Here are my Wild Card weekend picks with confidence level selections. The picks with a confidence level of 1-5 will be available for all NFL Pickwatch readers.
The picks with a 6+ confidence level, a group of selections that have netted a 151-53-1 record over the past two seasons (including a 68-25-1 mark this year), will be available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.
Pickwatch Pro is a great service that allows subscribers to download the best expert data in the industry, see team-by-team winners for every expert, and provides access to Upset Watch, which has been the ultimate cheatcode to beat the sportsbooks over the last five years. Combine those elements with the top level of my weekly picks and it makes for a must-subscribe service for anyone serious about betting.
Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals
KC’s pick: Cincinnati | Confidence level: 1
Both of these teams are on a roll of late, but the Raiders have won four straight versus a 3-1 mark in the last four for the Bengals so Las Vegas may be on more a bit more of a hot streak than Cincinnati.
The Silver and Black have done this by a variety of methods, as they held the three of their last four foes to 20 or fewer points and gave up 100 or fewer rushing yards to three of those opponents as well. Las Vegas also got a lot of production from its ground game with 160+ rushing yards against the Broncos and Chargers in two of the last three weeks. That could come in handy against a Cincinnati defense that has allowed 360 rushing yards over the past two games, but the 205 yards allowed against the Browns was versus a platoon that was missing starters and had little to play for other than pride.
The Bengals have shown that they can rack up points, as they put up 75 in Weeks 16-17 against Baltimore and Kansas City and Las Vegas has scored more than 20 points only twice in the past six weeks, so they have an edge in a potential shootout. Add that to home field and Cincinnati gets this selection by a small margin.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
KC’s pick: Buffalo | Confidence level: 4
The Bills may be the best team in the league right now, as they have won four straight and rank at the top of the league in my power rankings in that span. Buffalo has scored 27+ points in five straight games and has racked up 161.8 rushing yards per game since Week 14. Take away the Tampa Bay game in Week 14 and the Bills have allowed 21 or fewer points in every game since Week 12 and has allowed 15 or fewer points in all but one of those contests.
New England’s offense showcased its potential firepower with 50 points against Jacksonville in Week 17 and by posting 21+ in its last three games. The Patriots also displayed powerful rushing prowess with 134+ rushing yards in three straight contests.
Each team here has multiple paths to victory, but the Bills big play potential with the Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs connection is something the Patriots will be hard pressed to match, so Buffalo gets this pick.
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
KC’s pick: Tampa Bay | Confidence level: 4
The public doesn’t have much faith in the Eagles in this matchup, as the oddsmakers have listed Philadelphia as an 8.5-point underdog against Tampa Bay, but the reality is the Eagles have the formula to pull off an upset. Philadelphia has rushed for more than 100 yards in all but two games this year and has racked up 130+ rushing yards in 10 of the past 11 contests. Tampa Bay’s 2021 rush defense is not up to its elite 2020 form, as the Buccaneers have given up 100+ rushing yards in five of the past seven games and allowed the Jets and Bills to rack up 150+ yards on the ground on two occasions in that span.
The problem for the Eagles is that the Buccaneers have tallied 28+ points in seven of the past eight games. Philadelphia does not fare well in shootouts (games where each team scores 24+ points), as they are 1-3 in those types of contests, whereas Tampa Bay is 5-2 in shootouts. The odds are in favor of this being a shootout, so the Buccaneers get this pick due to their better performance in games of that nature.
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys
KC’s pick: Dallas | Confidence level: 3
The 49ers are on more of hot streak than the Cowboys, as San Francisco has racked up wins in seven of its last nine, while Dallas has victories in four of its past five.
The issue for the Cowboys of late is as it has been all season long, as Dallas is 1-3 when it racks up at least one takeaway on defense and is 11-2 when posting at least one takeaway. San Francisco has tallied zero giveaways in five games this year but has done so only once in the past six games. The 49ers rush defense is stout, allowing 90 or fewer rushing yards in five straight contests, and their rush offense is powerful, with 135+ ground yards in three of the past four.
These factors all point towards each team having multiple paths to victory, so Dallas ends up with this pick due to their penchant for winning the turnover battle and being at home in this matchup.
KC’s 6+ confidence level picks, a group of selections that have gone 151-53-1 over the past two seasons (including a 68-25-1 mark this year), are available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.