NFL Picks Straight Up: 3 Potential Upsets for Wild Card Weekend

The NFL playoff field is finally set.

A dizzying Week 18 saw the Chiefs and Eagles clinch tops seeds while the Dolphins and Seahawks snuck into the final wild-card spots.

The Patriots and Packers were punted, but there was jubilation in Jacksonville as the Jags clinched the AFC South for the first time since 2017.

With the dust settled, we can now look ahead to this week’s action and its potential upsets. Here are three NFL picks straight up from football betting sites for Wild Card Weekend.

No. 6 New York Giants to beat No. 3 Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings’ house of cards is finally ready to fall.

The Vikings set an NFL record this season as the only 13-win team to ever have a negative point differential. They also set the mark for the most one-score victories of all time with 11.

The bottom line is that they’ve squeaked by when they’ve won and been blown out when they’ve lost.

While there’s something to be said about being able to win close games, that kind of luck can’t last forever. Minnesota’s defense finished the season 31st in total yards (402.9), 31st in passing yards (265.6), and 28th in points (25.1). Woof.

On the other side, Daniel Jones and Big Blue have a little momentum. The Giants rested their starters on Sunday and still almost managed to knock off the Eagles’ A-team.

Jones has played fantastic in his past two contests, throwing for 511 yards and three touchdowns with a 74% completion rate. He’s also rushed for 125 yards and two scores in that span.

The G-men have had a bend-but-don’t-break defense all year and have been particularly adept vs. the pass (214 YPG).

With Kirk Cousins’ penchant for wilting in the big moment, we like New York’s chances in this one.

No. 4 Jacksonville Jaguars to beat No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers

Brandon Staley has made headlines for all the wrong reasons during his tenure as the Chargers’ coach.

In last year’s season finale, Staley sabotaged his team’s chances of making the postseason with one of the most bizarre calls in history.

This year, he was up to his old tricks again.

Los Angeles knew it would be the AFC No. 5 seed before its game started after the Bengals beat the Ravens earlier in the day.

This would naturally mean that the Bolts (who have been banged up all year) would take the opportunity to rest their starters.

Nope. Staley ran his number ones out there, and it came back to bite him. Oft-injured star wideout Mike Williams was carted to the locker room with a back injury – and it didn’t look pretty.

Furthermore, Joey Bosa, who recently returned from injury after missing significant time, also left the game with an undisclosed injury.

Losing either player for this week’s matchup would be a monumental blow to the Chargers’ chances, and Staley will likely be looking for a new job if LA gets bounced in round one.

Meanwhile, the Jags have momentum on their side. Trevor Lawrence has looked like a new man in the second half, winning five straight and leading Jacksonville to an AFC South title.

The Jags have a balanced offensive attack (368.5 total yards, 11th) that should be able to put points on the board. Especially if Bosa isn’t there to hound Lawrence all game.

This game would have been close even in LA was healthy. But without Williams or Bosa, the Jags could be too much for the Chargers.

No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers to beat No. 5 Dallas Cowboys

Tom Brady can’t lose. The 45-year-old picked up the 19th division title of his career, even though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the season under .500 (8-9).

Betting against Brady has been a bad idea for the last 20 years, so proceed with caution if you think Dallas rolls in this one.

There’s no arguing that the Cowboys are the superior team. Big D’s elite defense has been battering opponents all year. They’ve held the league to 200 passing yards per game (8th) and have allowed the 5th-fewest points (20.1).

That could be a problem for the Bucs, who have struggled to score this year (18.4, 25th).

But Dallas still has question marks. Head coach Mike McCarthy decided to play his starters on Sunday in a meaningless game. It didn’t go well.

The Commanders crushed the Cowboys 26-6 with a rookie third-string quarterback.

Meanwhile, Dak Prescott completed just 14 of 37 passes for a meager 126 yards. Not the kind of tune-up game you’re looking for before the postseason.

Another reason to fade Dallas is that it hasn’t proven anything in the playoffs. The ‘Boys have just two playoff wins in the last decade, with the last one coming in 2018 in round one.

If you’re looking for an upset, you can’t go wrong with the GOAT at home against a team that perennially disappoints.

Posted in NFL