2018 NFL Wild Card Upset PicksNoah Williams
While all four home teams could theoretically lose as favorites in their respective wild card openers this coming weekend, two games in particular have the look and feel of upsets just waiting to happen. Let’s find out which NFL games have the highest upset value this wild card weekend on their way to Super Bowl 52.
2018 NFL Wild Card Upset Picks
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
Analysis: The Los Angeles Rams may be getting a bunch of love for turning their franchise around in the first year of the Sean McVay era after going 4-12 a year ago, but the Rams won only one more game than Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons this season. Not only that, but the defending NFC champion Falcons are undoubtedly playing their best football of the season at just the right time heading into their wild-card showdown. The Falcons have won three of their last four games and six of eight overall while beating the likes of Carolina, New Orleans and Seattle along the way.
The Rams have lost two of their last four games by falling to Philly 43-35 in Week 14 and closing out their regular season with an uninspiring 34-13 home loss to San Francisco. While Los Angeles rested several of their starters in their finale, I don’t think it bodes well that the Rams gave up a ton of pints to Philly a few weeks ago and have actually lost three of their last seven games overall, including their 24-7 Week 11 loss at Minnesota.
Atlanta’s defense has not given up more than 23 points in each of their last seven games and the Rams went just 4-4 at home this season. The Falcons are a robust 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games against their NFC rivals while the Rams have failed to cover the chalk in each of their last two home games. Maybe it’s me, but I smell an upset brewing!
NFL Wild Card Upset Pick: Atlanta straight up
Carolina Panthers (11-5) at New Orleans Saints (11-5)
When: Sunday, January 7, 2018 at 4:40 PM ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Stream: Fox Sports Go
NFL Odds: Saints -6.5
Analysis: Sure, the Carolina Panthers had their three-game winning streak snapped in their 22-10 regular season finale loss at Atlanta this past weekend, but the Falcons had a ton to play for and are very good so it’s at least understandable. New Orleans, on the other hand, was on the wrong end of a surprising 31-24 road loss at Tampa Bay against a listless Bucs tea that had nothing to play for so there’s that!
Yes, Carolina lost to New Orleans in both of their regular-season meetings, by falling to the Saints at home 34-13 in Week 3 and then losing to New Orleans 31-21 in the Big Easy in Week 13.
However, Carolina enters the postseason having won seven of their last nine games overall while the Saints have lost three of their last six games by falling to the Falcons 20-17 in Atlanta in Week 14 and losing on the road to the Rams 26-20 in Week 12.
The Panthers are a near-perfect 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following an SU loss and an encouraging 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games. Conversely, New Orleans is just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games.
The Underdog in this NFC South rivalry has gone 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings while the road team is 23-10 ATS in their last 33 meetings.