NFL Wild Card Picks - Saturday Games

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NFL Wild Card Saturday Games

All times Eastern

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Week 17 results: Rick: 8-7-1; Coin: 4-11-1
Cumulative: Rick: 118-130-7; Coin: 122-126-7

Saturday, January 9

1:05 pm (CBS) Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills (-6 1/2, 51) - Buffalo ran away with the AFC East title via a 13-3 record, finishing up with six straight wins, the last two over New England (38-9) and Miami (56-26). The Bills' offense is clicking on all cylinders, as QB Josh Allen finished 5th overall in yards passing with 4,544, and Stefan Diggs led the league in receiving yards, at 1,535.

The Bills were second in total yards (6,343) and scoring (31.3 ppg) behind Kansas City and Green Bay, respectively. The Bills were average on defense, allowing 23.4 points per outing.

Indianapolis earned a wild card at 11-5, losing a tie-breaker to Tennessee for the division crown. The Colts allowed 22.6 points on defense, and were 9th in scoring, at 28.2 points per game.

This is a tough call because the teams are very evenly matched, though the big difference is at quarterback, where Allen seems to have all the tools for Buffalo, but Phillip Rivers, Indys' QB, has two decades of experience. Where Allen is mobile, Rivers is savvy. Being at home, the Bills are likely to win this game, but it is surely not a lock. The 6 1/2 point hurdle seems just a little too high for Buffalo, which hasn't won a playoff game in over 20 years.

Coin Flip: Indianapolis

Prediction: Bills 31 Colts 27

4:40 pm (FOX) Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-4, 42 1/2) - Seattle lost to the Rams in Los Angeles in week 10, 23-16, then came back to beat them in Seattle, 20-9, as their defense toughened up.

Both teams are ready for this third meeting, and it should be a worthwhile battle. As winner of the NFC West, the Seahawks get home field, where they went 7-1 during the regular season. It's a comfort level that the Rams must overcome. The Rams are just 4-4 on the road, have an excellent defense, but Seattle knows their tendencies well. After the last meeting, the edge is obviously on the side of the Seahawks, who have won five of their last six.

a joker in this wild card matchup is John Wolford, who led the Rams to an 18-7 win over Arizona in week 17 and into the playoffs in place of QB Jared Goff. It's unknown which QB will get the start, though the Rams may be better off with Wolford as Goff has been ineffective of late. The Rams got a little help as Ky;er Murray sat out most of the week 17 game, paving the way for the Rams' defense to score on an interception return and a safety.

Coin Flip: Los Angeles Rams

Prediction: Seahawks 23 Rams 13

8:15 pm (NBC) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8 1/2, 45) at Washington Football Team - Washington only made the playoffs because the NFC East was such a disaster. The Football Team won just seven games this season, and they took the division only by scraping by an undermanned Eagles team in week 17, 20-14.

Being one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league (20.9 ppg) up against the Buccaneers doesn't bode well for Washington. Tampa Bay put up an average of 30.8 points per game this season, good for third overall behind Green Bay and Buffalo.

Washington's strength is in its defense, which allowed just 20.6 points per game to the Bucs' 22.2. Washington will try to slow down Tom Brady, which isn't a small task in the playoffs. Against playoff teams this season, Washington was 1-4, beating Pittsburgh, 23-17, but losing to Cleveland, 34-20, Baltimore, 31-17, the Rams, 30-10, and Seattle, 20-15. Look like the end of the road for the one and done Football Team. Alex Smith at QB gives them hope, but he's pretty fragile and the backup is Taylor Heinicke.

Coin Flip: Washington

Prediction: Buccaneers 30 Football Team 14

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