I’m sorry this is so late. My 5 year-old son puked all over the house today. It was as gross as Jalen Hurts’ performance last week.
Anyway, I hope everyone appreciates this weekend. It’s the last Saturday-Sunday football combo until September 10th and 11th, 2022. Very sad. Like my picks.
Last Week: 3 – 3 – 0
Playoffs: 3 – 3 – 0
Saturday, January 22
(4) Bengals at (1) Titans [4:30PM ET, CBS]
I just don’t trust the Bengals here. They played poorly in the 2nd half last week and got lucky the Raiders weren’t good enough to capitalize. The Titans, on the other hand, will grind and grind and grind. The Bengals also have that “happy to have made it this far” vibe to them where as the Titans are just getting started. I think AJ Brown rules the day and Joe Burrow is under intense pressure all afternoon. TITANS -3.5
(6) 49ers at (1) Packers [8:15PM ET, FOX]
I really don’t understand the 49er love here. The win over Dallas was thrilling, but San Francisco tried so hard to give that game away. Everyone kept talking about the Cowboys mental errors (and there were plenty), but the 49ers were let off the hook simply because they survived. The roughing the kicker penalty was inexcusable both on the player and the call. Why are you trying to punt block there? Just take the ball and great field position and extend your lead. On the fake punt in the 4th quarter the 49ers were correctly in punt safe coverage but the gunner had a brain fart and forgot to look for the fake. Then there was the Jimmy G interception, which was just downright awful. Sorry, Aaron Rodgers is a heat-seeking missile right now and I don’t trust the 49ers to do everything right to win. That San Francisco secondary will be in for a long day. PACKERS -5.5
Sunday, January 23
(4) Rams at (2) Buccaneers [3:00PM ET, NBC]
Tampa Bay is a better version of the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles. They’re battling and still a good football team, but they are battered, bruised and worn down. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles were an easy out for such a proven team like the Buccaneers, but the Rams are young, hungry and extremely healthy for this late in the season. The Bucs must force Matthew Stafford to be the turnover version of Stafford. If they can successfully do that, Tampa Bay should finish on top. I just don’t think Sean McVay is going to ask Stafford to do anything extravagant, just as he did in the Wildcard round. RAMS +3
(3) Bills at (2) Chiefs [6:30PM ET, CBS]
When you look at the numbers, the Bills defense is really, really good. Now look at the schedule. After Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, where are the good quarterbacks on Buffalo’s schedule? Yes, they already beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead this season. That was three months ago, though. You know, before the Chiefs decided to try and stop the opponent. Like everyone else, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills won. Josh Allen is awesome and the emergence of Buffalo’s run game is a scary development for the Chiefs. However, Kansas City’s offense has scored more than 31 points in every home playoff game Mahomes has started and finished. The Bills can certainly match that output but I think the Chiefs will take away Buffalo’s run game and force the Bills to be a one-dimensional offense dependent completely on Allen. That’s certainly not a death sentence for the Bills, because Allen is that good, but he’s also not immune to interceptions (15 on the season). Too many are writing off the Chiefs. I’m riding with the proven winners at this point. CHIEFS -1.5