Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons punched their ticket to the playoffs by winning their regular season finale, but if they want to advance to the divisional round of the playoffs, they’ll have to get past a Los Angeles Rams team that has been nothing short of amazing this season.
Atlanta Falcons Vs Los Angeles Rams NFC Wild Card Line & Final Score Prediction
Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at L.A. Rams (11-5)
When: Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 8:15 PM ET
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
Stream: NBC Sports Live
NFL Odds: Rams -6
Bet The Falcons To Win The NFC Wild Card Because…
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons punched their ticket to the postseason by beating Carolina 22-10 at home in their regular-season finale and they’re pretty hot, having won three of their last four games and six of their last eight overall. Still, I’m a bit wary about the Falcons seeing as how they ranked just 15th in scoring this season (22.1 ppg) after leading the league in scoring a year ago. While Atlanta did finish an encouraging eighth in points allowed (19.7 ppg), they also haven’t scored more than 24 points in any of their last five games.
Bet The Rams To Win The NFC Wild Card Because…
While the Rams lost their finale against San Francisco 34-13 this past weekend, it was a meaningless game for Los Angeles and besides, Todd Gurley and company won four of their previous five games and eight of 10 before their Week 17 matchup so they’re undoubtedly one of the hottest teams around heading into the playoffs.
More importantly, the Rams have been the more consistent team this season and are far more explosive than Atlanta is offensively this season as they finished first in scoring (29.9 ppg) and an impressive 12th in points allowed (20.6 ppg).
NFC Wild Card Final Score Prediction
While their regular season win total is just one game off of the Rams’ coming into this contest, the reality of the matter is that Los Angeles has been far more consistent this season. I also love the fact that the Rams have what I believe is one of the greatest defensive coordinators in NFL history in Wade Phillips and I believe they’re going to find a way to limit Atlanta’s offense in this contest.
The Rams may be a modest 4-4 at home this season as compared to a stellar 7-1 on the road, but they’re also 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games while Atlanta is just 2-3 ATS over their last five, 5-8 ATS over their last 13 games and 1-5 ATS over their last six road games.
Los Angeles wins at home to advance to the divisional round and I think they’ve got just enough margin for error to narrowly cover the chalk in this one!
NFC Wild Card Final Score Prediction: Rams 28 Falcons 21
After narrowly getting into the playoffs despite struggling down the stretch run portion of the regular season, Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans will look to pull off the big road upset over Alex Smith and a Kansas City Chiefs team that hits the postseason with a nice amount of momentum.
Las Vegas NFL playoff oddsmakers have the Chiefs as 8-point favorites over the Titans in the 2018 AFC Wild Card tilt. The over-under is 46.
Tennessee Titans Vs Kansas City Chiefs AFC Wild Card Odds & Final Score Prediction
Tenessee Titans (9-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
When: Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 4:20 PM ET
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Stream: Watch ESPN
NFL Odds: Chiefs -8
Why Bet The Titans To Win The AFC Wild Card Game
The Titans may have reached the playoffs, but I’m not real impressed with how they got there. Tennessee snapped a three-game losing streak by getting past the AFC South division-winning Jacksonville Jaguars 15-10 on Sunday, but I’m pretty certain that the Jags didn’t put up their fullest effort in their finale, so there’s that. Tennessee hasn’t scored more than 23 points in each of their last four games, but they also haven’t allowed more than 27 points along the way, so I guess that’s encouraging news.
Why Bet The Chiefs To Win The AFC Wild Card Game
Kansas City had a wildly entertaining season in getting off to a fantastic 5-0 start before dropping five of their next six games and then closing out the regular season by winning their final four games including their 27-24 road win over Denver this past weekend.
The Chiefs did a good job of pointing points on the board by ranking sixth in scoring (25.9 ppg) while also ranking a respectable 15th in points allowed (21.2 ppg).
AFC Wild Card Final Score Prediction
Tennessee was pretty mediocre on both sides of the ball in ranking 19th in scoring (20.9 ppg) and 17th in points allowed (22.2 ppg). More importantly, it looked like franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota regressed significantly in his third year in the league and I just don’t see the Titans being able to either put enough points on the board to keep up with Kansas City’s offense – or stopping the Chiefs enough to nail down the upset road win.
Kansas City has gone 4-0 ATS in their last four games, but Tennessee has gone 3-0 ATS over their last three games and 5-1 ATS over their last six games overall. The Chiefs are hot and the Titans are not. Still, Tennessee manages to cover a spread that I think is a few points too high!
AFC Wild Card Final Score Prediction: Kansas City 27 Tennessee 20
Despite being the fourth seed in this year’s College Football Playoffs, the Alabama Crimson Tide are favored to beat the defending national champion Clemson Tigers when they square off in the 2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Alabama (11-1) vs. Clemson (12-1)
When: Monday, January 1, 2018 at 8:45 PM ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Stream: Watch ESPN
NCAAF Odds: Alabama -3
Top-seeded Clemson and fourth-seeded Alabama are facing each other in the College Football Playoff for the third consecutive season. The Crimson Tide managed to beat the Tigers in the national title game two seasons ago before the Deshaun Watson led Tigers extracted some revenge by winning last season’s national championship with a game-winning drive on the final series no less. Now, the Tide are surprising favorites to beat Clemson despite being the fourth and final team to have their ticket punched for this season’s playoffs.
"I think it’s only fitting that to have a chance to advance to Atlanta (for the final), you’ve got a heavyweight matchup here with Clemson and Alabama," Tigers coach Dabo Swinney told reporters.
Alabama had a shot at a perfect season until losing their regular season finale against Auburn 26-14 in a game that probably wasn’t as close as the final score indicates. Still, there’s plenty of reason to believe Nick Saban’s team can beat anyone, Clemson included. Alabama ranked 17th in total offense, eighth in rushing and ninth in scoring (39.1 ppg), even though there’s the concern that they finished just 83rd in passing.
Running back Damien Harris rushed for a team-high 901 yards and 11 touchdowns while dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts finished second in rushing yards with 768 and eight touchdowns, but the Tide didn’t throw the ball often enough to keep a team like Auburn honest and that could be an issue against another elite defensive team like Clemson.
Still, the Tide, led by first-team All-American strong safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, are absolute monsters defensively as they finished the regular season ranked second in total defense, sixth against the pass, third against the run and first in points allowed (11.5 ppg).
Top-ranked Clemson enters the playoffs riding the wave of a six-game winning streak after suffering their only loss of the season against Syracuse in Week 7. The Tigers lost to the Orange 27-24 that day, but junior quarterback Kelly Bryant missed the second half of that contest after getting injured.
The Tigers were solid across the board offensively as they ranked 30th in total offense, 53rd in passing, 32nd in rushing and 20th in scoring (35.4 ppg). While no one (including me) thought that Bryant could carry Clemson to the same heights that Deshaun Watson did, here the Tigers are, one step away from their third straight appearance in the national championship.
While Bryant clearly isn’t the same caliber of passer that Watson was, he’s been phenomenal running the ball, not to mention the fact that freshman running back Travis Etienne looks like a more gifted rusher than former running back Wayne Gallman. Etienne rushed for a team-high 744 yards and 13 touchdowns and just got better as the season wore on while Bryant finished with 646 rushing yards and an impressive 11 rushing scores.
"The quarterback now may be a better runner, if that’s possible, than the guy we played the last two years," Saban said at a press conference.
However, where this game really could be won by the Tigers is with their phenomenal defense. Clemson ranked fifth in total defense, seventh against the pass, 12th against the run and second in points allowed (12.8 ppg). The Tigers have a first-team All-American in defensive end Clelin Ferrell and two second-team All-Americans in junior defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and senior linebacker Dorian O’Daniel
Maybe it’s me, but first of all, I’m really surprised that Alabama is favored to beat Clemson in this contest after seeing the entire bodies of work from these two teams. Both teams are really elite on both sides of the ball and that tells me this game is going to come down to which quarterback and which offense can make a few more plays than the other – and for me – that is the Clemson Tigers and Kelly Bryant.
Despite all off their excellence, college football bettors need to keep in mind that Alabama really struggles to cover the chalk once the postseason rolls around. Not only are the Crimson Tide just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall, but they are also just 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games following a straight up loss, 0-4 ATS in their L/4 games against a team with a winning record and a winless 0-4 ATS in their last four games in the month of January.
On the flip side of the coin, Clemson has gone 7-0 ATS in their last 7 bowl games, an even more impressive 8-0 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games and 10-1 ATS in their last 11 neutral site games.
No coach in college football has been able to solve the complex problem that is a Nick Saban-led team, but Clemson’s Dabo Swinney has! Clemson is the top-ranked team in all the land for a reason – and they’ll show why by beating Alabama in the AllState Sugar Bowl to cover the chalk as surprising underdogs!