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.