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NFL Playoffs: Handicapping Wild Card Weekend

NFL Wild Card Playoff Matchups

Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons finished up an improbable 11-5 season last Sunday with a 31-27 win over St. Louis. They’ll march into the postseason after being selected to only win 4.5 games at the beginning of the year. Arizona has had the NFC West locked up for almost a month, and will host its first playoff game since it played in St. Louis.  

Atlanta has fared quite well against the Cards in recent history, going 4-1 SU and ATS since 1999. Since December 2007 though, Arizona has been simply dominating at home. It has gone 9-2 SU and 7-4 ATS during that stretch. The Falcons were 7-1 SU at home, but they went just 4-4 SU and ATS on the road.

The winner of this game will likely travel to New York next weekend, unless Philadelphia beats Minnesota. Arizona lost 37-29 to the Giants earlier this season in the Desert. It would be the first meeting between the G-Men and Falcons of the year.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles

The Vikings won the NFC North by virtue of their win over the defending champions on the final week of the season. The Eagles had to be considered huge long-shots just to reach the playoffs, but after losses by Chicago and Tampa Bay, the Eagles reached the second season by demolishing Dallas 44-6.

The Eagles have earned four straight victories both SU and ATS over the Vikings, but have dominated the sports betting proceedings for years. They are 9-1 ATS in the L/10 meetings with Minnesota. Philadelphia went 4-4 ATS this season on the road. Minnesota has won six out of its L/7 games in the Metrodome, but went just 3-5 ATS this season at home.

If the Eagles win this game, they’ll head to the Meadowlands to clash with the Giants after splitting the season series with them. Should Minnesota prove victories, it’ll travel to Carolina to take on a Panthers team it has already beaten once this season.

Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens

The turnaround for the Fins is complete. From 1-15 a year ago, they won the AFC East by beating the Jets in the Meadowlands 24-17. Baltimore knew going into Week 17 that it was win and in, and it did just that by stomping the Jags 27-7.

Baltimore beat Miami 27-13 in South Florida earlier this season. The win avenged last year’s 22-16 overtime win for the Fins, the only win they had in 2007. Miami is 10-3 ATS in the L/13 meetings between these squads.

The Ravens have a long road ahead this postseason, as they know that they’ll have to travel to Tennessee next should they beat Miami. The Fish will need to await the winner of the Indianapolis/San Diego game to see whether they’ll take on the Titans or Steelers.

San Diego Chargers vs. Indianapolis Colts

No team in NFL history had ever started 4-8 and made the playoffs, but that’s what San Diego pulled off. After beating Denver in the regular season finale, the Chargers won the AFC West crown, giving them the right to host Indy. The Colts haven’t lost since October 27th. They finished the regular season on a nine-game winning streak, and went 5-3-1 ATS in that stretch.

Though Indy beat San Diego 23-20 this season, the Chargers have owned the sports betting occasions since 2004, going 4-1 ATS since then. Three of the L/4 meetings between these teams have gone ‘under’ the ‘total’.

The winner of this game will head to Tennessee to take on the Titans unless Baltimore upsets Miami, in which case, the winner would go to Pittsburgh.

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