NFL Picks – Divisional Round 2024

I did the incredible last week. No, I did not go 6-0. I went 0-6, which if you think about it, is so much more impressive.

I say this every year, but this is the last Saturday-Sunday football combo until September. Cherish it.

Last Week:   0 – 6 – 0
Playoffs:       0 – 6 – 0

Yup, there it is… 0-6.. look at that beauty. I know what you’re thinking… “how is 0-6 impressive?” Because it takes an elite level of stupidity to get every game wrong, especially on a weekend where only one game was decided by one score or less. Even worse, four of my six picks lost by MULTIPLE scores. The Eagles were 27 points from a betting win, the Browns 34, the Cowboys 26 and the Dolphins 15. I watch a lot of football, I don’t do any drugs and I rarely drink alcohol. I think the Eagles just drained the life out of me and my football brain could no longer function.

Saturday, January 20

(4)Texans at (1)Ravens [4:30PM ET, ESPN]
There’s always at least one Divisional team that looked so good in the Wildcard round and then falls flat a week later. It was the Giants last year. There are two of those teams this year. Houston is one of them. Yes, the Texans are good. CJ Stroud is already an elite franchise level quarterback. There are but four teams in the league that would pass on an opportunity to swap signal callers. However, the Texans are a weird team outside. They played outdoors six times this season. Houston went 3-3 with two impressive wins and two head-scratching losses. They beat the Jaguars, Bengals and Titans (in OT) but loss to the Ravens, Panthers and Jets. Yes, Stroud went down against the Jets but he was 10/23 for 91 yards with less than seven minutes remaining in the 4th quarter before the concussion. Stroud averaged 220.3 passing yards per game when outdoors compared to 309.5 indoors. The Ravens led the NFL in sacks and Stroud was 8th in getting sacked. I know, I know, the Browns led the NFL in passing defense, but their secondary was injured and the home/away numbers for that defense were alarming. Finally, Joe Flacco isn’t the opposing quarterback this week. Yes, Lamar Jackson hasn’t lit the world on fire in the playoffs but I would bet my house he doesn’t meltdown to back-to-back pick six level of bad. RAVENS -9.5

(7)Packers at (1)49ers [8:15PM ET, FOX]
Matt LaFleur is 0-2 against Kyle Shanahan in the playoffs and 1-3 overall as Green Bay’s Head Coach. Apparently the two don’t exactly like each other despite working together in Washington. Does that matter? Well, it does if you’re an idiot that went 0-6 last week.

In my humble and generally useless opinion, I think the 49ers would have rather Dallas won last week. Tampa Bay would have no shot against the 49ers and I highly doubt a team that has owned the Cowboys the last three seasons had any fear of welcoming them to San Francisco for the NFC Championship. Instead of easing into the postseason, Shanahan and the 49ers have to battle a young, super-confident and immensely talented offense that is playing with house money. Add in the pissed off coach who is desperate for a win and things could get dicey for the NFC favorites.

Yes, Jordan Love is raw but his arm talent is a nightmare for defenses. As we witnessed in Dallas, pressure doesn’t ruin plays for the Packers, it just forces Love to show off his arm strength. Throwing off the back foot often leads to mistakes, but Love’s arm talent allows him to get away with it (most of the time). There’s also a uniqueness to Green Bay’s offense in that there is no star receiver, so who do you take away? Jayden Reed was the Packer’s leading threat and he went catch-less last week. Scheme to stop Romeo Doubs and a healthy Christian Watson is running all-alone through your secondary. Take him away and Love has no issue throwing to Dontayvion Wicks or Luke Musgrave. This offense is bad news for a 49er defense that was not exceptional against the pass. Will the Packers win? No, I don’t think so.

Kyle Shanahan knows his bread and butter is the run game. The Packers were a bottom five run defense all season. Running the football controls the game, limits Love’s opportunities, and could force the young quarterback to get antsy and start forcing things. I do think this will be the 49ers toughest test until the Super Bowl. Detroit is a lot of fun but I just don’t see them winning the NFC. PACKERS +9.5

Sunday, January 21 

(4)Buccaneers at (3)Lions [3:00PM ET, NBC]
The Eagles were so, so bad. I’m shocked by all the love being given to the Buccaneers, and I’m not saying that as a bitter Eagles fan. I of course wanted my team to win but not having to sit through another hopeless, unmotivated three hours was a mercy kill. Tampa Bay didn’t beat a playoff team, they put crippled road kill out of its misery. Is no one going to talk about how Baker Mayfield threw two interceptions that the Eagles just simply dropped? Or how he took multiple sacks to put his team out of field goal range in a one score game? The Buccaneers aren’t any good. The Lions are going to win by 17+ and everyone will realize how they confused the Eagles being atrocious for the Buccaneers being any good. LIONS -6.5

(3)Chiefs at (2)Bills [6:30PM ET, CBS]
I don’t want either of these teams to lose. Can we also celebrate that the AFC Championship will be played in Buffalo, Baltimore or Kansas City? Get domes out of football. For all those who cried about the Kansas City game being postponed… kindly shut up and go back to watching basketball or whatever controlled environment sport you prefer. The elements are a part of football. Deal with it. I didn’t see nor hear of a single player complaining.

Anyway, I think Buffalo could be in for some heartache here. The Chiefs defense is really, really good and Buffalo’s defense is really, really injured. Isiah Pacheco rushed eight times for 54 yards on Kansas City’s first three drives. He rushed 16 times for 35 yards the rest of the game. Whatever Miami did to adjust should be studied by Buffalo… or should it not?

You have to wonder if Andy Reid comes out run heavy to force the opposing defense out of its scheme. Obviously, teams are game-planning to limit Patrick Mahomes. Running the football down the defenses throat is a great way to get them into a more predictable defense that Reid can then exploit despite a less then stellar receiving corps. It worked against Miami as the Chiefs went up and down the field. It was in the red zone where things fell apart.

The red zone is where Travis Kelce has starred throughout his career. His decline and the lack of weapons around him has severely limited the Chiefs in that area. Rashee Rice has become their go to red zone threat. He had one touchdown last weekend, a second one called back, and would’ve scored another but Mahomes threw it off a Miami helmet at the line of scrimmage.

I think for the Bills to win they have to mirror their performance against Dallas. Pound the ball, make the Chiefs secondary tackle and don’t put all the pressure of winning on Josh Allen. Remember, Allen only threw for 94 yards in that win. With that said, I don’t think either team has a significant talent edge here. Without that advantage I have to ride with Mahomes because he just finds ways to win, especially in the playoffs. CHIEFS +2.5

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

© 4th and Done. All rights reserved. Powered by WordPress.