The NFL playoffs are underway, and you can find updated odds, lines, and predictions for the Wild Card Round here. Six playoff games kick off on Saturday through Monday, including some enticing entertainment options. The race for the Super Bowl starts here and here are some Wild Card player props.
Wild Card Round Player Props
Cincinnati Bengals vs Las Vegas Raiders: Hunter Renfrow Over 55 Yards
As great as Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase have been for this team on offense, the Bengals pass defense continues to struggle at times. Giving up 248.4 yards per game and 6.7 yards per attempt, their secondary has been abused on multiple occasions by the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Kirk Cousins and… Mike White. The Raiders, meanwhile, have an elite passing offense that finished 6th in the NFL in total passing yards and 7th in pass attempts. With their primary ball carrier, Josh Jacobs, nursing a rib injury, I anticipate Vegas to double down on what’s worked for them all season and throw the ball over 35 times on Saturday. Carr has thrown the ball 31 times or more on all but three occasions this season, and, over the last 7 games, Renfrow has emerged as his favorite target, averaging over 73 receiving yards a game. Carr’s second favorite target recently, and at times favorite target, has been Darren Waller. Waller will play on Saturday though he continues to tend to a mild knee injury — signaling more targets, and yards, for Renfrow.
New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills: Mac Jones Under 197.5 Passing Yards
Few things are certain in life. There’s death, taxes, and betting the under when the Bills and Patriots play in subfreezing temperatures. In an era defined by offense, Sean McDermott has constructed an elite pass defense that leads the NFL in virtually every defensive metric from yards per game to average passer rating. The first time these two teams played, Mac Jones infamously threw for 19 yards on 2 completions and three attempts. The second time, he increased his attempts by a factor of 10, but threw for just 145 yards. A Jacksonville native who played college at Alabama, Jones has little experience in the cold and the forecast is currently calling for temperatures below 5 degrees on Saturday night. Belichick has proven time and time again this season that he doesn’t trust his quarterback to make plays in big spots. This weekend will likely be an exaggeration of this against arguably the best secondary of the last half decade. Expect the Pats to run the ball early and often and rely on their defense to keep Josh Allen and company at bay.
New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen Under 238 Passing Yards
If the Bills passing defense wasn’t so dominant this year we’d probably be talking about the Patriots in the same vein. They trail only the Cowboys in forced interceptions and only the Bills in opponent passer rating and opponent passing yards. Josh Allen has burned hot this year but has been wildly inconsistent — throwing multiple interceptions on 4 occasions this season. No doubt he’s less likely to lay an egg in the playoffs but there’s something about these winter Playoff games that tend to favor Bill Belichick. With conditions already favoring defense, I like the Pats to turn this game into a low scoring war of attrition that sees Josh Allen throw for less than 230 yards.
Philadelphia Eagles vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rob Gronkowski Over 5.5 Receptions
With Chris Godwin injured, Antonio Brown gone and Ronald Jones listed as questionable, the Bucs are slim on weapons heading into Wild Card weekend. Even Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard are battling injuries and have been limited in what they can do at practice. For this offense to put up points on this deceptively stout Eagles defense, Tom Brady is going to have to rely on what he’s familiar with. Since AB left the lineup, Gronk has been his favorite target, averaging 7 receptions and 126 yards a game. We’ve all seen this movie many times before, and it usually ends with multiple Gronk/ Brady connections late in games.
San Francisco 49ers vs Dallas Cowboys: Deebo Samuel Over 29.5 Rushing Yards
A couple things on this one. First, since week 10, Deebo Samuel is averaging 42.8 rushing yards a game on 6.6 carries an outing. He hasn’t had a single game in that span with less than 5 carries and hasn’t gone under 29 yards once. Second, the 49ers primary ball carrier Elijah Mitchell is still nursing a minor knee injury that saw him miss practice time this week. Shanahan may be wary of some tightness in rushing him back, giving Samuel even more opportunities in the run game. Dallas’ defense gives up 112 yards a game on the ground, while the 49ers offense averages 127.4 yards a game. After Mitchell, Samuel is the clear cut number 2 option and, since week 10, they’ve operated as more of a dual threat.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Kansas City Chiefs: Ben Roethlisberger Over 38.5 Pass Attempts
This Chiefs secondary is bad. No team in the playoffs has allowed more passing yards over the course of the season than Kansas City and few teams like to throw the ball more than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since week 11, Big Ben is averaging 38.3 pass attempts per game, and over the last two weeks he’s averaging 45 attempts. Unless the Steelers can pull off a miracle, this will be the last game of his storied NFL career. If the Steelers are down by a lot late, I fully expect Mike Tomlin to give Ben the ultimate green light and just let him sling it. It’s not like the Steelers have had much success running the ball anyway.
Arizona Cardinals vs Los Angeles Rams: Matt Stafford Under 274.5 Passing Yards
No doubt Matt Stafford has had a rough go at it the last couple weeks. Since week 14’s win against the Cardinals he’s had as many interceptions as touchdowns and is averaging 247 yards a game, a pedestrian number for this high powered Sean McVay offense. All season the Cardinals have been better at defending the pass than the run — allowing just 214 yards a game through the air. The counterargument to this prop is strong. Both times the Rams have played the Cardinals this season Stafford has thrown for over 280 yards en route to a win. McVay owns Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals are fading down the stretch. But there’s also a trend with Sean McVay’s offenses that see quarterbacks fade down the stretch. The novelty of Odell Beckham Jr. appears to be wearing off and the reintroduction of Cam Akers into this offense means less pass attempts for Stafford. I like the Rams to jump to an early lead in this one and eat clock on the ground for a majority of the second half against a Cardinals team that struggles against the run.