The regular season is over and now we are onto the postseason. We finished the regular season a game short of .500 going 57-58-1 overall. But the postseason gives us an opportunity to get back in the green again. Similar to last year, we will break the column down into two separate days. We will have a preview for Saturday’s games and Sunday games.
Without further ado, here are the picks, presented by DraftKings Sportsbook which has an incredible offer today for first time users.
Las Vegas at Cincinnati
Spread: Cincinnati -5.5
The NFL kicks off at 4:30 eastern with a matchup featuring football's two hottest teams, Las Vegas and cincinnati.
Starting with Cincinnati, Joe Burrow has been playing as good as anyone throwing eight touchdown passes with zero turnover worthy throws over the past two games. After an inconsistent start, Cincy ended the season 6-2 ATS. While Las Vegas made the playoffs despite a 6-7 start. Since their 39 point loss to KC, Las Vegas has won their last four games to punch their ticket into the postseason.
This is a game I have gone back and forth on. Metrics wise, there isn’t much separating these two teams. Vegas ranks 18th in offensive DVOA while Cincy ranks 19th and the Vegas defense ranks 17th in DVOA while Cincy ranks 19th. Yet Vegas is a five point underdog. My concern for Vegas is the terrible spot. The defense was on the field for over 90 plays last week. They got an emotional overtime home win against Los Angeles. Now they lose an entire day of travel. Cincinnati has an extreme rest advantage after resting their starters the last week of the season.
Systematically the matchup also is not great for Las Vegas. They play a lot of single high, and Joe Burrow has torched that coverage over the last few weeks. Las Vegas key to success will be getting pressure to Burrow with four. Cincinnati will start sixth round pick Isaiah Prince at the right tackle spot. He will have to go against pro bowl defensive end Max Crosby who made Justin Herbert’s life a nightmare last week. If Cincy can protect Burrow, I think he will absolutely torch this Vegas secondary. Las Vegas passing defense ranks 21st in passing DVOA and they have forced the least amount of turnover worthy throws all year. Both of their starting corners Casey Hayward and Brandon Facyson run in the 4.5s in the 40 yard dash, which is a problem when guarding Ja’Mar Chase. Vegas may elect to give playing time to reserve rookie corner Nate Hobbs who ran a 4.37 40 at the combine last year. It will be a battle between two rookies on the outside.
There are a variety of outcomes that can come from this game. I just think the spot dictates a Cincy victory more often than not. I usually don’t take favorites, but I will ride Joe Burrow’s team under a touchdown.
The pick: Cincy -5.5
New England at Buffalo
Spread: Buffalo (-4.5)
The last time New England went to Buffalo, they won on Monday Night Football despite passing the ball just a handful times. It was a take your lunch money type of game. The weather made it virtually impossible for either offense to move the ball. New England was simply the tougher team. The weather will be a bit more mild on Saturday with temperatures still below freezing at 13 degrees, but the wind will be hovering between 10-15 miles an hour with 50 percent chance of precipitation.
Last time Josh Allen faced New England with serviceable weather, he put together one of the most impressive performances of his career. He accounted for 384 yards, threw three touchdown passes. Contrary to popular belief, Buffalo’s run defense isn’t abysmal. They still rank 1st in overall defensive DVOA and they rank 11th against the run and allowing opponents to rush for just 4.2 yards per attempt. I think there is alot perception coming from that stand alone game. I expect Buffalo to be aggressive and get on the scoreboard early to limit New England’s ability to run the ball. New England’s defense is slightly overrated. Since that Week 13 win against Buffalo, the Pats defense has allowed nearly 26 points per outing in the final four games and ranks 20th in EPA allowed per play (0.062) in that span.
Expect Buffalo to be aggressive early so we take Buffalo in the first half.
The pick: Buffalo -3 first half
Make sure to come back tomorrow as Austin has picks on the three Sunday games as well
Follow Austin on Twitter @AMontgomeryLive
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