THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA Are the Eagles better off facing a familiar foe in the Dallas Cowboys or one they don’t know as well in the San Francisco 49ers?
The Eagles will find out soon enough, as they will face the winner of the other NFC Divisional Round playoff game, which will be played Sunday at 6:30 p.m. between host San Francisco and Dallas.
The Eagles (15-3) defeated the Giants 38-7 on Saturday night to advance to the NFC Championship game. They’ll face either the Cowboys (13-5) or the No. 2 seeded 49ers.
The Eagles will host the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field next Sunday at 3 p.m., with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
Is there going to be a rivalry game in the NFC Championship?
The Eagles have played the Cowboys twice this season as NFC East rivals. The two teams split this season, with the Eagles winning 26-17 on Oct. 16 and the Cowboys winning 40-34 on Dec. 24.
However, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott missed the Eagles’ victory due to a hand injury, while Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts missed the Cowboys’ victory due to a shoulder injury. If this game is played for the third time this season, it will be the first time both starting quarterbacks will be on the field.
The Cowboys have a 3-1 series lead in the playoffs. The Cowboys won the most recent meeting in 2009, 34-14. The Eagles’ only playoff victory came when the two teams met in the NFC Championship game. The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 20-7 in 1980, advancing to the Super Bowl for the first time in team history.
Hosting San Francisco with a rookie quarterback?
Meanwhile, the 49ers have won 11 straight games, including the last six behind third-string quarterback Brock Purdy. In terms of previous meetings, the Eagles last faced San Francisco in Week 2 of the 2021 season, falling 17-11.
Their last victory came on Oct. 4, 2020, in Doug Pederson’s final season as head coach, when they won 25-20. That was the Eagles’ first win of a terrible 4-11-1 season. The offensive standout was Travis Fulgham, who caught a 42-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to put the Eagles ahead. The win was sealed by Alex Singleton’s pick-6 against Nick Mullens.
The two teams have only met once in the playoffs, and it did not go well for the Eagles. In 1996, they were defeated 14-0 in the Wild Card Round.
In either case, the Eagles will face top offensive and defensive teams. The Cowboys finished 11th in total offense thanks to CeeDee Lamb’s 1,359 yards receiving. They rank 12th in total defense, trailing only outside linebacker
Joe Burrow led the Bengals to the brink of a Lombardi Trophy last season, one year after suffering a terrible injury to his left knee. He’s back now, trying to do it again.
Burrow and the Bengals will travel to Buffalo for a pivotal divisional playoff game against the Bills this weekend. The winners will advance to the AFC Championship, while the losers will have their Super Bowl dreams dashed.
Burrow, now in his third season in the NFL, has been outstanding once again this season, throwing for the fifth most passing yards (4,475) and third most passing touchdowns (35) in the league.
He hasn’t missed a single game due to injury since recovering from the knee injury that kept him out of his rookie season. That’s fantastic news for Cincinnati fans, who have seen what he’s capable of in recent years. But what if Bengals fans’ worst nightmare comes true and he gets hurt?
Here is the QB depth chart behind Burrow:
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback depth chart
If Burrow is killed, Brandon Allen will almost certainly take his place.
Allen, who attended Arkansas, has bounced around the league since being drafted by the Jaguars in 2016. He spent one season in Jacksonville as the third-string quarterback behind Blake Bortles and Chad Henne before being claimed off waivers by the Rams.
After two years of not playing in Los Angeles, he was traded to the Denver Broncos. As a replacement for the injured Joe Flacco, he got his first taste of NFL action there. He won his first NFL start, throwing for 193 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-19 victory over the Browns.
He’s been with the Bengals for three years, and he started five games for them while Burrow was injured in 2020, going 1-4. He had a miserable outing in the final of those five games, going 6 of 21 for 48 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions against the Ravens.
His most recent start was against the Browns in Week 18 of last season, a 21-16 loss.
Allen is the only other active quarterback on the Bengals’ roster. They do, however, have Jake Browning on the practice squad to whom they can turn.
Browning, a Washington product, has been in the league for three years after being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Vikings in 2019. Last season, he was signed to the Bengals’ practice squad, where he still is today. Zac Taylor would only play Browning in a playoff game as a last resort because he has never played in the NFL.
The New York Giants (10-7-1) and Philadelphia Eagles (14-3) will face off in a divisional-round playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday night. The Giants started the week as 7-point road underdogs, but that number has since risen to +7.5 as of this writing.
With this matchup on the horizon, Giants Wire took advantage of the opportunity to interview Eagles Wire managing editor Glenn Erby. According to Erby, “The Eagles are all business heading into Saturday night, and a team riddled with injuries and key positions is simply hoping to reestablish chemistry and offensive efficiency. In the NFL, winning consecutive games is extremely difficult, and beating a team three times in the same season or calendar year is nearly impossible. So, no, Philadelphia isn’t laughing going into this game, and they’re even more focused now that the dancing practice sessions have gone viral.”
When asked about the intensity and energy at Lincoln Financial Field, Erby said, “Yes, when it comes to energy and intensity, Lincoln Financial Field will be on another level. The city has been buzzing for days, the game pits the Eagles against an NFC rival, and a win would send the Eagles to the NFC Championship game. I’d anticipate an even more hostile atmosphere than usual.”
Erby was also questioned about Eagles Coach Sirianni’s Pizza Hut remark. He stated, “When I want a traditional chain slice, I go to Pizza Hut, so I think coach Sirianni was just being overly honest, as he always is. Now, if the Eagles win the Super Bowl, the name drop could land him a Pizza Hut sponsorship, but I think he was just being his normal, “college-like” self.”
When asked about Eagles quarterback Nick Foles’ injury, Erby said, “Hurts is still in pain, but he’s willing to play through it. He admitted that he was still sore days after the Week 18 game, but he was grateful for Philadelphia earning the bye and No. 1 overall seed after the Week 18 win. Hurts won’t be running as many designed runs, but he’s fully prepared for contact on his throwing shoulder.”
Finally, Erby predicted the outcome of the game “The Giants are a confident team after their Wild Card victory over the Vikings, but Philadelphia knows they dominated Minnesota and New York (NFC) during the regular season when it mattered. The Giants will deliver an early punch that the Eagles will be able to withstand, and Philadelphia will eventually settle down and pick the Giants apart on their way to a 31-17 win at home.”
This is part of our NFL Predictions series. The Jacksonville Jaguars face the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the NFL Divisional playoffs on Saturday afternoon. Let’s try to get the betting week started on the right foot with the wagers listed below.
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Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Kansas City Chiefs Spread, Moneyline, and Total Betting Odds
Spread +8.5 (-105), Moneyline +360 for the Jaguars
Spread -2.5 (-115), Moneyline -450 for the Chiefs
53.5 points total for the game
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Football Picks for the Divisional Playoff Round: Jaguars vs. Chiefs Best Bets and Player Propositions
For 1.5 units, take under 53 points (-110 DraftKings Sportsbook).
These two teams met in Week 9, with the Chiefs winning 27-17 at home just before the Jaguars began their second-half surge. The Chiefs are coming off a bye week, while the Jaguars needed a last-second comeback to beat the Chargers 31-30 last week. There is a lot going against the Jaguars this week, and it will be difficult for them to get back up for this game.
The Chiefs have won 15 of their last 16 home games, while the Jaguars have won six in a row overall. The Chiefs have lost six of their last eight home games. The Chiefs have a significant advantage in this game due to their top-ranked passing offense versus the Jaguars’ 28th-ranked passing defense.
In order for this game to go over, the Chiefs must score at least 38 points or the Jaguars must score in the mid-20s. Based on how I envision the game script playing out, neither seems plausible. If the Chiefs win, it could be 31-17, 31-20, or anything else and still come in under the total. However, I believe this game will be very similar to their previous regular-season meeting, which the Chiefs won 29-17.
Over 28.5 receiving yards for Marvin Jones (-110 DraftKings Sportsbook) for 0.5 unit
Marvin Jones stood out as one of the best values on the Player Props vs. Projections page for this game. His projected receiving yards are 38.8 compared to the 28.5 predicted (26.6).
Ravens vs. Bengals: Daily Fantasy Sleepers, FanDuel, DraftKings Lineups
On Sunday night, the Cincinnati Bengals are scheduled to play the Baltimore Ravens. With Joe Burrow at quarterback, Cincinnati has a clear advantage, and it will be the primary target of daily fantasy football players from the AFC wild-card matchup. Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase are likely to have a high roster percentage in the contest, but they are not the only potential DFS stars.
The ground game is the key to Baltimore’s victory. In recent weeks, JK Dobbins has been outstanding. The Ravens could pull off an upset with him and other ground-game stars. Burrow will most likely spread the ball around through the air in a Cincinnati victory. If they connect with Burrow in the right situations, one or two players could have breakout games in DFS.
Baltimore’s Gus Edwards is a running back.
It’s not worth it to look for a hidden gem in the Baltimore passing game. Without Lamar Jackson on the field, the Ravens’ passing game will be limited. The key to Baltimore’s success is to thrive on the ground with Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Edwards will not be the primary ball carrier, but he should see plenty of touches as the Ravens attempt to keep the ball away from Burrow. Because of his potential to have a double-digit carry game, Edwards would be a nice low-salary option to add at running back or in a FLEX position.
Cincinnati’s Hayden Hurst, tight end
Chase, Tyler Boyd, and Tee Higgins are the wide receiver triumvirate to watch in DFS. Hayden Hurst has the potential to be the X-factor in the passing game, outperforming his counterpart, Mark Andrews. Hurst had four receptions for 14 yards in Week 18. In Week 5, he had six catches for 53 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens. He can play across the middle as well as in tight red-zone situations. With so much attention focused on the wide receivers, Hurst may have some open patches of the field to run in. He’d be a good option in a Cincinnati lineup stack just to add some variety to a group of players that many DFS lineups could have.
Ravens Lineup Predictions
JK Dobbins is the Ravens’ best DFS option by far. In Weeks 14 and 15, the top Baltimore running back returned from injury with consecutive 100-yard games. Dobbins finished the regular season with 59 and 93 yards in his other two games. He enters Sunday on full rest after missing the game against Cincinnati a week ago. Mark Andrews is also resting, and he will be relied on heavily in the passing game; he surpassed 100 yards in his last regular-season outing against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Andrews is the most dependable target in a passing attack with a lot of unknowns at wide receiver. Because of the quarterback uncertainty, any roster play on a Baltimore wideout is a risk. With Jackson out and no Ravens wideout having more than three touchdowns, the pressure will be on.
Bengals Lineup Predictions
On the Cincinnati roster, there are far too many options. That stands in stark contrast to the Ravens’ DFS situation. To begin a lineup stack, a Burrow-Chase pairing makes far too much sense. Last season, Chase had 368 receiving yards in four postseason games. This was only second to Cooper Kupp, who helped the Rams defeat the Bengals in the Super Bowl. Burrow and Chase will be joined by LVITyler Boyd and Tee Higgins.
Picking NFL games in Week 18 is always difficult. There is a lot of uncertainty about who will play and who will not. So I can use that as an excuse for my best bets blunder on the “Pick Six NFL” podcast last week.
I had my worst week of the season, going 1-4. What an ending to the regular season. That dropped my record to 55-44-5, which is still respectable, but the last two weeks have been brutal in my pursuit of R.J. White. Will Brinson, the podcast’s host, was long out of the running.
My CBSSports.com expert picks finished 9-7 ATS and 10-6 straight up. That brings my ATS record to 129-133-9 and my straight up record to 169-101-1. That means I’ll need to win the playoffs to get over.500 ATS, which I intend to do.
Let’s get the wild-card weekend games swept. That’s correct, 6-0. Let’s get started.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Sat., 4:30 p.m. ET
During the regular season, the 49ers defeated the Seahawks twice, once with rookie Brock Purdy starting. He has yet to lose a start, but things can change in the playoffs. The intensity rises. Kyle Shanahan, I believe, will find a way to make it easy on Purdy, even in the postseason. The 49ers’ defense will swarm Geno Smith. This is going to get ugly. 49ers 28, Seahawks 17.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Sat., 8:15 p.m. ET
This is a game between two of the league’s best young quarterbacks. Both Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence will be making their playoff debuts, but I don’t think it will matter. The Jaguars dominated the Chargers in Week 3 by blowing them out, but this game will be much closer. Both passing games should have strong days, making it a shootout. As Lawrence wins the first of his battles with Herbert, expect the Jaguars to make one more big play to win it. Jaguars 34, Chargers 31.
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
1 p.m. ET Sunday (CBS, Paramount+)
Tua Tagovailoa is a player. If not, who will? Miami’s quarterback situation is in flux, but I don’t believe it matters who plays. The Dolphins played well in their season-ending loss to the Bills, but that won’t be the case here. The offense and Josh Allen will light up the Dolphins defense, while the Bills will limit Miami’s big plays. The Bills will proceed.
The Miami Dolphins’ ability to stop Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills will determine whether or not they can upset the Bills. This defense has put in two strong performances in a row. For the Dolphins to have a chance, they will need to put on another strong performance this week.
Let’s take a look back at the Week 3 victory over the Bills. The Dolphins’ defense played for 40 minutes and only gave up 19 points. How did they accomplish this? How did they contain such a dangerous offense?
I believe the keys to this game are hidden somewhere in the middle of it. The Dolphins’ defense won the turnover battle, which was the first and most important thing they did in that game. With a rookie quarterback leading the offense, it is critical for the Dolphins to get him extra possessions. Ideally, we’d like those to result in good field position.
The Dolphins’ front four must go after Josh Allen. They need to make him feel like he has to make a big play or else he’ll throw an interception. The first sentence was the most important part of that paragraph. “With the front four, go after Josh Allen.” When blitzed, Allen is one of the league’s best quarterbacks. We’ve seen it both times the Dolphins have faced the Bills this season.
Bradley Chubb and Jaelen Phillips must pursue Allen. Josh Boyer is known for blitzing and bringing opponents down into the box. But you can’t do it against Allen. He rips blitz apart. I know Boyer wants to blitz, but doing so will be disastrous.
The most important thing the Dolphins’ defense did against the Bills in that first meeting was their red zone defense. The Bills had four trips to the red zone in that game, scoring a touchdown on two of them, kicking a field goal on one, and missing a field goal on the other. To stay in the game, the Dolphins need a similar result on Sunday. If the Dolphins allow four touchdowns, their chances of winning this game are drastically reduced.
This is ultimately where the game is headed. When the Bills make mistakes and put the ball in danger, the Dolphins must recover it. When the Bills enter the red zone, the Dolphins must limit them to field goals. If the Dolphins do these two things, they will be in a good position to win the game.