We have finally made it to the end of another NFL season.
This one was the longest season ever, so there was bound to be craziness happening all over, from record-setting seasons such as T.J Watt tying Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season sack record to historic upsets like the Jacksonville Jaguars upsetting the Indianapolis Colts and ruining every Colts’ fans season to keep them out of the playoffs, this season was nuts.
As we move to the playoffs, 14 teams will vie to win Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.
Here are some of the hot takes I’ve been saving up as we prepare for the start of the NFL Playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will beat the Kansas City Chiefs
Now let’s start this off with something entirely out of left field. I understand why the Chiefs are the biggest favourite of Super Wild Card Weekend. However, I have several reasons why I genuinely believe the Steelers could pull off the biggest upset.
For one, the Steelers are the ultimate playing with house money team. They were never supposed to be near the playoffs, especially after tying the Detroit Lions earlier this season. Still, they made it because of an expanded playoff along with some luck (Thank you to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders).
Ben Roethlisberger has also flat out stated that they shouldn’t even be in the playoffs, so they plan on going out and just having fun.
The Steelers also have a great defence led by Watt, who will surely be someone Chiefs coach Andy Reid will want to send multiple linemen to protect Patrick Mahomes.
Also, there are always upsets in the playoffs, and who knows, perhaps the Steelers can be that crazy upset. As UrinatingTree says, “STILLERS GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!”
The Tennessee Titans will lose in the Divisional Round
Somehow, someway, the Tennessee Titans became the number one seed in the AFC this season. While I applaud the Titans for making it this far despite having a revolving door of players at every position due to injury, the ride will stop in the Divisional Round.
Derrick Henry coming back into the fold for the Titans is massive but what is unknown is what his level of play will be at. Lower body injuries such as Henry’s foot injury make it harder to train to come back. It involves a lot of rest and recovery, making it harder to get back to the level Henry was at pre-injury (Which was an MVP level).
I also believe that while the Titans have been playing well, the wins they have gotten recently have not always been inspiring. While beating the Dolphins and 49ers is very impressive, a loss to the Steelers and barely beating the Houston Texans leaves me with questions about how they will produce against top teams in the AFC.
The good news for Titans fans is that no team has fully cemented themselves as the top team in the AFC, which is partly why the Titans were able to grab the top seed. That being said, the Titans magic run will conclude in the Divisional Round.
Derek Carr will outplay Joe Burrow and win in Cincinnati
Now this one will probably shock many people, but it really shouldn’t. I get it that Joe Burrow has had a fantastic end to the season, headlined by a monster four touchdown, 525 yard game against the Baltimore Ravens before following that up with another four-touchdown, 446 yard game against the Chiefs to seal the AFC North division crown.
However, without the luxury of a stud number one wide receiver like Ja’marr Chase, Derek Carr has led the Raiders to the same number of wins and performed well. A 68.4 completion percentage to go with 23 touchdowns proves he is skillful this season.
What stands out the most for Carr and the Raiders is their record in one-score games. They are 7-2 this season, including four straight wins by one score to finish off the season. The Raiders are good at winning tight games and have pretty much been playing playoff games for the final portion of the regular season.
That mindset and toughness to keep winning despite all of their issues this season. A massive head coach fired in Jon Gruden midway through the season, losing top receiver Henry Ruggs iii in a DUI crash, releasing former first-round pick Damon Arnette after threading to kill someone with a gun in a viral video. All of that will culminate in a playoff win for the Raiders.
Underdogs rule the betting lines during the playoffs, especially during the Wild Card Round
This is the last one of the article and I figured I would end on a more general note for the playoffs, but a message for bettors, the underdogs will cover most of the spreads.
The playoffs pit the best on best in one game, which means everyone will put everything on the line. Previous notions that teams will steamroll another just do not come to fruition.
Four of the six Wild Card games last season (2020-21) were within ten or fewer points, and another was an 11 point differential.
Before that, the (2019-20) playoffs had all four Wild Card games within one score.
As we get further into the playoffs, the chance for blowouts usually increases for some reason. In the 2019-20 and 2020-21 playoffs, the Conference Championship, three of the four games had an average point differential of 14 points.
So for bettors, look towards underdogs to cover their spreads, such as the Philadelphia Eagles at +8 or the Arizona Cardinals at +4in the Wild Card, if you want to make extra cash this playoff season.