Two games of the NFL Super Wild Card Weekend are in the books as the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs came away victorious from Saturday's action. We now look to the NFC with two big matchups set for Sunday's slate.
The Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills game, originally scheduled for 1 pm et today, has been moved to Monday due to historically bad weather in Buffalo.
That means we're now left with just two games to bet on and watch today, starting with the late-afternoon showdown between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys, and ending with a game filled with storylines between the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions. I have a bet locked in for each of those games which I'll break down in this article.
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Packers vs. Cowboys prediction and pick
The weakness for both sides in this game is their defenses. The Packers are 20th in opponent yards per play (5.4), 23rd in opponent EPA per play, and 26th in opponent success rate. They've been even worse in the second half of the season, ranking 25th in opponent EPA and 27th in opponent success rate since Week 10.
The Cowboys, while certainly having a better defense than the Packers, aren't as good on that side of the ball as you might think. They're 22nd in the NFL in opponent success rate which means if you take away their big impact plays, like defensive touchdowns, they may have some underlying issues.
We all know how good the Cowboys offense is, you don't need me to list all the metrics in which they rank in the top five in the NFL. What you might not know is how good the Packers' offense has been.
At the end of the regular season, the Packers rank fifth in the league in EPA per Play with only the 49ers, Cowboys, Bills, and Dolphins ranking higher. They're also eighth in yards per play (5.6) and success rate.
So, we have two top 10, arguably top 5, offenses going to war in the Wild Card Round. Let's sit back and root for points.
Pick: OVER 50.5
Rams vs. Lions prediction and pick
Nothing would be more "Lions" then hosting a playoff game for the first time since 1993 only to have your old quarterback, Matt Stafford, come back to Detroit to beat you and break the hearts of every fan in Detroit.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what I think is going to happen. The Lions are stumbling into the playoffs, having a Net Yards per Play of -0.7 in their last three games. Their defense has also been bad all year. Entering the postseason, they rank 26th in opponent yards per play, which is the worst mark amongst all playoff teams.
More importantly, their secondary has been horrific. They're 30th in opponent yards per pass attempt and 25th in both opponent dropback EPA and opponent dropback success rate. That's bad news considering they now need to face a Rams air attack that features Stafford, Cooper Kupper, and Puka Nacua.
Let's also give some major props to the Rams for being the hottest team in the NFL since their BYE Week. They're 7-1 since Week 11 and in that stretch they've ranked fourth in EPA per Play, fifth in success rate, 17th in opponent EPA per play, and 10th in opponent success rate.
If there is one wild card team that we could all see going on a run to the Super Bowl, it has to be the Rams, who their only loss during this hot streak was an overtime loss to arguably the best team in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens.
The Lions have a lot of things going well for them and winning the NFC North was huge step in the right direction for them, but they're about to face a red-hot team that is a stylistic nightmare for their defense.
Keep your points, I'll take the Rams to win outright.
Pick: Rams +140
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
You can check out all of Iain's bets here!