The NFL Playoffs are finally here and if they are anything like last year we are in for a treat! The Kansas City Chiefs currently hold the best odds to take home the Lombardi trophy followed by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC but truly is anyone’s championship to take. Here are my picks going into Wild Card weekend.
Seahawks vs. 49ers: The biggest “upset”
After taking care of business against the Los Angeles Rams and getting some help from the Detroit Lions, the Seattle Seahawks have snuck their way into the playoffs and play a familiar NFC West foe. The San Francisco 49ers are two-score favorites after already beating the Seahawks twice this year and have the second-best odds to win it all.
The (+9.5) spread is the second largest this weekend for good reason. The 49ers bolster one of the top, if not the best, defenses in the league lead by All-Pro defensive lineman Nick Bosa. They also have a plethora of weapons on offense that includes Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk with a potential star in the making under center and third-string backup Brock Purdy, but this is a inter-division playoff matchup.
If Purdy can win his next game, he’ll tie Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Kruczek for the most wins to start one’s career.— Kicks (@kicks) January 13, 2023
And considering the 49ers' Super Bowl odds, there’s a good chance Purdy surpasses them.
In Week 15 the Seahawks were able to hold San Fran to just 21 points on offense and were always in striking distance in a game that was defined by the defense. Geno Smith would only be able to lead his team to 13 points but was able to play turnover-free football. I do not think the Seahawks upset the 49ers, but I do think it will be a closer game than many are giving it credit to be.
Purdy is still inexperienced and it remains uncertain if he will be able to perform on the big stage and that is why my pick is on the Seahawks to cover the spread in what I expect to be a low-scoring defensive showdown.
Ravens vs. Bengals: Best Lock
Despite the third largest point spread my best pick this weekend has to be the Cincinnati Bengals over the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens will be without their MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson as he continues to recover from a PCL sprain he sustained against the Denver Broncos in Week 13. Since his absence Tyler Huntley has posted a 2-3 record after going 8-4 the previous weeks.
Joe Burrow and his team are on a mission after just falling short of a victory against the Rams last year in the Super Bowl. They finished the regular season 12-4 and look poised to make a deep playoff run again this season with Burrow playing some of his best football. On the season he has thrown for 4475 yards and posted a 35-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Meanwhile the Ravens look lost as controversy surrounding their quarterback continues to make headlines and be a distraction both off and on the field. The playoff matchup will be the second time the two teams have seen each other in two weeks with their last matchup going the Bengals way in a 27-16 victory. Cincinnati is coming in with plenty of playoff experience and plenty to be play for as their revenge tour continues. Take the Bengals to cover the spread on this one.