WILDCARD WEEKEND: The regular season is great but there’s nothing like playoff football, and with an additional Wild Card berth in each conference this year and bye weeks now limited to only the 1-seeds, this will objectively be the most action-packed Wildcard Weekend we’ve ever seen.

It all gets started in San Francisco on Saturday afternoon and wraps up on Monday night in Tampa with what could be the final game in the career of the great Tom Brady. Six games in all, each one featuring fascinating subplots and legit Super Bowl contenders. As we always do around playoff time, we’ve decided to shelve the Best Bets this week and have instead provided our thoughts on all of the games, complete with score predictions. Here’s how I see it all shaking out:


Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers Saturday 21:30 GMT

Line: San Francisco -9.5, 42

The Niners roll into these playoffs as the hottest team in football, winners of 10 straight games. The defense leads the NFL in both yards allowed and points allowed, and the Christian McCaffrey-led rushing attack should have a big game against a Seattle defense that is terrible against the run, surrendering 4.9 yards per attempt and 150 yards per game on the ground. That said, San Fran QB Brock Purdy is a rookie making his first career playoff start, while his counterpart, Seattle’s Geno Smith, is playing the best football of his career and has elite perimeter weapons at his disposal. Prediction: 49ers 20, Seahawks 13


Los Angeles Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday 01:15 GMT

Line: Los Angeles -2, 47

TIAA Bank Field will be rocking for the biggest game in Jacksonville in several years, and the Jags have to feel confident in this matchup after stomping the Chargers 38-10 back in Week 3. The Bolts should be a bit healthier this time around, however, despite losing wideout Mike Williams to an unfortunate and unnecessary injury in Week 18. Justin Herbert was banged up when these teams last met, Keenan Allen didn’t play, and ace pass-rusher Joey Bosa left the game early in the 1st quarter. Jacksonville put together a 5-game winning streak to close out the season but the offense has been sputtering in recent weeks, with QB Trevor Lawrence struggling to find the rhythm that he had earlier in the year. The Jags D has trouble defending the middle of the field. Prediction: Chargers 27, Jaguars 17


Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills Sunday 18:05 GMT

Line: Buffalo -13.5, 43

With Tua Tagovailoa still in concussion protocol and ruled out for this game, the Dolphins will be going with rookie Skylar Thompson at quarterback, though we may see an appearance from veteran Teddy Bridgewater, who is dealing with various injuries and is officially listed as questionable. Starting RB Raheem Mostert, who rushed for 136 yards against this Buffalo defense last month, is out as well, so the outlook is pretty grim for Miami here, as a two-touchdown line would indicate. The Bills average 31.3 points per game at home and haven’t lost in two months. Prediction: Bills 34, Dolphins 13


New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings Sunday 21:30 GMT

Line: Minnesota -3, 48

The Vikings are widely considered a fraud– a 13-4 division winner with a negative point differential and a defense that can’t stop anybody. They do have an elite running back and the best receiver in the NFL, however, and when these teams met in Week 16 that receiver, Justin Jefferson, and Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson combined for 25 receptions (!), 242 yards and 3 touchdowns. Does a Giants team that has scored 22 points or fewer in 6 of its past 8 games have the offensive firepower to pull off the minor upset here? Considering they just hung 445 yards on this pathetic Minnesota D, it seems very possible. This one could be a barnburner. Prediction: Giants 28, Vikings 27


Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals Monday 01:15 GMT

Line: Cincinnati -7.5, 40.5

Though he hasn’t been officially ruled out, Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson looks unlikely to play, which is unfortunate from a fan’s perspective– this would’ve been a tremendous matchup if Jackson and the Ravens were a bit healthier. As it stands, Baltimore’s choices are backup Tyler Huntley, who is dealing with a shoulder injury that kept him out of last week’s game, and undrafted rookie Anthony Brown. As well as the Ravens defense has been playing, it’s difficult to imagine one of those QBs engineering a road win against a Bengals team that hasn’t lost since October. This is going to be a tough game for the Cincinnati offense, however. Prediction: Bengals 17, Ravens 10


Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday 01:15 GMT

Line: Dallas -2.5, 44.5

It comes full circle for these teams, as they met back in Week 1 in a game that was fairly disastrous for the Cowboys, who scored just 3 points in a 16-point defeat and lost QB Dak Prescott to a hand injury. That’s all ancient history now, though– Prescott is back to himself and Dallas has won 6 of 8, while Tampa Bay backed into the playoffs at 8-9, the first losing season of Tom Brady’s illustrious career. The biggest concern here for the Bucs has to be how their wretched offensive line, which has struggled to keep Tom Brady upright all season, will hold up against a fearsome Dallas pass rush that ranks second in the NFL in sack rate. Prediction: Cowboys 24, Bucs 23


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