NFL WILD CARD PREDICTIONS
The 2018 NFL regular season has come to a close. The playoff teams and seeds are set. The Wild Card Round will be played on January 5-6th. There are four games on the slate. Who will join the Kansas City Chiefs (AFC), New England Patriots (AFC), New Orleans Saints (NFC) and the Los Angeles Rams (NFC) in the next round? This article will cover all four wild card games and predict a winner in each game.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 5th
6 Indianapolis Colts vs. 3 Houston Texans
After a bad 2017 season, the Colts return to the playoffs. The player behind their resurgence is QB Andrew Luck, who has fought back from injury. Luck has thrown 39 touchdowns this season and will most likely win NFL Comeback Player of the Year. The Texans took back the AFC South. After a 0-3 start, the Texans won 11 out of the last 13 games. Some credit goes to QB DeShaun Watson, who came back from injury as well, throwing 26 touchdowns and WR DeAndre Hopkins, who’s second in the NFL in receiving yards (1,425). The Colts will have to rely on the passing game heavily, especially since the Texans struggle against the pass. Luck gathered his most passing yards in a game (464) against the Texans. The Texans’ offense can go toe-to-toe will the Colts. This game will come down to which defense can get stops in the crucial moments, in which the Colts have the advantage.
Winner: Indianapolis Colts
5 Seattle Seahawks vs. 4 Dallas Cowboys
This seems to be an even match-up. Both teams enter the playoffs playing well. Both teams have won six out of their last seven games. They are close to each other in total offense and run the ball very well. But, there are a few differences. The Cowboys’ defense ranks 6th in the NFL. The Seahawks are 20th. The Seahawks defeated the Cowboys earlier this season but the Cowboys have greatly improved since then. The keys for both teams will be their Quarterbacks. Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott has more receiving weapons than Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson. Wilson can perform on the big stage but he does not have the talent around him to help. Not to mention the Cowboys have Ezekiel Elliot, one of the best RBs in the NFL to rely on. Last but not least, the Cowboys are at home.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys
SUNDAY, JANUARY 6th
5 Los Angeles Chargers vs. 4 Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens enter the playoffs on a hot streak, winning six of their last seven games, including a 22-10 win over the Chargers. Also, they have the top defense in the NFL. The Chargers enter the playoffs with a 12-4 record, nearly winning the AFC West. They will look to avenge their loss to the Ravens. Ravens rookie QB Lamar Jackson has been impressive, going 6-1 as a starter. But, he will face an uphill battle. This is his first playoff game. The Ravens will need to run the ball successfully against a Chargers’ defense who ranks 9th in rushing yards allowed. Although the Chargers have a great offense, the Ravens’ defense is just too good. Also, with the confidence at an all-time high, hosting a wild card game and returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2014, the Ravens will be ready.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens
6 Philadelphia Eagles vs. 3 Chicago Bears
After a season of struggles, the Eagles clinched a playoff berth in the last week of the season and will defend their crown. They will have to go against a Bears team who took the NFL by surprise under first year head coach Matt Nagy. The Bears look like the team of the past. They have a dominating defense and a solid rushing attack. The Eagles could be in trouble. Starting QB Carson Wentz has been ruled out of the playoffs due to injury. Backup and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles stepped in and carried the team. But, he left the last game of the season with a rib injury. His status is unknown. Foles will have to play through injury and pass the ball a ton. The Eagles average 96.1 rushing yards, which is 28th in the NFL. That seems to be a recipe for disaster.
Winner: Chicago Bears