January 05, 2023
For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 18 NFL picks. To note, the team logos indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. At the end of the picks, I'll note a few teams that I like based on the spread.
Chiefs (-9.5) at Raiders: If the Chiefs win this game, they will be 14-3, and the only team that can catch them is the Bills, who are currently 12-3. The Bills have two games remaining:
The NFL has not yet indicated whether the Bills-Bengals game will be resumed at any point. If it is not, and the NFL simply calls it a tie, that would give the Chiefs the 1 seed.
But certainly, whatever the NFL decides on, the Chiefs will be playing to win this game.
Titans at Jaguars (-6): This game is kind of like an NCAA basketball tournament play-in game between Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Winthrop. And I'm excited for it! At one point the AFC South looked like this:
The Titans have since lost six straight games, while the Jaguars have won five of six.
Tennessee can't stop the pass. Meanwhile, Trevor Lawrence is having a breakout season and the Jags have four players with at least 500 receiving yards. Old friend Doug Pederson wins convincingly and gets Jacksonville back into the playoffs in his first year as their head coach.
Buccaneers at Falcons (-4): The Bucs are locked into the 4 seed, and should be resting starters. The Falcons are too dumb to tank a game they desperately need to lose in order to have a chance at a top quarterback prospect.
Patri*ts at Bills (-7): This will no doubt be an emotional game for the Bills, and it's also a crucial one for playoff seeding.
Vikings (-7.5) at Bears: If the Vikings lose, they can't be any worse than the 3 seed. If they win, they can only rise as high as the 2 seed, but they would also need the 49ers to lose to the garbage Cardinals, at home.
The 2 seed is better than the 3 seed, in that the 2 seed will be the home team in the divisional round against the 3 seed, should both teams advance that far. But there is also an advantage to being the 3 seed as well. The 3 seed gets to play the Giants, who are locked into the 6 seed, in the wildcard round. If you're the Vikings are you earn the 2 seed, you might just find yourself having to play a Packers team that absolutely kicked your asses in Week 17.
If you're content to just be the 3 seed, you can start preparing for the Giants, right now. The Vikings' strategy should be to say that they are going to play their starters, and then when 11:30 a.m. on gameday rolls around, Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook show up on the inactive list.
From the Bears' perspective, if they lose, they're locked into at least the second overall pick, with an outside chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick. If they win, they can fall to pick No. 4, where it's a possibility that they would miss out on both Will Anderson and Jalen Carter. Winning this game would be a failure.
Ravens at Bengals (-7): The Bengals might be the best team in football right now, while the Ravens are average and boring.
Texans at Colts (-2.5): Both of these teams should be in full-on tank mode. The Texans have actually played some pretty respectable games recently, while the Colts have just been an abomination.
Jets (-1.5) at Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa is likely out, and Teddy Bridgewater may not be available either, which means that rookie seventh-round quarterback Skylar Thompson could get the start. The Jets and Dolphins have both completely fallen apart down the stretch, as they have both lost five straight. The Jets are already eliminated, so I guess I'll take the Dolphins?
Panthers at Saints (-3): Lol.
Saints are blasting Dreams and Nightmares in the locker room— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) January 1, 2023
Ain't this what they've been waitin' for? You ready? I used to pray for times like this, to rhyme like this, so I had to grind like that to shine like this.... aaaaaaand eliminated.
Browns at Steelers (-2.5): The Steelers are still alive for a wildcard spot, but they need a win and losses by the Dolphins and Patri*ts. That's not out of the question. But also, the Steelers are 8-8, and they haven't had a losing season since 2003. I think that's a streak that means something to them as well.
Chargers at Broncos (-2.5): The Broncos are so bad they can't even beat a team resting its starters.
Giants at Eagles (-14): When this 14-point spread came out earlier this week, it was clear that Vegas knew that the Giants would be resting their starters, which of course makes sense since they are locked into the 6 seed. That line has not moved since.
The Eagles are limping down the stretch, and they have had opportunities to lock up the 1 seed in the NFC in each of their last two games, but failed. The third time should be a charm against a team they dominated a month ago that now also has nothing to play for.
Cardinals at 49ers (-14): The 49ers still need this game to lock up at least the 2 seed, and they are still in contention for the 1 seed if the Eagles falter. The Cardinals are starting David Blough, and might be the worst team in the NFL right now.
Rams at Seahawks (-6.5): Whoever put together the Week 18 schedule royally screwed over the Seahawks. In order to get into the playoffs, the Seahawks have to win their game and then hope that the Lions can beat the Packers on Sunday night. Unfortunately for them, the Lions will be eliminated from playoff contention if the Seahawks win, and may be deflated if they learn their fate before kickoff.
Cowboys (-6.5) at Commanders: The Cowboys actually get to finish out their season playing two exhibition games. Last week, they played a Titans team that sat Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, Jeffery Simmons, Bud Dupree, Denico Autry, and about a half-dozen other starters. This week, they get to face an eliminated Commanders team that can have a swing of up to eight draft slots depending on whether they win or lose, and oh by the way they're starting rookie fifth-round quarterback Sam Howell.
Lions at Packers (-4.5): If I'm the 49ers, I'm hoping that anyone other than the Packers get in as the 7 seed.
• Last 8 years, ATS: 339-287-13 (0.541)
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