NFL Wild Card Preview: Miami at Kansas City

An in-depth betting preview for the Saturday NFL Wild Card, as the Miami Dolphins head to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs.

Preview and pick for the Wild Card matchup between the Dolphins and Chiefs

If you want a history lesson in the NFL playoffs, Google the Christmas 1971 epic between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. That’s not necessarily relevant when these 11-6 teams meet Saturday evening, though it was a helluva game.

Dolphins Chiefs NFL Wild Card previewMiami wasn’t supposed to be relegated (obligatory soccer reference) to wild-card status, but squandered a sizable lead in the AFC East, then Heimliched the division (via tiebreaker) to the Buffalo Bills. Miami lost three of its last five.

There were many fits and starts with the Kansas City Chiefs, but the team won the AFC West (again). 3-1 in its last four, hosting a pairing of teams seed Nos. 3 and 6, respectively.

It’s Kansas City as a four-point favorite (total at 44.5), according to NFL odds. The moneyline is Chiefs -220, Dolphins at +180.

This is the 33rd meeting, including the postseason (series tied, 16-16, Chiefs with wins in last four).

Those Floundering Fish

The Miami Dolphins were on pace to score about a million points this season, especially after slapping 70 (Week 3) on the Denver Broncos. Miami ended second (to the Dallas Cowboys) with an average of 29.2 points per game, but slipped precipitously in the latter portion (total of 55 points in last three).

Miami Dolphins Wild Card preview pickQuarterback Tua Tagovailoa (4,624 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, 14 interceptions) was a bit fast and loose in the final games, throwing two picks each against the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills. 

Tyreek Hill (119 receptions, 1,799 yards, 13 touchdowns), nagging injuries and all, draws his former team. Raheem Mostert (1,012 rushing yards) led the league with 18 ground touchdowns.

Chief Concerns Offensively

The Kansas City Chiefs have flipped the script more than once this season, relying on their defense (17.3 points/game, second to Baltimore) instead of that "other" side of the ball. 

Kanas City Chiefs Wild Card preview pickWith 57 sacks on this season (second in NFL), KC will try to pressure Tagovailoa. 

Offensively, 21.8 points/game was more than a touchdown off the title team of last season, quarterback Patrick Mahomes (4,183 passing yards, 27 touchdowns 14 interceptions, 27 sacks, five fumbles) "suffering" though what statistically may have been his worst season.

Running back Isiah Pacheco, despite an injury-filled season (935 yards, seven touchdowns), came on strong with 110 yards at Green Bay and 130 in his last game against the Bengals.

Defensively emasculated by the Ravens in Baltimore (56 points, 491 yards), Miami may try to shrink this game versus a Chiefs’ defense that was susceptible (113.2 yards/game) against the run.


Chiefs the Choice 

Kansas City is 10-1 (+1000) to win Super Bowl 58, Miami at 16-1 (+1600), as per Super Bowl LVIII odds.

The Miami Dolphins were unstoppable much of the early season, but hasn’t been nearly the same outfit down the stretch as it gave away the division. 

The Kansas City Chiefs, who didn’t resemble defending champs quite often during their season, seem to get the memo in the playoffs. That’s the reason we have no reservations about staying on reservation. 

Expect the Chiefs to win and cover the four-point spread against the Fish.

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