Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills have won six straight games and covered in eight straight games. The Bills offense has set the tone scoring 31 ppg this season, ranking second in the NFL. Josh Allen has dominating opposing defenses, putting himself in the middle of the MVP conversation. Allen has thrown for 15 touchdown passes in his last five games. He will be without one of his favorite targets, Cole Beasley, but last week’s return of John Brown should make up for the loss. Stefon Diggs has shown that he is a top ten receiver in the NFL and has become a matchup nightmare for any team. The Colts are only 20th in the league in yards versus the pass. The combination of Diggs and Allen is one of the top combinations in the league and will show it on Saturday.
The Colts have gottent he reputation of being a defensive team this year. They have one of best defensive players in pro bowl linebacker Darius Leonard and rank second in the league in rush yards against and 10th in ppg given up. The defense has stood out but while the offense has been on a nice roll all season. They rank top 11 in both run and pass offense. Rookie RB Jonathon Taylor has established himself as the lead back, scoring five touchdowns in his last three games, as well as running for 253 yards in their season finale. QB Phillip Rivers has spread the ball around all season. TY Hilton, Zac Pascal, Michael Pittman Jr., and Nyheim Hines have all been effective receivers for the Colts and any one of them could be the go-to target on Saturday.
These two teams have been great to the over all season, combined they are 20-11 to the over. They both feature top ten scoring offenses in the league. The Colts have to take the lead early to have a chance against the powerful Bills offense. While the Colts have the ability to run the ball effectively they don’t have Josh Allen. Buffalo will give up points but this game is going to be high scoring so I am going with the team that has the better skill position players.
Pick: Over 52, Bills -6.5
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Two teams that are very familiar with each other meet on Saturday when the Rams head to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. Both teams have questions on the offensive side of the ball, the Rams may be without starting QB Jared Goff while Seattle has had issues putting the ball in the endzone.
The Seahawks started the season dominating on the offensive end averaging over 40 points per game in their first five. Lately outside of a 40 point effort against the lowly Jets, Seattle has not found the same success. Over their last 8 games the Seahawks are averaging just 23 ppg.
The Rams may not have Goff on Saturday but they should have back WR Cooper Kupp who had to sit out the season finale with Arizona due to covid protocols. Backup QB John Wolford showed some great elusive skills as a runner in his first career start, causing all kinds of problems for the Cardinals linebackers. His ability to run opened up the pass game in the second half and with the return of Kupp and another week back for Cam Akers the Rams offense should give problems to a Seattle defense that has been great lately but may not have Safety Jamal Adams.
These two teams have a lot of important injuries that are TBD. Even if Goff is able to suit up it seems unlikely he can be very effective. The Rams offense hasn’t been effective at all over the last five weeks, while the Seattle defense has transformed after the addition of Carlos Dunlap. Even without Jamal Adams the Seattle defense can be effective against the Rams. Seattle brings more weapons to the offesnive side. I am going to trust Russell Wilson and the Seattle defense over a litany of uncertainty that the Rams have to deal with.
Pick: Seattle Seahawks -3.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team
The Washington Football Team won the NFC East. They did this with a QB that literally couldn’t walk a year ago and a coach that likely had a lot of other things on his mind. The Football Team is built aroun their stellar defense led by rookie Chase Young. They have held teams to just 20 ppg and just 190 yards through the air. They haven’t given up more than 20 points in their last six games. With an offense that has not been able to find a grove the whole season due to many different QB changes, ultimately leading to former first round pick Dwayne Haskins getting released. Veteran Alex Smith will have to do his best to limit turnovers and take advantage of any positive field position.
The Washington defense will face Tom Brady and the red hot offense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady was able to figure out his offensive weapons capabilites against the inferior defenses of Detroit, Minnesota and Atlanta (2) over their last four games. Tampa Bay has not been able to establish the run consistently, if they are forced to throw consistently on Saturday they will be in trouble against the Washington defensive line. Chase Young and Montez Sweat bring constant pressure. Brady has had his issues with tough defensive line and that should continue in this matchup.
Tampa Bay’s defense is a great matchup against the Washington offense that has to lean on the run due to lack of talent on the outside. Washington’s run first offense will have a lot of trouble against he leagues #1 overall run defense. Tampa has basically taken the run away from opposing teams, they have had issues getting pressure on the QB but they won’t have to worry about a lot of downfield plays against Washington.
Brady will struggle against the pressure, Washington will be able to get pressure with its front four allowing them to double the explosive receivers downfield. The Bucs offense will struggle early but make adjustments in the second half that will allow them to just score more points than a lackluster opposing offense. This game will be a chess match that may score the least amount of points of wild card weekend. Bucs will win but won’t cover.
Pick: Washington Football Team +9, Under 44.5