Maybe Next Year: NFL Wild Card Hopefuls Who Won’t Make the 2017 Postseason
Super Bowl odds—and other future lines—come via Bovada and are accurate as of Tuesday, Dec. 12.
AFC Wild Card Predictions: Who’s Out
Baltimore Ravens (+5000)
We’re not buying it.
Yes, they wrap up the schedule with should-be pushover matchups against the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals. But that presumes the Ravens are good enough to be penciled in as locks, when they’re not.
Despite playing through a below-average schedule thus far, they’re barely .500. Their defense is straight flames, but their offense is a categorical dumpster fire at times. They place ninth in points scored per game, but Joe Flacco remains, statistically, one of the worst quarterbacks in football.
The Ravens try to combat his turnover issues with short-yardage plays to move the chains, and it just doesn’t work—not consistently enough. They’re dead last in net yards per passing attempt thanks to that scheme and they’re general inability to create gains after the catch.
Both those Cleveland and Cincinnati contests feel like trap games. If nothing else, we find ourselves voting against the Ravens because it’ll probably take a perfect 3-0 stretch to get them in—something they wouldn’t seem to have in them, even after an admirable performance in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers during Week 14.
Buffalo Bills (+20000)
No. Just no.
The Buffalo Bulls have, in their own way, burst onto the scene after handing the keys of the offense back over to quarterback Tyrod Taylor. But they have no idea whether he’ll be ready to rock in Week 15 against the Miami Dolphins, who have been better of late.
Plus, at one game over .500, the Bills essentially need to finish out the year on a 3-0 tear to secure a postseason berth. And that, in all likelihood, just ain’t happening when they have the New England Patriots on tap in Week 16.
Miami Dolphins (+30000)
Stay away from the Dolphins. Stay as far away from them as possible.
This isn’t groundbreaking advice. They enter Week 15 at 6-7, with a six percent chance of scraping their way into the playoff bracket, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Jay Cutler has shown flashes in recent games, most notably in a surprising, season-saving win over the Patriots in Week 14. But he remains the same bastion of inconsistency he’s always been. The idea that he could lead the Dolphins to three straight wins—and thus five consecutive victories overall—is more than laughable.
It also doesn’t help the Dolphins’ case that each of their last three games come against teams still competing for playoff seeding themselves. Two of their final matchups are versus the equally-desperate division rival Bills, while Week 16 will seem them square off with a Kansas City Chiefs squad trying to maintain control of the AFC West sector.
Oakland Raiders (+20000)
The Oakland Raiders needed to grab a statement win over the Chiefs in Week 14 if they were ever going to register as a true postseason threat. They failed that test, turning in a 15-point dud against a slumping defense.
So, just like that, they’re done.
Oakland finishes the season versus the Dallas Cowboys, at the Philadelphia Eagles and at the division rival Los Angeles Chargers, who’ve looked like the best team in the AFC West during recent weeks. No way, no how, do they emerge from this stretch with the 3-0 record they’ll need simply to remain in the running. Their offense is too up-and-down, and there’s a good-to-great chance they’ll be mathematically eliminated from contention before they ever get to Week 17 no matter what they do in their own games.
NFC Wild Card Predictions: Who’s Out
Atlanta Falcons (+1400)
We just cannot bring ourselves to pick the Atlanta Falcons.
Two of their final three games come on the road, one of which will be against the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints, who have basically been unstoppable on their own turf. In essence, the Falcons are trying to beat out one of the Carolina Panthers or Seattle Seahawks, each of whom ends their year with two more home tilts.
Right now, the Falcons’ best bet is seeing Aaron Rodgers suit up for the Green Bay Packers in their Week 15 date with the Panthers and grind his way toward a victory. Then, if the Falcons take care of business against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on the road, they’ll be within striking distance of what profiles as a miracle.
Dallas Cowboys (+10000)
The Cowboys’ end-of-the-year schedule isn’t doing them any favors.
Indeed, they should be able to stick it to the Raiders in Week 15. Then again, will they? The Raiders’ offense has been unpredictable, but they’ll host the Cowboys in Oakland, and Dallas is only two games removed from a stretch in which it tallied under 10 points through three consecutive weeks.
Let’s say the Cowboys pick up a victory in Week 15. What then?
Well, they’ll close out the season by hosting the Seahawks and traveling to meet the Eagles. Even with Carson Wentz done for the season in Philly, it’s hard to imagine the Cowboys emerging from this final-bell gauntless unscathed.
Merely remaining in the discussion demands perfection. And the Cowboys, particularly on the defensive end, just don’t have that in them.
Detroit Lions (+150000)
Good news, Detroit Lions fans: Matthew Stafford will no longer be playing with tape on his fingers.
Bad news: Your favorite team still isn’t making the playoffs.
Detroit will play two of its final three games at home. But that one road tilt comes against the Bengals, who, prior to consecutive losses at the hands of the Steelers and Chicago Bears, have been frisky on friendly ground.
To make matters worse, the Lions will rap up the season welcoming in the Packers. This wouldn’t be a huge deal if Aaron Rodgers wasn’t just medically cleared to play following recovery from a broken collar bone. He now has the chance to get at least one week’s worth of work under him before meeting the Lions, which doesn’t spell good times for a defense that currently sits at 28th in points allowed per game.
Green Bay Packers (+1800)
Assuming Aaron Rodgers will be taking snaps from behind center in Week 15 on, this prediction stings. But we don’t have any other choice.
The Packers’ playoff hopes are on life support at 7-6. Rodgers will have to work through rust when he gets back and won’t have a grace period to guide him through. Green Bay is closing the season at the Panthers, versus the Minnesota Vikings and then at the Lions.
Be honest: Do you really see them winning out with that slate in front of them?
Now, be even more honest: In the event they do, can we really expect them to displace two of the Seahawks, Panthers and Falcons?
If anyone can lead the Packers to the improbable, it’s Aaron Rodgers, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. But he has to play first. And more importantly, even if he does, so much about the Packers’ fate will be out of his hands.
All stats come courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference and are accurate leading into games being played during Week 15.
Category : Sports Betting NewsMore articles...