NFL Games of the Week Feature Falcons at Rams and Panthers at Saints

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

By Tom Wilkinson
BETCRIS NFL Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints

NFL Games of the Week feature two NFC Wild Card Playoff games, as the Atlanta Falcons visit the Los Angeles Rams, while the Carolina Panthers visit the New Orleans Saints. These NFC Wild Card matchups can be seen on NBC and FOX on Saturday, January 6 and Sunday, January 7. Bettors have been backing the home teams and both are now favored by almost a touchdown. Let’s look at the two games and NFL Wild Card picks.

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Atlanta Falcons vs. Los Angeles Rams

Date and Time: Saturday, January 6, 2018, 8:15 p.m. ET

Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA

Opening NFL Wild Card Playoff Odds at BetCris: Rams -6, O/U 49.5

Falcons vs. Rams TV Coverage: NBC

The Atlanta Falcons just barely slipped into the NFL playoffs, but now that they are here they have the chance to get back to the Super Bowl. The Falcons definitely have more experience than the Rams, but the Rams have the better record and they are rested. Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay said during his regular Monday news conference that his team is well aware of what is ahead.

“We’re playing a football game against an excellent team this week,” McVay said. “We know the stakes are a little higher, because if you win, you continue playing and if not, your season is over, but as far as how we get ready to go play a football game, we’ll remain the same.”

Atlanta and Los Angeles don’t play each other that often but they do have common ties. Matt LaFleur, the Rams’ offensive coordinator, spent two years as Atlanta’s quarterbacks coach and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was Atlanta’s defensive coordinator in 2002 and interim head coach in 2003.

The Falcons were the highest scoring team in the NFL last year, while the Rams are the highest scoring team in the league this season. Atlanta has last year’s NFL MVP Matt Ryan, while the Rams have this year’s possible MVP in Todd Gurley.

Key Stat

The Falcons are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings in this series. Atlanta was just 2-6 ATS on the road this season, while the Rams were 4-4 ATS at home. The Falcons are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 playoff games. The Rams are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 playoff games.

Falcons vs. Rams Free Picks

The Falcons have not looked like a good team for much of this season, while the Rams have been solid all year. I will lay the points and take the Rams in this game.

Falcons vs. Rams Wild Card ATS Pick: Rams -6.5 at BetCris

Falcons vs. Rams Score Prediction: Rams 34, Falcons 20

Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

Date and Time: Sunday, January 7, 2018, 4:40 p.m. ET

Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

Opening NFL Wild Card Playoff Odds at BetCris: Saints -5.5, O/U 48

Panthers vs. Saints TV Coverage: FOX

The New Orleans Saints will try and beat the Carolina Panthers for the third time this season on Sunday. You have probably heard that it is tough to beat a team three times in the same season but that is more myth than reality. NFL teams are 13-7 in the last 20 games in that situation.

New Orleans head coach Sean Payton said that the first two wins against Carolina this season mean nothing. "Everyone is starting from scratch," Payton said to the media. "The only thing that you pay attention to is, obviously, a division opponent, the personnel and the things that you didn’t do well in the early two games, maybe the things you did well." The Saints won 34-13 in Carolina and 31-21 in New Orleans.

The Panthers come into this game off a disaster last week against Atlanta, as Cam Newton played another terrible game. The Panthers don’t figure to stop Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense so if Newton doesn’t have a big game the Panthers have no real chance to win.

Key Stat

The Panthers were 5-3 ATS on the road this season, with four games going over and four going under. The Saints were 5-3 ATS at home, with five going over and three going under. The Panthers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games. The Saints are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games. The Panthers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings in New Orleans.

The Over is 4-1 in the Panthers last 5 playoff games. The Over is 5-0 in the Saints last 5 playoff home games. The Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in New Orleans.

Panthers vs. Saints Free Picks

The value is on the Panthers in this game but I don’t trust Newton, so I will just take the game over the total.

Panthers vs. Saints Wild Card Playoff Pick: Over 48 at BetCris

Panthers vs. Saints Score Prediction: Saints 34, Panthers 27

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