Super Wild Card Weekend was certainly a wild one. We saw two big upsets with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants winning their respective matchups, and then the short-handed Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens came close to knocking off a couple of other favored contenders.
As for our playoff bracket, we haven't missed a single game yet. Let's see what the divisional round has in store for us this weekend. Which team is poised for a deep run, and which favorite gets this weekend? Will Josh Allen have us believing the Buffalo Bills are a team of destiny? Can Brock Purdy shock the NFL world with a Super Bowl run? Below, we will attempt to predict the entire NFL playoff bracket, game by game. We'll update this each week as we march further and further into the postseason. Let's jump in.
Playoff straight up record: 6-0
Playoff ATS record: 3-3
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
(4) Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs (1)
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC, FuboTV)
Here's a rematch from November, when the Chiefs defeated the Jaguars, 27-17. Trevor Lawrence played fine with 259 passing yards and two touchdowns, but his defense struggled to stop Patrick Mahomes, who threw for 331 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
I'm interested to see how the No. 1 seeds perform in their first action. A couple of the Super Bowl favorites didn't exactly dominate last weekend. Still, the Chiefs have won six straight games vs. the Jaguars, and I'll take Andy Reid and Co. to make it seven straight on Saturday. I'll make a final decision on the ATS pick later this week.
The pick: Chiefs -9
Projected score: Chiefs 30-21
(6) New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (1)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (Fox, FuboTV)
Another divisional postseason rematch. In December, the Eagles blew the Giants out by 26 points, and then Davis Webb kept it close in the regular-season finale, losing 22-16. Philly will be rocking when the rival Giants come back to town.
The Giants have quickly become this year's postseason darling, and they have history of making runs from the wild-card round. As I predicted would happen last week, the Minnesota Vikings defense made the Giants offense look better than it is. That's not to say Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley haven't made great strides and that the Giants aren't a good football team. But in this spot -- on the road against the No. 1 seed that knows them very well, I can't pick New York straight up. The Giants have lost in nine straight trips to Philadelphia. Keep an eye on the trenches in this matchup. That Eagles' pass rush could rule the day by forcing a late turnover.
The pick: Giants +7.5
Projected score: Eagles 27-20
(3) Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills (2)
Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+)
Last time these two teams played, we all witnessed the unfortunate Damar Hamlin incident. It looked like we were in for a great shootout before that scary event occurred. Honestly, this could be a bit like the Bills-Chiefs AFC matchup in the divisional round last year. It's the first meeting between Joe Burrow and Josh Allen if we discount the canceled game earlier this year.
Both the Bills and Bengals probably should have blown out their opponents in the first round of the playoffs. That did not happen. Allen threw two interceptions against the Dolphins and fumbled three times, losing one of them. That can't happen again this week. Allen is the first player to lead the NFL in turnovers and make the playoffs since Eli Manning did so back in 2007. By the way, Manning won the Super Bowl that year.
I like the Bills in this matchup, and a reason why is because of the injuries on Cincy's offensive line. Alex Cappa and Jonah Williams are banged up, and right tackle La'el Collins has already been ruled out for the year. I may hedge my bet by taking the points with the Bengals, however. I'm not sure that number should be so big.
The pick: Bengals +5.5
Projected score: Bills 28-24
(5) Dallas Cowboys at (2) San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET (Fox, FuboTV)
It's deja vu in a way, except this Cowboys-49ers game will be played in California. The key to this game for the 49ers is containing Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. In the playoffs last year, the two backs combined for just 45 rushing yards. I have more faith in this Brock Purdy offense compared to the Jimmy Garoppolo offense, as his chemistry with George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk continues to evolve.
Bengals-Bills may be everyone's game of the week, but I'm just as excited for this matchup. Dak Prescott may have exorcised some demons by accounting for five total touchdowns in the blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Maybe the Cowboys as a whole exorcised some demons with their first road playoff win since 1992.
Purdy has been playing great ball, and he can become just the third rookie signal-caller to win multiple postseason games in the same year. Believe it or not, he leads the NFL in yards per attempt (9.3), passing touchdowns (14) and passer rating (121.4) since his first career start back in Week 14. The Cowboys impressed me on Monday night, but my original bracket had the 49ers winning this game, and I'm sticking with that.
The pick: Cowboys +4
Projected score: 49ers 26-24
(2) San Francisco 49ers at (1) Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, Jan. 29, 3:05 p.m. ET (Fox)
Picking Purdy to upset the Eagles in Philly is going to be a trendy pick heading into Championship Sunday. The 49ers' defense will hold Jalen Hurts in check, but ultimately, the Eagles close out the game in the fourth quarter, and once again advance to the Super Bowl.
Projected score: Eagles 20-16
(2) Buffalo Bills at (1) Kansas City Chiefs (neutral site)
Sunday, Jan. 29, 6:40 p.m. ET (CBS)
Remember, this game will be held at a neutral site. OK, having both top seeds in each conference make the final four is definitely chalky, but here we get another upset. Mahomes threw two interceptions in a four-point loss to Buffalo earlier this season, and I predict he throws two interceptions in a three-point loss in the AFC Championship.
Devin Singletary rushed for 85 yards on 17 carries (5.0 yards per carry) vs. the Chiefs earlier this season, which helped balance out the offense, but all three touchdowns came through the air. The Chiefs, on the other hand, rushed for just 68 total yards, but Isiah Pacheco wasn't a big part of the offense early in the season. I predict this playoff rematch will be more like the regular-season game as opposed to their Jan. 23 matchup last year. There won't be 78 total points scored, because Buffalo's defense will be up to the task of containing Travis Kelce and the Chiefs wide receivers. Bills to the Super Bowl.
Projected score: Bills 29-26
Super Bowl LVII
(2) Buffalo Bills at (1) Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m. ET (Fox)
In a way, it feels like we have been leading up to this all year. In the early part of the 2022 season, it was the Bills who looked like the best team in the AFC, and then the Eagles in the NFC. Opinions probably fluctuated after Allen's elbow injury and Hurts' shoulder injury, but the cream rises to the top, and that's what happens here.
Allen has played the Eagles just one time in his career, losing 31-13 in 2019. Philly's running backs combined for three touchdowns, while Allen threw for just 169 yards and two touchdowns. It will be Hurts' first time playing Buffalo.
So, what will this game come down to? I'm expecting a sloppy first half followed by a high-scoring second half. This game goes to overtime, where Buffalo kicks a game-winning field goal on its second drive of the extra period. The Bills fulfill the "team of destiny" narrative.
Projected score: Bills 33-30 in OT