It’s win or go home! Check out the finest NFL Playoff predictions from our friends at FanDuel for every game of Super Wild Card weekend.
The 2022 NFL regular season is over — that means it’s time for the real fun to start. It’s Super Wild Card weekend, people! That’s like the extra-nice bottle of scotch that you only bust out at the party after the normcore guests leave early. (Don’t act like you don’t know who I’m talking about.)
That means you’ve got wagers to place and picks to make — so, ahead of this can’t-miss slate of bang-bang affairs, we called on our best friends at FanDuel for a complete expert-level download featuring the latest odds and projections for every matchup this weekend, including Seahawks-49ers, Dolphins-Bills, and Cowboys-Bucs.
No more filibustering! Help yourself to a glass of the good stuff and take a look at Boardroom’s authoritative overview of the Super Wild Card round with our first batch of NFL Playoff predictions.
NFL Wild Card Predictions 2023
Seahawks vs. 49ers (Jan. 14)
We’ve already seen these division rivals get it on twice this season. How’s about one more for NFC left coast supremacy?
As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel to kick off our NFL Playoff predictions for Super Wild Card weekend:
These two teams have been defying the odds all season long. Quarterback Geno Smith was not expected to lead his squad to the playoffs, but then he set the franchise record for passing yards in a Seahawks season (4,282). This offense averages 380.8 total yards per away game (No. 4 in NFL).
All hope seemed lost for the 49ers when Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo went down with injuries at the QB position. Rookie Brock Purdy has stepped in with poise, though, and San Francisco hasn’t missed a beat. The Iowa State product has thrown 13 touchdowns compared to four interceptions.
When it comes down to it, the 49ers have the defense needed to win close games in January. San Francisco has posted the best total DVOA rating in the NFL and is allowing just 16.3 points per game (No. 1 in NFL). The 49ers held the Seahawks to a total of 20 points across two head-to-head games.
49ers vs. Seahawks Prediction: 49ers 24, Seahawks 14
Chargers vs. Jaguars (Jan. 14)
It’s perhaps the most lackluster matchup of the slate (relatively speaking!) in terms of hype and fanfare, but the banks of the mighty St. John’s might just end up hosting the closest Super Wild Card nail-biter of them all.
As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel:
The Chargers did whatever they had to do to end a postseason drought that dated back to 2019 this season. This is a team that is focused around it offensive stars. Quarterback Justin Herbert ranks second in passing yards (4,739) and running back Austin Ekeler ranks eighth in total yards (1,637).
The Jaguars’ playoff hopes looked to be dead in early December when the team owned a 4-8 record. Head coach Doug Pederson kept his players motivated, though, as Jacksonville turned it all around. A lot of the credit has to go to a defense that held its last five opponents to an average of 15.6 points.
This is one of the toughest Wild Card games to call, but I’m going to give the edge to the Chargers. The Jags defense has been on fire as of late, but it is still a unit that has posted the sixth-worst total DVOA rating in 2022. Give me the QB with the better weapons to ball out when it matters the most.
Jaguars vs. Chargers Prediction: Chargers 27, Jaguars 24
Dolphins vs. Bills (Jan. 15)
The AFC East was the greatest kind of gridiron bloodbath this year. Naturally, we deserve one more Miami-Buffalo scrap in Orchard Park. After the scenes at Highmark Stadium honoring Damar Hamlin in Week 18, fans far and wide could be in for a spirited sort of treat promising to tug directly on the ol’ heartstrings.
As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel:
This game features no shortage of storylines, but the biggest one remains the injury concerns at QB for the Dolphins. Miami could end up starting Tua Tagovailoa, Teddy Bridgewater, or Skylar Thompson on Sunday. Tagovailoa is overcoming a concussion, while Bridgewater is dealing with a finger issue.
However, the Bills will remain a heavy favorite no matter who the Dolphins start at QB. That is because Buffalo is one of the most balanced teams in the NFL. It ranks second in offense DVOA rating and fourth in defense DVOA rating. The Bills have also posted the best average scoring margin (+10.6).
It’s worth noting that the Dolphins defense simply fell apart down the stretch. Miami allowed five of its final six opponents to score at least 23 points and now ranks 18th in the NFL when it comes to yards per game allowed in 2022 (337.8). That is not going to get the job done in a rowdy road environment.
Bills vs. Dolphins Prediction: Bills 31, Dolphins 17
Giants vs. Vikings (Jan. 15)
The G-Men are one of three NFC East teams to make the postseason, while the Vikings — whose impressive regular season record was belied by their negative point differential — managed to snatch the sole playoff spot in a division typically bossed by the Green Bay Packers.
As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel:
These two team have one obvious thing in common and that is an ability to win close games. The Vikings posted an outstanding 11-0 record in games decided by one possession, while the Giants come in not too far behind with a 8-4-1 record. This playoff game should come down to the wire, too.
The Giants have relied on their rushing attack to outscore opponents as they average 148.2 yards on the ground per game (No. 4 in NFL). On the other side, its a daunting pass attack that has kept the Vikings winning games. They average a reliable 263.8 yards through the air per game (No. 6 in NFL).
I’m going to take a gamble and back an upset in this matchup due to Minnesota’s subpar defense. The Vikings are allowing the second-most yards per game (388.7) and the fourth-most points per game (25.1) this season. Their luck is going to run out if they cannot link together constant defensive stops.
Vikings vs. Giants Prediction: Giants 28, Vikings 24
Ravens vs. Bengals (Jan. 15)
Another re-upped division rivalry closes out the action on Sunday night. This offseason, Lamar Jackson is headed to free agency, while opposite number Joe Burrow becomes eligible for a contract extension for the first time. Which gunslinger will earn themselves all the more cash with a postseason W?
As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:
Unless Lamar Jackson miraculously suits up for the Ravens this week, I like the Bengals’ chances of advancing. Baltimore is 2-7 straight up in the last nine games that Jackson has missed and the offense tends to suffer when he’s sidelined, averaging just 13 points during his latest five-game absence.
Meanwhile, the Bengals boast the seventh-best offense (26.1 PPG) while their plus-10.7 scoring margin at home ranks third-best in the NFL. Although the Ravens’ plus-2.3 margin on the road is tied for No. 7, they’re also a minus-5.5 in their last four away contests.
The Bengals proved on Sunday that this version of the Ravens does not hold a candle to them. Expect Zac Taylor’s squad to advance to the next round.
Bengals vs. Ravens Prediction: Bengals 28, Ravens 19
Cowboys vs. Buccaneers (Jan. 16)
When these two teams met to open the regular season, Tom Brady and the Bucs held the Boys to a field goal in a 16-point victory in Big D. Since then, Dallas has gone 12-4 while Tampa Bay has played .500 ball, but you can’t tell me that you’re excited about meeting TB12 in the postseason. You. just can’t.
As Devon Platana writes for TheDuel to cap off our NFL Wild Card predictions:
In a Week 1 rematch, I fully expect the Cowboys to pull out a victory here. While they haven’t looked perfect lately, the Cowboys have at least won 12 of 16 games since losing to the Buccaneers on Sept. 11, whereas the Buccaneers are 7-9 since then.
The Buccaneers have also only beaten one team with a winning record (Seattle Seahawks) at home this season. Part of that has to do with their having the sixth-worst home scoring margin (minus-1.5). Needless to say, the Bucs could be in trouble with the Cowboys averaging 24.6 points (No. 7) with a plus-4.0 margin (No. 5) on the road.
Although Tom Brady has made a career of stepping up when it matters the most, the Cowboys are the overall better team and shouldn’t lose this favorable matchup.
Bucs vs. Cowboys Prediction: Cowboys 24, Buccaneers 20
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