NFL Playoffs Wild Card Predictions: 5 Best Picks Against The Spread

5 best predictions for the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs. What appear to be the best bets and picks?

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There are only six games to choose from, so the goal from the bowl season – with all the bowls broken up into a chunks – remains in place – hit .600.

The result? Meh … 11-9. But I made up for my Michigan pick debacle – and a few all-time acts of God – with Ohio State and then Georgia and the over in the national title game.

And when I had time this season to do this for the NFL back in Week 14? 4-1.

I know, blah, blah, blah, it’s NFL Playoff time, get to the picks already.

March Madness is fun, and of course I love the entirety of the college football season above all, but … (shhhhhhh, whispering) six Wild Card games; this is the best sports weekend of the year.

Click on each game for the game preview

5. Seattle at San Francisco

LINE San Francisco -9.5
ATS PICK Seattle

We start with two beliefs I can’t shake when it comes the Wild Card, and it might already be proven positive – or be exposed as a whole pile of hoo-ha – by the time you read this.

1) Rookie quarterbacks scare me, because 2) there are almost certainly going to be turnovers in key moments.

Brock Purdy has been phenomenal.

He might be a rookie – and he might have been the last player selected in the 2022 NFL Draft – but he has a ton of miles logged in from his college days. Over the finishing kick he has been nothing short of a season-saver for the 49ers.

It helps to have that defense and that running game to take the heat off, but he’s been solid because there hasn’t been a lot down the field.. Since taking over he has thrown multiple touchdown passes in each of the last six games and just three interceptions.

The parts are in place defensively, the 49ers have Elijah Mitchell ready to do more in a rotation with Christian McCaffrey, and …

Poor Seattle. Poor, poor Seattle.

It lost three of its last four games, needed overtime to get by the Rams – and the gift of the Lions deciding to try against the Packers – for the honor of losing to San Francisco for a third time this year.

Poor, poor, poor Seattle.

This is where that rookie quarterback thing might just kick in.

As I pointed out in the game preview, San Francisco is 13-0 when it doesn’t turn the ball over multiple times, and 0-4 when it does. On the flip side, Seattle has forced two or more takeaways in 12 of its 17 games, and two of the five outliers were against the 49ers.

Eventually, the puck luck – or the Purdy forced third down throw luck – has to bounce Seattle’s way. In the pressure of the playoffs – with all of it on the San Francisco side of the field – there will be multiple turnovers.

I can’t get there with Seattle to win outright, but getting 9.5 against a rookie QB? I’ll take my chances, because you always go with the underdogs in big-spread NFL games like (cough … cough …)

CFN Experts Picks: Seahawks at 49ers

NEXT: NFL Pick Against the Spread No. 4: Miami at Buffalo

4. Miami at Buffalo

LINE Buffalo -13.5
ATS PICK Buffalo

Ugh … I can’t believe I’m falling for the narrative.

How do you win in the long run as a sports investor? You push past the bullspit being slung that cranks a line out of whack – like 13.5 against any NFL team – and you groove on the value.

Yes, I know. 2022 me screamed that you always take the NFL double-digit dog. I’ll get back there soon.

It’s not even about Damar Hamlin. The Bills were able to get through the home game against the Patriots in the first game back from that horror-turned-inspiration story. I absolutely don’t mean for this to be as crassly calculating as it sounds – the Bills sure seem like they needed to get that first game back out of the way, and now they can just play football.

More than that, they got the 2022 NFL regular season out of the way.

On the field – up until Hamlin’s situation – this has been all about getting here. Buffalo is 2020 Ohio State – with that program’s desperate need to exorcise the Clemson demon from the tough Fiesta Bowl loss the year before – with a single-minded obsession to right the wrong.

The Bills want Kansas City, but Miami is in the way.

I’m not ready to go 47-17 like the Bills did against the Patriots at home in last year’s Wild Card, but … eh, maybe.

Miami will need at least 30 to hang around with this Buffalo offense. With Skylar Thompson under center, it’ll get to 20. Buffalo will get at least 14 more.

Yeah, I’m buying in that Buffalo is about to put that No. 2 scoring offense to good use.

CFN Experts Picks: Dolphins at Bills

NEXT: NFL Pick Against The Spread No. 3 Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville

3. Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville

LINE Los Angeles -2.5
ATS PICK Jacksonville

“I was worried about losing until I looked down the floor and saw Dale Brown. Then I knew we had a chance.” – Bobby Knight

Yeah, I’m about to throw a few stats your way to fit my own beliefs, and we’ll all have a few laughs and kill some time, but …

Warning: If you’re not sure about this, or if you sort of like the Chargers, move on the the No. 1 pick against the spread this week because I’ll freely admit that this is way flaky.

I can’t shake the idea in my head that Jacksonville is about to be the junior version of the 2022 playoff Bengals.

I also can’t shake my core belief that Brandon Staley – the living, breathing definition of too cute by half – will screw this up.

Oh no, Doug Pederson is hardly the next Bill Belichick – or Bobby Knight – but I’ll take my chances that he and his staff will have this figured out as the home underdog as long as his quarterback stops throwing it in key situations like he just powered down five bowls of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.

Trevor Lawrence will be better than he was against the Titans. He wasn’t bad, but he was two easy throws away from putting that thing away, and he didn’t come through. That’s about to change.

No, this won’t be as easy as the 38-10 Jaguar win way back in Week 3. However, Chargers didn’t win a game on the road against a playoff team, the absence of Mike Williams will matter, and …

CFN Experts Picks: Chargers at Jaguars

NEXT: NFL Pick Against The Spread No. 2 Los Angeles at Jacksonville, Part 2

2. Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville


It’s Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence in primetime Saturday night.

The weather? It’s supposed to be around 50 and clear.

It’s the Los Angeles passing offense that’s the third-best in the NFL through the air vs one of the league’s worst pass defenses.

It’s the Jacksonville offense that put up 38 points and 413 yards against the Chargers in Week 3.

This might not be the 45-42 firefight we’re all dreaming about with all the great talent on the offensive sides of the field, but that would hardly be a total shocker.

The first meeting between these two was weird. The Chargers were off, Keenan Allen wasn’t around, the running game didn’t get off the bus, there were too many penalties – this isn’t going to be 38-10 again.

But, of course, that went over the 47 total that’s in this.

Both teams will trade haymakers, they’ll both score in the 20s, and let’s be real here.

You’re not going to take the under on this game.

CFN Experts Picks: Chargers at Jaguars

NEXT: NFL Pick Against The Spread No. 1 Dallas at Tampa Bay

1. Dallas at Tampa Bay

LINE Dallas -2.5

There are two ways to look at this.

Dallas has been a playoff gag-fest over the last several years, and that Tom Brady guy slinging it around is still pretty good.

But there’s a reason the line is only -2.5, and that’s why there’s a completely opposite angle …

Dallas has been a playoff gag-fest over the last several years, and that Tom Brady guy slinging it around is still pretty good.

The line should be Dallas -8.5, but it’s not because Dallas has been a playoff gag-fe … you get the idea.

The Cowboys were hardly sharp over the final third of the season, and yet – throw out that Washington game in Week 18 – they won six of seven with the lone loss coming at Jacksonville on a brilliant comeback engineered by Trevor Lawrence.

Tampa Bay? It needed everything in the bag to push past Carolina two weeks ago. It needed overtime to pile on the Arizona Cardinal pity party, got doornailed by San Francisco, struggled to get by the Saints, lost to the Browns, and …

(Shhhhhhh … Tampa Bay doesn’t score.)

The Bucs have only pushed past 23 points twice. Dallas has only scored fewer than that five times.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Week 1 Tampa Bay 19, Dallas 3. Seattle is the only other playoff team it beat … yippee.

There’s no Tampa Bay running game whatsoever. The Dallas offensive balance will be terrific, the defense will make up for Dak’s two turnovers with three takeaways, and all that mess about how bad everything has been in the playoffs – and whether or not Mike McCarthy will be fired – will be gone by the third quarter.

I think.

It’s Dallas in the playoffs and 12 at home.

I still like the Cowboys in this.

CFN Experts Picks: Cowboys at Buccaneers

Expert Picks
Seahawks at 49ers | Chargers at Jaguars
Dolphins at Bills | Giants at Vikings
Ravens at Bengals | Cowboys at Buccaneers

Story originally appeared on College Football News