Archive for January, 2023

NFL 2022 Conference Championship Picks

January 28th, 2023 Comments off

San Francisco (+2.5) at Philadelphia
YepI should be picking the visitors here. I’ve been talking about a Super Bowl XVI/XXIII rematch since before the postseason started. And both San Francisco and Cincinnati go into conference championship weekend with a great chance to make it happen. And maybe if the Niners were hosting, I wouldn’t be second guessing myself. But the Eagles are hosting. And, great as the 49ers defense may be — and resilient as San Fran’s offense may be — the Eagles are one of the most complete and well balanced teams we’ve seen in recent years. It’s hard to overcome a team like that in any arena, let alone their own. I’m expecting a close, low-scoring game the outcome of which is in question right up to the final seconds. And I’m expecting the Eagles to come out ahead by a point.

Cincinnati (+1.5) at Kansas City
Sure, let’s all focus on how Patrick Mahomes’ injured leg affects what the Kansas City offense can accomplish in this game (or doesn’t affect it, depending on your point of view). That seems like much more fun than simply acknowledging that the Bengals, once again, are the more balanced — which is to say better — football team. Cincinnati by four.

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NFL 2022 Divisional Round Picks

January 21st, 2023 Comments off

Jacksonville (+9) at Kansas City
The Jaguars are not the same team that lost by 10 points in Kansas City back in mid November. So I wouldn’t be entirely shocked to see an upset here, especially if Jacksonville catches the hosts napping early and builds a two-score lead. But I’m not predicting that. Kansas City simply has too much going for it on offense to lose to a Jacksonville squad that’s probably still a season away from being a real threat in the postseason. I’m just looking for the Jaguars to keep it competitive. Kansas City by three.

NY Giants (+7.5) at Philadelphia
This is the third meeting between these division rivals in over the course of just six weeks. And it presents the Eagles with the difficult task of beating a team for the third time in a season. The Giants, who have a history of playing tough in the role of postseason underdogs, won’t make it easy. In the end, I think we see a high scoring game in which Philadelphia’s offense is able to outpace New Jersey’s — but not by much. Eagles put up three in the closing seconds to come away with a one-point win.

Cincinnati (+5.5) at Buffalo
The league’s “solution” to the unfinished game between these two teams in week 17 thoroughly put the screws to the Bengals. Cincinnati was in control of that match when play was stopped and should be hosting this game. (Make no mistake here. There was no continuing that game. But there were better options for resolving the matter than punishing a Cincinnati team that did nothing wrong.) That isn’t to say that I believe emotion makes the difference here. I don’t. I think the fact that the Bengals are a better football team than the Bills is what makes the difference. Cincinnati by four.

Dallas (+4) at San Francisco
I don’t see the Cowboys overcoming the 49ers defense. I could say more, but that’s all that really matters. San Francisco by three.

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NFL 2022 Wild Card Round Picks

January 14th, 2023 Comments off

Seattle (+9.5) at San Francisco
I expect to see the 49ers D control this game from start to finish. San Francisco by 12.

LA Chargers (-1.5) at Jacksonville
It’s kind of disappointing that this game between two of the more exciting — if difficult to peg — teams in the tournament has to happen in the first round. But so it goes. I won’t be surprised by any outcome. Nor would any outcome disappoint me. But I think we’ll see Jacksonville control the pace of the game and come away with a narrow win. Jaguars by three.

Miami (+13.5) at Buffalo
Almost every year there’s some team in the postseason that everyone knows doesn’t really belong there. This year that team is the Dolphins. Familiarity may help Miami keep this one close through three quarters, but the Bills will put it away in the fourth. Buffalo by 10.

NY Giants (+3) at Minnesota
The Vikings could potentially find a way to lose this game. And the Giants are good enough to take advantage if the hosts give them that chance. But it’s a bit hard to envision. Minnesota by a point.

Baltimore (+8.5) at Cincinnati
If I believe the Bengals are headed for the Super Bowl (and I do), I’ve kinda got to take them here, right? Cincinnati by five.

Dallas (-2.5) at Tampa Bay
If ever there comes a day when I’m willing to pick against Tom Brady in the postseason, I’ll be sure to let you know. Tampa puts up a TD in the final minute of regulation that ultimately lifts them to a four-point margin of victory.

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NFL 2023 Week Eighteen Picks

January 7th, 2023 Comments off

Kansas City (-9) at Las Vegas
Kansas City should have been able to clinch home field through the playoffs with a win in this game. But the league’s decision to upend the seeding rules to favor Buffalo means Kansas City gets punished for something it had nothing to do with. Oh, well. The billionaire team owner can take the financial hit. And the Kansas City fans are mostly assholes anyhow. Plus, odds are the team chokes in the divisional round anyhow. KC still secures the one seed and a first-round bye with a win. And they’ll get one. By six.

Tennessee (+6.5) at Jacksonville
Neither of these teams truly deserves to be a division champion. But at least the Jaguars have been playing like they want the title. Jacksonville by four.

Tampa Bay (+4) at Atlanta
YepI’m not sure it’s wise for the Buccaneers to take this week off. There’s reason to take it. They’ve got nothing to gain from a win, and there’s something to be said for heading into the postseason knowing you’ve got a brutal wild-card round matchup with Dallas or Philadelphia coming at you. But the uneven Bucs are a team that could stand to hold on to the momentum it’s picked up down the stretch. Even still, it’s hard to imagine we’ll see all of Tampa starters on the field much past the end of the first quarter. Falcons by a touchdown.

New England (+7) at Buffalo
The only way the Patriots were ever going to have a chance at winning this game was if the Bills went in with nothing to play for. It didn’t work out that way. Buffalo by 10.

Minnesota (-7.5) at Chicago
The Bears aren’t even pretending not to be focused on 2023. And, really, who can blame them? Vikings by 13.

Baltimore (+7) at Cincinnati
I still haven’t been able to figure out why the solution to the Buffalo situation needed to involve changing the rules in a way that potentially screws the Bengals. But I’ll admit I haven’t tried much. Cincinnati’s winning this game anyhow. And probably the rematch next weekend as well. Bengals by 10.

Houston (+2.5) at Indianapolis
The Texans are one loss away from clinching the first pick in the 2023 draft. They’ll get it even if it means running the ball backward through their own end zone multiple times. Colts by four.

NY Jets (+2) at Miami
Given the near certainty of a Patriots loss to the Bills, the Dolphins appear only to need a home win to earn the opportunity to be destroyed by in Buffalo next weekend. The Jets are just assholes enough to find a way to destroy the Dolphins’ dreams. New Jersey by three.

Carolina (+3.5) at New Orleans
Who cares? Home team by three.

Cleveland (+2.5) at Pittsburgh
In which the Steelers officially back into the AFC seven seed. That’ll have everyone in Pittsburgh feeling great. For a week. Pittsburgh by four.

LA Chargers (+2.5) at Denver
The Chargers will be thinking about next weekend’s matchup with the Jaguars. And resting starters. The Broncos get the gift of a three-point win.

NY Giants (+14) at Philadelphia
I think under other circumstances, the Giants would have played hard and forced the Eagles to battle their way to the division title, conference one seed, and first-round bye. But the Giants have nothing to gain from a win, and a wild card matchup with the Vikings to get ready for. Eagles by 17.

Arizona (+14) at San Francisco
The Niners have a solid chance of taking this thing all the way. The Cardinals gave up on this season a long time ago. San Francisco by 10.

LA Rams (+6) at Seattle
The Seahawks are trying to play their way into the tournament. The Rams are still trying to get over their Super Bowl hangover. Seattle by four.

Dallas (-7) at Washington
There’s no reason to believe the Cowboys will have anything to play for by the time this game kicks off. So I’m thinking maybe they only win by three.

Detroit (+4.5) at Green Bay
The Lions will have been eliminated before kickoff. If that weren’t the case, I might actually have picked them. The Packers will get the win here that enables them to lose in San Francisco next weekend. Green Bay by six.

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