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NFL playoff picks, predictions for wild-card games: Steelers survive Browns scare; Ravens, Buccaneers roll

It is an NFL wild-card weekend like none different.  

The 2021 NFL playoffs characteristic six wild-card matchups over a two-day stretch that ought to produce an overload of pleasure for NFL followers.  

Indianapolis and Buffalo open the playoff bracket at 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday. Los Angeles and Seattle will meet for the third time within the 4:40 p.m. slot, which units up a prime-time matchup between Tampa Bay and Washington at 8:15 p.m.  

Sunday’s schedule options one other tripleheader. Baltimore and Tennessee meet in a rematch of final yr’s AFC divisional playoff sport at 1:05 p.m. Chicago faces New Orleans at 4:40 p.m. Cleveland makes its first playoff appearances since 2003 towards the rival Steelers at 8:15 p.m.  

Sporting Information wrapped up the common season with one other stable week in our straight-up picks. We just like the favorites this weekend, however we all know something can occur.  

  • Final Week: 13-3, .812 
  • Common season: 129-75, .632 

With that in thoughts, beneath are our picks and predictions for Week 17:  

MORE NFL PLAYOFFS:
AFC & NFC bracket | TV schedule | Wild-card picks against spread

(Getty Photos)

NFL playoff picks, predictions for 2021 wild-card video games

  • Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Payments (-7)   

Saturday, 1:05 p.m., CBS  

The Payments coated the unfold in eight straight video games to shut the season, a part of a six-game successful streak that makes them one of many NFL’s hottest groups. The Colts have a top-10 protection and Philip Rivers is an expertise playoff quarterback, however they have been 1-4 towards the opposite AFC playoff groups this season.  Buffalo wins its first playoff sport since 1995 with one other sturdy efficiency from Josh Allen.  

Decide: Payments 34, Colts 23  

  • Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-4.5)  

Saturday, 4:40 p.m., FOX 

If Jared Goff (thumb) cannot go, then John Wolford will make his first profession playoff begin towards the rival Seahawks. Seattle’s offense has been hit-or-miss with Russell Wilson the previous few weeks, however the protection is permitting simply 12.5 factors per sport via a four-game win streak. Wilson will get Seattle again within the NFC divisional spherical. It is onerous to choose the Rams – who’ve the league’s top-scoring protection (18.5) – if Goff can’t go.  

Decide: Seahawks 27, Rams 16 

MORE: SN predicts the entire 2021 NFL playoff bracket

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  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8) at Washington Soccer Staff  

Saturday, 8:15 p.m., NBC  

Tampa Bay averaged 37 ppg. in 4 straight victories to shut the season; a outstanding stretch beneath Tom Brady.  Chase Younger leads a Washington protection that enables simply 20.6 factors per sport, and it might get attention-grabbing in the event that they cease the run. Alex Smith is a feel-good story in his first playoff begin since career-threatening leg harm. The road has jumped 1.5 factors; a nod to the arrogance in Brady and the Bucs.  

Decide: Buccaneers 28, Washington 21  

  • Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) at Tennessee Titans  

Saturday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN 

We flip-flopped on this one for apparent causes. The Titans beat the Ravens in final yr’s playoff and received a 30-24 extra time thriller this season. Baltimore discovered its groove on offense after the 47-42 shootout towards Cleveland, and Lamar Jackson was the distinction. He lastly wins his first playoff begin in thrilling vogue.  

Decide: Ravens 36, Titans 31  

(Getty Photos)
  • Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (-9.5)  

Saturday, 4:40 p.m., CBS 

The Bears backed into the playoffs after dropping to the Packers, and Mitchell Trubisky is making his second playoff begin. The Saints are optimistic Alvin Kamara will return from the COVID-19 checklist, and Drew Brees is coming off a three-TD efficiency in Week 17. New Orleans learns from final yr’s wild-card loss to Minnesota and returns to the divisional playoffs.  

Decide: Saints 31, Bears 21  

  • Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4)  

Saturday, 8:15 p.m., NBC   

The Browns beat the Steelers 26-24, and that is the primary matchup between the groups for the reason that 2003 AFC Wild Card thriller. Count on an identical sport to interrupt out. Cleveland leads at halftime behind a pair of Nick Chubb TDs. Baker Mayfield performs his greatest sport so far at Heinz Discipline, significantly better than the final go to. The Steelers rally within the second half, nevertheless, and Ben Roethlisberger – who’s 24-2-1 towards the Browns – leads the way in which within the second half. Cleveland has an opportunity to tie late, however the Steelers give you the cease this time.  

Decide: Steelers 31, Browns 26 

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