Expert NFL Picks and Predictions for the 2022 Wild Card Round

| January 10, 2022 10:52 am PDT

The NFL regular season wrapped up in odd fashion in week 18. The Raiders and Chargers nearly both made the playoffs thanks to a near-tie, and some teams that felt like locks to win failed horribly.

Indianapolis not getting a must-win in Jacksonville was the biggest shock of the week, but betting on the NFL should have been fairly easy last week. Overall, my straight up NFL picks went 11-5, while my best bets went just 1-2.

I did nail the Las Vegas upset, and if you bet on moneylines, last week was plenty of fun.

Things get a bit more tense this week, as the 2022 NFL Wild Card round fires off. The Titans and Packers earned the week off, but you’re tasked with picking winners for the other contestants.

If you need some help, join me as I break down my 2022 NFL Wild Card predictions and picks.

Chiefs Over Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger’s NFL ride ends here. It’s been a magical last couple of weeks for Big Ben, who won what figures to be his final home game, and snuck into the playoffs thanks to a little luck.

His reward? One last postseason affair, but he’ll be taking it to the road to battle the explosive Kansas City Chiefs.

It’s fair to wonder if the wounded Chiefs can fend off the Steelers. Both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are banged up, after all. Hill specifically didn’t look good last week.

However, the Chiefs are simply the better team. Roethlisberger can’t keep defenses honest down the field, and KC’s offense is just too good at home.

It’d be fun for football to see the upset, but I don’t see much point (or logic) to betting on it.

Buccaneers Over Eagles

The other bet that makes too much sense is the Bucs to take down the Eagles. This is a terrible matchup for Philly, who isn’t very threatening through the air, but have morphed into the league’s best rushing offense.

That’s likely bad news for this week, as their strength runs into one of the NFL’s nastiest defensive fronts.

Have a look at where the Bucs rank against the run this season.

  • 0.6 rushing TDs allowed per game (5th)
  • 92.5 rushing yards allowed per game (3rd)
  • 21.5 rushes allowed per game (1st)

Tampa Bay’s run defense is a problem here, but they also have a talented pass rush. Oh, and they’re getting reinforcements, as top running back Leonard Fournette is due back for this one.

The Bucs aren’t looking as strong as they did a year ago at this time, but they win the key matchup in this game and are the more talented, more experienced squad. It’d be quite the shock if they lost this one at home.

Cowboys Over 49ers

I also think the Cowboys are a pretty safe pick. Dallas has flashed insane dominance at times this year, and they’ve beaten up on teams when they’re the more talented squad.

Their tilt against the 49ers should be pretty close, but the advantageous Trevon Diggs (11 interceptions on the year) should give Jimmy Garoppolo some problems.

San Francisco also needs to run the ball to succeed, and they could have trouble doing that against the Cowboys. Dallas has the more dynamic offense, as well, and they’re at home in front of what should be a rowdy Jerry World.

Dak Prescott and co. have been waiting for this one for some time. I think they get the job done and advance to the Divisional Round of the 2022 NFL playoffs.

NFL Predictions for 2022 Wild Card Round

  • Bills Over Patriots
  • Raiders Over Bengals
  • Rams Over Cardinals

The other three 2022 NFL Wild Card round games are much tougher to predict. The Bills and Pats face off for a third time, the Raiders continue their unlikely run, and the Rams and Cardinals also meet up for a rubber match of their own.

These games all feel tough to gauge, but when you look at talent, I don’t really see why the Bills or Rams would lose. Both have home field advantage in their games with a familiar rival, and they also have the more dynamic and explosive offenses.

Betting against Bill Belichick never feels great, but Buffalo has felt like a Super Bowl threat for two years now.

Getting past their nemesis in the first round could provide quite the spark for them going forward.

Trusting in Matthew Stafford feels weird, but he’s at home and he has the better team around him. The top NFL betting sites pegged the Rams as a legit title threat for much of the year, so it’s time for them to prove they have what it takes.

Joe Burrow makes his playoff debut, and he and his Bengals will host the Raiders. Cincy has never had much playoff success, and this might be a bad matchup for the Bengals.

At a minimum, it’s been a wild ride for the Raiders.

Las Vegas has proven its worth in recent weeks, and there is just something about this team that makes it tough to write them off. If you’re looking for a fun upset play, Las Vegas fits the bill this weekend.

Best NFL Bets for the 2022 Wild Card Round

  • Raiders (+6) -107
  • Buccaneers to Win (-400)
  • Cowboys to Win (-159)

I love the Raiders as an upset bet this weekend, but I also understand why they’re the underdogs. While I think they can win, the better play is to just bank on them beating the spread.

Las Vegas is running hot these days, and they’re a solid 7-4 against the spread when priced as the underdog. I love them to beat this spread.

Tampa Bay isn’t losing to Philadelphia. Tom Brady and co. may very well be gearing up for a title defense, to be frank. The Bucs are at home, they’re getting a little healthier, and they’re simply a bad matchup for the Eagles.

The -400 line is gross, but it feels like one of the safest bets during Wild Card weekend.

Dallas to win is about as safe in my eyes, and the price is a steal at -159. The Cowboys are extremely talented, they’re at home, and I refuse to trust in Jimmy G.

Hopefully my 2022 NFL Wild Card predictions and picks treat you well. To place some bets, be sure to visit the top NFL sportsbooks you can find online.

Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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