Like the Eagles, I’m just going through the motions this week. I’ll try to find some life for the Divisional Round.
Last Week: 8 – 8 – 0
2023 Season: 128 – 130 – 5
Saturday, January 13
(5)Browns at (4)Texans [4:30PM ET, NBC]
With the exception of the next game, I’m not sure home field advantage matters more than in this matchup. Indoors on fast turf instead of frozen grass in frigid temperatures is a big win for a Houston offense that doesn’t run the ball very well. For the Texans to win they’re going to have to be productive in the pass game, and that means protecting CJ Stroud. Call me crazy, but I don’t believe Joe Flacco is going to continue his hot play in the postseason, so I think the Cleveland defense is going to have to win this thing for the Browns. Stroud took the 8th most sacks in the NFL despite missing two games. Without Tank Dell I think the Browns can limit Nico Collins and force Stroud into mistakes. He doesn’t throw too many interceptions but sacks are back-breakers, especially in the postseason. I think the Browns defense is the victor. BROWNS -2
(6)Dolphins at (3)Chiefs [8:00PM ET, NBC]
In protest of making most of us subscribe to yet another streaming service; I’m not saying anything about this contest except…
I’m glad it’s going to be freeeeezing cold.
I hope the NFL looks like morons for not putting the game on a traditional broadcast.
I hope Andy Reid does the right thing and let’s Isiah Pacheco carry this offense.
(I also hope Andy Reid doesn’t retire.) DOLPHINS +4.5
Sunday, January 14
(7)Steelers at (2)Bills [1:00PM ET, CBS]
This should be the easiest pick of the weekend except 2023 Josh Allen is as unpredictable as Joe Bidden walking up to a live mic. Miami was gashing the Bills on the ground last Sunday and then inexplicably stopped running the football. I’m guessing Pittsburgh will remain committed, try to hit the Bills over the top to George Pickens or Diontae Johnson, and keep Allen’s opportunities to a minimum in order to maximize the pain of his inevitable turnovers. If TJ Watt were playing, I think I could talk myself into the Steelers. Without him, I just think Allen will prove too much to handle despite another two-turnover performance. Teams don’t rally from so far back like the Bills did just to get bounced at home in the Wildcard round. Right? (Not feeling great here.) STEELERS +9.5
(7)Packers at (2)Cowboys [4:30PM ET, FOX]
The Packers are exciting and I think Jordan Love and his plethora of young receivers will have their moments Sunday… but I don’t see them winning. Dallas has been a machine at home, scoring 37 points per game and limiting opponents to just 16. The Cowboys have absolutely had their struggles against good teams, I’m just not certain the Packers qualify as a good team. If you’re talking yourself into Green Bay, I think Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon churn out yards on the ground to slow the Dallas pass rush and the Packers get a Dak Prescott mistake or two. Matt LaFleur has already pulled one postseason upset in Dallas so it could happen. COWBOYS -7
(6)Rams at (3)Lions [8:15PM ET, NBC]
The Rams have a better quarterback. I think they run the ball better. Their receiving corps is deeper, they have a better coach, and their defense has quietly overachieved. Yet I still don’t feel comfortable picking against the Lions. This just feels like one of those games where the home team wins simply because they’re at home and the crowd wills them to victory. I know, I know; it’s a top ten passing offense against a bottom ten pass defense. It’s in a dome. Matthew Stafford played in Detroit. I don’t care. Detroit can’t lose this game. They have to win. Detroit is losing this game, aren’t they? LIONS -3
Monday, January 15
(5)Eagles at (4)Buccaneers [8:15PM ET, ESPN]
Maybe the Eagles win. Maybe they don’t. Do they even want to play? Jalen Hurts injured his finger in Week 18. After the game when asked if he could play in the playoffs, Hurts responded something along the lines of “we’ll see.” Huh? Shouldn’t your starting quarterback be adamant about playing in the postseason? I think this team actually hates playing football together at this point. They’re so done. In many ways, the Eagles were lucky enough to draw the worst playoff team of the 14. The Buccaneers are saying the same thing. There is a cancer in that Philadelphia locker room and it’s been spreading all season. I think the Eagles may actually win Monday but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they folded. I will say this… One way or another, Tuesday is going to feel pretty good. Either this team is gone and the agony of following them will be over, or I’ll be talking myself into the Eagles shocking the Cowboys or 49ers. Being a dumb football fan is the best. EAGLES -3