The bye week has come and gone, and now we can prepare for some Seattle Seahawks football again this Sunday. All four NFC West teams will be playing in the afternoon time slots, but only the woebegone Rams will be going on the road; they have the good fortune of taking on the Kansas City Chiefs.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals sharing an identical 47.5 point Over/Under in their respective games, however they have Seattle opening as home favorites, whereas Arizona take on the unenviable home underdog role. The San Francisco 49ers are favored to beat the New Orleans Saints as well, and there are also a number of games that have playoff implications throughout the NFC on Sunday. So here are your Sunday picks and playoff rooting guide!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5) @ Cleveland Browns — 10:00 AM — FOX — O/U 43
Yes, Tampa Bay just beat the Seattle Seahawks in Germany a couple weeks ago, and they ran all over them while doing it. They may be a bit removed from their sterling Super Bowl squad from 2020, but they can still make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. That is bad news for a Cleveland Browns, whose only non-divisional win this season was over the Carolina Panthers. Still, DraftKings Sportsbook only has the Buccaneers listed as 3.5 point favorites; I won’t overthink this one, the Bucs should be able to put this one away. Of course, a Tampa Bay loss would be massively helpful for the Seahawks’ playoff hopes, so I will be rooting for the Browns all morning long.
The Pick: Under 43 points, Buccaneers win straight up and cover the spread
Atlanta Falcons (+4.5) @ Washington Commanders — 10:00 AM — FOX — O/U 42
This is an interesting match up; both the Falcons and the Commanders have outperformed expectations, given the offseason instability at quarterback for both of these squads; Washington seems to like where they are at right now with Taylor Heinicke, with whom the team has won four of their last five games since he took over for Carson Wentz following their victory over the Bears. The Falcons, on the other hand, have found some stability with Marcus Mariota, who is largely outperforming expectations. The Commanders are 6-5 and the Falcons are 5-6; since Atlanta has a head to head victory over the Seahawks, I am actually rooting for the Commanders in this one, which is good news since they are currently 4.5 point favorites.
The Falcons also have a much easier remaining schedule than Washington; over their final five games of the season, they play the Steelers, Saints, and Cardinals, which are all winnable games. The Commanders, on the other hand, have to play the Giants twice, as well as the 49ers and the Cowboys. In a crowded NFC West, I think it is highly likely that both of the latter two teams will still be playing for playoff positioning in Week 18, so I don’t think Washington catches a break and plays bunch of backups while the starters rest. For this reason, I am rooting for the Commanders, and I think that they can win this one on the strength of their defense.
The Pick: Under 42 points, Commanders win straight up but the Falcons cover
Denver Broncos (-1.5) @ Carolina Panthers — 10:00 AM — FOX — O/U 36
The Denver Broncos are slight favorites on the road against a 3-8 Carolina Panthers team, which seems about right given that Baker Mayfield is one of the few quarterbacks who is having a worse season than Russell Wilson. Mayfield in fact isn’t even starting; he’s been benched for Sam Darnold. But the real difference in this game will be on the other side of the ball; the Broncos have a legitimate defense, and the Carolina Panthers do not. All three of the latter’s wins have come over fellow NFC South squads, and I don’t think that trend changes this week, even though I would love it if it did for obvious reasons.
The Pick: Under 36 points, Broncos win straight up and cover the spread
Las Vegas Raiders (+3.5) @ Seattle Seahawks — 1:05 PM — CBS — O/U 47.5
Okay, the Seahawks are favored in this one by 3.5 points according to DraftKings Sportsbook, and the Raiders have Football Outsiders’ 32nd ranked defense in weighted DVOA. Confidence seems to have taken a big hit following the loss to Tampa Bay, but I am not going to overthink this one. Seahawks win this game at home, and they look good doing it.
The Pick: Under 47.5 points, Seahawks win straight up and cover
Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5) @ Arizona Cardinals — 1:05 PM — CBS — O/U 47.5
The Cardinals seem to have hit the wall in 2022, and they have hit it hard. However, both of these teams are 2-3 over their last five games, according to ESPN, The Cardinals may be cooked, but neither of these squads have a victory over a team that currently has a winning record. The Cardinals may be trailing in the NFC West, but a Chargers victory would help to cement their place in the cellar, and I think that is exactly what will happen this weekend. The Cardinals are coming off a disheartening blowout, and I think that they head into this game flat.
The Pick: Under 47.5 points, Chargers win straight up and cover the spread
Los Angeles Rams (+14.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs — 1:25 PM — FOX — O/U 44
Okay, we all know how this one looks on paper (and even more so with Matthew Stafford out). The 8-2 Chiefs are favored to win by 14.5 points, which is both unexpected and hilarious, given that this looked like a potentially huge game given that the Chiefs are perennial playoff contenders and the Rams are defending Super Bowl champs. Instead, we get treated to watching a powerful KC squad and the consistently amazing Patrick Mahomes take on the toothless Rams team that can’t seem to stop giving the ball away. They have 15 turnovers on the season and only 8 takeaways, which are both among the worst in the league. Both of Kansas City’s biggest margins of victory have been over NFC West teams (they beat the Cardinals 44-21 and the 49ers 44-23. Let’s go ahead and assume they keep this trend going in front of their home crowd.
The Pick: Over 44 points, Chiefs win and cover the spread
New Orleans Saints (+9.5) @ San Francisco 49ers — 1:25 PM — FOX — O/U 43
The 49ers are an interesting team this season; on any given week, they can look like serious contenders — like they did in their resounding win over Arizona last week — or they can look like the team that got blown out by Kansas City and lost by multiple scores to both Atlanta and Chicago. Still, only the Chiefs have been able to take the Niners down at home, and I think homefield advantage justifies some confidence in the 49ers in this one. A Saints win would be the best outcome here for Seattle, even though New Orleans has the head to head tiebreaker. The Niners are Seattle’s biggest competitors in the race for the division, so all the more reason to root against them. However, their is a reason they are 9.5 point favorites in this one, and I expect them to have the edge over the Saints.
The Pick: Under 43 points, Niners win straight up but the Saints cover the spread
Green Bay Packers (+7) @ Philadelphia Eagles — 5:20 PM — NBC — O/U 46
Wow, this would have been a fun game to pick preseason. The Eagles have turned out to be one of the strongest teams in the NFL this season, and it isn’t entirely because of Jalen Hurts, although he has been a revelation for this offense. The Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers are not in a great position right now, and the 9-1 Eagles are looking to feast at home, where they are 7-point favorites. For the first time in a long time, I am rooting for the Packers in this game, because until the Seahawks are fully out of contention to win the 1-seed in the NFC, I am going to keep hoping for the best, however unlikely it may be. Regardless, I see no reason to think the Eagles won’t take care of business at home.
The Pick: Over 46 points, Eagles win straight up and cover the spread
Our Tallysight picks are below: