It’s pretty rare that all four games on Wildcard Weekend are expected to be competitive but we should be in for a treat this weekend. Every game is within a touchdown spread and three of the four games are within a field goal. For an in-depth breakdown of these games be sure to check out Evan Silva’s Matchups column.
LA Chargers at Baltimore (1:05 PM ET): Since Lamar Jackson took over as the Ravens starter in Week 11, they’ve run the fewest plays when losing by seven points or more. Their ability to keep games in a neutral or positive game script is remarkable and has helped give them the chance to stick to their run-heavy game plan. The weather could help Baltimore even more in this one with 13-15 MPH winds expected. This doesn’t cross the 15 MPH threshold where we see a decline in quarterbacks’ yards per attempt or completion percentage, but it’s close. Other than the potentially strong winds, 45-degree temperatures and partly cloudy skies shouldn’t be an issue. The weather will be something to monitor leading up to game time because any kind of climate that deters passing will give Baltimore even more of an advantage.
Philadelphia at Chicago (4:40 PM ET): Nick Foles will take on his toughest test of the season on the road against the Bears Defense. They rank inside the top-5 in nearly every metric albeit against a relatively soft strength of schedule. The Eagles Offense vs the Bears Defense is the matchup that will determine the flow of this game. Weather could also play a factor in Foles’ success as 12 MPH winds with gusts over 15 MPH are expected. With the wind chill, it’s expected to feel like 30 degrees. As I mentioned above this wind speed isn’t anything to worry about now but certainly something to keep an eye on.
Home Teams are Dome Teams
Half of this week’s games will be played indoors or in a stadium with a retractable roof. Even if these games were outdoors both locations would feature mild 60-degree temperatures with a slight breeze.
Indianapolis @ Houston (4:35 PM ET, Saturday): The Texans host the Colts in these team’s third meeting of the season. The series is currently split 1-1 but the Texans enter the game as slight one-point favorites.
Seattle at Dallas (8:25 PM ET, Saturday): This is such an interesting game from the standpoint that both teams have similar philosophies. Both want to run the ball as much as possible in attempts to establish the pass (even though this has largely been debunked as a myth) and control the clock.