The weekend, football fans all across America will get a special treat in the form of the NFL’s first ever Super Wild Card weekend. 6 football games, 3 Saturday and 3 Sunday, with divisional leaders squaring off against wild card teams for a chance to advance to the divisional round.
There are some incredible matchups set, but how are they going to play out? Here are my predictions for the results of the upcoming games.
Colts vs. Bills
My Take: Simply put, the Bills are the better football team here. They’ve been hot throughout the second half of the season, and there’s no reason to expect that’s stopping any time soon.
Josh Allen has proven himself as a phenomenal talent, and he’s going to outmatch the inconsistent Phillip Rivers when it comes to the teams’ offensive attacks, especially the passing game. The Bills defense is also quite strong and will be able to hold back the Colts from putting too many points on the board.
This will be a somewhat high scoring game, and I’m predicting a comfortable Buffalo win.
My Prediction: Bills 35, Colts 24
Rams vs. Seahawks
My Take: This is going to be an incredibly intense game. We’ve already seen incredible talent from these teams throughout the season, and they’re well matched here.
As divisional rivals we’ve seen them play twice already, splitting the series with two close, low scoring games. I don’t think we should expect anything different out of this wild card game.
On offense, both teams are relatively evenly matched, sitting middle of the pack in both passing and rushing yards per game, although the Seahawks average 5 more in points per game.
Defense is where they’re set apart though. The Rams dominate on defense, in the top 3 of all major defensive categories, while the Seahawks are in the middle or bottom in all categories.
This will be close, but I think the Ram’s defense will get the job done and pull out the upset against the Seahawks.
My Prediction: Rams 16, Seahawks 14
Buccaneers vs. Washington
My Take: In many ways the Washington Football Team is considered the impostor of the playoffs, having squeaked in from the remarkably weak NFC East with a 7–9 record. As a result, many have been expecting a loss against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, and I believe that’s likely as well.
Washington’s asset this season has been its defense. It’s one of the strongest against the league, especially against the pass. However, the Bucs also have a strong defense, and they outmatch Washington on offense.
Washington has a poor pass and run game, meanwhile the Bucs are strong on both. Particularly in the latter category, the Buccaneers’ strong run game will match well against Washington, who has a weaker run defense.
If the Bucs run the ball on Saturday, and Tom Brady can get around Washington’s D, this should be an easy take home for them.
My Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Washington 20
Ravens vs. Titans
My Take: The Ravens and Titans met earlier this season, and we saw there that it was an absolute offensive shootout, with the game having to be taken to overtime where the Titans won with a touchdown.
Simply put, neither of these teams have good defenses. The Ravens do better than the Titans, but both of them still have massive defensive holes, and we can expect the offenses to be playing circles around defenses in this game.
It’s going to be high scoring and intense, a possible overtime game once again. I’m taking the Ravens on this, as they’ve been in better offensive form and are coming off of a 5-game win streak. Especially if they’re using Lamar Jackson and Dobbins to run the football, they should be able to take this one.
My Prediction: Ravens 35, Titans 32
Bears vs. Saints
My Take: This is going to be the Saints’ game, all the way.
The Saints outmatch the Bears on both sides of the football — on offense, Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara blow Mitch Trubisky out of the water, and on defense the Saints rank in the top 5 meanwhile the Bears are in the middle of the pack and struggled to stop Aaron Rogers last week.
The Bears have accomplished a feat by making the playoffs, and they’ve shown some sparks of potential. However they currently don’t have the team necessary to beat out the Saints here. The Saints will comfortably advance to the divisional round.
My Prediction: Saints 38, Bears 20
Browns vs. Steelers
My Take: Our final game of Super Wild Card weekend, taking place Sunday night, between the divisional rivals.
We just saw these two teams face off in week 17, with the Browns eeking out a narrow 24–22 win over the Steelers at home. However, this wild card game is likely to have a different outcome.
The Steelers will now be playing at home against the Browns, in Heinz Field, and they’ll be playing at full strength. They rested many of their key starters in week 17, such as Ben Roethlisberger and TJ Watt, and having those players back will make a big difference.
Baker Mayfield and the Browns could hardly get any offensive momentum going against the Steelers backup defense, and it’s hard to see them doing it against their starters. The Steelers offense will likely also perform better with Big Ben back in the pocket.
Furthermore, multiple Browns coaches, including head coach Kevin Stefanski, have tested positive for coronavirus, meaning they won’t be able to attend the game. This will put the Browns at a significant disadvantage.
When you put that together with the fact that, earlier this season, the Steelers demolished the Browns in week 5 it’s hard to imagine the Browns winning here.
My Prediction: Steelers 28, Browns 17
Those are all of my predictions for the games this Super Wildcard Weekend. I’m looking forward to a great weekend of football, and we’ll see if these picks hold up.
Do you agree with these predictions? Why or why not? Feel free to discuss in the comments.