Miami Dolphins (+8.5) at Buffalo Bills
Sunday, 1pm ET (Sunday, 6pm GMT)
By Luke Baker
The Buffalo Bills (13-3) are superior to the Miami Dolphins (9-8) on offense, protection and particular groups, they boast a seven-game profitable streak, beginning quarterback Josh Allen has an 8-2 file in opposition to the Dolphins they usually have house benefit at one of many hardest NFL stadiums to go to.
Simply put, the Bills shouldn’t want any extra assist to crush their AFC East rivals within the first sport of Sunday’s wild card triple header however, with the fireplace of security Damar Hamlin’s restoration from an on-field cardiac arrest burning inside them, Sean McDermott’s staff have it anyway.
Following an emotional on-field tribute to Hamlin forward of their first sport since his scary collapse throughout the earlier Monday’s conflict with the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo returner Nyheim Hines fittingly took the opening kickoff for a landing in Week 18 in opposition to the New England Patriots. That led to a 35-23 win that, coincidentally, enabled the Dolphins to sneak into the playoffs because the AFC’s seventh seed by squeezing previous the New York Jets 11-6 in an unpleasant encounter to convey a merciful finish to their five-game dropping streak.
With Hamlin set to be launched from hospital within the subsequent 48 hours, Buffalo’s motivation for a deep postseason run – and possibly even that elusive first Super Bowl title – will probably be higher than ever. It’s onerous to see out-of-form Miami, who’ve questions at QB with starter Tua Tagovailoa sidelined by a concussion, back-up Teddy Bridgewater questionable with a finger harm and third-string rookie Skylar Thompson having been uncovered throughout regular-season motion, springing the upset.
The Bills will probably be ‘doing it for Damar’ and Dolphins followers’ interminable look ahead to a playoff win – at the moment the second-longest postseason victory drought within the NFL behind solely the hapless Detroit Lions – appears to be like set to increase to 22 years.
Baltimore Ravens (+7.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, 8:15pm ET (Monday, 1:15am GMT)
By Ben Burrows
As it has been for the final 5 weeks, the speak heading into this most essential of Baltimore Ravens video games has been centred across the well being of quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson injured his knee in a win over the Denver Broncos in early December and hasn’t performed since. With the standing of their star participant firmly up within the air, the Ravens hopes of progressing within the AFC playoffs appear equally unsure.
Their opponents on Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals, had been the category of the AFC North for a lot of the 12 months and confirmed there’s a clear hole between them and the Ravens in a snug 27-16 win to shut the common season in week 18. Indeed, the defending AFC champions look to have pretty much as good an opportunity as anybody to emerge from the convention once more.
Baltimore, who sat starters on Sunday with this opening postseason sport in thoughts, did present indicators of life even with undrafted rookie Anthony Brown thrust into a primary profession begin below centre. Their defence, a prime 5 unit since newly-inked linebacker Roquan Smith was acquired on the commerce deadline, has loads of playmakers who may cause Joe Burrow issues.
But Burrow has weapons of his personal with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon representing one of the crucial feared offenses within the league with the QB himself enjoying in addition to he ever has over the closing stretch. Burrow described his Super Bowl window as being “my whole career” within the afterglow of a second consecutive division title.
Without Jackson suiting up reverse him this weekend, the Bengals and Burrow look a great guess for the victory and one other deep run on the Lombardi Trophy.
Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Monday, 8:15pm ET (Tuesday, 1:15am GMT)
By Jack Rathborn
This may very well be the final dance for Tom Brady and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but one of many golden guidelines during the last twenty years within the NFL is that you don’t guess in opposition to TB12, even at 45 years outdated and as an underdog at house.
A dysfunctional Bucs staff meandered to the NFC South title, ending the common season with a poor 8-9 file, only one higher than everyone else, but it’s the Dallas Cowboys who enter wild card weekend with the extra pressing and alarming points. Dak Prescott’s horrific decide six to Kendall Fuller within the Week 18 beatdown to the depressing Washington Commanders means strain and expectation shifts to Dan Quinn’s explosive, but fading pressure of defence, which completed third (54) in sacks and second (10) in takeaways this season.
The Cowboys, in search of to enhance a dismal play-off file of three wins in 13 video games stretching again to 1998 and, they hope, a primary Conference Championship sport since profitable all of it in 1995, should hope their bruised protection can arrest a 10-point slide from 17.2 factors given up per sport after 12 video games to 27.2 per sport throughout their final 5 video games.
Repelling a decided Brady, concentrating on an eighth ring, turned a trickier job after a Week 17 explosion on offense, with a rejuvenated Mike Evans peppered for 10 receptions, 207 yards and three touchdowns. A Cowboys win, to grab again momentum, seems depending on an interception or two from Trevon Diggs (3 this season), Daron Bland (5) and Malik Hooker (3) to stamp out any hope of 1 final hurrah for Brady. At least in Bucs crimson.