By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) – The name “Super Wild Card Weekend” is just so bad.
But the weekend itself?
Oh, brother. It’s a good one.
Maybe the contrast of the roughness of week 18’s board makes it work this way, but no matter what, the weekend with six games looks great. There is only one guaranteed dud among the sextet of competitions, a possible flop, but four matches where you would be foolish to feel too sure of both teams’ chances.
With about 20 hours of football on deck between Saturday afternoon and Monday night, there is no need to waste more time. So here. It’s election time.
(Home team in CAPS; Wednesday lines)
CINCINNATI (-5.5) over Las Vegas
It would really be a ton of fun to ride the Raiders through this weekend. After the show, they helped give us Sunday night, and after the run they have gone on with Rich Bisaccia and his goatee, the Raiders definitely won some hearts and minds around the country. And when did it last happen?
Look at that thing. Silver like a mighty horse. Impeccably groomed. A goatee that means seriousness and does not accept excuses.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, the story ends here. Getting played Saturday afternoon after playing Sunday night was a tough pill, nor was it a stroke of luck to draw a Bengals team that beat them in Week 11.
On the plus side for the Raiders, they kept Joe Burrow to some really pedestrians in that game. On the not-so-plus side, it’s largely because Joe Mixon dominated the second half as he ran for 95 yards and a touchdown of 16 transferred four drives. We saw on Sunday night that the Raiders are receptive to giving up some big games through the passing game, so with a well-rested Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow, everything points in the direction of the Bengals at the moment.
BUFFALO (-4) over New England
I was considering taking New England here, but I had to reconsider when Jalen Mills was placed on the COVID-19 list on Tuesday. Also to made me realize that my prognosis might be a bit off if Jalen Mills goes to the COVID list was enough to make me reconsider.
Clearly, any team coached by Bill Belichick has a chance to win every week. And the 3-degree weather in western New York is a big factor in this. (The bills practicing indoors on Wednesday are boundless, unscrupulous.)
But the bills are better. The Patriots showed us in a way who they are over the last four games of the year. They are decided does not played their best football, and they failed three tests against two intermediate AFC teams and precisely this Bills team.
TAMPA BAY (-8.5) over Philadelphia
Here is a list of all the teams the Eagles beat this year:
-Football team again (LOL, they went with “Football team” for second year)
– Detroit Lions
– New York Giants
– New York Jets
– Denver Broncos
– New Orleans Saints
You may notice that zero of these teams reached the playoffs.
The Eagles played six games against teams that reached the playoffs. If you’re a math whiz here, then you probably already know that the Eagles went 0-6 against these playoff teams out of necessity. Four of those six losses were double-digit, with both losses to Dallas being over 20 points.
Now they only lost to the Bucs by six points. So maybe they have a plea to keep it close this time when the Bucs do not have Antonio Brown (who had nine catches for 93 yards and a touchdown in that game) or Chris Godwin and who want a defense that has only been more and more knocked up as the season has gone.
But also … nnnnnnnh. The previous game was a typical clumsy game Thursday night for the Bucs. And the Eagles do not really belong here. But good for them to do it. I think.
DALLAS (-3) over San Francisco
I wish the Niners got a few more points because I’ve seen enough out of their weird season to think they’ll keep going. Their passing offense is wildly effective (as a team they are in 29th place in passing attempts, but in 12th place in passing yards and 14th in passing TDs), they run the ball well and they play defense. That’s a damn formula for the playoffs.
The only problem is that the Cowboys score. A lot. Many pointers. Thirty-one points to two points per game, to be exact.
Although I reckon Mike McCarthy will kill this team at some point this month, and even though I’m disappointed with the chalky way my choices go, I think there’s too much talent for this particular Cowboys- teams can cope.
KANSAS CITY (-12.5) over Pittsburgh
Honestly, the Steelers really does not belong in the playoffs. I understand that a draw makes a team less than a loss, so a 9-7-1 Steelers team comes in over the 9-8 Colts. I understand it. I support it. Not losing weight is better than losing weight. Of course.
BUT! What if it comes to a draw against Detroit Lions? What if it comes to a draw against a Lions team going into the match with a record of 0-8?
So what? Do we reward it?
I know the world messed up after the Chargers-Raiders draw on Sunday, but I messed up after a Steelers-Ravens draw. Mostly because another draw would be a proper way for the mediocre Steelers season to end.
In any case, we just watched this game over the Christmas weekend and it was not close, because the Steelers are not in the same class as the Chiefs. Move on!
Arizona (+4.5) over LOS ANGELES RAMS
The Rams were a bit lucky by drawing the Cardinals instead of a team with a crazy traveling fan base. (I do not know where the Cardinals rank in terms of teams with traveling fan bases, but I say they are not in class with Dallas or Green Bay or Pittsburgh etc.) It should not be overwhelmingly loud for the home team as it was last weekend with San Francisco in the city.
Really, I do not like any of the teams’ chances of going on a deep run. But I take the Cardinals here for a few reasons:
– Someone has to win. They split their meetings into the regular season. The league is unlikely to allow a draw here.
– Points. I think. They help.
-Sean McVay celebrated in the end zone last weekend.
Maybe you missed it, as it was a crazy football day across the board, but Sean McVay decided to join the party in the end zone after a Rams touchdown. It was ridiculous.
Higbee with his 2nd TD today!
This time, Sean McVay wanted to join the celebration as he ran to the finish line after TD 🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/44FtU27n17
– FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 9, 2022
It is embarrassing! Especially because the Rams went up 17-0 on that touchdown … and happened to score 27-7 from that point forward.
Will it have any significance for this week? I mean, who should say? It’s actually me, and I’m here to say this: Yes. It was so bad that it will definitely hurt the team this week, next year and forever.
(Plus I really have to choose at least one dog to cover this weekend and I have run out of games.)
Last week: 7-9
regular season: 152-119-1
You can send an email to Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.