Wild Card Weekend Upset Alert: Back This Florida Home Dog Duo

Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers Dallas Cowboys
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look to throw against the Dallas Cowboys. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP.

The NFL’s Wild Card Weekend features six games, and we like a dog on Saturday as well as Monday – the final Monday game of the season – for our NFL picks.

Here’s a breakdown with moneyline odds from the best sportsbooks

Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Monday, January 16, 2023 – 08:15 PM EST at Raymond James Stadium 

The NFL’s Wild Card Weekend concludes on Monday with the Dallas Cowboys visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The league didn’t used to have Monday playoff games but added it last season.

This is the first-ever matchup in playoff history between a quarterback and a team with at least five Super Bowl titles each. Bucs QB Tom Brady and the Cowboys both have exactly 35 playoff wins. 

Teams Analysis

This writer believes it could be either the last game as the Bucs QB for Brady or as Cowboys coach for Mike McCarthy, if said team loses. There are so many rumors about Brady joining former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas that they are hard to ignore. The Raiders need a QB with Derek Carr a goner.

McCarthy shouldn’t be fired with a Dallas loss, but owner/GM Jerry Jones is tired of failing to reach the Super Bowl and may look to promote DC Dan Quinn (if he doesn’t get the Broncos’ top job) or hire Sean Payton if the Cowboys lose. Quinn is the +200 favorite to land the Denver job with Payton next at +250. 

Brady has been a playoff underdog four times since 2019 and is 4-0 straight up and against the spread in those games. He is 7-0 all-time vs. the Cowboys. Dallas is 4-5 SU as playoff favorite since 1996, the only team with a losing record over that span with a minimum of five games played. 

The Pick

I don’t take a ton from Tampa Bay’s 19-3 win at Dallas in Week 1, but the Cowboys for whatever reason don’t seem to match up well with the Bucs. Hard to trust Dak Prescott either, considering he has had at least one pick in seven straight games and tied for the NFL lead with 15 overall.

He became the first player ever to lead/co-lead the league interceptions despite missing at least five games. 

NFL Pick: Buccaneers ML (+120) at BetMGM 

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 

Saturday, January 14, 2023 – 08:15 PM EST at TIAA Bank Field 

Some interesting TV news here with NBC having the telecast as Al Michaels, who left NBC in the offseason for Amazon, will call this game with Tony Dungy. Amazon doesn’t have any playoff games. Michaels was granted emeritus status by NBC and still contributes across the network’s portfolio. It will be the first time Dungy and Michaels ever work together. 

Also note that it will be near freezing at kickoff on Saturday night, obviously unusual for Florida – although Jacksonville is almost in Georgia.

Teams Analysis

Both these teams were tied for the NFL lead in comeback wins of more than one possession (at least night points) this season. The Jags won their final four home games, all while trailing by at least nine points. 

This writer finds this game to be the most interesting of all the six Wild Card matchups simply because of the talented young quarterbacks in the Bolts’ Justin Herbert and Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence making their playoff debuts.

Herbert will be 24 years, 310 days old on Saturday, and Lawrence 23 years, 100 days old. Their combined age of 48 years and 45 days will be the sixth-youngest combined age of opposing starting quarterbacks in a playoff game in NFL history. The “record” was in a 1985 divisional round game between the Browns and Dolphins with Bernie Kosar and Dan Marino as the respective QBs. They were a combined 46 years, and 152 days old.

Lawrence looks to become the fifth quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft to win his first career postseason start since 2000. The others were Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, San Francisco’s Alex Smith, and Atlanta’s Michael Vick. 

The Pick

Jacksonville destroyed the Chargers 38-10 in LA in Week 3. I absolutely don’t expect a blowout here but don’t really understand why the Jags are home dogs on a five-game winning streak and on extra rest after playing Saturday in Week 18. The Bolts are on short rest. 

NFL Pick: Jaguars ML (+121) at BetRivers