NFC Wild Card Picks Against The Spread

by | Jan 13, 2022

The three wildcard games in the NFC in 2022 look to be pretty competitive overall. Only one game has a spread over a touchdown, and realistically, all six teams could move on and evolve into legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

What are the picks against the spread for the three games on Wildcard weekend? This is a breakdown of all three games and what is likely to happen.

San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys -3

It looked like early on in the season, the Dallas Cowboys were a legit Super Bowl contender. They still are in the hunt, but they get a tough wildcard game against the San Francisco 49ers. This could propel either team to legitimate Super Bowl contender status if they’re able to come out and win convincingly.

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The gamble to play Dak Prescott in Week 18 paid off for Dallas. They were able to get their quarterback going in a very positive direction right before the playoffs. He had a great game passing the ball, and seems to have quite a bit of confidence going currently.

For San Francisco to stay competitive, they want to slow the game down and keep the ball out of Prescott‘s hands. They know that Dallas can put up points in a hurry, but they have the running game and the defense to slow it down a bit. As for Dallas, they are hoping to put a ton of pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo to see if he can handle the playoff spotlight. Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs are the two key components of a Dallas defense that is better than many realize. They’ll need to be strong to reduce the chances of things becoming a shootout.

Both teams will likely put up some points, but Dallas is just the more trustworthy offense right now. Not only is Prescott more consistent than Garoppolo, but he has more weapons at his disposal. Dallas wins and covers in a pretty competitive game overall.

Pick: Dallas Cowboys -3

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Rams -4

An undefeated start to the season fizzled out a bit for the Arizona Cardinals. Now, they are on the road in the Wildcard round against the Los Angeles Rams as an underdog. Both teams have had some highs and lows this year, but will Arizona be able to pull off the upset this time?

Out of all the road teams in the Wildcard round in either conference, Arizona seems the most likely to pull out the upset. The two teams split their season series, and it came down to which quarterback had a better game. Kyler Murray and Matthew Stafford are fairly reliable, but as of right now, Murray seems to be a little less prone to mistakes. It also helps that he has the running game of his to rely on when things get rough.

The Rams do have strengths on defense, but Arizona seems like the more consistent team overall. It should be a battle that goes back-and-forth, but when that’s the case, taking the underdog against the spread seems like the safer move. Arizona might be able to win this game, but even if they don’t, they’ll keep it closer than the spread suggests.

One more factor to consider is the home-field advantage. In this case, it’s a bit lacking. A lot of Arizona fans could invade the stadium and make it feel like a much more neutral-site contest.

Pick: Arizona Cardinals +4

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Bucaneeers -8.5

In Week Six of the NFL season, Tampa Bay beat Philadelphia by six. It was not a good matchup for Philadelphia, as their strengths play right into Tampa Bay’s strengths. That makes for a tall task for them to even think about pulling off a victory in the Wildcard round.

Philadelphia knows that its success is largely reliant on a run-heavy approach. They don’t have much of a passing game, but running the football plays right into Tampa Bay‘s great run defense.

To make matters worse, Philadelphia’s defense is weakest where Tampa Bay‘s offense is best. The Buccaneers like to rely on the running game, as well as finding the tight ends for some short-yardage passes. Tom Brady is smart enough to navigate this game well from the beginning, giving his team a strong edge overall.

It’s a pretty remarkable turnaround for the Philadelphia Eagles to even get into the playoffs. Unfortunately, it’s not going to go well for them in this one, as Tampa Bay should be able to cruise to victory. The defending Super Bowl champions come in with a lot of returning players, and they’ll be able to handle the spotlight just fine. If New England‘s able to get up early, they might be able to rest some of their starters for what could be a long playoff run after this.

Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8.5


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