JT’S WILD CARD SUNDAY SLATE

EAGLES (18.5) AT BUCCANEERS (27)

The Eagles are back in the postseason but face a tough test in the defending champion Buccaneers Sunday afternoon. Each team gets a little healthier with Leonard Fournette and Miles Sanders returning from Injured Reserve.

The Eagles are tied with the Titans for most rushing attempts per game with 32. The most interesting aspect of this game is whether Philadelphia can get their ground game going against the Buccaneers 12th ranked DVOA rushing defense. Expect the Eagles to relentlessly work to establish the run even if their attempts prove fruitless. Much more of a threat on the ground than through the air, Jalen Hurts is one of the sneakier plays on this slate at an expected 6 – 10% ownership.

Tampa Bay’s offense remains a juggernaut even without Chris Godwin. Leonard Fournette will get the bulk of the work on the ground but Ke’Shawn Vaughn has earned a role in this offense. I like him especially in milly maker builds. I think Tampa gets it done here but in a closer game than many expect.

FAVORITE BET: EAGLES +8.5

49ERS (23.75) AT COWBOYS (26.75)

There’s an awful lot of disrespect being shown to America’s Team this week throughout the industry. Nevertheless, the Boys welcome back Tony Pollard and with the exception of Michael Gallup are in excellent health. While Dallas is a three-point favorite, they’ve proven to be vulnerable against the better teams in the league.

San Francisco is also fully healthy and clicking on all cylinders at just the right time.The Niners deployed their potent ground game and bevy of receiving weapons to perfection in last week’s overtime win in Los Angeles. The biggest challenge on Sunday’s slate is to decide who to target from this stacked offense.

Ultimately, this feels like a game that will be decided by coaching. Mike McCarthy and Kyle Shanahan are perhaps best-known for their questionable decision making – especially in the playoffs (28-3 sound familiar?) – and I’ll side with McCarthy making fewer mistakes – this week.

FAVORITE BET: COWBOYS MONEY LINE

STEELERS (16.75) AT CHIEFS (29.25)

Do you believe in miracles? You must if you foresee this game as being competitive. The Chiefs ran roughshod over these same Steelers, 36-10, at Arrowhead less than a month ago. While Ben Roethlisberger is gamely working to amp his team up by telling them they have no chance, he’s not exactly wrong. If this game stays close it will likely be through a heavy dose of Najee Harris.

The only predictable thing about the Kansas City offense in the second half of the season has been a reliance on the ground game and game plans that grind the clock. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire out, Darrel Williams is primed to take advantage of a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed massive games from opposing Running Backs. I’ll be mixing and matching the Kansas City players in lineups using a variety of different game scripts.

FAVORITE BET: CHIEFS -12.5

PLAYER RANKS

NOTE – These are core pieces and not the entirety of my player pool.

QB – Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts

RB – Leonard Fournette, Elijah Mitchell, Darrel Williams, Najee Harris, Ke’Shawn Vaughn

WR – Deebo Samuel, Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, Diontae Johnson, Devonta Smith, Tyreek Hill, Byron Pringle

TE – Dalton Schultz, Dallas Goeddert, Rob Gronkowski, George Kittle, Travis Kelce

D/ST – Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Dallas

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