NFL Wild Card Round: New Orleans Hosts Minnesota in NFC Divisional Rematch
Eight teams will fight for their playoff lives this weekend. Some clubs barely snuck in, while others could have just as easily earned a first-round bye. Regardless of how they got here, each team has an equal opportunity to advance to the next round in their pursuit of Super Bowl 54.
Perhaps the most talent-laden Wild Card matchup will come out of the Big Easy, as the 13-3 New Orleans Saints host the 10-6 Minnesota Vikings. These teams have playoff history together, too. In 2017-18, the Vikings beat the Saints on a last-second touchdown by WR Stefon Diggs in the NFC Divisional Round. Will those ghosts come back to haunt Drew Brees and the Saints in 2020? We’ll preview this game as well as the other Wild Card matchups, so that you can confidently bet on the NFL this postseason. In addition, we’ll provide some NFL betting tips to give you an insider’s edge on the NFL betting odds. Read on and good luck with your picks.
2019 NFL Wild Card Round Best Odds and Matchups
While it was just two years ago, a lot has changed since the Minneapolis Miracle. The biggest difference is that QB Kirk Cousins and RB Dalvin Cook now run the offensive show in Minnesota. The Vikings (10-6 SU, 9-7 ATS) ranked eighth, scoring 25.4 points per game this season, and Cook (1,135 rushing yards) was a big part of that success. The running back missed the last two games of the season with a shoulder injury, and by no coincidence, the Vikes lost both of those matchups. However, Cook is expected to be ready for Sunday and will pose the biggest threat to the heavily-favoured Saints.
The Saints have several questions on defense heading into this game, as the statuses of CB Eli Apple (ankle), and safeties Vonn Bell (knee) and Marcus Williams (groin) for Sunday’s contest are unknown. But QB Drew Brees has been on a tear of late, registering a passer rating above 110 in six of his last seven games, with just one interception during that span. Not surprisingly, the total is a Wild Card-high 50, so expect fireworks in Louisiana.
Despite being the home team, the Philadelphia Eagles’ odds on NFL Sunday peg them as NFL betting underdogs. The Eagles (9-7 SU and 7-9 ATS) have suffered from a slew of injuries to key players this season, and it’ll be more of the same in the Wild Card game as RB Miles Sanders, WR Nelson Agholor and TE Zach Ertz aren’t expected to be able to suit up.
The visiting Seahawks (11-5 SU, 7-8-1 ATS) are also without their starting running backs for this one. They’ll run with fourth-stringer rookie RB Travis Homer and recently-resigned Marshawn Lynch against the Eagles, but it’s looking like this game will come down to Seattle QB Russell Wilson. The Eagles struggled to defend the pass this season, ranking 19th in yards against through the air, so if Wilson is able to take advantage of the Eagles’ challenged secondary, the ‘Hawks could cover the NFL lines and then some.
The latest football betting tips have suggested that the end of the Patriots’ (12-4 SU, 8-7-1 ATS) dynasty has come. They’ve looked fragile on offense all season, and their previously iron-clad defense has shown cracks of late. Those woes culminated in a shocking Week 17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Now the Patriots will face a Titans’ team that delivered in a win-and-in scenario in the final game of the year. Tennessee (9-7 SU, 8-7-1 ATS) has been a different team since QB Ryan Tannehill took the reins in October, going 7-3 over that span. But given the home team’s legendary playoff performances in recent years and the fact that Brady and Belichick are still calling the shots, New England remains 4.5-point favourites on the NFL odds board.
The Buffalo Bills (10-6 SU, 9-5-2 ATS) own the longest odds on the Super Bowl 54 odds board at +6600, and losing the final two games of the season didn’t help. But it’s a new season, and Buffalo will be up against a Houston Texans’ (10-6 SU, 7-8-1 ATS) squad that has been far from perfect this year.
Buffalo’s strength has been their defense all year; they allowed the second fewest points per game (16.2), and you can be sure they’ll have a plan to slow QB Deshaun Watson. Bills CB Tre’Davious White (6 INTs) should make life difficult for Watson’s favourite target DeAndre Hopkins, so it’ll be strength versus strength in this one. The home Texans are favoured to come out on top.