The end of the 2022 regular season is rapidly approaching and the playoff chase has officially entered crunch time with four of the eight division titles and three of the six wildcard spots still up for grabs.
The biggest game of the week is arguably the Monday Night matchup (Buffalo at Cincinnati) but there is plenty of intrigue spread across Sunday’s slate, including:
- Miami at New England
- Carolina at Tampa Bay (with the NFC South title up for grabs)
- The Battle of Los Angeles (Rams at Chargers)
There are four games which are of particular interest to the 12s though, so let’s take a look at those, see what DraftKings Sportsbook thinks about the matchups, and make our picks.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (10:00AM)
The 12s will be (or at least should be) rooting for the Bears in this NFC North battle as it’s a potential 2-for-1 win for the Seahawks.
- Win #1: Detroit would be eliminated from the playoffs with a loss + a Seattle win.
- Win #2: If they defeat the Lions, Chicago would fall behind the Broncos in the chase for a top-3 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft (assuming the Broncos lose to the Chiefs).
Unfortunately (for us), the Lions have been one of the hottest teams in the league over the last 2 months with a 6-2 record in their last 8 games.
Over that same span, the Bears are a league-worst 0-8.
The Line: Detroit by 6. The Pick: Over 52 points, Detroit to win and cover.
Cleveland Browns at Washington Commanders (10:00AM)
The Commanders are one of the keys to Seattle’s playoff chances. Simply stated, they need to lose one more game than we do over the final 2 weeks of the season or we’re watching the playoffs from home.
The good news is that the Browns are 2-2 with Deshaun Watson at quarterback (they were 4-7 while he was suspended). That said, they’ve scored a total of 60 points over those 4 games.
Fortunately, the Commanders are countering Watson with Carson Wentz who is 2-4 as Washington’s starting quarterback this year and currently sports a career-worst 32.6 QBR score.
This one could be ugly.
The Line: Washington by 2-1/2. The Pick: Under 40.5 points, Washington to win and cover.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (1:25PM)
Kudos to the Vikings who have won an NFL-record eleven 1-score games this season. Of course, their 3 losses were by 17, 37, and 11 points so they’re sort of Jekyll and Hyde’ing it this year. But 12-3 is still 12-3 and, believe it or not, the Vikings are still in contention for the #1 seed with 2 games to play.
Kudos as well to the Packers. A month ago, there was speculation that they might shut down Aaron Rodgers because they were 4-8 and needed to (a) win out, and (b) have A LOT of things go their way to grab a wildcard spot.
So far, so good. (For them, not us.)
Kudos aside, this should be the week the fairytale ends for Green Bay - especially if Philadelphia loses to New Orleans in the morning slot.
The Line: Green Bay by 3-1/2. The Pick: Under 47.5 points, Minnesota to win.
New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks (1:05PM)
This is clearly the most important game this week (for the 12s) with Seattle potentially facing elimination if (a) they lose this game and (b) the Cleveland v. Washington and Minnesota v. Green Bay games end the wrong way.
Unlike the Seahawks, the Jets don’t have any margin for error; they would be eliminated if they lose.
Perhaps Tyler Lockett’s return will flip the line back in Seattle’s favor.
Or maybe not.
The Line: New York by 2. The Pick: Over 42.5 points, Seattle to win (and finish 3-0 on the Geno Smith Reunion Tour).
The rest of the Sunday slate
None of these games have any bearing on the Seahawks but let’s run through them anyway.
We’ve got a 4-11 team taking on a 5-10 team. David Blough vs. Desmond Ridder. Yawn. The Pick: Under 42 points, Atlanta to win and cover.
Denver played Kansas City tight in Week 14, ultimately losing by 6. Methinks the Chiefs learned their lesson. The Pick: Over 45 points, Kansas City to win and cover.
The Dolphins season has gone like this: 3 wins, 3 losses, 5 wins, 4 losses. My point? I would pick the Texans if they were playing the Dolphins this week and the Patriots are better than the Texans. The Pick: Under 41 points, New England to win and cover.
The Giants clinch a wildcard spot with a win and the Colts are really bad this year. ‘Nuf said. The Pick: Under 39 points, New York to win and cover.
The Eagles clinch the NFC East title and the NFC’s #1 seed with a win. Don’t overthink this one. The Pick: Over 42 points, Philadelphia to win and cover.
Carolina started the season 1-5 and was 3-8 a month ago. Yet they’ll win the NFC South title if they win their last 2 games. Tampa Bay wins the title if they win THIS game. The Pick: Over 40.5 points, Carolina to win.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (10:00AM)
There are two compelling reasons to expect an upset in this one: (1) The Jaguars are 1 of 2 teams the Texans have beaten this year, and (2) The Jaguars’ surest path to the playoffs is to win the AFC South title by defeating the Titans next week. The Pick: Over 43 points, Houston to win.
The Raiders are still mathematically alive for the 7th seed in the AFC, but they have to win out and even then they only have a 5% chance. Plus, they just benched their starting quarterback in order to avoid guaranteeing his 2023 salary. The Pick: Over 42 points, San Francisco to win and cover.
Los Angeles Rams “at” Los Angeles Chargers (1:25PM)
This will be the first time the Rams and Chargers meet in the stadium they share during the regular season. Fun! The one thing we can say for sure is that L.A. will win. But which L.A.?
On paper, the Chargers are the better team - and they certainly have more to play for with the 5th seed still within their reach. But . . . as much as it pains me . . . The Pick: Over 42.5 points, LAR to win.
Baltimore will win the AFC North title if they beat the Steelers this week and the Bengals next week. Meanwhile, the Steelers are trying to (a) keep alive their slim playoff hopes, and (b) run Mike Tomlin’s record streak of non-losing seasons to 16. Methinks the Steelers come up short on both counts. The Pick: Over 35 points, Baltimore to win and cover.