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2019 NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND

2019 NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND  (ATS)                           

All times Eastern Standard Time

ALL SPREADS ARE COURTESY OF CAESARS HOTEL IN LAS VEGAS @ THE TIME OF ANALYSIS

Saturday January 4th, 2020 4:35pm

(5) Buffalo Bills @ (4) Houston Texans                              BUFF+3

BUFF has had a very good season even though they may have lost the last two games of the season. They were leading @NE going into the 4th qtr but couldn’t stop NE and barely missed a td late in the game. That game truly would have been a statement for BUFF. In wk 17 most of the starters were sitting for BUFF and BUFF was locked into the #5 seed no matter what happened. BUFF #3 TOT DEF. Yes, this has been debated all season because a lot of BUFF’s wins were against less than marginal opponents. They beat @NYJ, @NYG, CINNCY, @TENN, MIA, WASH, @MIA, DEN, @DAL & @PITT. Only TENN, DAL & PITT were @.500 or above. They lost to NE, PHILLY, @CLEVE, BALT, @NE & NYJ. HOU falls into the TENN, DAL & PITT category. Only one of BUFF’s losses was the final score more than seven points. BUFF should be ultra excited for this game because they can use their DEF to stop HOU. Yes, this is BUFF QB Josh Allen’s first taste of the postseason but he needs to take what the HOU DEF gives him. Don’t try to be a hero. HOU DEF was #26 in sacks with 31 so he might not be pressured that much but, still should make good decisions. BUFF RB Devin Singletary had a nice rookie season and should take some of the pressure off of Allen by getting key yards. RB Frank Gore will certainly help the cause in any way he can because he has not been to the playoffs in a while and this may be his last go round. HOU DE J J Watt has been activated and will play in this game. I think he certainly will be rusty because he hasn’t played since wk 8 vs OAK.  HOU doesn’t scare me because of HC Bill O’Brien. He is conservative to the max in his game plan and doesn’t realize he has great weapons on this team that should be utilized to their fullest. Only two out of HOU’s ten wins in 2019 were by more than seven points. That means that all those games could have easily gone the other way. HOU QB Deshaun Watson takes a beating because the O-LINE is terrible. He still was sacked 44x in 2019 and BUFF as a team was #12 with 44 sacks. BUFF will certainly be after Watson. The HOU OFF will consist of a lot of RB Carlos Hyde and WR DeAndre Hopkins and will be predictable down the stretch of the game. But the BUFF DEF should be waiting. I like BUFF here with the points because I think the BUFF DEF will make plays and HOU will be conservative like they always are and will make mistakes because of HC Bill O’Brien. If BUFF charges out to a nice lead in the game, HOU is not the comeback type of team and it will be over early. Another one and done for O’Brien and the HOU team. BUFF advances.

THE PICK: BUFF+3                                   5 STARS         

Saturday January 4th, 2020 8:15pm

(6) Tennessee Titans @ (3) New England Patriots           TENN+5 ½

No one can doubt that TENN QB Ryan Tannehill has certainly resurrected his career after being traded by MIA. Maybe TENN HC Mike Vrabel & OC Arthur Smith have gotten Tannehill to believe in himself to get his talent to shine through. Right now he is the reason this team is in the playoffs. It also doesn’t hurt that RB Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing which helped take a lot of pressure off of Tannehill. But what concerns me is the TENN secondary. They get shredded in games vs some talented QBs. They were shredded by NO, CAR (when they were winning) KC and earlier by HOU. TENN beat KC but it was only because KC HC Andy Reid blew that game. KC was winning with the ball and a 1:32 left. The first game with HOU, HOU shredded TENN but HOU kept it close because of HC Bill O’Brien. But, Vrabek is a DEF guy and should push his secondary to make up for its drawbacks. NE comes into this game after a loss that no one expected. I liked NE to beat MIA but, not by the 15 ½ pt spread that was on that game. I liked NE to win by a td at the most while still securing the #2 seed for the playoffs. Who knew that NE would get upset @HOME by MIA? NE has not faired well when they have had to play the wildcard game. Also, Tom Brady has not looked like his old self with an OFF that sometimes looked like it was lost. Everyone is expecting the NE OFF to snap out of it and return to form. Even when the OFF has been off the DEF has certainly kept NE in all of their games. Tannehill has to be very careful with the NE DEF. NE #1 TOT DEF w/ #2 PASS DEF & #6 RUSH DEF. NE is 12-0 when they hold their opponents to 17 or less points. NE is 0-4 when they let their opponent score more than 17pts. NE secondary lets you think that a receiver is open and when the QB throws the ball it is INT all over it. NE led the league with 25INTS so they know what they are doing back there. If this game becomes a shootout, TENN has a shot at taking down NE. I like TENN with the points here because they actually have a legitimate shot to take down NE. There are a lot of ex-NE players on TENN and HC Vrabel is one of them and he knows how Bellichick thinks. TENN has to stop the NE run game so that Brady has to throw to a lot of inexperienced receivers. Hey, Edelman can’t catch all of them. TENN will win this game if they go off the script and make plays that NE is not expecting. If they do the usual, NE DEF will pounce. Turnovers will be monumental in this game and could swing the momentum. I like TENN to keep it close and possibly score the upset. I never thought I would say that against a Brady led NE team. But, it could happen.  

THE PICK: TENN+5 ½                              5 STARS   

Sunday January 5th, 2020 1:05pm

(6) Minnesota Vikings @ (3) New Orleans Saints             MINN+7 ½

MINN had a shot to take the NFC NORTH two weeks ago @HOME vs GB but lost and looked terrible in the process. They were without RB Dalvin Cook for the game but, the MINN DEF looked terrible vs GB. It almost looked like GB could have scored at will. Then in the last game of the season with nothing on the line for MINN and QB Kirk Cousins sitting, MINN lost @HOME to CHI 21-19. If you look at who MINN has beaten in 2019, the list is not impressive. They are ATL, OAK, @NYG, PHILLY, @DET, WASH, @DAL, DEN, DET & @LAC. Only one team was above .500. Their losses are @GB, @CHI, @KC, @SEA, GB & CHI. Do you see a pattern here? All good teams except CHI. They have an inflated won-loss record. Now, MINN plays nothing but good teams. NO has had a good season but they have the last two seasons of playoff losses on their shoulders and this season NO has to start off in the wildcard game. They must go deep into the playoffs or the SuperBowl. Their OFF has so many weapons that a very good DEF may have problems matching up. MINN DEF has had their problems matching up against very good QBs. MINN QB Kirk Cousins is not a PRIME TIME player. He is 0-8 SU on MNF & 0-1 SU in the playoffs. I happen to like Cousins but his skill set doesn’t play well vs very good teams. MINN is thinking that they will be so much better with RB Dalvin Cook in the lineup. But they have to remember that NO is great vs the run. NO #4 RUN DEF. For MINN it will be on Cousins shoulders for a win. The NO DEF will be ready. For NO, it is a balanced attack on both sides of the ball. The MINN DEF is overrated and will have problems matching up against the NO OFF. The MINN won-loss record is deceiving because of who they beat and who they lost to. This game has the biggest spread of the wildcard weekend and deservingly so. NO has beaten quality teams all season. They have beaten HOU, @SEA, & TENN. These are all playoff teams. Plus, they have a very qualified Teddy Bridgewater at backup QB who filled in nicely while Brees was out. Teddy has proven this season that he can engineer the OFF in winning fashion. I like NO to win by 10pts here as they have a lot of work ahead of them. MINN has to beat good teams before they can stake a claim that they are worthy of going deep into the playoffs. Lay the points here as NO has that HOME cooking win before they have to go on the road next week in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

THE PICK: NO-7 ½                                     5 STARS         

Sunday January 5th, 2020 4:40pm

(5) Seattle Seahawks @ (4) Philadelphia Eagles                PHILLY+1 ½

LW, SEA missed a top seed for the playoffs by a mere inches. It didn’t help that they got so excited at the goal line that they didn’t call a play quickly enough and took a delay of penalty that put them back around the 6yard line. But it wasn’t meant to be and now they are in the wild card game. SEA secondary is not that good and an experienced QB could shred it. RB Marshawn Lynch came back to SEA and rushed 12x for 34 yards. He’s back there with RB Travis Homer who will see most of the action vs PHILLY. SEA RB corps has been decimated with injuries, that’s why Lynch came back. PHILLY has their own problems with all the injuries they have had. They are without their starting receivers and it has become a skeleton crew. But in the backfield, Boston Scott has become the new Darren Sproles. This guy has been a force that can catch, run and if asked could probably return kicks. He wasn’t there in the first matchup of SEA & PHILLY in wk 12. So, SEA has to add him to their DEF game plan. People point to the fact that PHILLY has just won four games in a row and they are on a roll. Yeah, look who they beat, NYG(in OT), @WASH, DAL & @NYG. All these teams are less than mediocre with less than mediocre coaches. All of which will have new HCs in 2020. SEA QB Russell Wilson knows that the game is on his shoulders and he doesn’t make too many mistakes. SEA 7-1 SUATS AWAY in 2019. SEA was better on the road than @HOME. When Wilson scrambles, he can find the open receiver. PHILLY QB Carson Wentz is a little more prone to mistakes. These two teams met in wk 12 @PHILLY with SEA winning 17-9. There may be some payback on the minds of PHILLY for this one but, PHILLY doesn’t have the weapons in their lineup to combat the SEA team. Plus, SEA is coming off a heartbreaker of a loss and is looking to bounce back. PHILLY is 5-0 SUATS as a HOME DOG in the playoffs all-time. In 2017, no one gave PHILLY a chance and their were the DOG throughout the playoffs but, they were with a talented crew of guys and not decimated by injuries. This game is close to a PICK’EM but I like SEA here with experience and Russell Wilson. Wentz wasn’t there during the playoff run in 2017 and his decision making at times can be questionable. Look for the SEA DEF to make plays and take the game over. SEA should win this game and advance. Lay the points here.

THE PICK: SEA-1 ½                                   5 STARS