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With the NFL regular season officially in the books, we adjust our power ratings and look forward to a new slate of games for the Wild Card round of the playoffs. As with every week, to determine a power-rated line, take the difference between the teams' power rating and factor in home field advantage. Remember, power ratings are the start of the handicap and should be a foundation to build upon. These values represent what a team is on any given week. It will certainly fluctuate as the year progresses.
BIGGEST UPGRADE: BUF
I originally lowered Buffalo in my power ratings based off of the Hamlin situation. I was fearful they would be distracted and it would impact their game negatively. In some respects, that probably was true. They didn’t play their best game, but were able to cover based upon two kickoff return touchdowns. With another week removed from the incident and Hamlin discharged from the hospital, this Bills team is poised to make a playoff run and are my number 1 power rated team in the NFL.
BIGGEST DOWNGRADE: JAX
I wasn’t impressed with Jacksonville’s showing in a must win game against the Titans. Afterall, the Jaguars were heavy dogs with 3 minutes left in the game. At that point, Josh Dobbs was sacked, fumbled, and it was returned for a touchdown. The Jaguars needed that miracle play in order to beat a Titans team that started Josh Dobbs at quarterback. If they weren’t playing the Chargers this week, they wouldn’t have a shot at the second round.
SOMETHING OF NOTE: WILD CARD TRENDS
The Wild Card offers a bevy of betting opportunities and angles that don’t necessarily materialize in the regular season. Two of the best Wild Card trends to target is backing teams with a substantially more difficult strength of schedule . The second is to fade teams who are starting quarterbacks with zero playoff experience. Neither are blind bets, but both have been profitable and certainly should be taken into consideration when handicapping the games this weekend.
Wild Card Power Ratings
Wild Card Power Ratings vs. Lines
By Steve Rieder
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