NFL Wild Cards: Eagles Have Landed Back In The Postseason
Who says history repeats itself? Not one of the eight teams who will play in the wild card weekend of the NFL playoffs occupied one of these spots when the NFL schedule concluded a year ago. The Eagles were a playoff team of course last year, but earned a first-round bye as NFC East champions.
Three other teams that were wild card weekend participants in last year’s NFL playoffs improved their placing in the NFL standings this time around. The Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West), New Orleans Saints (NFC South) and Los Angeles Rams (NFC West) all garnered opening-round byes after winning their respective divisions.
- 1NFC Wild Card: Philadelphia Eagles (+199) @ Chicago Bears (-238)
- 2NFC Wild Card: Seattle Seahawks (+120) @ Dallas Cowboys (-140)
- 3AFC Wild Card: Los Angeles Chargers (+120) @ Baltimore Ravens (-140)
- 4AFC Wild Card: Indianapolis Colts (+120) @ Houston Texans (-140)
NFC Wild Card: Philadelphia Eagles (+199) @ Chicago Bears (-238)
The Eagles are the first reigning NFL champions to return to the postseason as a wild card team since the 2010 New Orleans Saints, and the Saints came up short, losing 41-36 to the Seattle Seahawks. Curiously, the Eagles owe their playoff spot to the Bears, who beat the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17, allowing Philly to leapfrog Minny into postseason play.
The Eagles have won five of their last six, but Foles left last Sunday’s win over Washington with a chest injury. The Bears win via their defense. Cornerback Kyle Fuller (seven) and safety Eddie Jackson (six) were among the NFL leaders in interceptions. Outside linebacker Khalil Mack recorded 12.5 sacks.
BABB Pick: Chicago Bears (-238)
NFC Wild Card: Seattle Seahawks (+120) @ Dallas Cowboys (-140)
The Cowboys are in the postseason as NFC East champs for the second time in three years, but Dallas has won just two of its last 10 playoff games. RB Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing with 1,434 yards on the ground.
After a 4-5 start, the Seahawks closed 6-1 to grab a wild card playoff position, and they were 4-2 in their last six on the road. QB Russell Wilson has won a Super Bowl, as has head coach Pete Carroll. It’s the seventh time in eight seasons that the Seahawks have been in the postseason.
BABB Pick: Seattle Seahawks (+120)
AFC Wild Card: Los Angeles Chargers (+120) @ Baltimore Ravens (-140)
This might be the worst possible matchup for the Chargers. The Ravens are the NFL’s best defensive team (81.1 yards allowed per game), and they are a consistent unit – fourth at defending the run and fourth at defending the pass. Baltimore finished the NFL schedule 6-1, incuding a 22-10 road victory over the Chargers.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers threw for 31 TDs and was picked off just 10 times, but against the Ravens, he was held without a TD pass and intercepted twice, his only negative ratio of the season. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson was 5-1 after replacing Joe Flacco as the starter.
BABB Pick: Baltimore Ravens (-140)
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AFC Wild Card: Indianapolis Colts (+120) @ Houston Texans (-140)
These AFC South Division rivals are well familiar with each other. They split two regular-season meetings, with the Colts taking a 24-21 verdict on the road from the Texans. Indy is riding a four-game winning streak and is 8-1 in its last nine games.
Colts QB Andrew Luck was second in the NFL with 39 TD passes and threw for at least three scores in eight games. Houston wideout DeAndre Hopkins was second in the NFL in receiving yardage (1,572) and Texans DE J.J. Watt was second in the NFL with 16 sacks. But Luck was only sacked 17 times all season. Indy’s Eric Ebron led all TE with 12 TD catches.
BABB Pick: Indianapolis Colts (+120)