By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com — It’s wIn or go home-time as the 2022-2023 NFL Playoffs begin. Let’s get started:
JACKSONVILLE over LA Chargers by 7
This matchup features two young, promising quarterbacks in Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence, each of whom has become the face of their franchise. Herbert is the only QB, other than Peyton Manning, with three 25 TD seasons in his first three years in the league. But then there is bonehead adversarial head coach Brandon Staley, who appears to love going against the grain simply for the sake of going against the grain, a move that cost him dearly when he left his starters in late into last week’s meaningless game, only to lose star WR Mike Williams to a back injury in the second half. That’s a heavy load for a team that was just 1-5 in games against fellow playoff squads this season (the worst of all teams). Enter the AFC South champion Jaguars, the first team since the 2008 Dolphins to win a division the season after having the league’s worst record which, behind head coach Doug Pederson, places them inside our INCREDIBLE STAT on page 2. And per the SMART BOX, Pederson also shines in the postseason, going 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS, including 5-0 ATS as a playoff dog. Coupled with the fact that Wild Card home pick or dogs are 12-3 ATS, look for the Bolts to short-circuit here.
NY Giants over MINNESOTA by 6
Following a deep-dive look into both of these teams, one wonders how they earned their playoff stripes. Collectively, the two teams lost the stats in 20 of their 34 contests. Worse, against other playoff teams, together they went 1-12 ITS (In The Stats), losing the stats by 1,336 net yards. The Giants return to the postseason for the fi st time since 2016 but bring a 22-8 ATS playoff record since 1982 into this scrum – including 15-4 ATS as a dog. On the flip side, the Norsemen are 8-17 SU and 9-15-1 ATS in the postseason since 1989, including 0-9 ATS when facing foes coming off a loss. Vikes’ QB Kirk Cousins has made three starts in the playoffs during his NFL career, going 1-2 SUATS, including 0-1 SUATS as a favorite. The WOM chips in noting that Wild Card round dogs of 3 or fewer points, seeking same-season revenge, are 12-4-1 ATS. With it, Big Blue certainly remembers dropping a 27-24 decision here just three weeks ago on a 61-yard fi eld goal at the final gun, a game in which they outstatted the Vikes by 92 yards. Look for the G-Men to improve on their 10-2 ATS dog log under head coach Brian Daboll. Go ahead and grab the points.
TAMPA BAY over Dallas by 4
Dak Prescott is famous for pulling out miraculous wins, owning twelve 4Q comebacks, and 19 Game-Winning drives. The problem is his penchant for turning the ball over – seven consecutive games with a pick and a league-high 15 for the season. What really sucks is that he missed 5 of the first six games of the campaign. As a result, he often puts his team into many of those comeback positions, some of which they are unable to dig out. But Prescott’s numbers don’t even sniff those of the GOAT, who owns a total of 46 Fourth Quarter comebacks, and 58 Game-Winning drives! Prescott was 14-for-37, while the Cowboys’ rushing game averaged just 2.4 yards per rush on 27 total attempts in last week’s uninspiring loss at Washington. The WOM chips in noting that Tom Brady is a 19-time division champion and is 7-0 outright in his career against the Cowboys. We realize that losing teams are 2-4 SU and 3-3 ATS in the postseason, but they are 3-0 ATS at home. If fact, hosts are 6-0 ATS in games involving losing squads.