TRUTH TIME: I HATE THE BUFFALO BILLS. If the Bills didn’t exist I would be up money on the NFL postseason but they have kicked my dick in two weeks in a row. It’s just disgusting. Stefon Diggs is a diva. Josh Allen is a fraud. Sean McDermott is a glorified babysitter. I will never root for this team again.
HOWEVA, it is time to put this in the past. They are nuked off the face of the Earth left for another February of irrelevance and I will leave them there. It is time to talk about some real, winning football teams that will help us battle out of this hole without the Bills dragging us down.
NFL Playoffs: 8-12-1 -4.19u
NFL YTD: 138-91-3 +47.22u
49ers (+2.5) @ Eagles o/u 46.5
This game is really fascinating to handicap. The Eagles were the Super Bowl favorites around Week 5? of the season and didn’t really look back until Week 15. That is when Jalen Hurts lived up to his name by getting injured. In a position where they just needed to win 1 of their last 3, the Eagles rested him and lost a couple of bad games. Then Hurts came back rusty and the Eagles squeaked one out against the Giants’ backups. All of a sudden, people started to sell Eagles stock and say maybe that 14-game sample size was actually wrong and this three-game sample size (2/3 with a backup QB) is who this team really is.
Well, that was put to bed after the absolute beatdown they gave the Giants in the divisional round. The trendy dog looked like they didn’t even belong on the same field as the Eagles. I love this Eagles team because they are complete at every single position. They have an MVP-caliber QB who can create with his legs and arm, they have a stable of three dynamic RBs, they have a monster OL, electric WRs, a top-10 TE, and their defense is solid on every level.
So how do the 49ers compare to that? I think they can match them or be better everywhere except the QB position. Their defense is probably the best in the NFL, they have a really solid OL, and an insane stable of skill position players. However, Brock Purdy is still unproven in this league, in my opinion. Before anyone gets mad, if you have followed me for a while you know that I am a huge Brock Purdy fan since Iowa State and I am really impressed with how he has performed so far this season.
However, the hype may be slightly overblown. Before last week, the best pass defense (DVOA) that Purdy had faced was the Commanders who ended the season ranked 13th. Purdy looked pretty good against a bunch of bottom-half-of-the-league pass defenses. His run game and defense carried him up until last week. Then he finally faced an elite pass defense in Dallas last week (3rd in pass defense DVOA) and Purdy looked bad. If it wasn’t for a couple of dropped Dallas INTs, bad INTs from Dak, and that ridiculous tip drill catch by Kittle, the 49ers would have lost that game.
I think this will be even harder for Brock Purdy as this Eagles’ defense is #1 in pass defense DVOA. Purdy is due to have one of these bad balls picked and the Eagles have hopped on those mistakes all season. The pass rush should bother him as well. The Eagles are a bit weaker defending the rush but CMC’s calf injury could hinder their ability to exploit that. I think they will force Purdy to beat them and he will come up short. Hurts won’t make the same mistakes as Dak and the Philly home crowd will carry the Birds over the line. Let’s fucking do this thing, Philly.
Pick: 3u Eagles ML (-130) (if you missed a ML of -135 or better, I am fine with the -2.5)
Bengals (+1) @ Chiefs o/u 48
Now for the epic rematch of last year’s AFC Title Game. The Bengals have now beaten the Chiefs three times in a row, all by exactly three points. Last year, they beat the Chiefs in the regular season at home before going to Arrowhead and winning in the AFCCG. This year, they took down the Chiefs in the regular season again.
This huge story around this game is obviously the health of Patrick Mahomes. I am of the opinion that Mahomes will play and be around 75-80% for this game. That is of course still very good and probably puts him about on the same level as Burrow. However, my bigger fear when it comes to the possibility of backing the Chiefs is it getting worse. We saw plays last week where Mahomes got hit or scrambled or just planted weirdly and he was hobbling around after that.
I do think Mahomes will play this whole game barring something crazy (which could happen to any player) but it won’t be cheat code, video game Mahomes. For that reason, I am backing the Bengals. Lou Anarumo has gotten the better of Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes three times now and that is no coincidence in my mind. He has schemed perfectly how to limit Mahomes and this offense.
I think there will be points on both sides here but I trust the Bengals’ defense more than the Chiefs’ defense. At a perfectly healthy Patrick Mahomes, I would give the Chiefs’ offense a slight edge. But to be honest, the Bengals have better skill position players and a better run game. So with Mahomes not at 100%, I am backing Burrow and Chase to be the difference in this game.
Picks: 1.5u Bengals +2.5 (would play at current #), o47 (would play to 49)
0.5u Deebo Samuel o20.5 rush yards- I like this a lot. Deebo went well over this number against Seattle and despite not going over it last week, he did have 4 carries but was just unable to break one. The Eagles’ defensive weakness is the ground game and with CMC not at 100%, that gives Shanny even more reason to get Deebo the ball in the backfield. In the postseason is when Shanny pulls out all of his tricks and that will include trying to get the ball to Deebo in different ways.
We know that because Deebo went over this number by at least 12 yards in all three playoff games last year and 2/3 his rookie year. That makes it 6/8 career postseason games where Deebo has gone over this number. I think he does again here.
0.5u Brock Purdy u1.5 passing TDs (-150)- I do think this will be a bit of a rock fight like the game against Dallas last week. In that game, Purdy didn’t throw any TD passes. I think Shanny will be much more comfortable putting the ball in the hands of Jus, Deebo, or CMC inside the red zone rather than Purdy throwing when each point will matter so much.
0.5u Travis Kelce anytime TD (-105), Kelce o6.5 receptions (-148)
Kelce is going to go off. These numbers speak for themselves and this should be another shootout like a lot of those games. I think if Mahomes is hobbled that will make him only look for Kelce more like we saw last week. When in doubt, Pat finds Kelce and that will never be more important than if he is really hobbled this weekend. If he’s not… then it’ll be normal Mahomes to Kelce which is even better.
Also, the guy just always finds the end zone. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen in this league before and this line of -105 seems like stealing. Let’s go Trav.
That’s it for Championship Weekend, folks. Let’s crush on Sunday.