WE CREATED IT. The 2021 NFL season has never been as perilous as 2020, but it’s still good to be in the playoffs and see SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND begin. It’s also fine to write a pick column that only features six games and not 16. Yay me!
I happened to end the season pretty hot and almost knocked Pete Prisco and Ryan Wilson down. Here’s to ending the season with a series of steamy playoff bets.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook
Super Wild Card Weekend ATS Pick
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC | Flux: fuboTV (click here)
To follow: CBS Sports app
Last odds: Cincinnati Bengals -5.5
This game is getting the Saturday afternoon Super Wild Card weekend treatment, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, but we shouldn’t discount these two teams. Derek Carr and the playoff-making Raiders are absolutely insane given that their coach quit mid-season over a decade-old email scandal that emerged while another team was making the rounds. investigated and the tragic situation involving Henry Ruggs. Unprecedented circumstances for an NFL team. Maybe Derek’s brother was right – young Carr has led winning drives in three of the last four games. He’s playing like a very clutch quarterback in the NFL right now. It’s not as good as David thinks it is, but it’s way better than public perception (I’ll take some blame for that). It’s a good place for Las Vegas, because Maxx Crosby – honestly, he could be charged with at least one misdemeanor after the game against Storm Norton in Week 18 – is a terror that rushes the passer. The Raiders are creating problems up front. If Joe Burrow has time to pitch, I love the Bengals here. He rushed for 956 yards, 12 touchdowns and no picks in two playoff games at LSU, while rushing for two more. Burrowing into a must win/playoff match is not something you want to bet against. We haven’t learned that yet. The whole game comes down to protecting the Bengals pass — if they can keep Burrow clean to throw downfield, Cincy can run away with that.
The choice : Bengals 27, Raiders 21
Accessories, best bets: Bengals -5.5
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Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET
TV: SCS | Flux: Paramount+ (click here)
Last odds: Buffalo Bills -4.5
It’s awesome support this year – we’re getting a Cold War AFC rubber game on Super Wild Card weekend. Nobody talks about the Bills and Pats because New England has dominated Buffalo for 20 years. But the Bills just won the AFC East for the second year in a row and are hosting rent-free tenants on the first weekend of the playoffs. Maybe I’m putting too much into it, but this looks like a pretty big swing moment for this division. Rookie quarterbacks do NOT win in the playoffs and the Bills have a better roster and home court advantage. I’m probably crazy but I want to support Bill Belichick here. Make it even crazier: I think it turns into a shootout and it’s the “Mac Jones game” when he throws it.
The choice : Patriots 24, Bills 21
Accessories, best bets: More than 44 (wait and bet at the lowest market number)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX | Flux: fuboTV (click here)
To follow: CBS Sports app
Latest odds: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8.5
Is the Saints game an outlier for the Eagles? New Orleans didn’t make the playoffs, but the Saints have a great defense. And they were great against the run…until Philly crushed them in Week 11. It was the launch pad for the Eagles’ peak offense, but they haven’t faced anyone since then – two Giants , a Jets, two WFTs and a bunch of Cowboys that didn’t give them a chance to run – so I’m a little concerned that Philly isn’t as elite as an urgent offense as we thought. The Bucs are healthy/healthier on defense and just a bad game for Jalen Hurts and Co.
The choice: Buccaneers 31, Eagles 17
Paris : Fournette on receiving yards, Fournette/Gronk anytime TDs
49ers at Cowboys
Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET
TV: CBS, Nickelodeon | Flux: Paramount+ (click here)
Last odds: Dallas Cowboys -3
MUD TIME, BABY! Nick’s playoff game returns and CBS has landed a big game with two longtime NFC rivals going head-to-head in this Sunday afternoon meatball game that should draw tons of eyeballs, especially when parents get kids watching via the fun, goofy nature of the Nick show. And the game will be great too – it’s the tightest gap of all weekend, with the Cowboys only favored by one field goal. More than a few people believe the Niners can pull off outright upset, myself included. Dallas will probably be able to score, but I think the problem here is that the Cowboys are unable to slow down the 49ers running game. Kyle Shanahan has been cooking for the second half of the season and Deebo Samuel is fully healthy and ready to roll. I love the Over at this place, but think the Niners are the best game here.
The choice: 49ers 31, Cowboys 24
Paris: Niners +3 and ML
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
TV: NBC | Flux: fuboTV (click here)
Latest odds: Kansas City Chiefs -12.5
I loved the Chiefs ATS until I heard Ben Roethlisberger say, quite publicly, that the Steelers didn’t stand a chance. This is the last game of his career! And he says that to everyone? This REALLY means Ben thinks they can win at Arrowhead on Sunday night. It may be the Steelers’ loss to the Browns last year (proof of the fragility of a playoff spot). It’s a fake overconfidence back and I love it. I have a Sunday Superdog Pick Six Podcast parlay from Eagles/49ers/Steelers on the money line – feel free to spin out at 63-1 if you’re inclined. He’s probably losing – and so are the Steelers – but Ben’s comments make me believe they can keep him in the number.
The choice: Chiefs 24, Steelers 21
Paris: Steelers +12.5
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
TV: ABC/ESPN | Flux: fuboTV (click here)
Last odds: Los Angeles Rams -4
Monday Night’s very first game ends Super Wild Card weekend and it’s a scorching one, with two NFC West division rivals engaging in a rubber match. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals have been much better on the road than at home, but I think that might be more noise than signal. The Rams have just been better down the stretch, winning games despite Matthew Stafford struggling at times and winning the division. Stafford’s second-half performance against the 49ers is a major red flag, but his first-half performance should inspire hope that he can come out and win his first playoff game. Kyler Murray’s 1-5 against the Rams in his career. I love Sean McVay and Co. at this place.
The choice: Rams 28, Cardinals 21
Paris : Rams -4