NFL Wild Card Predictions & Picks

Doug Bonjour
Last Updated: Jan 11, 2024

At long last, we’ve made it.

The NFL playoffs kick off Saturday, with a doubleheader featuring the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs looking to continue their reign.

Without further ado, here are our best bets for NFL Super Wild Card Weekend.

NFL Wild Card Predictions

All NFL betting odds used for these Wild Card predictions are current as of Tuesday, Jan. 9, and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Dolphins vs Chiefs Prediction

Best Bet: Under 44 (-115)

The Dolphins led the AFC East for multiple weeks but coughed up the division title in Week 18 to Buffalo. Now they limp into Kansas City, where temperatures are forecasted to plunge into single digits.

If it feels like the deck is stacked against Miami, that’s because it is. The Dolphins only beat one winning team all season and lost two more defensive starters to injury against Buffalo, including cornerback Xavien Howard (foot).

Early money is on the Chiefs, who opened as 2.5-point favorites and have climbed to -3.5. But I’m instead focused on the total, which has gone from its opening number of 47.5 to 44.

Simply put, this isn’t the same Miami offense that dropped 70 points on Denver. The Dolphins scored only 33 points combined over the last two weeks and haven’t topped 30 since Week 13. But the Chiefs have had their own issues.

Despite the brilliance of Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City went Under the total an NFL-high 12 times this season. That includes a 21-14 victory over Miami in Germany.

It’s also 57-56 to the Under with Mahomes. Look for those trends to continue.

Steelers vs Bills Prediction

Best Bet: BUF -10 (-108)

Buffalo is easily the biggest favorite of Wild Card Weekend, and justifiably so.

The Bills closed the regular season with five straight wins, including victories over the Chiefs, Cowboys, and Dolphins. With Josh Allen, they’re a trendy pick to knock off Baltimore atop the AFC.

The Bills were just 1-5 ATS when favored by more than seven points, but the Steelers have an untenable situation at quarterback with Mason Rudolph and will be without their best defensive playmaker, T.J. Watt, due to a knee injury.

Mike Tomlin deserves a ton of credit for getting the Steelers back to the playoffs, but this is where their season ends.

Browns vs Texans Prediction

Best Bet: CLE -3 (+100)

Houston struck gold drafting C.J. Stroud.

The No. 2 overall pick threw for 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns, and only five interceptions in 15 games, cementing himself as an overwhelming favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. He missed the 36-22 loss to Cleveland in Week 16 with a concussion.

Rookie quarterbacks have historically struggled in the postseason. They’re just 10-14 in their playoff debuts.

Stroud may be talented enough to buck that trend, but I’m siding with experience and taking Joe Flacco and Cleveland. Plus, the Browns are well-rested after sitting their starters in Week 18.

Eagles vs Buccaneers Prediction

Best Bet: PHI -3 (+100)

The Eagles are a mess. There’s no doubt about it. They lost five of their last six games following a 10-1 start and now must open the playoffs on the road.

On top of that, the Eagles are now dealing with a slew of injuries to key players, including receivers A.J. Brown (knee) and DeVonta Smith (ankle). Nick Sirianni said Monday that he’s hopeful both players can return this week, but obviously that bears watching.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay won five of its last six games and went 11-6 ATS, recording the NFL’s second-best cover rate (64.7%).

The Eagles’ collapse is befuddling, and Baker Mayfield could well put them out of their misery if he gets hot. But as bleak as things look, I’m taking Philadelphia to bounce back.


Doug Bonjour

Doug covered college and prep sports in Connecticut for more than a decade, including stints as the UConn women’s basketball and UConn football beat reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media. During his time reporting on the 11-time national champion Huskies, he covered three NCAA Final Fours. He also has written for the Associated Press and New York Times.

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