Home I The Best Picks For NFL 2018 Wild Card Games
The regular season is now over and it is time to turn our heads towards the direct elimination phase. Eight teams will battle each other during the wild card games this weekend. On Saturday the Tennessee Titans (9-7) go to Kansas City to play against the Chiefs (10-6) and later the same day the Los Angeles Rams (11-5) accept the Atlanta Falcons (10-6). The next game day will begin with a clash between the Buffalo Bills (9-7) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6) at the Jacksonville’s EverBank field. The NFL 2018 Wild Card games will conclude early Sunday evening with the derby between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, both teams with a regular season record of 11-5.
From now on, all games are virtually unpredictable, as there is a lot at stake for each team. The best we could do at this stage is base our picks on statistics and gut feeling. Two of the games have favored teams – the Chiefs and the Jaguars. The other two are as tough to predict as a Super Bowl game.
Given all that, let’s try to outline the best picks for this weekend’s NFL 2018 Wild Card games.
In terms of passing yards, QB Drew Brees is way ahead of his opponent QB Cam Newton in the wild card clash between the Saints and the Panthers this Sunday. “Breesus” has thrown for 4,334 yards against Newton’s 3,302. After the season-ending injury of Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz, Drew Brees became Tom Brady’s main competitor to win the NFL 2017 MVP Award.
The Saints quarterback is leading the offense of a team who solely relied on the passing game. Just recently, the Saints managed to successfully implement some running in their gameplan, utilizing the running back duo Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.
Statistically, the New Orleans Saints are a high-scoring team. The main reason for that is still Drew Brees and we see him rocking the Panthers this Sunday. In case of victory, the Saints will play against either the Philadelphia Eagles or the Minnesota Vikings. Brees and the rest of the team surely prefer the Eagles, who despite their outstanding regular season performance (13-3 and first seed of the NFC), were left without a starting quarterback. For that scenario to happen, the Los Angeles Rams will have to win against the Falcons on Saturday.
Here is another New Orleans Saints representative – WR Michael Thomas. If we agree on putting QB Drew Brees on top of our quarterback list for the NFL 2018 Wild Card Games, we should keep in mind that generating QB fantasy points requires not only an outstanding quarterback, but also passing targets.
WR Michael Thomas is the main catcher on the receiving end of the Saints offense. He leads the team with 1,245 receiving yards. Thomas is in his second NFL season and has already been selected for the NFL 2017/18 Pro Bowl game as a second string wide receiver of the NFC player selection. Last week, in the final hours of 2017, WR Michael Thomas caught a 43-yard pass against the Buccaneers, thus raising a flag about his deadly potential.
This Saturday is the perfect time for RB Todd Gurley of the LA Rams to make a few walks of his golden cleats into the Falcons’ endzone. Statistically, the rookie is the most productive running back among the wild card teams with 1,305 rushing and 788 receiving yards.
His main competitor for the “Best Running Back 2017/18” – LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills – has a tough game ahead. His Bills go against the Jacksonville Jaguars, whose defense makes any run game as hard as fighting with a concrete wall.
RB Todd Gurley is not only leading the running back fantasy rankings, but also has real chances to outrun Tom Brady for the NFL 2017/18 MVP Award.
There is no doubt TE Travis Kelce is among the best tight ends this year, if not the best. Kelce has 83 completions for 1,038 yards, which is impressive for a TE. His outstanding physicality and game awareness makes him one of the scariest weapons the Chiefs can use against the Titans.
The Chiefs had a wonderful start of the season, bulldozing the opposition week by week. Unfortunately for them and their fans, something in their gameplan broke. Experts still struggle to find what is the exact reason for that sudden performance drop. It can even be just some bad luck, but the consequences are now visible and tough for the Chiefs. From a Seed 1 competitor, they finished the season with a record of 10-6. Still, they got to the wild card games and have the 4th seed of the AFC. Despite the stats drop of his team, TE Travis Kelce never stepped away from his solid performance.
If the Kansas City Chiefs manage to pull out a win against the Titans, and the Jaguars make no mistake at home against the Bills, which is the most probable scenario, the next game for the Chiefs would be against the Super Bowl LII favorites – New England Patriots. That would mean a battle between the two best tight ends in the NFL this season – TE Travis Kelce and TE Rob Gronkowski. Else, if the Bills drop the bomb and overcome the Jaguars’ superhuman defense and explosive run game, the Kansas City Chiefs would go against the Steelers.
A lot can be said about the Jaguars defense and it won’t be enough to describe the power these guys produce. The unit has earned the name “Sacksonville” due to its high number of sacks. Just DE Calais Campbell alone has executed 14.5 sacks – a true quarterback nightmare.
On Sunday the Jaguars play at home and against a team with a run-heavy offense – the Buffalo Bills. The Bills prefer the run game with either their veteran RB LeSean McCoy, or the QB Tyrod Taylor. Successful run plays against the Jaguars though, seem like a fairy tale.
The wild card game against the Bills is yet another chance for DE Calais Campbell, DT Marcell Dareus, DT Malik Jackson, DE Dante Fowler, DE Yannick Ngakoue, and the rest of the Sacksonville defense to prove themselves as the best defensive unit in the 2017/18 NFL season.
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