This year’s Wild Card round will feature all rematches from the regular season, the 5th time since the 1970 merger that every game in the opening round of the playoffs is a rematch from the regular season (2022, 2009, 2004, 1994, 1992).
Here is the complete analysis for your NFL Playoff Betting.
There normally are 272 regular-season games in the NFL but there were 271 this season because the Week 17 matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was canceled after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field in Cincinnati and went into cardiac arrest. Thankfully, he should make a full recovery and whether Hamlin ever plays football again really doesn’t matter. Both the Bills and Bengals are back in the AFC playoffs as repeat division winners.
Exactly half of the 14-team playoff field failed to qualify in the 2021 season: Baltimore, Jacksonville, the Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, Minnesota, the New York Giants and Seattle. A rather amazing streak continues as since 1990 – of 33 consecutive seasons – at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before. Six of this season’s 14 playoff teams have won at least one Super Bowl since 2000.
The AFC South (Jacksonville) and NFC North (Minnesota) were both won by teams that missed the postseason in 2021. Philadelphia (NFC East) and San Francisco 49ers (NFC West) are also new division winners this season. At least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 19 of the past 20 years.
Jacksonville completed the “worst-to-first” turnaround, winning the AFC South the season after finishing in last place. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 18 of the past 20 seasons. The Jaguars host the Chargers on Saturday in a matchup of terrific young QBs making their playoff debuts in LA’s Justin Herbert and Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence.
Herbert had 4,739 passing yards with 25 touchdown passes this season and became the first player in NFL history with at least 4,500 passing yards in two of his first three career seasons. Lawrence became the sixth quarterback since 2000 to be selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft and reach the postseason in one of his first two career seasons.
Perhaps expect close games in the postseason. There were 122 regular-season games decided by a touchdown (six points or less) and 203 games within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter this season, both the most such games in a single season in NFL history.
The team with the worst against the spread record in the NFL this season is a playoff team as Tampa Bay (4-12-1 ATS) hosts Dallas on Monday night to conclude the Wild Card round. Kansas City (6-10-1 ATS) and Seattle (7-10 ATS) also were among the worst ATS teams to get in. The Chiefs, who won their seventh consecutive AFC West division title, finished as the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
As of this writing, there are two double-digit underdogs in the Wild-Card round: Seattle +10 at San Francisco and Miami +10.5 at Buffalo. Double-digit favorites in the NFL playoffs are 11-3 ATS since 2010.
The marquee matchup is Monday’s Dallas at Tampa Bay (+2.5) matchup in perhaps the final NFL game for seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady as he could retire at age 45 – or go play somewhere else. Brady set the NFL single-season record for completions (490) in 2022 and added 4,694 passing yards and 25 touchdown passes as the Buccaneers earned consecutive NFC South division titles for the first time in franchise history. Brady is the postseason’s all-time leader in games played (47), passing yards (13,049) and touchdown passes (86).
Dallas QB Dak Prescott makes his fourth trip to the postseason after leading Dallas to back-to-back playoff berths. In four career postseason starts, he has nine touchdowns (six passing, three rushing), including three consecutive games with both a touchdown pass and a rushing touchdown. The Cowboys lost 19-3 at home to Tampa Bay in Week 1.
The NFC is the conference with 0 or 1 former 1st-round picks starting at QB in a postseason since 2007. Depending on the Dolphins and their injury situation, the AFC could have all first-round picks starting at QB.