. Buccaneers Team Total Picks

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview

Time: Sunday, January 16 @ 1 PM ET

Team Totals Odds: Tampa Bay Bucs - Over 27.5 Points (-110) / Under 27.5 Points (-120)

The Play: BUCS OVER 27.5 POINTS (-110)

Obviously, not having Chris Godwin or Antonio Brown presents a challenge for the defending Super Bowl champs. But if there is anyone who can improvise with a situaion like this, it's Tom Brady, who did that on multiple occasions when he was in New England. Against Carolina, which, statistically, was one of the better defensive units in the league during the regular season, Brady spread the ball around pretty good as far as his targets were concerned.

Breshard Perriman got five catches in six targets. Mike Evans had six grabs, including two TD's. And among the others, Rob Gronkowski got a lot of attention, with seven catches in ten targets for 137 yards. The Eagles don't defend well against tight ends, so this is an area of concentration. And it doesn't help that Philly has permitted 69.4% completions overall, which is worst in the National Football League.

The Bucs were shut out at home against New Orleans. In every other game at Raymond James Stadium, they have scored at least 30 points.

Steelers vs. Chiefs Team Total Picks

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs Preview

Time: Sunday, January 16 @ 8:15 PM ET

Team Totals Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers - Over 16.5 Points (-120) / Under 16.5 Points (-110)

The Play: STEELERS UNDER 16.5 POINTS (-110)

The idea when the Steelers drafted Najee Harris in the first round was that they could become a team that relied on the ground game to take pressure off Ben Roethlisberger. And even though Harris has been serviceable, he has not been the guy to build the offense around. As a result, Pittsburgh has thrown the ball 63% of the time, which is the third highest figure in the league. And that's not a good thing when you have a guy like Roethlisberger, who is really just winding things down and doesn't stretch defenses.

When it comes to Intended Air Yards, Big Ben is right down there near the bottom of the list. And over the last four games, he's averaged only 4.5 yards per attempt. The Chiefs, who have given up 44 points over their last five home games, held Pittsburgh to just 303 yards - much of which came during garbage time - in a 36-10 victory just six weeks ago.

49ers vs. Cowboys Team Total Picks

San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys Preview

Time: Sunday, January 16 @ 4:30 PM ET

Team Totals Odds: San Francisco 49ers - Over 23.5 Points (-130) / Under 23.5 Points (+100)

The Play: NINERS OVER 23.5 POINTS (-130)

We understand that there may be some trepidation about Jimmy G and his thumb injury, and if you noticed, he threw two interceptions in the regular season finale against the Rams. But he also averaged almost ten yards an attempt, saving his best for crunch time, and he has a trio of playmakers that matches that of the Cowboys.

Elijah Mitchell, a sixth-round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette, has been awesome, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and he would have exceeded 1000 yards if injuries hadn't sidelined him. Between rushing and receiving, Deebo Samuel has scored 14 touchdowns. And then there's George Kittle, who, after 60 yards receiving over the last three weeks, is due for an upswing.

Dallas has not defended against play-action passing (24th as per Pro Football Focus), and Garoppolo has averaged over ten yards per play-action pass. Remember that the Cowboys have lost at home to Denver, Las Vegas and Arizona. And that Kyle Shanahan knows Dan Quinn's defensive philosophy inside and out, having been his offensive coordinator in Atlanta.

Cardinals vs. Rams Team Total Picks

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams Preview

Time: Monday, January 17 @ 8:15 PM ET

Team Totals Odds: Arizona Cardinals - Over 21.5 Points (-105) / Under 21.5 Points (-125)

The Play: CARDINALS OVER 21.5 POINTS (-105)

We know that the Cards came limping down the stretch, with four losses in five games. And we know that losing DeAndre Hopkins is not a good thing. At the same time, Arizona won and covered eight of nine games on the road. And only Detroit (yes, Detroit) really slowed them to a crawl.

These NFC West squads met twice during the regular season, and in those games, the Cards gained 912 yards. Hopkins participated in both games, but back on December 13, AJ Green and Christian Kirk combined for 188 yards.