The NFL’s first-ever 18-week regular season is ended, and the playoffs are upon us. Unfortunately, Sundays are no longer jam-packed with double-digit games, but there are still a few weeks of magnificent professional football action left. In this arena, Week 18 was a handicapping success. That provides us a tremendous push towards the playoffs, but we aren’t done yet.
Before we get to the Wild Card slate, here’s a look at the regular season numbers.
52-37-1 in the 2021 season
Come and get these trophies.
Cincinnati Bengals (+5.5) over Las Vegas Raiders
I can’t emphasize enough that lines are tight in the playoffs and there isn’t always a board full of big edges. The Raiders, for example, opened at +6 or +6.5 in numerous places, but this column won’t be published until later in the week. I still prefer the Raiders at +5.5, as I would with the Bengals -4 in this game, but proceed with caution overall.
New England Patriots (-4) vs. Buffalo Bills
Under normal season circumstances, this isn’t a game I’d give away. I don’t love favorites and this line isn’t crazy. However, I prefer Buffalo since the Bills have significantly more skill and appeared to find something in their last battle against the Pats. Bill Belichick is intimidating, but looking at the personnel and numbers, I can’t get to the Patriots in this location.
UNDER 49 points between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another game I don’t particularly enjoy, but we lean in. In this game, the Eagles will almost surely try to play keep-away, as Philadelphia relies heavily on the run. However, they are unlikely to be successful with that, and achieving the critical number of 49 would be prudent.
San Francisco 49ers (-3) at. Dallas Cowboys
Even if I’m not thrilled to wager the Cowboys as a favorite here, this line shouldn’t be three. To say the least, San Francisco’s passing game is in turmoil, and Dallas certainly possesses the more explosive offensive. We’re getting a discount with the Cowboys’ “public” team, which is unusual. It’s fine with us.
Kansas City Chiefs (+12.5) over Pittsburgh Steelers
This is abhorrent. Pittsburgh is a team that I have no faith in. The AFC favorite is Kansas City. Three weeks ago, the Chiefs dominated the Steelers in the same building. Take the points away. You can’t believe how much you’ve got