NFL 2022 Week 18 Prequel

NFL 2022 Week 18 Prequel

With much love to Damar Hamlin, the final weekend of the 2022 NFL regular season is upon us. My other columns offered the Week 17 Recap, the 2022 black Monday Coat Firing Predictions, the NFC Playoff Permutations and Combinations, and the complete and total mess that is the AFC Playoff Permutations and combinations.

Thank God Mr. Hamlin is slowly getting better. He is still in critical condition. His GoFundMe page to deliver toys to needy children has raised over 7 million dollars.

Mr. Hamlin’s horrific injury has been covered in great detail.

To avoid redundancy, this column will only focus on the specific matchups this week. 

To quote John Randall and Mike Singletary, “This is when the big dogs come out!”

Saturday, January 7, 2023, 4:30pm

Kansas City Chiefs (-7 1/2) at Las Vegas Raiders — The 13-3 Chiefs with a win would have at least a 1/2 game lead in the race for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Earlier this year in Kansas City, the Raiders took a 17-0 lead before the Chiefs stormed back for a 31-30 win when the Raiders 2 point conversion try failed. Jarrett Stidham showed promise in his debut, but the Raiders have no defense. Their secondary is awful. They have no home field advantage in Las Vegas. Patrick Mahomes will torch the Raiders defense. The Raiders lose games in gut-wrenching fashion, and the Chiefs have everything to play for. The Raiders have nothing to play for. Chiefs win but fail to cover


Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-6 1/2) — The 7-9 Titans and 8-8 Jaguars have a do or die matchup. The winner takes the AFC South and hosts a playoff game on WildCard Weekend. If the Titans lose, they are out. If the Jaguars lose, they would need a miracle to make the playoffs as a Wildcard. The Titans 7-3 start was followed by a hail of injuries and five straight losses. The Jaguars were expected to compete next year but Doug Pederson has them ahead of schedule. Trevor Lawrence is improving and Ryan Tannehill is injured. Malik Willis will not get it done. The Titans are just too beat up. Jaguars win but fail to cover

Sunday, January 8, 1pm

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-4 1/2) — The 8-8 Buccaneers clinched the NFC South and are locked into the four seed. They will host a Wildcard Weekend playoff game. The Falcons are done for the year. Normally this would be a game for the Buccaneers to rest their starters, but Tom Brady will probably want to play. He needs a win in this game to avoid his first losing season. Neither team is that special, so a close game is possible. Upset special, Buccaneers win outright

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-7) — The Bills will play inspired football now that they know Damar Hamlin is on the mend. The home field is normally a major advantage in Buffalo, but this time the emotion will be like nothing ever seen in that stadium. The 12-3 Bills with a win and a Kansas City loss could get home field throughout the playoffs and a first round bye. If the Bills finish 1/2 a game behind KC, the league could move a potential AFC Title Game to a neutral site rather than in Arrowhead. The Patriots at 8-8 get the seven seed Wildcard with a win, but a loss most likely knocks them out. Last year in the playoffs the Bills had a “perfect game,” scoring a touchdown on all 7 drives. Josh Allen is better than Mac Jones. Go with the home field and the emotion. Bills cover

Minnesota Vikings (-5 12) at Chicago Bears — The 12-4 Vikings bungled away their chance last week to stay in contention for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They are now the three seed bu could move up to the two seed based on other results. The Bears have a talented quarterback but little else. If the Bears lose and Houston wins, the Bears would get the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The game will not be a blowout, but the Vikings will rebound. Vikings win but fail to cover

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-7) — The 10-6 Ravens have lost 3 straight with Lamar Jackson injured. They are the five seed Wildcard and cannot fall lower than the six seed. This had the potential to be an AFC North showdown, but now that is not the case. The cancellation of last week’s Monday Night Football game leaves the Bengals at 11-4. They have clinched the division and art currently the three seed. They cannot finish lower than that. If the Bengals win this game and Kansas City and Buffalo both lose, the Bengals would still be 1/2 a game back of KC but could make a legitimate case for the top seed. At the very least, that would be enough to get the AFC Title Game moved out of Arrowhead to a neutral site. The Ravens win by winning and playing defense, but without Jackson this is a mismatch. Joe Burrow has enough weapons to put this game away, but not easily. Bengals win but fail to cover

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-2 1/2) — The worst game of the day has to be played. Both coaches could get fired on Black Monday. The Texans are guaranteed the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft with a loss. If the Texans win, they can still get the top Draft pick as long as Chicago also wins.  

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-1) — The Jets were 7-4 but have lost 5 straight games and at 7-9 are out of the playoffs. The Dolphins were 8-3 and have also lost 5 straight. Yet at 8-8 the Dolphins can still sneak into a the playoffs with a win and some help. Tua Tagovailoa has battled injuries all year. The Jets have given up on Zach Wilson. Both teams have a good defense. The Jets are reeling. The Dolphins will win and get the help they need to sneak and make the playoffs. Dolphins cover 

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-3 1/2) — Both teams are out of the playoffs. They have good defenses, especially the Saints. This might be the last game for both coaches. Go with the home field. Saints win but fail to cover

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-2 1/2) — Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season with the Steelers. They battled back this year from 2-6 and 3-7 to get to 8-8. With a win and a ton of help, the Steelers make the playoffs. With a loss they are our. The 7-9 Browns are done for the year. Nobody gets more out of less than Mike Tomlin. With everything to play for, the Steelers will win the Pittsburgh way with hard-nosed running and defense. Steelers cover


New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-14) — Both teams are in the playoffs. The 9-6-1 Giants are locked into the six seed Wildcard and may rest their starters. The Eagles started 13-1 but have lost 2 straight with Jalen Hurts injured. A win gives the Eagles the NFC East crown, home field advantage throughout the playoffs and a first round bye. A loss and a Dallas win would have the Eagles tumble all the way to the five seed Wildcard. Hurts wants to play. He needs to be healthy, but getting the bye week would make life much easier. The Eagles could beat the Giants starters. They will have zero problem with the Giants backups. Eagles cover

Dallas Cowboys (-5 1/2) at Washington Commanders — The Commanders are eliminated from the playoffs in what could be Ron Rivera’s last game coaching them. The 12-4 Cowboys right now are a five seed Wildcard. If the Cowboys win and the Eagles lose, the Cowboys would win the NFC East. With other help, the Cowboys could end up with the top seed and home field throughout the playoffs. The Commanders are not getting good quarterback play. The Cowboys have an explosive offense, but the Commanders defense is not that bad. Cowboys win but fail to cover

Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Denver Broncos — The Broncos are one for the year. The 10-6 Chargers are in the playoffs with little room for movement. They are the five seed but with a loss and a Baltimore win could fall to the six seed. Brandon Staley could rest starters given that there is very little difference between the five and six seeds. Yet indications are the starters are playing. The Broncos have a good defense but no offense. The Chargers have Justin Herbert and other explosive weapons on offense along with a decent defense. The Chargers will handle business. Chargers cover 


Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-6 1/2) — The Rams are done for the year. The 8-8 Seahawks with a win and a Green Bay loss can make the playoffs as the seven seed Wildcard. With a loss, the Seahawks are out. Pete Carroll gets younger by the year and has revitalized Geno Smith. The Rams are just too injury riddled. Their whole team is depleted.. Seahawks cover

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-14) — The 4-12 Cardinals are a mess and Kliff Kingsbury could be fired after this game. The 12-4 49ers right now are the two seed. With a win and a Philadelphia loss, the 49ers would snatch the top seed in the NFC with home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Brock Purdy has been the surprise of the year. The 49ers have a nasty defense. This game could be over by halftime. 49ers cover


Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-4 1/2) — Both teams are 8-8. The Lions rebounded from a 2-6 start while the 4-8 Packers have won 4 straight. This is a do or die game. The Packers with a win are in the playoffs as the seven seed Wildcard. The Lions with a win and a Seattle loss also would get the seven seed Wildcard. Whoever loses this game is automatically out. The Lions have an explosive offense but little defense. Aaron Rodgers has been lights out. The Lions virtually never win in Green Bay. They won there in 1991 and again in 2015. Betting against Rodgers in this type of regular season is foolish. Also, the Lions are built for dome weather, not cold weather. Go with the weather, the home crowd, and Rodgers being better than Jared Goff. Packers cover


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