The opening round of Wild Card action was something of disappointment on Saturday with the Houston Texans failing to show up for their game against the Indianapolis Colts and neither team doing much until late in the third quarter in the clash between the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks.
Surprisingly, our BTSC staff picks improved on their regular season form, with Jeff Hartman correctly picking the Colts to cover the spread and both my picks against the totals landing after the Texans game went under and the Cowboys matchup eclipsed the over. With the Seahawks game ending at a push at 2-points, neither of us technically lost despite picking Seattle.
From an opening spread of 1-point, the Baltimore Ravens are now listed as 2-point favorites for their game against the Los Angeles Chargers, while a initial totals position of 42-points still remains as kickoff approaches.
SC Prediction - Acknowledging an obvious bias against Baltimore, I still find myself siding with the Chargers over the Raven and regardless of their recent loss to them at home in Week 16. With virtually no passing game to speak of since Lamar Jackson took over at quarterback, it is hard to have faith in a team that is so one-dimensional. Jackson leads the league in fumbles despite playing less than half a season and rookie mistakes on Sunday should cost Baltimore victory, assuming Los Angeles can capitalize on them against a strong Ravens defense.
Pick: Chargers +2 and Under 42-points.
JH Prediction - If you just happen to stumble upon this website, you might not realize this is a Steelers website, but for the other 99% of visitors, it is a general consensus that you dislike the Ravens. Like I felt with the Cowboys Saturday, there are times you have to pick with your head, and not your heart. Hopefully both vital organs are in better alignment Sunday as I feel the Chargers are the winners in this game. However, it won’t be easy.
Pick: I’ll take the Chargers both straight up, and with getting points, and I’ll take a stab in the dark and predict the OVER in this game.
The Chicago Bears opened as 6-point favorites and there has been little change since then, with the line sitting at 6.5-points as of Sunday morning. It is a similar story for a totals position that began at 42-points and is now showing at 41.5-points.
SC Prediction - Just making the postseason was a battle for the defending Super Bowl Champions and their reign should come to an end against a tough Chicago Bears defense at Soldier Field on Sunday. While the Bears are almost as one-dimensional on offense as the Ravens, the quarterback is not quite as remedial and their running back tandem of Tarik Howard and Jordan Howard is among the best in the NFL. However, it is worth noting that Philadelphia has been vastly improved since Nick Foles took over at quarterback. The Eagles have also won their last three games in a row against Chicago in convincing fashion.
Pick: Bears -6.5 and Under 41.5-points.
JH Prediction - In Foles We Trust. Isn’t this what should be on all types of currency in Philadelphia? Nick Foles has been nothing but magic for the Eagles the past two seasons, and him turning the year around and making the playoffs this year only emphasizes the adoration for Foles in the city of brotherly love. However, I feel this is the end of the magic for Foles and company. While I like the Eagles getting points, I don’t think they have enough magic left to make another postseason run.
Pick: Take the Eagles getting six, but I’ll take the Bears straight up. I will take the UNDER in this NFC Wild Card matchup.
Please feel free to add your selections in the comments section below and we will tally an overall winner at the end of Wildcard weekend.