NFL Game Picks: Wildcard Weekend

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 After a historic and crazy Week 18 in the NFL, the playoff matchups are set. 

The Green Bay Packers and the Tennessee Titans claimed the No. 1 seed in their respective conferences and will earn a bye. The 49ers and Raiders both captured overtime victories to grant themselves a playoff berth. The Pittsburgh Steelers gave Big Ben one last playoff run as they beat the Ravens in overtime and got help from a Jacksonville Jaguars win over the Colts. 

With the final week of the regular season wrapped up, here are some picks for the wild-card weekend matchups: 

No. 7 Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1) @ No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)

The Steelers defense, led by T.J. Watt has been hot in the past few games and will keep them in this game. However, the Chiefs’ high-powered offense will end up being too much for the Steelers’ defense. 

Prediction: Chiefs 24, Steelers 10 

No. 6 New England Patriots (10-7) @ No. 3 Buffalo Bills (11-6)

Mac Jones has been proving himself all year and carried the Patriots to the playoffs. The Bills have faltered throughout the season but are playing well as of late winning their last four games. The Bills defense will shut down Jones and the offense and Buffalo will come out victorious in this division rivalry game. 

Prediction: Bills 27, Patriots 13  

No. 5 Las Vegas Raiders (10-7) @ No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals (10-7)

The Raiders defense has picked up its play while Derek Carr leads the offense giving them lots of momentum heading into this game but the connection between Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase is no joke. The Bengals edge one out at home behind their leader Joe Burrow. 

Prediction: Bengals 33, Raiders 27

No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) @ No. 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)

Tom Brady continues to prove that he is timeless and leads a wounded Tampa Bay team into the playoffs. They will be without their leading receiver Chris Godwin but will get back running back Leonard Fournette for the playoffs. The Eagles’ shocking season will come to an end in this matchup. 

Prediction: Tampa Bay 31, Eagles 16 

No. 6 San Francisco 49ers (10-7) @ No. 3 Dallas Cowboys (12-4)

Possibly the best game on the slate, this historic rivalry takes center stage once again. Both teams are hot and have a variety of weapons to use to their advantage. The Cowboys will rely on Dak Prescott and their passing attack against an injury-stricken 49ers secondary.

The 49ers will deploy Deebo Samuel and George Kittle in numerous ways to beat this tough Cowboys defense. This game will be very close, but Prescott’s arm will be the key to the Cowboys’ victory. 

Prediction: Cowboys 23, 49ers 20

No. 5 Arizona Cardinals (11-6) @ No. 4 Los Angeles Rams (12-5) 

The Cardinals have been stumbling as of late and the Rams took advantage to take the NFC West division. The question will be whether the Cardinals can stop the Rams’ high-powered passing attack and have success against the Rams’ star-studded defense. The Rams defense contains Kyler Murray and advances to the next round. 

Prediction: Rams 20, Cardinals 7

Thomas English is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email tfe5082@psu.edu.