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Baltimore Beatdown Playoff Picks: Wild Card Round

Baltimore Ravens v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Ravens put a stop to their Week 17 nightmare finishes, winning the AFC North and eliminating the Steelers from the playoffs. In the year long battle to predict all of the NFL matchups, Baltimore Beatdown readers vanquished the writers to take first place in the regular season.

With a clean slate, can the Beatdown staff prove smarter than the masses in the playoffs? Vote for all of the Wild Card games in the polls below.

Regular season final standings:

  1. Readers (166-88)
  2. Kyle A. (162-92)
  3. Vas (161-93)
  4. Frank (160-94)
  5. Jake and Sage (157-97)
  6. Logan and Kyle B. (153-101)
  7. Dustin (150-104)
  8. Zach (149-105)

Wild Card games

Colts at Texans (HOU -1.0)

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite traveling to Houston, many are high on a Colts “upset” of the Texans. While Indianapolis is .500 on the road this year, they are also coming in with four consecutive victories, tied with Chicago for the longest active streak. Both regular season games were decided by three points, and these divisional opponents are very familiar with each other.

In Andrew Luck’s comeback season, he has taken a team that finished 4-12 in 2017 to the postseason. His 98.7 passer rating is the best of his career, silencing critics who speculated about his ability to fully recover and play at a high level. In his first full season, Deshaun Watson has completed over 68 percent of his passes but has shown a tendency to turn the ball over, throwing nine interceptions and committing six fumbles.

The verdict: 56% of the Beatdown staff predicts the Colts to win on the road

Poll

Who will win in the Wild Card: Colts or Texans?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Colts
    (120 votes)
  • 33%
    Texans
    (61 votes)
181 votes total Vote Now

Seahawks at Cowboys (DAL -2.0)

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

At one point in the season, Jason Garrett’s job security was questionable and Dallas seemed on the fast track to missing the playoffs. Instead, the Cowboys seventh ranked defense, led by rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, and Ezekiel Elliott’s league-leading rushing yards propelled them to a divisional title.

Still, the Cowboys offense is ranked 22nd in the NFL, as Dak Prescott has been inconsistent in his third season. The Seahawks are averaging 5.6 more points per game, and Russell Wilson recorded the best passer rating of his career (110.9) in 2018. Bobby Wagner has led the team in tackles at 138, the second best mark of his career. Expect Seattle’s playoff experience to make this game tight, even though Dallas has home field advantage.

The verdict: 56% of the Beatdown staff expects Dallas to hold off Seattle

Poll

Who will win in the Wild Card: Seahawks or Cowboys?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Seahawks
    (172 votes)
  • 26%
    Cowboys
    (63 votes)
235 votes total Vote Now

Chargers at Ravens (BAL -2.5)

Baltimore Ravens v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

After sweating it out until the final minutes of the regular season, Baltimore’s top ranked defense has made them a dark horse favorite to make a real playoff run. C.J. Mosley, who picked off Baker Mayfield to seal the deal in Week 17, is also leading the team in tackles. The defense has been stingy, allowing just 17.9 points per game. Can an offense led by an electric, but inexperienced, rookie quarterback lean on this stout defense for a victory?

Due to the Chiefs success, the 12-4 Chargers are far better than their seeding suggests. In his 15th season, Philip Rivers is having one his strongest statistical seasons. However, against Baltimore he recorded his worst performance of the year, throwing two interceptions and failing to throw a touchdown pass for the first time all season. For Baltimore to succeed, they will have to own time of possession again, and Lamar Jackson must protect the football.

The verdict: 67% of the Beatdown staff anticipates the Ravens to advance

Poll

Who will win in the Wild Card: Chargers or Ravens?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Chargers
    (176 votes)
  • 73%
    Ravens
    (488 votes)
664 votes total Vote Now

Eagles at Bears (CHI -6.5)

Chicago Bears v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Entering the postseason with the third best defense, Chicago has exceeded expectations by running away with the NFC North title. In his sophomore season, despite injuries, Mitchell Trubisky has improved his completion percentage from 59.4 percent to 66.6. Corner Kyle Fuller is tied for the most interceptions in the NFL this season at seven.

While it took some help from the Bears for the Eagles to make it into the playoffs, Philadelphia will hope Nick Foles still has enough of his Super Bowl magic to defeat them. Look for Zach Ertz to build on his record-setting year, after he broke Jason Witten’s reception record in Week 16 to become the first Eagles player to have 100 catches in a season.

The verdict: 89% of the Beatdown staff thinks the Bears will eliminate the defending champs

Poll

Who will win in the Wild Card: Eagles or Bears?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Eagles
    (131 votes)
  • 73%
    Bears
    (359 votes)
490 votes total Vote Now

All writers’ picks can be found in the table below.

NFL Playoffs Picks Wild Card Round

Games Kyle A. Vasilis Frank Jake Sage Logan Kyle B. Dustin Zach BB Readers
Games Kyle A. Vasilis Frank Jake Sage Logan Kyle B. Dustin Zach BB Readers
Colts at Texans Texans Colts Texans Colts Texans Texans Colts Colts Colts Vote
Seahawks at Cowboys Seahawks Cowboys Seahawks Cowboys Seahawks Cowboys Cowboys Cowboys Seahawks Vote
Chargers at Ravens Ravens Ravens Chargers Ravens Ravens Chargers Ravens Ravens Chargers Vote
Eagles at Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears Eagles Bears Vote
Week 17 Record 12-4 13-3 12-4 13-3 13-3 9-7 12-4 14-2 13-3 14-2
Regular Season Record 162-92 161-93 160-94 157-97 157-97 153-101 153-101 150-104 149-105 166-88