We’re all set to get going with the Wild Card Weekend odds for NFL this week at Bang the Book, as there are a plethora of games that we are going to be focusing in on that are going to have some huge impacts on the entire season.
There are four big time games to choose from this weekend in the first week of the playoffs, and the oddsmakers are having a really tough time separating these teams.
We’ll start with the one game which there were no problems figuring out. The San Diego Chargers are seven-point underdogs on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game in 22 years, something which you wouldn’t think is the case for a franchise which has remained relatively stable for the better part of the last decade. San Diego was supposed to be taking strides in the right direction this year, but never, regardless of how bad the AFC was, did anyone think that Head Coach Mike McCoy was going to get this team into the playoffs. There have been a couple meetings between these two the last two seasons, and both games were won and covered by the Bengals in San Diego. The Chargers won their last four games SU and covered three of the four. Cincy went a perfect 8-0 SU and ATS this season at Paul Brown Stadium.
From there, everything is as close as could be, and a total of three of the four games (including Cincinnati/San Diego) are rematches from regular season games.
The New Orleans Saints are the one team not to play a game this year against their playoff foe in the opening round. The Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC East in the most dramatic fashion possible, winning on the final day of the year with a pick the final effective drive of the game. Now, they are playing in primetime for the second straight week. Both of these teams are going to have to put their emotions in check in a hurry, as the preparation for the week is going to be short. Both teams are losing some travel time, Philly on the front end coming back from the Lone Star State, and New Orleans when it has to head up to the City of Brotherly Love. The Eagles only beat one playoff team all season long, while the Saints only won two games outside all year long to boot. This one has the ability to be epic, knowing that the Saints only really throw the ball well and are going against the worst rated pass defense in the league, yet the Eagles have arguably the best running team we’ve seen in this league in quite some time, and New Orleans ranks just 19th amongst the 32 teams in the NFL against the run. There’s a reason that the ‘total’ of 55 is as high as we have seen in a playoff game in a long time as well. The Saints are getting 2.5, and Philly is sure to be one of the most popular plays on the board in Wild Card Weekend.
The other matchup in the NFC pits the San Francisco 49ers against the Green Bay Packers. We’ve seen this script before – three times, in fact. The Niners have gotten the best of the Pack in this series time and time again, scoring three wins in the last two seasons already in three vastly different, yet eerily similar games. It doesn’t seem to matter what Green Bay does defensively; San Fran always has an answer. However, QB Aaron Rodgers is back, and the only games which were lost in which he started this year came against the Bengals on the road (where they were perfect, as we mentioned before), and, you guessed it, the game against the 49ers on the road. With Rodgers now healthy though, there’s a real reason to believe that this game is going to be different. Green Bay might have only gone 8-7-1, making it statistically one of the worst playoff teams in NFL history, but in the end, it might be a team set to go on a huge run. The 49ers did close out the season winning six straight games, and they went 5-2 ATS in their last seven, and they did go 7-1 ATS on the road (the one loss being the first road game of the year against the Seattle Seahawks), but this feels like a much different game. The Pack are 14-4 all-time at Lambeau Field in the playoffs, though they have lost four of their last seven in this building come playoff time. The 49ers are the lone road favorites of the weekend at -2.5.
Finally, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts are going to meet for the second time in just 13 days. Back in Week 16, no one gave the Colts much of a fighting chance to go into Arrowhead Stadium and beat KC, but they did just that, and they did so in spectacular fashion. The Chiefs got out of the blocks in a hurry, but in the end, they were forced into all of the same mistakes they were forcing teams to make against them all year long. They turned the ball over four times. They gave up four sacks. They only got one sack. It just wasn’t a pretty game. Now though, they have a chance to make amends on the road, though most are going to question right away the ability to get the job done. Remember that Kansas City had a weak schedule following a 2-14 season in 2012, and not only did they only beat one playoff team all year long, a 26-16 win against the Philadelphia Eagles before they really had an identity in Week 3, but they also went 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS in five games against playoff teams down the stretch of the season, including losing two of those games SU as favorites at home. This is the first home playoff game for QB Andrew Luck in his career, and it is surely only the first of many. He and his Colts are -2.5, which almost seems shady considering how easily they dismissed KC at Arrowhead Stadium less than three weeks ago.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.