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NFL Picks, Week 18: Playoffs?! Let’s talk about playoffs!

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks close out the regular season against the rival LA Rams with a lot on the line. While it is true that Seattle will need some help to punch their ticket to the postseason, they are still in a better position than many/all of us predicted going in to 2022; I would have guessed that a winning record would be off the table, and a playoff berth seemed even more farfetched. But here we are, in Week 18, looking on as Geno Smith and the 8-8 Seahawks prepare to face the 5-11 defending Super Bowl champions who are now led by Baker Mayfield. This may be why DraftKings Sportsbook has the Seahawks opening as 6-point favorites at home. But there are a handful of other games that are relevant to Seattle’s postseason fortunes... so let’s make some picks!

LA Rams @ Seattle Seahawks — 1:25 PM — FOX — O/U 41.5

Conspiracy theories abound as the league seemingly prioritized another NFC clash with two playoff hopefuls by giving the primetime slot to the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, but I think that the Seahawks go out with the mentality of controlling what you can control. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always equate to a win, especially when you are lining up across from a motivated Bobby Wagner. I don’t think this is going to be an easy victory for the Hawks, even if they are favored by a touchdown. But the Rams also have the polarizing Baker Mayfield at quarterback, who lost to the Seahawks in the only game where he has faced them thus far. And he does stuff like this:

The Pick: Over 41.5 points, Seahawks win straight up but Rams cover the spread

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers — 5:20 PM — NBC — O/U 49

Yes, this game is getting more attention than the Seahawks-Rams tilt from many outside of the PNW, and not entirely without reason. A Green Bay Packers win eliminates the Seahawks and punches Aaron Rodgers ticket to another disappointing playoff loss. But a playoff loss at least means you made the playoffs, and the Detroit Lions would love nothing more than to ruin this opportunity for their hated division rivals. A great deal of hand wringing has occurred over the decision to move this game to Sunday Night Football, at which point the Lions will already know whether or not they are already disqualified from the playoffs. But I don’t buy this narrative, at least not entirely. Division rivals harbor a very special distaste for each other, and Aaron Rodgers is one of the worst to play against twice a year. Maybe I am picking exclusively on hope here, as the Lions are 5-point underdogs on the road. But they beat the Pack once already, and I think they can do it again.

The Pick: Over 49 points, Lions win straight up.

Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers — 1:25 PM — FOX — O/U 40.5

The Seahawks aren’t the only NFC West team playing a high-stakes game this weekend. The 49ers host the Cardinals, and they are obviously heavily favored to beat the traveling Arizona squad. A San Francisco victory — combined with losses by Dallas and Philadelphia — opens the door for the 49ers to claim a coveted bye week. Given that these games kick off at the same time (*cough cough*) we will likely see a motivated 49ers team in this game. A loss could potentially drop them down to the 3-seed.

The Pick: Over 40.5 points, San Fran wins straight up and covers.

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Commanders — 1:25 PM — FOX — O/U 41

In another heated divisional match-up, the Cowboys travel to take on the home underdog Washington Commanders. Dallas is favored by 7 points in this one, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, and a lot is riding on this game, potentially. The Cowboys are still in contention for the 1-seed in the NFC, but they would need some help. Basically, if the 49ers and Eagles drop their games, this opens up the door for the Cowboys to claim the first round bye if they can beat the Commanders. On paper, they win this one. But divisional match-ups tend to get wild; still, Cooper Rush led the Boys to victory earlier in the season; Dak Prescott should take care of business in this one. Just maybe not by 7 points.

The Pick: Over 41, Cowboys win straight up but Washington covers the spread

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears — 10:00 AM — FOX — O/U 43

The Vikings travel to Chicago, and despite boasting a 12-4 record, Minnesota is starting to look more like a pretender than a contender. They are heavily favored in this one, and I see no reason to root against them; the Bears have announced that Justin Fields will sit in the finale, and they are in contention for the 1st overall pick in the draft. Sorry, I see no motivation for this team to succeed and every motivation for them to lay down.

The Pick: Under 43 points, Vikings win straight up and cover the spread

New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles — 1:25 PM — CBS — O/U 43

This is a pretty critical game for the Eagles, but less so for the Giants. New York has locked up the 6-seed and will make the postseason for the first time since 2016. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are having career seasons, but the Eagles can lock up the first overall seed in the NFC with a victory in this game. This is probably why Philly is favored by 14 points. The Giants may want to spoil this for the Eagles, but I doubt they would do so at risk of injuring key players in a game where they would not be favored even in regular conditions.

The Pick: Under 43 points, Eagles win straight up and cover the spread

Here are the Field Gulls staff picks: