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Best Picks Ranked from Each Game

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After going 4-2 on my wild-card betting power rankings, with one of the losses being extremely close, I felt emboldened to run this baby back for the NFL’s divisional round of the playoffs. As soon as I started going through the numbers, though, I realized just how much harder this was going to be.

The biggest underdogs of the round — the Green Bay Packers against the San Francisco 49ers, and Houston Texans against the Baltimore Ravens — had maybe the most impressive wild-card showings. So how much of that can we expect to carry over into tougher matchups? The same goes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they get set to visit the Detroit Lions. And there were so many factors to consider for the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills game, including this being an unprecedented road game for KC and more winter weather in Buffalo. Regardless, I gave it a go, and these were my four favorite picks from each line, with odds from BetMGM.

I didn’t think Green Bay would beat the Dallas Cowboys last week, but I at least saw how that could be a bad matchup for Dallas. I don’t see the same for San Francisco. The 49ers are a power running team, which is trouble for the Packers. As long as they don’t get behind early, I think San Francisco can stick to the run and create some big plays in the passing attack to pull away from there. That said, this pick is last in my power rankings due to the massive spread against a really hot Green Bay offense.

Tampa’s defense isn’t nearly as vulnerable as the Los Angeles Rams’ last week, so I wouldn’t expect Detroit to simply have its way in this game. I do expect the Lions to win, and this was actually my hardest game to power rank between picking the total or Detroit against the spread, but it’ll be a hard-fought win. Both teams are strong against the run, which could force Jared Goff and Baker Mayfield into predictable passing situations. And I don’t expect those two to engage in much of a shootout.

I didn’t expect as many points as the Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers combined to score in their postponed wild-card meeting Monday, but I’m sticking with the under in Buffalo. This total is already dropping with more snow and freezing temperatures expected. The big difference here is Kansas City’s defense, which will absolutely come to play. Now, of course, that guy Patrick Mahomes is also coming to town. But I’m trusting Buffalo’s defense to give KC’s paltry playmakers a hard time and turn this game into something opposite of the classic 2021 clash between Mahomes and Josh Allen.

My favorite pick of the week is Texans +9, but please don’t take this as disrespect towards the Ravens, who I still believe to be the best team in the NFL. This is more about how much I believe in Houston’s progress and positive momentum coming into this game. I don’t believe it’ll be enough for them to overcome a rested Ravens team at home for an outright win, but I do think they’ll put up enough of a fight to cover a big spread. C.J. Stroud protects the ball extremely well. That will be a huge factor in Houston sticking around. Gannett may earn revenue from sports betting operators for audience referrals to betting services. Sports betting operators have no influence over nor are any such revenues in any way dependent on or linked to the newsrooms or news coverage. Terms apply, see operator site for Terms and Conditions. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, help is available. Call the National Council on Problem Gambling 24/7 at 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ, OH), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN). Must be 21 or older to gamble. Sports betting and gambling are not legal in all locations. Be sure to comply with laws applicable where you reside.

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