NFL Playoff Picks 2019: Schedule, Odds and Predictions for Wild Card Round

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2019

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott warms-up before an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Dec., 30, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

For most teams, the 2018 NFL season ended Sunday night. However, the fortunate 12 who made it into the postseason are about to get started with the meaningful games.

We'll get four such games Saturday and Sunday in the opening round of the playoffs. The Indianapolis Colts will visit the Houston Texans, while the Dallas Cowboys will host the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. On Sunday, the Los Angeles Chargers will travel to face the Baltimore Ravens, while the Philadelphia Eagles will meet the Chicago Bears in Soldier Field.

The New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will wait patiently for the victors to emerge.


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We're here to examine the full wild-card schedule. We'll look at the viewing information and the latest lines and over/unders, according to OddsShark. We'll also make score predictions for each game and dig into the latest wild-card storylines.


Wild Card Weekend 2019

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

When: Saturday, January 5 at 4:35 p.m. ET

TV and Live Stream: ESPN, ABC and WatchESPN

Line, Over/Under: HOU -1.5, 48.5

Prediction: Colts 30, Texans 25


Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys

When: Saturday, January 5 at 8:15 p.m. ET

TV and Live Stream: 
Fox and Fox Sports Go

Line, Over/Under: 
DAL -1.5, 43

Prediction: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 25


Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens

When: Sunday, January 6 at 1:05 p.m. ET

TV and Live Stream: CBS and CBS All Access

Line, Over/Under: BAL -3, 41.5

Prediction: Ravens 27, Chargers 24


Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

When: Sunday, January 6 at 4:40 p.m. ET

TV and Live Stream: NBC and NBC Sports App

Line, Over/Under: CHI -6, 41

Prediction: Eagles 22, Bears 21


Cowboys Looking for Home-Field Advantage

The Cowboys are a more dangerous team at AT&T Stadium—just ask the New Orleans Saints. While their home-field advantage might not be as effective as Seattle's, it's still significant. Dallas is also where this game is being played, and that's why the Cowboys have at least one edge over Seattle.

The Seahawks went 4-4 away from CenturyLink Field this year. Dallas,  meanwhile, went 7-1 at home.

"I just hope when I signal for everyone to be quiet that they be quiet this game," Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. "Knowing how important it is for us to communicate. Hopefully the fans are working well with us. But then when we're on defense, showing how loud they can be.

The Cowboys should hope that their home crowd is the best its been all season. While Seattle hasn't been great on the road, Russell Wilson and Co. are no strangers to playing in postseason and prime-time games.


Bears Confident in Trubisky

The Eagles are counting on backup quarterback Nick Foles on Sunday, and they are fine with that. Foles, after all, took the team through the entirety of the postseason last year and finished by winning Super Bowl MVP honors.

Foles is playoff-tested. Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is not, and as a second-year pro, this could be a problem. Trubisky has shown improvement under Matt Nagy this season, but he's still inconsistent as a passer and inexperienced. He's started 26 regular-season games in his NFL career. Foles has started 44.

Chicago doesn't believe inexperience will be an issue for the second-year quarterback, however. When Nagy was asked about what Trubisky needed to do heading into the postseason, his message was clear.

"To not change," Nagy said, per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. "For him to continue to do just what he does. Don't put any extra added pressure on himself. Don't do it as coaches. We need to be there to help him."

With a dominant defense and a quality running game, the Bears may not have to rely on Trubisky too much in this game. However, if it comes down to which quarterback can make a clutch play late, Philadelphia must feel it has the advantage.


Texans Won't Sleep on Leonard

We've seen plenty of Defensive Rookie of the Year hype for guys like Bradley Chubb and Leighton Vander Esch. We've watched rookie cornerback Denzel Ward get named to the Pro Bowl. We haven't heard a ton about rookie Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard until recently, though, and that's a sign of teams sleeping on Indianapolis early in the season.

The Houston Texans, however, have already faced the Colts twice and won't ignore what Leonard could do in the postseason.

"He's come in, and he's played well right from the get-go," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. "He's done a good job. He's an active player, good blitzer, good in man coverage. He's had a good year, no doubt about it."

Houston is right to pay attention to Leonard. In his two previous games against the Texans, Leonard amassed 25 tackles, a sack and a pass defended.


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