NFL 2022 Wild Card Predictions

It has already been a strange, competetive, mediocre season, so who knows how this postseason will go. My preseason pick was Buffalo beating Tampa Bay 45-17, and I’m really not shying away from that yet. It could definitely happen with the way this NFC is.

In lieu of my usual full-length playoff previews on this blog, I have links to similar full-length previews that I wrote:

This will still be the only place I post my final score predictions for each playoff game.

Some articles I did this week:

Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers (-10)

Preview: Seahawks-49ers

I just want to see if Seattle can score more than 13 points, which is how many points the offense has in eight quarters this year against this defense. I expect the 49ers to win, though Kyle Shanahan and a rookie quarterback is one hell of a playoff combo for classic Shanahanigans. But probably not this week as the Seahawks do not match up well with this team. But I expect it to be closer than the last meeting in SF, and to be the highest scoring game of the season between these teams.

By the way, the team going for the 3-0 split is 14-9, so it usually happens. 49ers didn’t pull it off last year against the Rams, but this is an easier opponent.

Final: 49ers 27, Seahawks 19

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (+2.5)

Brandon Staley really got Mike Williams hurt right before the playoffs, and the Chargers still lost to Denver. Frankly, I can’t understand why the Chargers are favored in this game, or why the spread has only gone up. They’re on a short week, they were bad last week, they lost Williams, they already lost 38-10 to this Jacksonville team, and they’re on the road here against a team that is statistically better by most metrics. Not a lot better, but better.

I can’t help but think Justin Herbert is going to feel the sting of a one-man show road playoff loss where he throws for over 300 yards, but gets nothing on the ground while the Jaguars crank up Travis Etienne against the defense that ranks No. 32 in yards per carry allowed.

I am concerned about the lack of points in the passing game in the last three weeks for Jacksonville, but we’ll see. This one should be close. Jacksonville’s last seven home games have all been decided by 1-to-7 points.

Final: Jaguars 27, Chargers 24

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills (-13.5)

Rookie quarterbacks tend to stink in the playoffs as is, but Skylar Thompson is below average and probably replacement level. Mike McDaniel will have to cook up something amazing to keep this one close, or the Bills will have to have a bunch of turnovers. They were No. 3 in giveaways despite playing 16 games.

But the blowout of Miami by Buffalo that I’ve been waiting for since that Week 3 game should happen here. Just unfortunate it’s happening under the circumstances where the Dolphins don’t have their best QB or RB available for this game.

Final: Bills 34, Dolphins 13

New York Giants vs. Minnesota Vikings (-3)

Giants-Vikings

Be sure to read my previews on this game for all the good stats and records involving these teams who love playing close games. I can’t help but think the Giants are going to play well on offense and have a real shot to pull this one out. But I’ll cautoiusly pick the Vikings to win at home.

Final: Vikings 30, Giants 27

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-8.5)

Ravens-Bengals

I’m just a bit tired of seeing Baltimore (without Lamar Jackson) this season. This game should be better than the Week 18 crapfest these two just played, but I do not see the Ravens being able to score enough to win with Tyler Huntley. At the very least, their defense has been way better this year against Cincinnati, so I think the team is good enough to keep it close and cover.

Final: Bengals 24, Ravens 16

Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5)

Upset: Bucs over Cowboys

I’ve pretty much been saying since October after the Cowboys lost in Philadelphia that they would lose in the wild card round to the Buccaneers. With the way Week 1 happened and the way the Cowboys played in Washington and have been turning the ball over, I see no reason to change the pick now. If anything, they are just preparing to make sure they have a letdown here.

The team without a winning record who gets to host a playoff game is still 4-1 in those games. It’s an advantage the NFL needs to eliminate. However, I’m not sure this Dallas team would win at home either. Remember 19-3? Just figures Dak Prescott would have his worst games of the season to start and end the year.

Just curious to see how Dallas is going to blow this one. Leonard Fournette had his only 100-yard rushing game of the season in Week 1. Playoff Lenny time? Dallas is the only game this year where Tampa held a team under 10 points.

A Dan Quinn defense that has already blown leads of 14 and 17 points after halftime to Green Bay and Jacksonville? A Dallas offense that has thrown a pick-six in three of the last four games? The brain trust that brought us the QB draw in the closing seconds of last year’s wild card loss?

Yeah, save the popcorn for Monday night.

Final: Buccaneers 23, Cowboys 20

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