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Last Call For The Playoffs

Mill Woods

Posted on January 5, 2022 23:21

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After an NFL season full of drama, it is fitting that the regular season finale — covering Saturday and Sunday — will feature 14 of 16 matches with impact on the playoffs. By the time the curtain comes down late Sunday night, we will know the 14 playoff teams and the matchups for the first round of the postseason.

It has been a drama-filled, sometimes chaotic, season. The NFL extended the season to 17 games (18 weeks with the byes). The chaos caused by the pandemic hung around longer than expected. And, thirdly, the NFL's longtime goal of parity among the 32 teams manifested to a degree we fans have never seen. This combination created a marathon competition that could best be described in one word: unpredictable.

Week 18, the final week of the regular season, features 16 division matches - no inter-divisional or inter-conference games. These battles will settle a couple of division titles and will award most of the league's six wildcard spots. Home games are also at stake. So, who will advance?

Except for that disappointing finish last week, I like the way the Colts have been playing. I also am a fan of the Chargers, who were awarded a prime spot on Sunday Night Football, where they and the Raiders will decide the final Wild Card.

The Chiefs, Bengals and Titans have already won division titles, and the Patriots and Bills are already in the playoffs. But in the AFC, seven of eight games this weekend are meaningful, as the division champs compete hard for seeding and the opportunity for home playoff games. Also, the AFC East crown and the wild cards are still up for grabs.

In the NFC, only the games of the NFC North teams do not affect playoff seeding. The Cowboys, Cardinals and Rams will be competing for the number two seed in the NFC, and the Cardinals and Rams are still chasing the NFC West division title.

I anticipate that the Eagles will play hard against the Cowboys, in order to get a home playoff game against another wild card. But I also know it is possible that Philly will not reveal any special plays, in case they have to play the Cowboys again.

The 49ers will try to become the third team from the NFC West to win a playoff spot. If the Niners falter, the Saints could take their place.

Last week, my picks went 12-4. Here are all my week 18 picks:

1. Chiefs at Broncos           Chiefs
2. Cowboys at Eagles         Cowboys
3. Washington at Giants     Giants
4. Steelers at Ravens         Ravens
5. Bengals at Browns         Bengals
6. Packers at Lions             Packers
7. Titans at Texans             Titans
8. Colts at Jaguars             Colts
9. Bears at Vikings             Vikings
10. Seahawks at Cardinals  Cardinals
11. Saints at Falcons          Saints
12. Jets at Bills                  Bills
13. 49ers at Rams             Rams
14. Patriots at Dolphins      Dolphins
15. Panthers at Bucs          Bucs
16. Chargers at Raiders     Chargers

If I could only watch three games this weekend — and if my region made them available — these are the three I would love to see:

Cowboys at Eagles (Saturday)

49ers at Rams (Sunday)

Chargers at Raiders (Sunday night).

If your area has that Patriots-Dolphins showdown, that game is also highly recommended.

Enjoy!

 

Mill Woods

Posted on January 5, 2022 23:21

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Source: FOX Sports
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