Early Saturday Wild-Card Weekend Odds

Early Saturday Wild-Card Weekend Odds | 2021 NFL Expert Analysis

Written by on January 4, 2021

It’s a tripleheader of NFL Wild-Card action Saturday, with the first game at 1:05 p.m. ET featuring the Indianapolis Colts, the seventh seed in the AFC, at the second-seeded Buffalo Bills. The AFC East champions opened as 7-point favorites on the NFL odds. The Colts and Bills didn’t play during the regular season.

Wild-Card Weekend Odds | 2021 NFL Expert Analysis

If Indy loses this game as expected, it could be the last game ever for 39-year-old quarterback Philip Rivers, who is more likely than not to retire (he has nine kids). In Sunday’s win over Jacksonville, Rivers jumped Dan Marino for fifth on the NFL’s career passing touchdown list. Only Tom Brady (581), Drew Brees (571), Peyton Manning (539) and Brett Favre (508) have thrown for more touchdowns than Rivers, who has 421. All are future first-ballot Hall of Famers.

Rivers also passed London Fletcher (239) and tied Julius Peppers (240) for the sixth-most games started in NFL history and passed Eli Manning (8,119) for the sixth-most passes attempted in NFL history.

Running back Jonathan Taylor led the team in rushing with a season-high 30 carries for a single-game franchise-high 253 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Jaguars. Taylor finished third in the NFL in rushing yards this season (1,169) and it marks the most by a Colts running back in a single season since Edgerrin James in 2005 (1,506). Taylor broke the previous single-game franchise-record of 219 yards previously held by Edgerrin James. Taylor became only the second player in franchise history to hit the 200-yard mark in a single game (Edgerrin James did it twice).

The Colts — who finished 11-5 on the year, their best win-loss record since their 11-win campaign in 2014 — will be facing a Bills team that clinched the No. 2 seed on Sunday with a dominating 56-26 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Behind QB and MVP candidate Josh Allen, the Bills ranked third in the NFL in passing touchdowns (40), fifth in explosive passing plays (15-plus yards; 114), fifth in total touchdowns (56), allowed the sixth-fewest sacks (28) and ninth in explosive run plays (10-plus yards; 55).

Allen, who had 4,544 passing yards with 37 touchdown passes and eight rushing touchdowns in 2020, is the first player with at least 4,500 passing, yards, 35 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns in a single season in NFL history.

At 4:40 p.m. ET, the Los Angeles Rams visit the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks. The Rams were 18-7 winners on Sunday over Arizona despite playing without QB Jared Goff (thumb surgery) and top receiver Cooper Kupp (COVID). It’s not known yet if they will play Saturday. The Rams are 4.5-point underdogs.

If Goff can’t go, it would be John Wolford again. In his first NFL action Sunday, Wolford threw an early interception, but finished 22-of-38 for 231 yards and ran six times for 56 yards. Coach Sean McVay said after the game that he thought Wolford “did a great job.”

“He made plays,” McVay said, via Pro Football Talk. “I know there is guys around him that are capable of making some of those and I expect those guys to be able to do that, but I thought that he really gave us a chance offensively with the amount of plays that he made in the pass game with his legs, athleticism, being able to extend things. I thought he was outstanding against a really tough defense that came ready to go. I was really pleased with John.”

Seattle and the Rams split in the regular season, each winning in a low-scoring game at home.

Saturday concludes with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs at the Washington Football Team, an 8:15 p.m. ET kickoff. Tampa opened as an 8-point favorite.

Brady passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns with one interception for a 117.8 rating in Sunday’s 44-27 win over Atlanta. Brady made the 299th regular-season start of his career and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (298 starts) for the most regular-season starts by a quarterback in NFL history.

Brady, who had 50 touchdown passes in 2007, recorded 40 touchdown passes in 2020 and became the fifth quarterback with at least 40 touchdown passes in multiple seasons in NFL history, joining Aaron Rodgers (three seasons), Drew Brees (two), Peyton Manning (two) and Hall of Famer Dan Marino (two).

Washington was handed the NFC East title on Sunday night when the Eagles basically tanked in the fourth quarter of their game. Tampa and Washington didn’t play this season.

Expert Picks
  • Back the Bills, Seahawks and Washington to cover.

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