The NFL postseason has arrived, but these playoffs will look a bit different than years past.
A third Wild Card team was added to each conference. In turn, only the respective No. 1 seeds in the AFC and NFC will enjoy a bye this weekend, while the other 12 playoff teams do battle over the course of Saturday and Sunday.
This will come as a delight to football bettors, who will have two more games than usual to play with on Super Wild Card Weekend. Here are our over/under picks for all six contests, with the totals coming from consensus data.
Saturday, Jan. 9
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills — 51
The Bills offense is absolutely humming. Josh Allen and Co. lit it up over the home stretch of the regular season, scoring 34 points or more in four of their last five games. This includes a 56 spot in Week 17 against a Miami Dolphins team that needed a win to advance to the postseason.
The Colt offense, of course, isn’t nearly as dynamic as Buffalo’s. Still, the Over cashed in 10 of Indianapolis’ 16 regular-season games, the same mark Buffalo yielded in 2020. We think there will be plenty of points in this early-afternoon tilt.
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks — 42.5
The Seahawks seemingly have flipped the script from the start of the season.
Seattle’s defense was one of the NFL’s worst over the first month-plus of the campaign, but those issues were overcome by the otherworldly play of Russell Wilson. Now, the Seahawks defense is beginning to surge while the offense is in the midst of a funk.
Wilson and Co. only scored more than 26 points once in December and it came against the lowly New York Jets. The Rams and Seahawks combined for a mere 29 points in Week 16, and Jared Goff was under center for LA in that contest. John Wolford likely will get the nod for Sean McVay’s team Saturday, and he didn’t exactly inspire optimism last Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team — 45
The Bucs, winners of four straight, have heaps of momentum entering the playoffs. Especially on offense, as they put up 47 and 44, respectively, over the final two weeks of the regular season.
But Tampa might struggle to move the ball Saturday. Washington boasts a tenacious defense, one that racked up the sixth-most sacks in the regular season. The Football Team also allowed the second-fewest passing yards per game. This doesn’t bode well for a pass-happy Bucs offense that won’t have a fully healthy Mike Evans.
Another potential tip to consider: Tampa Bay’s struggles in primetime this season. The Bucs averaged less than 18 points per game over their four nightcaps.
Sunday, Jan. 10
Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans — 54.5
This will be the second meeting of the season between the Ravens and Titans, who combined for 54 points in a contest that went into overtime back in late November.
Both offenses seemingly have improved since that head-to-head matchup. Baltimore averaged north of 37 points per game over its final five contests, while Tennessee average more than 35 over its last six.
Lamar Jackson and Co. probably are in store for a big day. The Titans allowed the most points per game during the regular season of all 14 playoff teams. Tennessee is particularly poor at defending the pass. Jackson isn’t an elite thrower of the football, but he’s shown signs of improvement.
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints — 47.5
Our concerns for this Over are one-sided.
We’re expecting the Saints to fire on all cylinders. Alvin Kamara is likely to be available Sunday after his brief stint on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. As is a healthy and rested Michael Thomas, who hasn’t played since Dec. 13. Furthermore, a dislocated elbow is expected to sideline linebacker Roquan Smith, one of Chicago’s best defenders.
Our worries lie with the Bears, who dealt with offensive struggles throughout the season. Chicago ranked in the bottom third in points per game, due in large part to shaky quarterback play. Mitchell Trubisky didn’t play Nov. 1 when the Saints visited Soldier Field, but he’ll probably encounter similar struggles Nick Foles faced against New Orleans.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers — 47.5
It’s fair to worry about the Steelers offense entering the playoffs, as their running game seemingly is non-existent.
Luckily for Pittsburgh, it might not need to take to the ground often Sunday.
Cleveland’s pass defense is one of the team’s greatest weaknesses. The Browns ranked 22nd in passing yards allowed per game. Pittsburgh put up 38 points when the AFC North rivals met at Heinz Field back in mid-October.
The Browns will be without their head coach and Pro Bowl left guard against the Steelers, but we’re still expecting to see an effective offense. If Pittsburgh’s defense has any holes, it’s against the run and Cleveland features one of the league’s best backfield tandems in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Bank on these two racking up ample carries, which should open up the play-action game for Baker Mayfield.