Wildcard weekend can be unpredictable. This year will likely pop a surprise somewhere along the way but three games carry a 7-point spread or higher. The Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, and San Francisco 49ers each host a weaker divisional opponent that they should vanquish easily. I could see the Seattle Seahawks covering, but the other games will likely get out of hand.
The Dallas Cowboys seem like a high variance team and as much as I like them to just bury the Bucs, there’s that nagging suspicion of Tom Brady pulling out a vintage performance. I’m not super confident there. The Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars set up with the closest spread of the weekend and this is the game I’m most excited about watching. Justin Herbert versus Trevor Lawrence should provide good theatre. I think Herbert is simply the better player at this stage of his career, so I tend to lean Chargers.
The betting line I’m most fascinated by is the 13-4 Minnesota Vikings hosting the 9-7-1 New York Giants. These two teams just played at US Bank Stadium with the Vikings pulling out a close victory. Everything in my core wants to fade the Vikings in this one. Despite their glossy record, they have a negative point differential. Their defense is just plain bad. Kirk Cousins has a history of shriveling in big moments. Et cetera, et cetera.
But...the Giants are simply punching above their weight. Their main advantage is Head Coach Brian Daboll. The Giants also have a negative point differential. The biggest difference here is the Giants lack the star power of the Vikings, who have one side of the football that can absolutely get it done. Sometimes football comes down to the big time players making plays when it matters most. There’s simply no one better than Justin Jefferson at this moment and so, while this feels like a hedge, I will take the Vikings to win on a last minute drive in a tight game. Vikings fans get their playoff win before getting destroyed in SF next week. Enjoy the hot dish while, er, it’s hot, I guess.
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