NFL wild-card picks for Saturday’s games: Take the favorites


Richard Witt makes his predictions for Saturday’s NFL games on wild-card weekend:

Browns (-2) over TEXANS

Duly impressed — as who hasn’t been? — by C.J. Stroud’s rookie year performance as Houston quarterback.

But the Ohio State Heisman finalist finds himself up against wily veteran Joe Flacco, who has 16 playoff starts on his record … and could surpass Tom Brady for the road playoff win record, should he prevail here.

He’s buoyed by the presence of wideout Amari Cooper, and the two have proven themselves a good fit.

We’ll have to hope the Browns’ lengthy aches and pains are up to three-plus hours. when put up against the youthful, frisky Texans.

Still, they’re the nominal favorite — which seems fair, given the Texans’ relative league inexperience.

Though they’ve taken the worst of it on the injury lists, Cleveland retains slim favoritism. Won’t be surprised, should this go to the wire.

CHIEFS (-4.5) over Dolphins

Even the Dolphins have their ways and means to make the best of the most brutal weather (close to minus-20 degrees, factoring in vicious anticipated wind-chills) — but this matchup looms as one of the most testing physical contests of modern NFL history.

Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The extraordinarily frigid conditions figure to be utterly unnerving to anyone unused to them — and will almost certainly serve as a searching and true acid test, for both sides.

These storied Chiefs have a lengthy history of maintaining stout representation of surprising yardage-generating performances, and should be markedly more likely to gain the kind of yardage their supporters are used to viewing while dealing with brutal temperatures and savage winds.

Betting on the NFL?

QB Patrick Mahomes is expected to be tested to his sheer physical limits — but we like his chances, under the projected conditions.

Last week: 5-9
Season: 104-115-9

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