Ultimately, I went 7-5 on Wildcard Weekend, completely whiffing on Cowboys/Bucs to finish. (Each of Brett Maher’s FOUR missed extra points kept the game from hitting the over.) Now we enter the NFL’s best weekend, and the league has served us four terrific games. The goal is simply to stay above .500 the rest of the way.
This week’s three-bullet approach will be a point on each team and a score prediction. Again, my picks against the spread and the total are in the final score predictions. All numbers from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Jaguars at Chiefs (-8.5), Over/Under 53
- There is nothing particularly interesting about the Chiefs. We saw this story in New England for decades. When you have the best coach and quarterback at the same time, you’ll find yourself in just about every conference title game. The Reid/Mahomes Chiefs have reached a point where they don’t play an important game until late January.
- The Jags did not look good in their regular season finale, and that carried over into Los Angeles. Fun comeback, sure, but felt more like a Chargers collapse than a Jaguars creation. (Still mind blowing that the scapegoat for that loss has been the LA offensive staff and not the head coach.)
- Chiefs 40, Jaguars 27
Giants at Eagles (-7.5), Over/Under 48
- Which quarterback is going to have more success on the ground. Jalen Hurts averaged 4.6 yards per carry this season. Daniel Jones averaged 5.9. Giants’ receivers won’t be as wide open against this secondary, and Jones won’t have hours in the pocket against this pass rush. If Jones isn’t moving the chains with his legs, the Giants will be chasing this game.
- There are 2006 Chicago Bears vibes with this 2022 Eagles team. Nobody believed that Bears team was capable of making it to the Super Bowl, even though they’d been the best team in the conference the entire season. The Eagles are quite simply the far better team here. Theyll find a way.
- Eagles 27, Giants 20
Bengals at Bills (-5), Over/Under 48.5
- Who the hell knows? Honestly, how is this spread five points? There is very little discernible difference between these two clubs, so the small advantage goes to Buffalo’s home field. (But they were home last weekend and looked about as sloppy as they have all year.)
- If you’re looking for a Bengals advantage, it is turnovers. Bengals were +6 on the season and used a shocking turnover to advance from the first round. Bills broke even with turnover differential during the season and tried everything they could to fumble and drop their playoff opener. My brain tells me this is a budding upset. But…
- Bills 33, Bengals 30
Cowboys at 49ers (-3.5), Over/Under 46
- One wonders about Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy now that they have exorcised some demons. The criticism of Dak was building weekly, as his play continued to get worse at the end of the season. And Mike McCarthy was going to be fired if the Cowboys lost Monday night, despite what Jerry Jones said publicly. Now they are both on firm ground and coming off their best performance of the season.
- This is the most ferocious pass rush Brock Purdy will face in his short time as San Fran’s starting QB, barring an injured Micah Parsons, but the Niners have the perfect passing game to counter an edge rush, with McCaffrey, Kittle, etc. It will come down to Purdy’s decision making under pressure and I think the moment gets to him ever so slightly enough to be the difference in the ball game.
- Cowboys 26, 49ers 23 (OT)