2023 NFL divisional playoff picks: Giants shock Eagles, Cowboys upset 49ers, Bengals stun Payments
I might like to begin issues off right this moment by apologizing to the NFL. Once they determined to vary the identify of “Wild Card Weekend” to “Tremendous Wild Card Weekend,” I believed it was going to be the largest advertising failure since Crystal Clear Pepsi, however I used to be improper, as a result of the soccer we acquired over the weekend was Tremendous Wild.
That being mentioned, if anybody from Pepsi is studying, are you able to deliver again the crystal clear stuff, as a result of I truly favored it. One factor I do not like although is attempting to select video games within the divisional spherical. The important thing to choosing divisional video games is to not overthink it, which might be powerful for me as a result of I overthink every part. I imply, I as soon as spent 4 days pondering over a chess transfer and I wasn’t even enjoying anybody.
The explanation you do not wish to overthink issues within the divisional spherical is as a result of the house staff normally dominates. Over the previous 10 years, house groups have gone 29-11, which principally means we’re getting a median of roughly one upset per 12 months, which suggests I ought to most likely decide at the very least one upset this week.
Then again, house groups went 1-3 final 12 months, so perhaps I have to get wild and decide all upsets. Crap. I actually simply instructed myself to not overthink my picks this week and right here we’re, one paragraph later, and I am already overthinking them.
So will I truly decide any upsets this week? Let’s get to the picks and discover out.
Truly, earlier than we get to the picks, this is a fast reminder you can take a look at the weekly picks from each CBSSports.com NFL skilled by clicking right here. In case you click on over, you will discover that I went 5-1, which I might brag about, however I am unable to, as a result of two of our guys went 6-0.
In case you’ve ever questioned what it could be like to hang around with me and watch soccer, then ensure you head to our Decide Six YouTube web page. I am going reside 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’ll give up stalling so we will get to the picks.
Divisional spherical picks
No. 4 Jacksonville (10-8) at No. 1 Kansas Metropolis (14-3)
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Featured Sport | Kansas Metropolis Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
I feel I’ve mentioned this earlier than, however I’ll say it once more, there are three ensures in life: Loss of life, taxes and Andy Reid successful off the bye. Since I am not lifeless and I have not paid taxes since 2001, I do not know a lot about these first two issues, however I do know sufficient to by no means decide in opposition to Reid when his staff 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 is been so unbeatable that Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson and I as soon as wrote a track about it. Nonetheless, as you will 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 track on the Tremendous Bowl halftime present in order that America will lastly have the ability absolutely admire our musical genius.
As for Reid’s success off the bye, for those who solely embody the video games the place Reid has had Patrick Mahomes, then he is truly even higher. Mahomes has a profession file of 9-1 off the bye and the Chiefs have averaged 30.1 factors in these 10 video games.
After all, if there’s one one who can beat Andy Reid coming off a bye, it would 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 Inexperienced Bay (1997-99) and 7 as an assistant coach (Philadelphia (2009-12) and Kansas Metropolis (2013-15). In brief, Pederson will not be going to be intimidated going into Kansas Metropolis and he isn’t going be intimidated by the truth that persons are writing songs about Andy Reid.
The Jaguars have sufficient firepower to maintain this shut so long as Trevor Lawerence would not do something loopy, you understand, like throw 4 interceptions within the first half. Though I feel the Jags will be capable of cling with the Chiefs, I am unable to decide the upset right here. My important situation with the Jags is that their greatest weak point on protection is stopping tight ends and that is not a weak point you wish to have whenever you’re going through Kansas Metropolis’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 have been each the third-worst within the NFL. Travis Kelce may need 300 receiving yards by the point this sport is over. If the Jags go all-out attempting to close down Kelce, then that may nearly actually open different issues up for everybody else on the Chiefs’ offense. The Jags are going to have to select their poison and it is going to result in a sluggish dying, which brings me again to my unique level: The one issues assured in life are dying and Andy Reid successful off the bye, and taxes, I assume, however provided that you truly pay them. (And if anybody from the IRS is studying this, I truly love paying taxes. It is actually one in every of my three favourite issues about residing on this nation).
THE PICK: Chiefs 31-24 over Jaguars
Report choosing JAX-KC video games this season: 1-0
Report choosing Jaguars video games this season: 8-10
Report 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 Sport | Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
On paper, this sport looks as if 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 mentioned 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 in the course of the common season, however on this sport, it is sort of laborious 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 means of the fourth quarter.
Apparently, it is presupposed to be powerful to beat a staff 3 times in a single season, however I needed to seek out that out for myself, so I made a decision to truly perform some research (This truly 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 in opposition to 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 suggests 62.5% of the groups have completed the three-game sweep, however that additionally signifies that the 0-2 staff has received the third sport 37.5% of the time, and I feel what I am attempting to say right here is that I simply did all that analysis for nothing, as a result of that is not sufficient data to assist me decide this sport.
The Eagles are an enormous favourite, however I am undecided 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. Sure, Gardner Minshew was beginning, however he would not play protection and the protection acquired gashed for 40 factors by the Cowboys.
- Week 17: Eagles lose 20-10 to the Saints. On this spot, they misplaced a house sport to a staff that finally completed the season with a dropping file. That is not supreme.
- 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 staff that was resting almost all of its starters. I repeat, the Eagles struggled in opposition to the Giants backups. I do know I listed this sport as a “blowout” just a little bit earlier, however I am now retracting that assertion. As everyone knows, I am allowed one retraction per picks column.
By the point 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. Additionally, in the course of the Eagles blowout win in Week 14, the Giants have been lacking three starters — DL Leonard Williams, CB Adoree’ Jackson, S Xavier McKinney — who all may have a huge effect this week. I imply, simply take a look at what Jackson did to Justin Jefferson in the course of the wild-card spherical.
If he pulls that off in opposition to A.J. Brown, the Eagles will probably be in hassle.
I am not saying the Giants are this 12 months’s staff of future, however it’s sort of beginning to really feel that means. The final THREE instances the Giants have received their opening spherical playoff sport, they’ve ended up within the Tremendous Bowl and I’ll say they take one step nearer on Saturday night time by stunning the Eagles.
THE PICK: Giants 23-20 over Eagles
Report choosing NYG-PHI video games this season: 2-0
Report choosing Giants video games this season: 10-7-1
Report 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 Sport | Buffalo Payments vs. Cincinnati Bengals
There is a good probability 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 scary moments in NFL historical past.
With Hamlin out of the hospital and now again in Buffalo, it would not be stunning in any respect to see him make an look at Highmark Stadium this week for what may simply find yourself being one of the best 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.
In case you like offensive fireworks, then that is the sport for you: Each groups ranked within the prime eight within the NFL in factors per sport, offensive yards per sport and passing yards per sport in the course of the common season. Though the Bengals offense struggled in opposition to the Ravens within the wild-card spherical, I am undecided I might learn an excessive amount of into that. Joe Burrow struggled in opposition to AFC North groups this 12 months, however he dominated everybody else he performed. This is a take a look at how Burrow has completed 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 enjoying Burrow are getting destroyed by Burrow. The Payments acquired a small style of that in Week 17. Though the stats do not depend, Burrow had an ideal QB ranking (158.3) after beginning 4 of 4 for 52 yards and a TD.
After all, it is also price noting that the Payments 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 issue with Allen is that he has been turnover machine this 12 months. Moreover his 16 interceptions, he is additionally misplaced six fumbles, and though I am 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 am attempting to say right here is that if we’re solely wanting on the 2022 season, the quarterback I belief extra on this sport is Burrow.
That being mentioned, even when I belief Burrow extra, the Bengals may nonetheless be in some hassle this week and that is as a result of they simply misplaced their beginning left sort out (Jonah Williams). By the primary 16 weeks of the season, the Bengals have been one in every of simply two groups within the NFL that began the identical offensive line in each sport, however after dropping 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,” however it appears unlikely that they are going to 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 suggests they simply have to make it possible for the revamped offensive line is functioning nicely sufficient in order that Burrow would not spend the complete sport working 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, because the 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 Payments
Report choosing Bengals video games this season: 13-4
Report choosing Payments 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 Sport | San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys
It is a rematch from final 12 months’s postseason, though I am guessing that almost all Cowboys followers do not do not forget that sport as a result of they’ve already repressed the reminiscence to a darkish nook of their mind. Even when Cowboys followers do not keep in mind it, Mike McCarthy positively does and that is as a result of everybody on the web principally spent six straight months making enjoyable of McCarthy and the Cowboys for the best way the sport ended.
In case 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 known as a QB draw with 14 seconds left. Folks on the web do not unite on a lot, however they positively united to make enjoyable of that decision. In a way, America’s staff introduced America collectively, however I am guessing that is not how they needed to do it.
The loopy factor about this sport is that there is positively 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 huge occur that week: The 49ers traded for Christian McCaffrey whereas Dak Prescott returned from his harm.
Though this sport may flip right into a shootout, it additionally may flip right into a defensive wrestle and that is as a result of each of those groups rank within the prime 5 for fewest factors allowed in the course of the 2022 season.
Essentially the most fascinating teaching matchup on this sport positively includes Kyle Shanahan’s offense going up in opposition to Dan Quinn’s protection. I swear, any time these two guys are on the identical subject collectively, one thing loopy occurs. I am certain everybody remembers the Falcons‘ epic collapse in Tremendous 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 should always blame for Atlanta’s collapse.
The 49ers have been the most effective groups within the NFL this 12 months, however I am nonetheless undecided how they are going to look in opposition to a very good staff. The 49ers had the best energy of schedule within the NFL this 12 months and half their wins got here in a nasty division (Together with the playoffs, they went 7-0 in opposition to NFC West groups and 7-4 in opposition to everybody else). Additionally, 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 appeared nice, however he confronted 5 groups within the common season that completed with a mixed file of 35-49-1.
Final 12 months, the 49ers have been the underdog and I picked them to upset the Cowboys. This 12 months, I am doing the other. Solely 4 rookie quarterbacks — Shaun King, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez — have ever made it to a convention title sport and I do not assume Purdy goes to be the fifth.
And you understand what, I am going to even say this issues ends with a game-winning subject objective from the man (Brett Maher) who cannot make an additional level.
THE PICK: Cowboys 34-31 over 49ers
Report choosing Cowboys video games this season: 10-8
Report choosing 49ers video games this season: 13-5
Greatest decide: Final 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 have been going to choke away a 27-point lead throughout one of many greatest meltdowns in NFL playoff historical past? After all, I did.over the
That is the Chargers we’re speaking about and there is not any staff higher than them at epic collapses, besides perhaps the Falcons, however we will argue that one other time. I used to be so certain the Chargers would discover a new, implausible approach to lose that I may need willed it into existence.
I imply, simply take a look at what I wrote concerning the sport final week, “This might be the craziest sport of the wild-card spherical… I simply have this sinking feeling that the Chargers are going to discover a approach to Charger issues up… I am not precisely certain what is going to occur, however no matter it’s, we’ll all really feel sorry for the Chargers when it occurs, and it’ll solely get extra awkward when Jaxson De Ville celebrates the miscue whereas sporting a speedo.”
The one 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. Possibly all mascots ought to put on speedos.
Worst decide: I solely missed one decide in the course of the wild-card spherical and that was as a result of I made a decision to take the Buccaneers over the Cowboys for some purpose. In case you watched the Buccaneers play in any respect this season, it was fairly clear that their offense was horrible and that they’d no shot of successful within the playoffs. Nonetheless, I talked myself into believing that Tom Brady may in some way will them to a win, however I used to be improper. I might say this was Brady’s greatest lack of the week, however I might most likely even be improper about that since this additionally occurred.
The ethical of the story right here is that it’s best to by no means decide a staff 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
In opposition to the unfold in wild-card spherical: 3-3
ATS total in playoffs: 3-3
Ultimate 2022 common season file
In opposition to the unfold: 129-133-9
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