2023 NFL divisional playoff picks: Giants shock Eagles, Cowboys upset 49ers, Bengals stun Payments
I would like to start out issues off right this moment by apologizing to the NFL. Once they determined to alter 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 mistaken, as a result of the soccer we bought over the weekend was Tremendous Wild.
That being mentioned, if anybody from Pepsi is studying, are you able to carry again the crystal clear stuff, as a result of I really appreciated it. One factor I do not like although is making an attempt to choose video games within the divisional spherical. The important thing to choosing divisional video games is to not overthink it, which may very well be robust for me as a result of I overthink the whole lot. I imply, I as soon as spent 4 days considering 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 crew normally dominates. Over the previous 10 years, residence groups have gone 29-11, which principally means we’re getting a mean of roughly one upset per yr, which suggests I ought to most likely decide no less than one upset this week.
Alternatively, residence groups went 1-3 final yr, so possibly I must 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 really 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 that you would be able to try the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. If you happen to click on over, you will discover that I went 5-1, which I’d brag about, however I can not, as a result of two of our guys went 6-0.
If you happen to’ve ever questioned what it could 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 recreation 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 Recreation | Kansas Metropolis Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
I believe I’ve mentioned this earlier than, however I’ll say it once more, there are three ensures in life: Demise, taxes and Andy Reid successful off the bye. Since I am 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 decide in opposition to Reid when his crew 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 music about it. Nevertheless, 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 music on the Super Bowl halftime present in order that America will lastly give you the option totally recognize our musical genius.
As for Reid’s success off the bye, when you solely embrace the video games the place Reid has had Patrick Mahomes, then he is really 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.
In fact, if there’s one one who 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 Inexperienced Bay (1997-99) and 7 as an assistant coach, with 4 of these coming in Philadelphia (2009-12) and three in Kansas Metropolis (2013-15). In brief, Pederson isn’t going to be intimidated going into Kansas Metropolis 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 already know, like throw 4 interceptions within the first half. Though I believe the Jags will be capable to cling with the Chiefs, I can not decide the upset right here. My primary challenge with the Jags is that their greatest weak spot on protection is stopping tight ends and that is not a weak spot you wish to have whenever you’re dealing with Kansas Metropolis’s offense.
The Jaguars surrendered 1,087 receiving yards to tight ends this yr and 13.1 yards per reception to tight ends, which had been each the third-worst within the NFL. Travis Kelce may need 300 receiving yards by the point this recreation is over. If the Jags go all-out making an attempt 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 choose their poison and it will result in a gradual 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 really pay them. (And if anybody from the IRS is studying this, I really love paying taxes. It is actually considered one of my three favourite issues about dwelling on this nation).
THE PICK: Chiefs 31-24 over Jaguars
Document choosing JAX-KC video games this season: 1-0
Document choosing Jaguars video games this season: 8-10
Document 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 Recreation | Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
On paper, this recreation 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 mentioned earlier, I’m NOT going to overthink issues this week and essentially the most notable factor about this recreation 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 recreation, it is sort of onerous to disregard. The Eagles blew out the Giants twice this yr 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 via the fourth quarter.
Apparently, it is alleged to be robust to beat a crew thrice in a single season, however I wished to search out that out for myself, so I made a decision to truly perform a little research (This really simply entails 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 recreation, which suggests 62.5% of the groups have completed the three-game sweep, however that additionally implies that the 0-2 crew has received the third recreation 37.5% of the time, and I believe what I am making an attempt 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 decide this recreation.
The Eagles are an enormous favourite, however I am unsure if I can belief them proper now due primarily to the truth that I watched them play three straight dangerous video games to finish the season.
- Week 16: Eagles lose 40-34 to the Cowboys. Sure, Gardner Minshew was beginning, however he does not play protection and the protection bought gashed for 40 factors by the Cowboys.
- Week 17: Eagles lose 20-10 to the Saints. On this spot, they misplaced a house recreation to a crew that finally completed the season with a dropping file. That is not splendid.
- 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 crew that was resting practically all of its starters. I repeat, the Eagles struggled in opposition to the Giants backups. I do know I listed this recreation as a “blowout” somewhat bit earlier, however I am now retracting that assertion. As everyone knows, I am allowed one retraction per picks column.
By the point this recreation kicks off, Jalen Hurts could have solely performed one recreation over the previous month and he did not look good in that recreation. Additionally, in the course of 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 have 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 likely be in hassle.
I am not saying the Giants are this yr’s crew of future, but it surely’s sort of beginning to really feel that method. The final THREE instances the Giants have received their opening spherical playoff recreation, they’ve ended up within the Tremendous Bowl and I’ll say they take one step nearer on Saturday night time by surprising the Eagles.
THE PICK: Giants 23-20 over Eagles
Document choosing NYG-PHI video games this season: 2-0
Document choosing Giants video games this season: 10-7-1
Document 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 Recreation | Buffalo Payments vs. Cincinnati Bengals
There is a good likelihood we may see one of the emotional pregames in NFL historical past earlier than these two groups kickoff on Sunday. This recreation will likely be performed precisely 20 days after Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the sector 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 the very best recreation 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 happen to like offensive fireworks, then that is the sport for you: Each groups ranked within the prime eight within the NFL in factors per recreation, offensive yards per recreation and passing yards per recreation in the course of the common season. Though the Bengals offense struggled in opposition to the Ravens within the wild-card spherical, I am unsure I’d learn an excessive amount of into that. Joe Burrow struggled in opposition to AFC North groups this yr, however he dominated everybody else he performed. Here is a have a look at how Burrow has achieved within the Bengals’ 17 video games, together with the playoffs:
- Joe Burrow vs. AFC North groups (4-3): 257.9 passing yards per recreation, 13 TD, 9 INT
- Burrow vs. Non-AFC North groups (9-1): 287.9 passing yards per recreation, 23 TD, 3 INT
What this implies is that groups that are not used to enjoying Burrow are getting destroyed by Burrow. The Bills bought 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.
In fact, it is also value 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 recreation, 15 TD, 5 INT
- Allen vs. Non-AFC East groups (9-1): 250 passing yards per recreation, 23 TD, 11 INT
The issue with Allen is that he has been turnover machine this yr. In addition to 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 essentially the most turnovers by ANY quarterback within the NFL this yr.
Not solely has Burrow had fewer turnovers, however he is additionally been an objectively higher within the fourth quarter this yr.
I believe what I am making an attempt to say right here is that if we’re solely wanting on the 2022 season, the quarterback I belief extra on this recreation 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 deal with (Jonah Williams). By way of the primary 16 weeks of the season, the Bengals had been considered one of simply two groups within the NFL that began the identical offensive line in each recreation, 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 deal with La’el Collins and proper guard Alex Cappa). Cappa and Williams are each “Week-to-Week,” but it surely appears unlikely that they are going to play.
The Bengals are 0-3 this yr when Burrow will get sacked 5 or extra instances, however 13-1 when he is sacked fewer than 5 instances, which suggests they simply must make it possible for the revamped offensive line is functioning properly sufficient in order that Burrow does not spend your complete recreation working for his life.
The final time these two groups performed one another in January got here on the finish of the 1988 season after they met within the AFC Championship, which appears sort of becoming, for the reason that winner of this recreation will likely 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
Document choosing Bengals video games this season: 13-4
Document 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 Recreation | San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys
This can be a rematch from final yr’s postseason, though I am guessing that the majority Cowboys followers do not keep in mind that recreation as a result of they’ve already repressed the reminiscence to a darkish nook of their mind. Even when Cowboys followers do not bear in mind it, Mike McCarthy undoubtedly 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.
If you happen to want a reminder on how that recreation ended, this is a fast refresher:
The Cowboys had no timeouts and no solution to cease the clock, however they nonetheless known as a QB draw with 14 seconds left. Individuals on the web do not unite on a lot, however they undoubtedly united to make enjoyable of that decision. In a way, America’s crew introduced America collectively, however I am guessing that is not how they wished to do it.
The loopy factor about this recreation 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 massive occur that week: The 49ers traded for Christian McCaffrey whereas Dak Prescott returned from his damage.
Though this recreation 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 prime 5 for fewest factors allowed in the course of the 2022 season.
Essentially the most fascinating teaching matchup on this recreation undoubtedly entails Kyle Shanahan’s offense going up in opposition to Dan Quinn’s protection. I swear, any time these two guys are on the identical area collectively, one thing loopy occurs. I am positive everybody remembers the Falcons‘ epic collapse in Tremendous Bowl LI. In that recreation, 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 among the finest groups within the NFL this yr, however I am nonetheless unsure how they are going to look in opposition to a superb crew. The 49ers had the simplest energy of schedule within the NFL this yr and half their wins got here in a foul 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 yr, the 49ers had been the underdog and I picked them to upset the Cowboys. This yr, 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 recreation and I do not suppose Purdy goes to be the fifth.
And you already know what, I will even say this issues ends with a game-winning area aim from the man (Brett Maher) who cannot make an additional level.
THE PICK: Cowboys 34-31 over 49ers
Document choosing Cowboys video games this season: 10-8
Document 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 had been going to choke away a 27-point lead throughout one of many greatest meltdowns in NFL playoff historical past? In fact, I did.over the
That is the Chargers we’re speaking about and there isn’t any crew higher than them at epic collapses, besides possibly the Falcons, however we will argue that one other time. I used to be so positive the Chargers would discover a new, unbelievable solution to lose that I may need willed it into existence.
I imply, simply have a look at what I wrote concerning the recreation final week, “This may very well be the craziest recreation of the wild-card spherical… I simply have this sinking feeling that the Chargers are going to discover a solution to Charger issues up… I am not precisely positive what’s 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 carrying 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 carrying a speedo. Perhaps 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 motive. If you happen to 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 successful within the playoffs. Nevertheless, I talked myself into believing that Tom Brady may in some way will them to a win, however I used to be mistaken. I’d say this was Brady’s greatest lack of the week, however I would 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 decide a crew 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
Towards the unfold in wild-card spherical: 3-3
ATS total in playoffs: 3-3
Ultimate 2022 common season file
Towards the unfold: 129-133-9
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