Prisco’s NFL picks for wildcard round: Bills roll on Patriots in AFC East rubber game, 49ers upset Cowboys

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Like some NFL teams with their players, I rested last week. This horrible demo that you saw with my picks comes from my save. It was not me. Blame the backup. He was horrible. I was preparing for the playoffs.

OKAY. It was me. I played and I was abused. LOOOOOSER.

It’s definitely not the week I wanted before the playoffs. I went 7-9 ATS, 8-8 straight, and 2-4 with my best bets on the Pick Six podcast. This brings my season records to 144-125-3 ATS, 168-103-1 straight and 59-54 with my best bets.

I love the Super Wild Card Weekend games this week, so I’m coming back on track.

My backup did a terrible job last week when I was away, so I’m good to go.

Long live the playoffs.

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC)

Latest odds: Cincinnati Bengals -5.5

The Raiders entered the playoffs beating the Chargers on Sunday night, while the Bengals have just suffered a loss where they let most of their best players rest. It’s an advantage for the Bengals. Cincinnati has an explosive attack, but the Raiders counter with a nasty pass rush. It will depend on the Bengals’ ability to protect Joe Burrow. I think they are doing it well enough to win the game, but it will be close. The Bengals win their first playoff game since the 1990 season.

Take: Bengals 27, Raiders 24

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount +)

Latest odds: Buffalo Bills -4

This is the third game featuring these two this season, each winning on the other’s pitch. New England won the first meeting in a windstorm in early December, while the Bills dominated the Pats in their place in late December. The weather should be cold, but not that windy. This means Josh Allen can successfully throw the soccer ball. The Patriots haven’t been the same team on the road, especially quarterback Mac Jones. Look for the Bills to win the race and challenge him to beat them. He won’t. The bills will move forward.

Take: Bills 30, Patriots 17

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Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

Latest odds: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8.5

The Bucs beat the Eagles 28-22 in Week 6 on a Thursday night. The Eagles were struggling at the time, especially managing football. But it was after this game that their running game took off when they signed up, which led to them leading the league in the race. It will be the key here, but the Bucs are good against the race. Tampa Bay has allowed 109 rushing yards per game over the past three, well above its season average of 92.5. The Eagles didn’t sack Tom Brady in the last meeting so they have to be better at it. I think the combination of Brady missing two of his best targets with Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown the rest of the way will slow them down a bit. That, coupled with the Eagles running it, will keep that close.

Take: Bucs 26, Eagles 20

Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount +)

Latest odds: Dallas Cowboys -3

The 49ers are the team no one wanted to see in the playoffs. They are built to race. They’re tough and can run the ball, which the Denver Broncos have shown this season could be a problem for the Cowboys. Dallas’ offense got back on track against the Eagles’ JV team last week, but it’s a much more difficult challenge with the 49ers’ defensive line putting in a dominant performance last week against the Rams. I think that will have an impact on the passing game of Dallas and Dak Prescott. I think it’s the upheaval of the week. The 49ers will use their running game and passing rush while taking some explosive shots to advance to the next round.

Take: 49ers 24, Cowboys 23

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Latest odds: Kansas City Chiefs -12.5

It was in Week 16 when the Steelers were knocked out, 36-10, by the Chiefs. They’ve barely been in that game, but they’re back as the last AFC wildcard team. Don’t expect another rash like this. The Steelers are healthier now and have a coach Mike Tomlin who knows how to win the playoffs. The Chiefs have had defensive issues over the past two weeks which could be a problem. The Steelers can’t stop the run, but the Chiefs don’t run it that much, and if they do, it takes away their team’s strength. That’s why I think this one will be close. The Steelers will hang around, but the Chiefs will win.

Take: Chefs 28, Steelers 23

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ABC / ESPN)

Latest odds: Los Angeles Rams -4

This is the third game between these two this season, the two winners on the other team’s field. The Cardinals won the first meeting, while the Rams won the second in December. The Cardinals were 1-4 down the stretch, but the Rams didn’t play too well either. It will be a close game, with the Rams finding a late way to win it. Look for both defenses to play well in this one as both attacks have struggled to play online lately. The Rams will win a low scoring game.

Take: Rams 20, Cardinals 17

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