I’d like to begin issues off in the present day by apologizing to the NFL. When they determined to alter the title of “Wild Card Weekend” to “Super Wild Card Weekend,” I believed it was going to be the largest advertising and marketing failure since Crystal Clear Pepsi, however I used to be mistaken, as a result of the soccer we received over the weekend was Super Wild.
That being stated, if anybody from Pepsi is studying, are you able to convey again the crystal clear stuff, as a result of I really favored it. One factor I do not like although is attempting to choose video games within the divisional spherical. The key to choosing divisional video games is to not overthink it, which could possibly be powerful for me as a result of I overthink every thing. I imply, I as soon as spent 4 days pondering over a chess transfer and I wasn’t even taking part in anybody.
The motive you do not wish to overthink issues within the divisional spherical is as a result of the house workforce often dominates. Over the previous 10 years, dwelling groups have gone 29-11, which mainly means we’re getting a mean of roughly one upset per 12 months, which implies I ought to most likely choose at the very least one upset this week.
On the opposite hand, dwelling groups went 1-3 final 12 months, so possibly I have to get wild and choose all upsets. Crap. I actually simply advised myself to not overthink my picks this week and right here we’re, one paragraph later, and I’m already overthinking them.
So will I really choose any upsets this week? Let’s get to the picks and discover out.
Actually, earlier than we get to the picks, this is a fast reminder that you could try the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. If you click on over, you may discover that I went 5-1, which I’d brag about, however I am unable to, as a result of two of our guys went 6-0.
If you have ever questioned what it will be like to hang around with me and watch soccer, then make sure you head to our Pick Six YouTube page. I am going stay on YouTube with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson after each playoff sport and it is a good place to make enjoyable me for lacking picks.
Alright, I’m going to stop stalling so we are able to get to the picks.
Divisional spherical picks
No. 4 Jacksonville (10-8) at No. 1 Kansas City (14-3)
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Featured Game | Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
I feel I’ve stated this earlier than, however I’m going to say it once more, there are three ensures in life: Death, taxes and Andy Reid profitable off the bye. Since I’m not lifeless and I have never paid taxes since 2001, I do not know a lot about these first two issues, however I do know sufficient to by no means choose towards Reid when his workforce is coming off a bye.
In his 24-year teaching profession, Reid is 28-5 coming off a bye, together with playoff video games. He’s been so unbeatable that Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson and I as soon as wrote a music about it. However, as you may discover beneath, we did not put a lot effort into singing it or writing it, and it isn’t very catchy.
Hopefully, Rihanna will sing our music on the Super Bowl halftime present in order that America will lastly have the option absolutely respect our musical genius.
As for Reid’s success off the bye, in case you solely embrace the video games the place Reid has had Patrick Mahomes, then he is really even higher. Mahomes has a profession report of 9-1 off the bye and the Chiefs have averaged 30.1 factors in these 10 video games.
Of course, if there’s one one that can beat Andy Reid coming off a bye, it’d simply be Doug Pederson and that is as a result of he is aware of Reid higher than anybody. The Jaguars coach spent 10 years with Reid, together with three as a participant in Green Bay (1997-99) and 7 as an assistant coach, with 4 of these coming in Philadelphia (2009-12) and three in Kansas City (2013-15). In quick, Pederson will not be going to be intimidated going into Kansas City and he isn’t going be intimidated by the truth that individuals are writing songs about Andy Reid.
The Jaguars have sufficient firepower to maintain this shut so long as Trevor Lawerence does not do something loopy, you recognize, like throw 4 interceptions within the first half. Although I feel the Jags will be capable of grasp with the Chiefs, I am unable to choose the upset right here. My fundamental subject with the Jags is that their largest weak spot on protection is stopping tight ends and that is not a weak spot you wish to have once you’re dealing with Kansas City’s offense.
The Jaguars surrendered 1,087 receiving yards to tight ends this 12 months and 13.1 yards per reception to tight ends, which had been each the third-worst within the NFL. Travis Kelce might need 300 receiving yards by the point this sport is over. If the Jags go all-out attempting to close down Kelce, then that can virtually actually open different issues up for everybody else on the Chiefs’ offense.
The Jags are going to have to choose their poison and it may result in a sluggish dying, which brings me again to my authentic level: The solely issues assured in life are dying and Andy Reid profitable off the bye, and taxes, I assume, however provided that you really pay them. (And if anybody from the IRS is studying this, I really love paying taxes. It’s actually one among my three favourite issues about residing on this nation).
THE PICK: Chiefs 31-24 over Jaguars
Record choosing JAX-KC video games this season: 1-0
Record choosing Jaguars video games this season: 8-10
Record choosing Chiefs video games this season: 16-1
No. 6 N.Y. Giants (10-7-1) at No. 1 Philadelphia (14-3)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (Fox)
Featured Game | Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
On paper, this sport looks like it may flip right into a blowout: The Eagles have the higher offense, the higher protection and a wholesome Jalen Hurts is healthier than Daniel Jones. And as I stated earlier, I’m NOT going to overthink issues this week and probably the most notable factor about this sport is that these two groups have already performed twice this season with the Giants getting outscored 70-38.
When two division rivals meet within the playoffs, I do not essentially take note of what occurred throughout the common season, however on this sport, it is sort of arduous to disregard. The Eagles blew out the Giants twice this 12 months with wins of 48-22 and 22-16, and sure, I depend that second rating as a blowout as a result of it was 19-3 halfway by the fourth quarter.
Apparently, it is alleged to be powerful to beat a workforce 3 times in a single season, however I needed to search out that out for myself, so I made a decision to truly perform a little research (This really simply includes me emailing our analysis division, so there’s probably not an excessive amount of work concerned on my finish, so do not feel sorry for me).
Anyway, since 1970, a complete of 24 groups have gone 2-0 towards a divisional opponent within the common season after which confronted them once more within the playoffs and people 24 groups have gone 15-9 within the third sport, which implies 62.5% of the groups have completed the three-game sweep, however that additionally implies that the 0-2 workforce has received the third sport 37.5% of the time, and I feel what I’m attempting to say right here is that I simply did all that analysis for nothing, as a result of that is not sufficient info to assist me choose this sport.
The Eagles are an enormous favourite, however I’m unsure if I can belief them proper now due primarily to the truth that I watched them play three straight unhealthy video games to finish the season.
- Week 16: Eagles lose 40-34 to the Cowboys. Yes, Gardner Minshew was beginning, however he does not play protection and the protection received gashed for 40 factors by the Cowboys.
- Week 17: Eagles lose 20-10 to the Saints. In this spot, they misplaced a house sport to a workforce that ultimately completed the season with a shedding report. That’s not ultimate.
- Week 18: Eagles beat Giants 22-16. With the the No. 1 seed within the NFC on the road, the Eagles barely beat a Giants workforce that was resting practically all of its starters. I repeat, the Eagles struggled towards the Giants backups. I do know I listed this sport as a “blowout” a little bit bit earlier, however I’m now retracting that assertion. As everyone knows, I’m allowed one retraction per picks column.
By the time this sport kicks off, Jalen Hurts can have solely performed one sport over the previous month and he did not look good in that sport. Also, throughout the Eagles blowout win in Week 14, the Giants had been lacking three starters — DL Leonard Williams, CB Adoree’ Jackson, S Xavier McKinney — who all may have a big impact this week. I imply, simply take a look at what Jackson did to Justin Jefferson throughout the wild-card spherical.
If he pulls that off towards A.J. Brown, the Eagles will probably be in bother.
I’m not saying the Giants are this 12 months’s workforce of future, nevertheless it’s sort of beginning to really feel that approach. The final THREE instances the Giants have received their opening spherical playoff sport, they’ve ended up within the Super Bowl and I’m going to say they take one step nearer on Saturday evening by stunning the Eagles.
THE PICK: Giants 23-20 over Eagles
Record choosing NYG-PHI video games this season: 2-0
Record choosing Giants video games this season: 10-7-1
Record choosing Eagles video games this season: 11-6
No. 3 Cincinnati (13-4) at No. 2 Buffalo (14-3)
Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (CBS)
Featured Game | Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals
There’s a very good likelihood we may see one of the emotional pregames in NFL historical past earlier than these two groups kickoff on Sunday. This sport will probably be performed precisely 20 days after Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the sphere in Cincinnati in what was one of the horrifying moments in NFL historical past.
With Hamlin out of the hospital and now again in Buffalo, it would not be shocking in any respect to see him make an look at Highmark Stadium this week for what may simply find yourself being the most effective sport of the divisional spherical. If we do not depend the six minutes of soccer that these two groups performed on Jan. 2 — and let’s not — then this would be the first assembly ever between Joe Burrow and Josh Allen.
If you want offensive fireworks, then that is the sport for you: Both groups ranked within the high eight within the NFL in factors per sport, offensive yards per sport and passing yards per sport throughout the common season. Although the Bengals offense struggled towards the Ravens within the wild-card spherical, I’m unsure I’d learn an excessive amount of into that. Joe Burrow struggled towards AFC North groups this 12 months, however he dominated everybody else he performed. Here’s a take a look at how Burrow has finished within the Bengals’ 17 video games, together with the playoffs:
- Joe Burrow vs. AFC North groups (4-3): 257.9 passing yards per sport, 13 TD, 9 INT
- Burrow vs. Non-AFC North groups (9-1): 287.9 passing yards per sport, 23 TD, 3 INT
What this implies is that groups that are not used to taking part in Burrow are getting destroyed by Burrow. The Bills received a small style of that in Week 17. Although the stats do not depend, Burrow had an ideal QB score (158.3) after beginning 4 of 4 for 52 yards and a TD.
Of course, it is also value noting that the Bills additionally beat up on non-divisional groups. The distinction is that Allen wasn’t essentially a greater QB in these video games.
- Josh Allen vs. AFC East groups (5-2): 269.3 passing yards per sport, 15 TD, 5 INT
- Allen vs. Non-AFC East groups (9-1): 250 passing yards per sport, 23 TD, 11 INT
The drawback with Allen is that he has been turnover machine this 12 months. Besides his 16 interceptions, he is additionally misplaced six fumbles, and though I’m not good at math, I do know that 16 plus six equals 22, which was probably the most turnovers by ANY quarterback within the NFL this 12 months.
Not solely has Burrow had fewer turnovers, however he is additionally been an objectively higher within the fourth quarter this 12 months.
I feel what I’m attempting to say right here is that if we’re solely trying on the 2022 season, the quarterback I belief extra on this sport is Burrow.
That being stated, even when I belief Burrow extra, the Bengals may nonetheless be in some bother this week and that is as a result of they only misplaced their beginning left sort out (Jonah Williams). Through the primary 16 weeks of the season, the Bengals had been one among simply two groups within the NFL that began the identical offensive line in each sport, however after shedding Williams, they’ve now misplaced three starters over the previous three weeks, which may make issues dicey (They’ve additionally misplaced proper sort out La’el Collins and proper guard Alex Cappa). Cappa and Williams are each “Week-to-Week,” nevertheless it appears unlikely that they’ll play.
The Bengals are 0-3 this 12 months when Burrow will get sacked 5 or extra instances, however 13-1 when he is sacked fewer than 5 instances, which implies they only have to guarantee that the revamped offensive line is functioning nicely sufficient in order that Burrow does not spend the complete sport operating for his life.
The final time these two groups performed one another in January got here on the finish of the 1988 season once they met within the AFC Championship, which appears sort of becoming, for the reason that winner of this sport will probably be headed to the AFC Championship.
Burrow has NEVER misplaced within the month of January (6-0) in his profession, so I really feel like I’ve to roll with him right here.
THE PICK: Bengals 27-24 over Bills
Record choosing Bengals video games this season: 13-4
Record choosing Bills video games this season: 14-3
No. 5 Dallas (13-5) at No. 2 San Francisco (14-4)
Sunday, 6 p.m. ET (Fox)
Featured Game | San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys
This is a rematch from final 12 months’s postseason, though I’m guessing that almost all Cowboys followers do not keep in mind that sport as a result of they’ve already repressed the reminiscence to a darkish nook of their mind. Even if Cowboys followers do not bear in mind it, Mike McCarthy undoubtedly does and that is as a result of everybody on the web mainly spent six straight months making enjoyable of McCarthy and the Cowboys for the best way the sport ended.
If you want a reminder on how that sport ended, this is a fast refresher:
The Cowboys had no timeouts and no approach to cease the clock, however they nonetheless referred to as a QB draw with 14 seconds left. People on the web do not unite on a lot, however they undoubtedly united to make enjoyable of that decision. In a way, America’s workforce introduced America collectively, however I’m guessing that is not how they needed to do it.
The loopy factor about this sport is that there is undoubtedly an opportunity that it may flip into an offensive shootout. Since Week 7, these have been the TWO HIGHEST SCORING groups within the NFL and that primarily has to do with the truth that each groups had one thing large occur that week: The 49ers traded for Christian McCaffrey whereas Dak Prescott returned from his harm.
Although this sport may flip right into a shootout, it additionally may flip right into a defensive battle and that is as a result of each of those groups rank within the high 5 for fewest factors allowed throughout the 2022 season.
The most fascinating teaching matchup on this sport undoubtedly includes Kyle Shanahan’s offense going up towards Dan Quinn’s protection. I swear, any time these two guys are on the identical discipline collectively, one thing loopy occurs. I’m certain everybody remembers the Falcons‘ epic collapse in Super Bowl LI. In that sport, the Falcons head coach was Quinn whereas the offensive coordinator was Shanahan, so I assume we will lastly discover out who we must always blame for Atlanta’s collapse.
The 49ers have been among the finest groups within the NFL this 12 months, however I’m nonetheless unsure how they’ll look towards a very good workforce. The 49ers had the simplest power of schedule within the NFL this 12 months and half their wins got here in a foul division (Including the playoffs, they went 7-0 towards NFC West groups and 7-4 towards everybody else). Also, since Brock Purdy took over the beginning job, the 49ers have not actually been examined as a result of they have not actually confronted any good groups. Purdy has seemed nice, however he confronted 5 groups within the common season that completed with a mixed report of 35-49-1.
Last 12 months, the 49ers had been the underdog and I picked them to upset the Cowboys. This 12 months, I’m doing the other. Only 4 rookie quarterbacks — Shaun King, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez — have ever made it to a convention title sport and I do not suppose Purdy goes to be the fifth.
And you recognize what, I’ll even say this issues ends with a game-winning discipline purpose from the man (Brett Maher) who cannot make an additional level.
THE PICK: Cowboys 34-31 over 49ers
Record choosing Cowboys video games this season: 10-8
Record choosing 49ers video games this season: 13-5
Best choose: Last week, I predicted Chargers and guess what occurred? The Jaguars pulled off an upset win over the Chargers. Now, did I do know that the Chargers had been going to choke away a 27-point lead throughout one of many largest meltdowns in NFL playoff historical past? Of course, I did.over the
This is the Chargers we’re speaking about and there isn’t any workforce higher than them at epic collapses, besides possibly the Falcons, however we are able to argue that one other time. I used to be so certain the Chargers would discover a new, improbable approach to lose that I might need willed it into existence.
I imply, simply take a look at what I wrote in regards to the sport final week, “This could be the craziest game of the wild-card round… I just have this sinking feeling that the Chargers are going to find a way to Charger things up… I’m not exactly sure what will happen, but whatever it is, we’ll all feel sorry for the Chargers when it happens, and it will only get more awkward when Jaxson De Ville celebrates the miscue while wearing a speedo.”
The solely factor I missed on was Jaxson De Ville celebrating in a speedo, so to make up for that, this is Jaxson De Ville in a speedo.
As this tweet notes, the Jaguars did not begin to flip round their season till their mascot began sporting a speedo. Maybe all mascots ought to put on speedos.
Worst choose: I solely missed one choose throughout the wild-card spherical and that was as a result of I made a decision to take the Buccaneers over the Cowboys for some motive. If you watched the Buccaneers play in any respect this season, it was fairly clear that their offense was horrible and that that they had no shot of profitable within the playoffs. However, I talked myself into believing that Tom Brady may one way or the other will them to a win, however I used to be mistaken. I’d say this was Brady’s largest lack of the week, however I’d most likely even be mistaken about that since this additionally occurred.
The ethical of the story right here is that it is best to by no means choose a workforce to win if their quarterback simply misplaced out on 1.1 million shares of one thing.
Straight up in wild-card spherical: 5-1
SU total in playoffs: 5-1
Against the unfold in wild-card spherical: 3-3
ATS total in playoffs: 3-3
Final 2022 common season report
Against the unfold: 129-133-9