The regular season is in the books. There are now just 12 teams in the NFL Playoff tournament battling it out for the 2019 Super Bowl. This week we are treated to 4 wild card games with teams looking to advance to the Divisional Playoffs the following week.
I had a regular season to forget with my NFL spread picks, but I was able to close out the season going 2-0, which brought my season record to a more respectable 17-20-2. I generally do better with my picks in the playoffs, so hopefully we can continue that trend.
I will be using SportsInteraction.com for all of my spread picks and predictions throughout the playoffs. You can see our full Sports Interaction review here. I’m sticking with 2 plays here in the playoffs.
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans
- Indianapolis +1.5
- Houston -1.5
The Colts closed out the season impressively, winning their final four games to secure the wild card spot, even having to win their final game in Tennessee to book to their ticket to the playoffs. This streak included wins over three teams with winning records, the Titans, Cowboys and four weeks ago the Colts beat this Texans team in Houston.
That game in Houston was a battle, and I expect this one to be a battle as well, but I’m of the mind that home field advantage is an even bigger advantage in the playoffs. The Texans got off to an 0-3 start this season, so their path to the playoffs was equally as impressive as the Colts, finishing the season 11-5 to top the AFC South Division.
Andrew Luck has been playing great with TY Hilton back at his best, and Marlon Mack has been solid on the ground as well. That said, in the game with Houston, the Texans kept Mack to just 33 yards on 14 carries. Luck had to go off for 399 yards in that game to get the win. I’m ready to bet on the Texans D to prevent that from happening twice. On the other side of the ball the Texans have the best receiver in football in DeAndre Hopkins. The Colts did a great job of limiting Hopkins in that game (4 catches for 36 yards and a TD), but I’m expecting the Texans to be ready to show a variety of looks in this rematch and to get Hopkins the ball much more so he can make big plays. That starts with the Texans establishing a run game, which they could not to four weeks ago. The Colts run defense has been amazing in the second half of the season, but the Texans need to find a way to gain some yards on the ground and get Hopkins more involved. I expect them to do both things and for the defense to come up big as well.
This Texans team has the tools to make a deep run in these playoffs, but first they will have to knock off a very hot Colts team. I expect them to pull it off.
Play: Texans -1.5
Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys
- Seattle +1
- Dallas -1
The Cowboys have a similar task as the Texans. They have to host one of the hottest teams in football in their wild card game. The Cowboys are only 1 point favorites, which indicates that if this game was played on a neutral field the Seahawks would actually be favored.
Both of these teams finished 10-6 and won their final two games. The difference in my opinion is the home field advantage. The Cowboys are 7-1 at home this season, while the Seahawks are 4-4 on the road. The Cowboys included some big wins at home late in the season as well with wins over the Eagles in a huge game, and shutting down the Saints on their resume.
Adding Amari Cooper has given this Cowboys offense a legitimate elite receiving threat, which takes some weight off of Ezekiel Elliott’s shoulders and makes this offense as a whole click much better. Dak has showed the ability to have big games and playing the entire game last week against the Giants will keep him in the groove as he tries to navigate this aggressive Seahawks defense this week. Seattle has given up big games to running backs this year and if the Cowboys can establish the run with Elliott early and often it will open up the offense.
Russell Wilson is not a QB you want to come up against in the playoffs, but I still just don’t think this Seahawks team has the weapons to really light up this Cowboys defense in Dallas. The Seahawks have done great getting to point in the season, but I think the Cowboys can match them from a defensive perspective, while having more big play ability and the best player on the field (Elliott).
Play: Cowboys -1