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Confidence rankings for straight-up picks in the Wild Card round

I like two favorites and two underdogs in the Wild Card round, but I have more confidence in some than others.

Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills shakes hands with Tom Brady of the New England Patriots after the Patriots defeated the Bills 24-17 in the game at Gillette Stadium on December 21, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

We’re a little over 48 hours away from the start of the 2020 NFL Playoffs. The AFC Wild Card round gets going Saturday afternoon, with the Houston Texans hosting the Buffalo Bills and then the New England Patriots hosting the Tennessee Titans. The NFC Wild Card round gets underway Sunday, with the New Orleans Saints hosting the Minnesota Vikings followed by the Philadelphia Eagles hosting the Seattle Seahawks.

The Texans, Patriots, and Saints are all home favorites, while the Seahawks went from underdog to favorite less than 24 hours after the point spread first emerged. The Eagles are dealing with a host of injuries, and coming off a shaky regular season, sports bettors are not wow’d by them.

I’ll have picks against the spread on Friday, but in the meantime, I’ve got straight up picks. These are the four picks, but I’ve listed them in terms of how confident I am that the pick will work out.

Saints over Vikings: Whether or not Kirk Cousins steps up, I just don’t think the Vikings will be able to keep up with the Saints offense.

Seahawks over Eagles: Every team is dealing with injuries at this point in the year, but the Eagles have been dealing with what seems like an inordinate amount of injuries. Their tight ends are effectively their top two receivers at this point, they lost their right guard, and running back Miles Sanders is questionable midway through the week. It’s too much to overcome.

Patriots over Titans: The Patriots stumbled in Week 17, and have struggled with consistency for extended stretches this season. Their defense should give the Titans problems, but Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry have impressed the second half of this season. This could be a close one, but the Patriots are 20-3 in home playoff games in the Brady/Belichick era. I think that trend continues.

Bills over Texans: Buffalo’s defense should give Houston problems, but Josh Allen is a huge X-factor. If their defense is not at the top of its game, I don’t think Allen can keep up. And even if the defense plays a great game, it still might not be enough.

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