Written by: Avery and Wronsko
The Couch Rats are back, and what better time than Super Wild Card Weekend; where sickos like us will be intently watching, and wagering, on every game.
Some squads are expected to go deep; Tom Brady looks to add an eighth ring to his collection. Some rosters, like the Bengals, are loaded with young guns ready to make a statement. And some teams probably don't deserve to even be alive right now *cough* Steelers *cough.*
All fourteen teams share a common goal - get to the Super Bowl and win.
It doesn't matter how they got here, it just matters that they're here. Regardless of the circumstance all teams save for two (Green Bay and Tennessee) have to take care of business this weekend to advance.
Touchdowns will be scored, calls will surely be missed, and someone will even get covered in slime; so without further ado, Avery and Wronsko break down this weekends games.
Raiders @ Bengals (-5.5) O/U 49.0
Avery’s picks: Bengals team total over 27.5, Burrow passing yards over 260.5
The Raiders defence didn’t hold up well against Justin Herbert last weekend, save for the one man wrecking crew Maxx Crosby who had 2 sacks and 4 QB hits. A near total 4th quarter collapse saw the Chargers score 15 points in the final 4:28 of play, sending the game to OT and almost putting Steelers fans across the world into cardiac arrest.
The Bengals offense mirrors LA’s almost to a tee, with a young stud QB, a strong dual-threat RB and explosive WRs. The edge clearly goes to Cincy’s WR room, which has transformed itself into a three headed monster, spearheaded by rookie Ja’marr Chase, Burrows LSU teammate. I see no reason why the Bengals couldn’t exploit similar weaknesses in the Raiders secondary and put up 28 points Saturday.
Furthermore, this Burrow passing line is blatantly disrespectful. The guy just threw for 971 yards in his past two games and has surpassed that total in 4 of the last 5 (only miss being on the road @ Denver).
The Raiders secondary isn’t looking great, as Herbert threw for 383 in last week’s thriller. I personally expect this to be a close game, as I’m not sold on Cincinnati’s defense, but that’s all the more reason to expect Burrow to amass a ridiculous amount of passing yards.
Wronsko’s picks: Raiders +5.5, Bengals ML, Tyler Boyd Over 41.5 receiving yards
Let’s start with the basics. In 2021, the Bengals went 10-7 ATS including a 5-2 stretch after their bye (with Joe Burrow was starting), while the Raiders managed an 8-9 record.
The Bengals also bested the Raiders in Sin City on Nov. 21. Cincinnati’s offence has rounded into form in the latter half of the season, with Ja’marr Chase and Tee Higgins taking turns on which game to dominate.
Point differential isn’t close as the Raiders have joined the Steelers to take the crown from the 2020 Browns and enter the postseason with a negative differential (-3.8 per game).
On the other hand, since their defeat to Cincinnati, the Raiders have been in the lab with their backs against the wall, going 5-2 SU to end the season.
Sure, the blowout loss to the Chiefs wasn’t great, and that two-point game in Washington is one they’d like to have back, but with wins in Dallas and Indy, and against the Chargers, this team is capable of spoiling a home favourite.
The Raiders offensive strength in the passing game could exploit the weakness of the Bengals’ 17th ranked scoring defence – the back end.
So, in conclusion, I’m splitting the difference. I’m expecting the Raiders to put up a fight, but the home team to come away with the victory and advance to the Divisional.
Patriots (+4.5) @ Bills O/U 44.0
Avery’s pick: Under 44.0
This is a BIG game. Will the Bills finally be able to end all narratives about being owned by the Patriots? It’s an important question that many are asking. I don’t really care about that, I’m just curious to see if noted occult member Bill Belichick will be able to conjure the weather once again.
The answer seems to be yes. This match is going to be played at an estimated zero Fahrenheit which for my fellow metric system users is “very cold” (-17).
I’ll be honest, I have no clue who will win this game. On one hand I think Belichick being a +4.5 dog in the wild card round is questionable at best, but on the other I can see Buffalo being a serious wagon.
Belichick knows his best chance of winning this game is in a rock fight, and as the more experienced coach I think he will find a way to dictate the tempo. This, plus the weather is making me lean under.
(For real, I’m convinced this guy has an intern ready to sacrifice a goat at any moment in the middle of the locker room if he needs the weather to change).
Wronsko’s picks: Bills -4.5, Under 44.0
We found the new wagon in the AFC.
First it was the Titans, then it was the Pats, then it was the Colts, presently some would probably say it’s the Bengals, but to me, it’s the Bills.
This is a gut feeling. Sure, the Chiefs are the kings of the AFC right now, you will probably have to go through them to find yourself in Los Angeles on Feb. 13., but I think the Bills have what it takes to make it to Arrowhead and upset the big, bad Chiefs.
First, they must beat the Pats at home… which they will. Buffalo had the best point differential in the league during the regular season (+11.4 per game), and their offensive weakness from last year has become a strength -- the run game. Devin Singletary and this offensive line have come alive and that’s what makes this offence terrifying.
Singletary may not have had great outings against the Patriots this season, but Buffalo still managed to go for 114 on the ground during Week 16 in Gillette, and I expect their run game to operate efficiently in this contest.
The Bills also have the No. 1 scoring defence in the league – they allowed 17 points per game, and 1.51 points per defensive possession in the regular season. They’re tough, they can get stops, and they can get off the field quickly.
Does the -17 Celsius weather report scare me? Sure, especially considering the last time these teams played in Buffalo with those swirling winds. Is it enough to deter me? No. But it is making me roll with the under.
Eagles (+8.5) @ Buccaneers O/U 45.5
Avery’s picks: Buccaneers -8.5, Devonta Smith o43.5 receiving yards (-115)
An unstoppable force meets an immovable object; and no, I’m not talking about Antonio Brown and Kanye’s upcoming mixtape. This game will be decided on who can win in the trenches. Philly has cobbled together the highest graded offensive line despite using 15 different lineman throughout the season and found a real formula for running the ball down teams’ throats averaging 159.7 yards on the ground.
Conversely, the Tampa Bay defense gives up the third fewest rushing YGP at 92.5 and the return of Lavonte David and Shaq Barrett could help further strengthen the front seven. It will be an absolute war; a war I’m expecting the Bucs to win.
I’m banking on the Tampa D forcing Hurts and the birds out of their comfort zone by smothering the o-line. Rookie Devonta Smith should see an increase of targets here, and I expect him to easily surpass 43.5 yards receiving.
It’s hard to bet against Tom, the man has won seven super bowls and the Bucs are 6-2 ATS at home. The Eagles may be 2-2 as road dogs and covered +7 against the Bucs when they played earlier this year, but they honestly shouldn’t be in the playoffs. During their four-game win streak they bested the Football Team twice, Giants and Jets. I don’t think they will be prepared to deal with the Tampa Bay offence, albeit they are missing Godwin and AB.
Wronsko’s picks: Buccaneers -8.5, Over 46.0, Tom Brady Over 2.5 Passing TDs (+175)
You know the drill.
Bucs manual parlay this entire post-season. Tom Brady, a solid defence, referees in the back pocket… the perfect storm.
In all seriousness, this Tampa team has been great in Raymond James, going 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS during the regular season.
Also, factoring out the shutout loss vs. the Saints, the Bucs averaged 38 points scored per game at home. Even with their injuries, and the absence of “Super Gremlin”, this team will put up points against the seemingly eternally porous Eagles secondary.
Though the Eagles gave up a lot of scores on the ground, especially when the Bucs came to town in Week 6 (Lenny Fournette TD vulture?), Brady for three passing touchdowns at home is tempting at +175 odds. (parlay sweetener?)
Defending champs will roll. Under will never stand a chance.
The Bucaneers will no longer have Antonio Brown AKA "AB" AKA "Mr. Big Chest" AKA "Tony Toe Tap" AKA "Ronald Ocean" AKA "Super Gremlin."
49ers (+3.0) @ Cowboys.
Avery’s picks: Cowboys -3.0, Deebo Samuel longest reception o25.5 (-115)
I’ve seen enough out of the 2021 49ers to know that this team is completely unpredictable. They will play like absolute garbage for streaks and then flip a switch and look totally unstoppable. I don’t understand this team, I don’t like this team. I don’t like their coach and I don’t like his flat brim hats.
What I do understand is the Cowboys. I understand they are 13-4 ATS. I understand their offense is prolific and that they are debatably the most well-rounded team in the NFL. Dak has put together an amazing comeback season and CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper and Cedric Wilson are all legitimate threats (R.I.P Gallup). Zeke and Pollard can dominate the ground game behind a good offensive line.
Dallas’ problem as of recent years was always the D – and now they have solved it. Say what you will about Dan Quinn as a head coach, but he is a heck of a coordinator. With Randy Gregory pre-occupying first team all-pro Trent Williams I expect Micah Parsons to wreak havoc and force Jimmy G to turn the ball over.
That’s another thing. Garopollo isn’t nearly talented enough to win this game and his true colours will show once again. I expect Deebo Samuel to burn someone for 25+ at some point, because he is a total freak, but the Cowboys should be able to handle business at home.
Wronsko’s picks: 49ers (+3), 49ers ML
No, I’m not a Cowboy hater. Well, I am, but that isn’t the reason I’m picking against them this week.
I only have one insight on this game: The niners love playing east of Mountain Time. Any game in the Eastern or Central time zones they DOMINATE.
How dominant have they been? 12-4 SU in such games over the last three seasons, including 5-1 in 2021.
Shanahan lives for these games, and I expect the 9ers to own Central Time once again, like they have so many times in the past.
Steelers (+13) @ Chiefs
Avery’s pick: TJ Watt to record a sack (-125)
I’m a blatant Steelers homer and will be betting them ML and Spread. Do I think that will actually happen? I don’t know, probably not, but hey I’m going to be cheering for it. I don’t like giving out ATS for this team because much like the 49ers they are unpredictable and I don’t want to be tied to a score.
My best value I kind find here is Watt, who I am officially announcing as the 2021 DPOY, recording a sack. Pittsburgh’s only chance of winning this game is by forcing turnovers and I see Watt getting to Mahomes a couple times.
Also if they’re getting blown out he might decide to take his anger out and bury Chad Henne.
Wronsko’s picks: Steelers +13.5, Steelers ML (+525), Mahomes Over 0.5 Interceptions (+105)
🚨 WARNING: DO NOT TAIL!! 🚨
This is simply charity.