NFL

Scott’s Seven NFL Picks: Wild Card Round

By Scott Kacsmar

The NFL playoffs are here for the 2023 season, and we have another round of seven NFL picks for the wild card round. The weekend will start with the AFC games, then wrap up with the NFC games by Monday night. Be sure to check out those previews for additional stats and injury notes.

The inclement weather is definitely a story we are following when it comes to picking games like Dolphins-Chiefs and Steelers-Bills. If touchdowns are what you are looking for, then Packers-Cowboys and Rams-Lions are the best bets. There are also injured quarterbacks on both sides in the Eagles-Buccaneers game, so hopefully getting an extra day before that one helps them in that regard.

Each Friday, we will share seven NFL picks that we are including in our bets for the weekend. These can be prop picks, spreads, totals, alternate lines, moneylines, teasers, same game parlays, etc. We like to think outside the box instead of just telling you to pick a 10-point favorite to win. You can play the picks separately or parlay your favorite choices together.

Note: Picks are ranked in order of confidence (highest to lowest).

1. Eagles-Buccaneers: One Last Monday Night Under

If you paid close attention to this NFL season, then you probably noticed that the Monday night games were very poor for scoring and hitting overs. But that made them one of the best bets all year for taking the under.

At one point, the under was 13-1 on Monday Night Football this season as only the Browns-Steelers game in Week 2 went over, and that was only possible thanks to a pair of turnovers by Deshaun Watson going for Pittsburgh touchdowns.

The streak didn’t end until Week 13 when Jake Browning and the Bengals surprised Jacksonville in a 34-31 overtime upset. A week later there was another doubleheader with both games going over, including Tennessee’s wild 28-27 comeback win in Miami. But a week later, the Eagles lost 20-17 in Seattle after Drew Lock led a long touchdown drive after the 2-minute warning in another upset.

That game is largely why the Eagles are playing this game instead of having the No. 2 seed and a home game. But they come in with both quarterbacks banged up as Baker Mayfield went from a rib issue to limping around his team’s 9-0 win in Carolina to claim the NFC South. Mayfield (ankle) did not practice Thursday, which is not a great sign, but at least the game is Monday, which should give him enough time to give it a go.

Jalen Hurts dislocated his middle finger in last week’s game but was fortunate to not fracture it. He’ll play Monday, but he is not coming in on a hot streak, and A.J. Brown is also injured and possibly limited or even out for this game.

Basically, you have some wounded offenses who come in not playing their best. Even before the 9-0 win in Carolina last week, the Saints were up 20-0 on Tampa in their building in Week 17 before the Saints won 23-13. The Eagles have been on a slide for several weeks now.

But the Eagles can point to the 25-11 win in Tampa on a Monday night in Week 3, another Monday night under that hit this season. Overall, the under is 14-5 on Monday night this year, and we are going to go with it again in this one between two wounded, struggling teams.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Eagles-Buccaneers Under 43.5 Points (-105 at FanDuel)

2. Dolphins-Chiefs: Run the Ball and Play Great Defense

We are viewing the Chiefs differently this postseason. Instead of counting on Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce to carry the team, the stars this week need to be the defense and Isiah Pacheco, which has often been the case throughout this season anyway. That is why we have a 2-leg parlay for this one:

  • Dolphins Under 19.5 Points
  • Isiah Pacheco 50+ Rushing Yards

The Dolphins have already been struggling this season to score against contenders. We’ve seen them score 14 points at home last week in a game against Buffalo where the AFC East was on the line. They scored 14 points in Germany against these Chiefs with Tyreek Hill coughing up a crucial fumble before halftime for a touchdown. They scored 19 points in Baltimore against the top-ranked defense. They also scored just 17 points in Philadelphia, which didn’t even have a good defense this year, but that was another hyped matchup on the road against a contender.

Miami coach Mike McDaniel has lost 8 straight road games against playoff teams and his offense has rarely shown up for these games. This is also expected to be one of the coldest games in NFL history with the temperature around 0 degrees at kickoff and wind chills possibly around minus-30. It could end up being the coldest game in Miami history, and that is not something a team from Florida built around speed wants to hear. Half of their crucial skill players (Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert) are trying to return from leg injuries, and it is hard to imagine the extreme cold will feel good on them.

The Chiefs have been hard to score on all season, especially at home where they have yet to allow more than 21 points in any game. Look for this to be another strong game, and the weather should help too.

But for the Chiefs to make sure they win the game, they need a good ground attack. You don’t want the receiving corps that leads the league with 39 dropped passes to have to make a lot of plays in weather like this where that ball is going to feel like a rock.

This is where Isiah Pacheco can help. He got to rest in Week 18, and he has been hot lately with 130 rushing yards against the Bengals in Week 17. He also had 110 rushing yards in Green Bay in December. Overall, Pacheco has rushed for at least 50 yards in 10-of-14 games played this year, including a 66-yard effort in Germany against these Dolphins.

This is the kind of game where the back needs to lead the way, and Pacheco’s physical style should be extra beneficial on a night like this if the weather reports are even close to accurate.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Dolphins Under 19.5 Points & Isiah Pacheco 50+ Rushing Yards (+150 at FanDuel)

3. Browns-Texans: Passing Fancy

We have a 3-leg parlay for this rematch from Week 16, a 36-22 win by the Browns where Amari Cooper had a franchise-record 265 receiving yards. But Cooper hasn’t played since with a heel injury, and C.J. Stroud didn’t play at all that day because of a concussion. Let’s expect a different game this time around, but some of what happened in Week 16 should still translate here:

  • David Njoku Over 56.5 Receiving Yards
  • Joe Flacco 250+ Passing Yards
  • C.J. Stroud 200+ Passing Yards

The Texans know Cooper destroyed them, so look for an adjustment there, and we don’t even know his health status since we haven’t seen him since that game. But tight end David Njoku is someone who has been stepping up this year, he’s had a great connection with Joe Flacco, and he should be very productive in this game as no defense allowed more catches to tight ends than Houston this year. We’ll take Njoku to go over 56.5 yards and it may not take him long to do it with attention around Cooper.

Flacco has thrown for at least 250 yards in all 5 games with the Browns, and he might need to do it again since the Texans completely stuffed the running game in Week 16. Flacco has actually thrown for 300 yards in 4 straight games, and he had almost 300 yards at halftime in Week 17 against the Jets, a very good defense, in a game without Cooper available. We are going to count on the Browns to rely on Flacco through the air and for him to have another 250-yard game.

But Stroud is no slouch as a rookie. He just threw for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns in Indianapolis in an elimination game with the season on the line. This is his first true playoff game, but if last week is any indication, he’ll be ready and the team relies heavily on him.

The Texans have injuries at receiver, but at least Nico Collins is healthy to go. He had 195 yards last week. The Texans could get Noah Brown back for this matchup to give Stroud another weapon with Collins and tight end Dalton Schultz. We’ll trust him to go over 200 yards as the Cleveland defense is not impossible to move the ball against. They padded their stats a bit this year in games against quarterbacks like Clayton Tune (Arizona rookie backup), Ryan Tannehill (Titans), Kenny Pickett (Steelers), and Joe Burrow on a bad calf in Week 1.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – David Njoku Over 56.5 Receiving Yards & Joe Flacco 250+ Passing Yards & C.J. Stroud 200+ Passing Yards (+194 at FanDuel)

4. Steelers-Bills: Hey Diddle Diddle, Najee Up the Middle  

For Sunday afternoon in Buffalo, we have a 3-leg parlay that favors the Steelers running the ball a lot as a 10-point underdog in a game with a tantalizingly low total (36.5 points) as there could be lake-effect snow that dumps a ton of snow in a short period of time on the field:

  • Najee Harris 70+ Rushing Yards
  • Jaylen Warren 25+ Rushing Yards
  • Jaylen Warren 3+ Receptions

The Steelers are doing well with Mason Rudolph at quarterback, but there has also been a consistent effort to get the backs involved in his 3 starts. Najee Harris is enjoying the best stretch of his career as he just rushed for over 100 yards in back-to-back games for the first time in his NFL career. He also had 78 yards against the Bengals in Week 16, Rudolph’s first start.

The weather could be a huge deal and implore the team to run. The Buffalo defense also ranks 28th in yards per carry allowed this year, and 7 running backs have rushed for at least 70 yards against the Bills. It can happen in a low-scoring game too as New York’s Saquon Barkley had 93 yards in a 14-9 loss in Buffalo. Even Brian Robinson (Commanders) gained 70 yards in a 37-3 loss to the Bills.

The Steelers have been riding Harris, but Jaylen Warren was the star of the backfield around the midseason point. He just recently had 75 yards in Seattle and another 33 yards in Baltimore last week in the rain. Overall, Warren has rushed for at least 25 yards in 12-of-17 games this year, including all 8 road games.

The Steelers also like throwing to Warren, and that could be a necessity in this game’s weather to get easy, safe completions for Rudolph like they did in Baltimore’s rain last week. Warren has caught at least 3 passes in 14-of-17 games this year. He has caught at least 4 passes in 5 straight games since Kenny Pickett was knocked out of action. We’ll go with at least 3 catches for Warren.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Najee Harris 70+ Rushing Yards & Jaylen Warren 25+ Rushing Yards & Jaylen Warren 3+ Receptions (+402 at FanDuel)

5. Packers-Cowboys: Jordan Love vs. Dak Prescott  

We have a 5-leg parlay for what could be a thrilling shootout if the Packers show up in the first playoff start for Jordan Love. We know the Cowboys usually always show up at home on offense:

  • Jordan Love Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns
  • Jordan Love Over 242.5 Passing Yards
  • Dak Prescott Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns
  • CeeDee Lamb Anytime Touchdown Scorer
  • Cowboys ML

Love has been one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL since Week 10. Since then, he has thrown 20 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions with a 107.6 passer rating. He has thrown multiple touchdowns in 8-of-9 games coming into Sunday. Love also has been averaging 271 passing yards per game over the last 9 games, and he’s led the Packers to over 400 yards in back-to-back games after the team had no such games before Week 17.

The Dallas defense is very good, but it has padded stats against really bad offenses with terrible quarterbacks. We’ve seen Geno Smith and the Seahawks go into this building and light up that defense in a 41-35 game. The Lions also had their chances in Week 17, controversial ending withstanding. The Packers are playing so well offensively that it would be a surprise if Love didn’t have another good game.

But the defense for Green Bay is a different story. The schedule has rarely presented an elite test for Joe Barry’s defense, but that hasn’t stopped them from some embarrassing performances against rookies like Tommy DeVito (Giants) and Bryce Young (Panthers). The latter had his only 300-yard and 30-point game against the Packers, and the Panthers did not score another point the rest of the season. Baker Mayfield also tore up the Packers with a perfect passer rating at Lambeau Field, a first.

The Cowboys have been so elite and consistent at home under Prescott the last few years. They have scored at least 30 points in all but one home game this year. Prescott has been on a roll since the San Francisco loss, and CeeDee Lamb nearly beat out Tyreek Hill for the most receiving yards after the tear he went on following a slow start to the season.

Look for Prescott to throw multiple touchdowns and for Lamb to score in his 10th straight game. The Cowboys should be pushed here by an improving Green Bay team, but we’ll trust the 7.5-point home favorite to pull out the win in the end and move on to next week where they’ll have a chance to host another game as the No. 2 seed.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Jordan Love Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns & Jordan Love Over 242.5 Passing Yards & Dak Prescott Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns & CeeDee Lamb Anytime Touchdown Scorer & Cowboys ML (+516 at FanDuel)

6. Rams-Lions: Sunday Night Shootout  

The Rams and Lions come in hot on offense and this could be the shootout of the week with both teams having lackluster defenses. We have a 4-leg parlay that is all anytime touchdown scorers for the following players:

  • Jahmyr Gibbs
  • Kyren Williams
  • Cooper Kupp
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown

How fun could this game be? There are 6 players listed with odds +125 or better to score a touchdown. That was 7 players before Detroit tight end Sam LaPorta was temporarily removed as his playing status is up in the air after injuring his knee last Sunday.

But LaPorta’s absence could be Amon-Ra St. Brown’s gain as he becomes an even more likely scorer on the receiving end from a Jared Goff pass. St. Brown scored 10 touchdowns this season, a career-high, and feels like a Pro Bowl snub. One of the players he might feel snubbed by is Puka Nacua, the standout rookie for the Rams.

But we are going with Cooper Kupp as the savvy playoff veteran to add to his legacy with another touchdown catch in a big game. Kupp had 7 touchdown catches in the 2021 playoffs when the Rams won the Super Bowl, scoring in every game. But Kupp has also scored a touchdown in 4-of-5 games going into Sunday night. His yards have been down, and it is understandable if you want to swap him out for Nacua, who has been dominating again with Stafford. But we like the veteran here.

On the ground, Kyren Williams looks like the best back for the Rams since Todd Gurley was in his prime. Williams led the NFL with 95.3 rushing yards per game this year, but he also scored 15 touchdowns in 12 games. Williams has scored in 9-of-12 games this year.

Finally, Detroit rookie Jahmyr Gibbs has found his role in this offense alongside David Montgomery. While Montgomery still led the Lions with 13 touchdowns, Gibbs was not far behind with 11 for an offense that had 4 different players score at least 10 touchdowns. That’s the beauty of the Lions. Even in Week 18, they got a touchdown from all their studs (Montgomery, Gibbs, St. Brown, and LaPorta). Gibbs has been the hot hand lately with 5 touchdowns over the last 5 games.

We have been bamboozled all season by these high-scoring games in prime time, but this one should deliver touchdowns as neither defense is equipped to handle these skill players.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay for Anytime Touchdown Scorers – Jahmyr Gibbs & Kyren Williams & Cooper Kupp & Amon-Ra St. Brown (+1143 at FanDuel)

7. Super Wild Card Parlay

For our final pick of wild card weekend, we are going big with a 5-leg parlay with nearly +5000 odds and using every game except Monday night. Feel free to water down or pick and choose what you like from it:

  • Joe Flacco (Browns) Over 0.5 Interceptions
  • Isiah Pacheco (Chiefs) 25+ Rushing Yards in Each Half (Game Specials: Featured)
  • Najee Harris (Steelers) Over 15.5 Rushing Attempts
  • Dak Prescott (Cowboys) 3+ Passing Touchdowns
  • Rams-Lions: Each Team to Score 1+ Rushing TD & 1+ Passing TD (Game Specials: Featured)

Joe Flacco is slinging it but he’s also been intercepted on 3.9% of his passes, which would have ranked as the worst rate in the league this season. He has also been intercepted in all 5 appearances with the Browns, including 2 picks in Houston in Week 16. Look for the Texans to grab at least one pick from the elite passer about to turn 39 years old.

We touched on Pacheco earlier, but you can play this as a Game Special at FanDuel with good value (+130) as he should be a consistent threat in both halves on a night where the Chiefs need to be physical and run the ball.

We also touched on Najee Harris earlier and how this could be a huge snow game. Either way, the Steelers need a big rushing effort in this one. Harris has carried the ball 19, 27, and 26 times in Mason Rudolph’s starts. He is playing some of his best ball right now and should be fed carries as the Steelers try to win this game on the ground.

Dak Prescott has 6 games with at least 3 touchdown passes this season, and we know he lights it up at home with his “yeah, here we go!” cadence as loud as can be. The Green Bay defense is in trouble with this offense. We’ll take Dak to deliver a big game.

Finally, we already teased our last pick above for Rams-Lions with a receiver and running back scoring touchdowns for each team. So, it is only natural that we like both teams to score a rushing and passing touchdown. Kyren Williams has been money for the Rams, the Lions have their choice of runner to score in Gibbs and David Montgomery, and you have to think this is personal for Goff and Stafford as they try to one-up each other. Easy pick here found under the Game Specials: Featured category on FanDuel.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Parlay – Joe Flacco Over 0.5 Interceptions & Isiah Pacheco 25+ Rushing Yards in Each Half + Najee Harris Over 15.5 Rushing Attempts & Dak Prescott 3+ Passing Touchdowns & Rams-Lions to Each Score 1+ Rushing TD & 1+ Passing Touchdown (+4999 at FanDuel)

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