(47-40-3 against the spread this season)
By Danny Picard
BOSTON — I went 4-1 in the final week of the regular season, which is normally a very difficult week for picks. Now, we’re on to the playoffs.
Here are my picks for Wild Card weekend:
HOUSTON TEXANS (+2.5) over Cleveland Browns
-I’ve been expecting the clock to strike midnight on Joe Flacco, and while it hasn’t happened yet, I think Saturday afternoon in Houston will be the moment we see the real Cleveland Browns with all their warts. Flacco and the Browns have impressed, sure. But a road favorite in the playoffs? Come on now. C.J. Stroud will be ready for the moment. Cleveland beat the Texans in Houston last month, but Stroud didn’t play. It’ll be a different game here, and a different result. Give me the points.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (+4.5) over Kansas City Chiefs
-With extremely frigid temperatures in Kansas City on Saturday night, the obvious moneyline play here is the Chiefs to win at home. But we’re not picking moneyline. And with the Dolphins being a 4.5-point dog, I am going to take the points in what I expect to be a very close game. I do believe Patrick Mahomes will find a way to squeeze out a win at home in this one, but against the spread, I’m taking anything over three points. The Chiefs might win and advance to the Divisional Round, but I’m taking the Dolphins to cover.
DALLAS COWBOYS (-7) over Green Bay Packers
-Expectations for the Cowboys are so low that people are talking about a loss and a coaching change that would result in Bill Belichick running the show in Dallas next season. I love Belichick, but talk about total disrespect for Dak Prescott and these Cowboys. Dak hears it. He sees it. And I think he’ll take it out on the average and inexperienced Packers at home on Sunday afternoon. Cowboys win big, cover, and head to the Divisional Round.
DETROIT LIONS (-3) over Los Angeles Rams
-This is the type of game that makes you wonder if the NFL is actually scripted. Well, it’s not, but it should be a fun one to watch on Sunday night as Matthew Stafford returns to Detroit, and Jared Goff takes on his old team that won a Super Bowl without him. It’s the highest over-under of Wild Card weekend at 51.5. I think Goff has more to prove than Stafford here. Give me Detroit to win by a touchdown.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-2.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-A.J. Brown is out with a knee injury on Monday night in Tampa Bay. That’s horrible news for an Eagles team that’s lost five of its last six, in what’s been a collapse of epic proportions. Philly was 10-1 at one point, only to finish 11-6 and now having to open the playoffs on the road. I do think that could all be a little deceiving though. The Eagles are still a better team than the Buccaneers. I think Philadelphia goes into Tampa Bay and grinds out a win. I’m taking the Eagles by a field goal.
Follow Danny on instagram @DannyPicard.