2017 NFL Wild-Card Round Analysis

The 2017 NFL regular season is over, which means the playoffs matchups have been set and the quest for the Super Bowl begins.

Here’s a preview of this weekend’s NFL playoff games and the wild-card round analysis.


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Tennessee Titans vs Kansas City Chiefs

  • When: January 06, 2018, 4:35 PM ET
  • Where: Arrowhead Stadium
  • Spread: Chiefs -9
  • Total: 44
  • Moneyline: Chiefs -460 vs Titans +360

Tennessee Titans Analysis

The Titans faltered down the stretch losing four of their final five games, including an overtime struggle in Week 7 against the 0-16 Browns, but they did defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars to clinch the fifth seed in the AFC.

Tennessee needs to run the ball effectively in this game and quarterback Marcus Mariota will need to do a better job than he did during the regular season to protect the ball.

But, the Titans’ offense has been inconsistent. Mariota has thrown more picks than touchdowns and overall ranked above 20th in total yards, scoring, and turnover differential.

One thing that could benefit the Titans is DeMarcus Murray’s presence; though his status for the game unknown, if he plays the Titans have a good chance to stay in the game.

The Chiefs tend to struggle to stop the run and if Tennessee sticks to the ground game, they might be able to keep the game closer than nine points.

Most likely though, the defense will need to step up if the Titans are to win.

Tennessee’s defense has been dominant, especially against the run, which is something they’ll need against the league-leading Kareem Hunt who racked up 1,327 with eight touchdowns in the regular season.  

Kansas City Chiefs Analysis

A lot of people are sleeping on the Chiefs because they had a stretch in which they lost six out of seven games including losses against the New York Giants and New York Jets at the Meadowlands.

Since then, however, they have been one of the hottest teams in the league and ended up winning their last four contests.

Remember, this team also started the season with a 5-0 record that included wins over the top-seeded New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

Kansas City will probably test out its running game but might struggle against Tennessee’s front seven who allow just 3.6 yards per carry and a league-low five rushing touchdowns.

If however, the ground game is ineffective, Alex Smith and Co. can very well turn to the air attack to test the 25th ranked Titans’ passing defense.

Smith has been putting up incredible career-high numbers in passing yards (4,042), passing touchdowns (26) and yards per pass attempt (8.0), well ahead of Mariota in quarterback rating.

The Chiefs are well poised to make it to the divisional round, but from then on there are big question marks because they’re just 1-9 in the postseason since 1993.

Titans vs Chiefs Betting Trends

  • Tennessee is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Tennessee's last 6 games
  • Tennessee is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
  • Kansas City is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
  • Kansas City is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Kansas City's last 8 games

Pick and Prediction: The Chiefs are favored to win by 9 points but expect a much closer game. Take the Titans +9.

Atlanta Falcons vs LA Rams

  • When: January 06, 2018, 8:15 PM ET
  • Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
  • Spread: Rams -6.5
  • Total: 48.5
  • Moneyline: Rams -280 vs Falcons +240

Atlanta Falcons Analysis

The Falcons managed to sneak into the playoffs and will start their title defense against an inexperienced Rams team.

Atlanta shouldn’t have too many problems running the ball against this Rams defense, but although this will keep them close I believe the Rams have the slight edge on offense.

Slight is the key word here because the Falcons are among only four teams that finished inside the top 10 in total offense and defense. And, though Matt Ryan wasn’t as impressive as he was last year, he nevertheless came up with his seventh straight 4,000-yard season.

Los Angeles Rams Analysis

The Rams have a great defense and need to get pressure on Matt Ryan and force him to throw some interceptions.

The Rams are playing much like last season’s Falcons, heading into Week 17 ranked first in Football Outsiders' Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) and producing 28 takeaways and 48 sacks.

LA’s defensive front played a big part in how they’ve turned their season around this year. Four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Aaron Donald, defensive end Robert Quinn and linebacker Alec Ogletree are the backbone of this stout defense.

On the other side of the ball, the Rams offense leads the league in scoring at 29.9 points per game and boasts running back Todd Gurley and quarterback Jared Goff. Gurley rushed for 1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 64 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns.

Goff who is only in his second year, has thrown 28 touchdowns passes to just seven interceptions.

Rams vs Falcons Betting Trends

  • Atlanta is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Atlanta's last 5 games
  • Atlanta is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
  • LA Rams is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of LA Rams' last 5 games
  • LA Rams is 4-10-1 ATS in its last 15 games at home

Pick and Prediction: The Rams are favored to win by 6.5 points, take LA at -6.7.

Buffalo Bills vs Jacksonville Jaguars

  • When: January 07, 2018, 1:05 PM ET
  • Where: EverBank Field
  • Spread: Jaguars -9
  • Total: 39.5
  • Moneyline: Jaguars -430 vs Bills +340

The Bills got into the playoffs thanks to the Cincinnati Bengals defeating the Baltimore Ravens, now they have to prove they belong against a very good Jaguars defense.

The problem for Buffalo now is that running back LeSean McCoy suffered a sprained ankle in their last game and his status is up in the air.

If McCoy is unable to play, the Bills’ hopes to win the game go up in smoke. Even then, Buffalo’s star running back will not be at 100% which is a black cloud over the Bills’ parade.

Jacksonville Jaguars Analysis

The Jaguars have one of the best defenses in the league and they will harass Tyrod Taylor throughout the game, especially if McCoy isn’t in the lineup or is limited by the ankle injury.

Offensively, the Jaguars can punch holes through a Bills defense that has allowed 124.6 rushing yards per game. Running back Leonard Fournette is probably licking his chops at going up against this defense.

Bills vs Jaguars Betting Trends

  • Buffalo is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
  • Buffalo is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Buffalo's last 6 games
  • Jacksonville is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Jacksonville's last 6 games
  • Jacksonville is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home

Pick and Prediction: The Jaguars are favored to win this game by 9 points, take Jacksonville -9.

Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints

  • When: January 07, 2018, 4:40 PM ET
  • Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
  • Spread: Saints -7
  • Total: 48
  • Moneyline: Saints -300 vs Panthers +250

Carolina Panthers Analysis

Cam Newton has struggled against the Saints in two meetings this year and against the Falcons on Sunday. If he doesn’t play well, the Panthers don’t have a chance.

The absence of tight end Greg Olsen has punched Newton in the gut as he’s facing his lowest yards per pass attempt mark in his career with just 6.71 this year.

For the Panthers, everything hinges on how Newton plays. When he’s hot, he can take Carolina on a trip down Super Bowl lane; when he’s not, the Panthers go home with their tails between their legs.

New Orleans Saints Analysis

The Saints have been unable to run the ball in their last two games, which is problematic heading into the playoffs.

But, at the Superdome, the Saints have gone marching on a seven-game winning streak, where they’ve also won by an average 11 points.

Offensively, the Saints lead the league in points per game at home (30.1), so I don’t expect them to have a problem scoring in this game.

Also, according to Scouting Academy’s Deuce Windham, the Saints have a pretty good shot at sweeping the Panthers:

Panthers vs Saints Betting Trends

  • Carolina is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games
  • Carolina is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Carolina's last 7 games
  • New Orleans is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games
  • New Orleans is 11-3 SU in its last 14 games
  • New Orleans is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home

Pick and Prediction: The Saints are favored to win by seven points, take the Panthers+7.

There you have it, the full analysis on how to bet the 2017 Wild Card Weekend Games. 

 
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