We finished the 2018 under 45% on the year, but we were just under 50% after an abysmal first three weeks and look to continue our upward trajectory heading into the playoffs.
For the Wildcard and Divisional round games we will make two official picks and but will also provide guidance on the other two games. Looking ahead to the conference championship and Super Bowl weekends, we will be picking all three games.
Wildcard Weekend Picks
Colts +1.5 at Texans
This is AFC South battle is a tale of two teams who peaked at different times. Houston was one of the best teams in the NFL during weeks 4-13 when they ripped of nine straight and were playing their best football. Since Week 7, the Colts have been one of the best teams in the league winning nine of their last 10 including a win-and-in Week 17 game in Tennessee. Houston’s receiving corps are depleted right now with Demaryius Thomas on IR and DeAndre Hopkins listed as questionable. DeShaun Watson had under 250 yards passing in three of his last 11 games, and he’ll likely need to eclipse 300 in order to take down Andrew Luck and the Colts high powered offense. Converting on 3rd down is more important in the playoffs than in the regular season, and the Colts lead the league in 3rd down conversion % at 48.6%. The Texans, on the other hand, only convert 3rd downs at 37.02% and already will have be thin at WR. Frank Reich made magic last year with Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, and the Eagles, lets watch him do it again.
Seahawks +2 at Cowboys
Amari Cooper straight up saved Jason Garrett’s job. The Cowboys were 3-4 and headed nowhere. After two playoff appearances in seven seasons at the helm of Jerry’s team, Garrett was on the hot seat. In came Amari Cooper who, along with the emergence of Leighton Vander Esch and several other factors, sparked America’s team to win seven of their last eight en route to an NFC East title. Unfortunately for Jerry, this is where the road ends for Dallas. The Cowboys only score 21.18 points per game while Seattle is at 26.75. Additionally Dallas’s point differential is only +15 on the year which lands them 14th while Russell Wilson has Seattle at +81 and 10th respectively. This game will come down to Seattle’s ability to make Dallas play left-handed. Seattle will sell out to stop the run, if Dak Prescott can beat them with checkdowns to Zeke and deep balls to Cooper then maybe they can give Jason Garrett his second playoff win. My money, however, is on MVP-candidate Russell Wilson and his proven playoff success.
Chargers +2.5 at Ravens
Rookie Lamar Jackson has been one of the league’s bright spots down the stretch this year, assisting Baltimore to wins in six of their last seven games. Jackson’s athletic, run heavy, approach brings new life to the Raven’s offense. Not sure what they are going to do about Joe Flacco who has $16million in dead cap money, but it would be very surprising if anybody but Lamar were the starting QB week one of the 2019 season. When the Ravens beat the Chargers Week 16, they pulled out all the stops. John Harbaugh threw the book at the Chargers, and they pulled it off with a couple bounces going in their direction. One of the Baltimore TEs scored from 68 yards out on a blown coverage, and one of their corners scooped up a fumble with under a minute left and ran it back 62 yards to the house. The Ravens D also won the turnover battle 3-1. The turnover differential will regress to the mean and Hall of Famer Philip Rivers will manage to find Keenan Allen more than five times. Now that the Chargers defense is at full strength, they will be able to stop the Lamar Jackson/Gus Edwards rushing attack. Lamar Jackson can’t pass well enough to keep up with the (tied for) sixth most productive offense in the league. Phil Rivers adds another playoff win to his legacy and John Harbaugh gets another step closer to coaching another team.
Eagles +6 at Bears
Here at Flawless Victory, we simply don’t have a good pulse on da Bears. With that being said, how is Mitch Trubisky going to beat the red hot Eagles by a touchdown? Nick “Big **** Nick” Foles is 3-0 after taking over the starting job for Carson Wentz, and two of his wins were over playoff teams (Rams and Texans). The Bears are very good when they are leading, they can run the ball and play great defense. Like many teams with first year head coach/young QB pairs, Chicago is not as strong when trailing. Thus, it is imperative they get out to an early lead. The Bears are averaging 5.3 points in the first quarter, good for seventh in the league, while the Eagles only allow 3.06 points per first quarter. Expect a low-scoring first quarter which will lead to the Eagles being right in the thick of it at the end of the game. Nick Foles may even have an opportunity for immortality with another game winning drive.
Stats from Team Rankings, ESPN, Pro-Football Reference, and Spotrac