Deadspin’s 2021 NFL Wild Card picks you can bank on: Day 1

Deadspin’s 2021 NFL Wild Card picks you can bank on: Day 1

Illustration for article titled Deadspin’s 2021 NFL Wild Card picks you can bank on: Day 1
Graphic: Eric Barrow

Are you ready for some self-imposed quarantine football? You have two straight days of NFL triple headers. Stop pretending you’ll leave the couch.

Now’s the time to get your bets in order, and Deadspin’s here to help.

You can fade our picks or lock ’em in. I don’t care. Hell, if you want to risk your 600 stimulus dollars during a global pandemic and economic recession, that’s on you.

You can also just read these for free for the old “entertainment purposes only.

All times listed are Eastern

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Colts at Bills (-6.5)

Colts at Bills (-6.5)

Illustration for article titled Deadspin’s 2021 NFL Wild Card picks you can bank on: Day 1
Illustration: Eric Barrow (AP)

The Bills are loose. Last Sunday, they toyed with the Dolphins like a dog. On Thursday, they were seen dancing to MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” in practice. And they’re riding a six-game winning streak. I mean, who can touch them?

Sorry, I had to.

Enter the Indianapolis Colts, an underrated No. 7 seed that’s 11-5 straight up, and 3-4 against current playoff teams. During the season, Indy was a cool 8-8 against the spread. But they cover on the road, as they were 5-3 ATS in away games. The Bills and Josh Allen, a younger, better, faster, non-trash-talking version of Philip Rivers, should be favored. But do you like Buffalo to win by a touchdown and extra point?

The Pick: Yes, you do like the Bills to win by seven or more. The last time Buffalo hosted a playoff game was in 1996. A win would give the Bills their first playoff victory since 1995. Plus, this team finished with the best ATS record in the NFL (11-5). Lock this one in: -6.5 is an easy cover.

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Rams at Seahawks (-3)

Rams at Seahawks (-3)

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Illustration: Eric Barrow (AP)

The Rams clinched a playoff berth last week but they’re limping into the postseason. Three weeks ago, this team lost to the New York Jets. The next week, Jared Goff broke and dislocated his right thumb. But there are some positive signs coming out of L.A. Veteran guard Andrew Whitworth has been activated off IR and Cooper Kupp got off the team’s COVID list on Wednesday. If Goff cant play, John Wolford would make his second career start.

The Seahawks are 12-4 but 8-8 ATS. Don’t be surprised if Seattle finds themselves in another close game and plays down to its opponent. The water birds have been in 11 games decided by 8 points or less. So, how should you play these points?

The Pick: It could be Goff who gets the start, it could be Wolford. We still don’t know, and probably won’t until gametime, so I’ll take the Seahawks. I’ve gone back and forth on this pick in the past 48 hours, but I’ll give the edge to Seattle and Russell Wilson who is, you know, healthy and has playoff experience. Sure, he hasn’t been cooking lately and Aaron Donald’s top ranked L.A. defense could keep it close… but not 3 points close. I like Seattle by a touchdown.

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Buccaneers at Washington (+8)

Buccaneers at Washington (+8)

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Illustration: Eric Barrow (AP)

I’m just mad we won’t get to see the 6-10 Giants try to spoil another Tom Brady postseason run.

Anyhoo, that task now falls to the Washington Football Team. They’ll be the third team to make the playoffs after finishing a full season with a losing record. How did those other losers fare, you ask? Well, the 2010 Seahawks (also 7-9) won their home playoff game. And the 2014 Panthers (7-8-1) beat the Cardinals in a game riddled with injuries.

But Washington won’t have a crowd to give them a normal homefield playoff advantage. WFT may not even have Alex Smith at QB, who is questionable for tonight’s game.

The Pick: It’s hard to bet against Tom Brady in January, but it’s easy to fade TB12 teams on the road in primetime. Also, eight is a lot to give a top-ranked Washington defense. I’d take the points here. Rivera’s team will keep it close, and dare I say, perhaps pull off the upset?

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