My name is Eric Cohen and yes, I’m a homer when it comes to my picks (sometimes).
First I’ll own something: My playoff picks, in all sports, usually stink. I almost had a Rays-Braves World Series pegged correctly but Atlanta managed to blow a 3-1 series lead to the eventual World Series champion Dodgers. Don’t even get me started on my lack of NHL and NBA success.
The last two years, my NFL playoff picks have been doomed by the Lamar Jackson-led Ravens. But they’re due for some revenge as I see it having lost to the Titans the last two times they’ve played, including a clunker in last year’s Divisional Round.
But why am I a homer you ask?
Because I’m taking the GREEN BAY PACKERS, yes, my favorite team, to win Super Bowl LV.
Aaron Rodgers is playing arguably the best of his career with 48 regular season touchdown passes and a likely NFL MVP award headed his way in the coming weeks. Funny thing about Rodgers is that in his 4 NFC Championship Game appearances, none has been at Lambeau Field. I believe that changes this season.
Part of Rodgers’ success is that Davante Adams has become one of the most unguardable receivers in the league. 115 catches and 18 TDs in only 14 games is beyond absurd.
I know that the Packers D has its holes…but here’s to hoping CB Jaire Alexander locks down the opposing team’s best receiver and Green Bay’s defensive line can put the necessary pressure on the opposing team’s QB to disrupt their timing.
Sure…I’m being overly optimistic…but every other team in the NFC has major flaws. And in the AFC, I believe there are three teams who can win the conference title – and yes, one of them are those same Ravens who fail me often.
Scroll down for full playoff picks and a one liner for each game…plus on page 2, it’s time to pick the College Football Playoff National Championship Game! Will I stick with my preseason pick of Ohio State or deviate at the last moment?
NFL PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS
Week 17: 10-6 Straight Up (SU), 3-13 Against the Spread (ATS)
Regular Season (2020): 160-95-1 SU, 115-141 ATS
Regular Season (2019): 157-98-1 SU, 128-128 ATS
(Picks against the spread in parentheses; HOME TEAMS IN CAPS)
Wild Card Round
BUFFALO BILLS 34, Indianapolis Colts 26
(ATS: Bills -7, Over 52)
Outside of Rodgers-to-Adams, no duo is performing better than Allen-to-Diggs…I just don’t see Indy with much of a chance.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 24, Los Angeles Rams 19
(ATS: Seahawks -3.5, Over 42.5)
Hard to pick this game confidently with the Rams’ QB uncertainty…also hard to fade Russell Wilson at home even without a crowd.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23, WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM 16
(ATS: Washington +8.5, Under 45)
The Football Team won the worst division in quite a few years, in part because the Eagles rolled over last Sunday night; do you really think they have a chance to beat Tom Brady in the playoffs? (Though I do think the game might be closer than most people assume).
Baltimore Ravens 37, TENNESSEE TITANS 23
(ATS: Ravens -3.5, Over 55)
Lamar Jackson’s playoff vindication…at least for one game.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 30, Chicago Bears 24
(ATS: Bears +10, Over 47)
Even though they have Mitchell Trubisky as their QB1, I have a strong feeling that the Bears put a scare into Drew Brees and the Saints…
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 26, Cleveland Browns 14
(ATS: Steelers -6, Under 47.5)
The Browns making the playoffs and not having their head coach and best OL due to COVID is such a Browns-like unlucky circumstance…
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 30, Baltimore Ravens 27
Call me crazy but I wouldn’t be shocked if Baltimore, arguably the hottest team in the league exacted revenge for KC’s Week 3 beat down.
BUFFALO BILLS 28, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
Big Ben’s flaws will be exposed in chilly Buffalo…I can’t find any way to pick Pittsburgh unless Allen doesn’t play for some reason.
GREEN BAY PACKERS 33, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26
What an epic QB matchup…but the Packers owe Tampa one for an early season whooping in Florida!
Seattle Seahawks 27, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 24
Finally a notable upset special…Wilson over Brees in Drew’s likely final game! (I had to pick a big upset somewhere in this round…)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 39, Buffalo Bills 34
When these two played earlier in the season, the result was a low-scoring, ugly KC win…this game would be the polar opposite.
GREEN BAY PACKERS 34, Seattle Seahawks 26
Rodgers vs. Wilson for a chance to go to the Super Bowl…another matchup of epic proportions but in the end, Seattle’s defense fails them and Aaron gets to his second Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LV
GREEN BAY PACKERS 31, Kansas City Chiefs 28
MVP: Aaron Rodgers
A team hasn’t won back-to-back Super Bowls in more than 15 years and I’ll bet against it again. Maybe I’m crazy with this pick…but Rodgers is playing at a level that even supersedes Mahomes. ARod wins his 2nd Super Bowl and will no doubt go down as Green Bay’s best ever QB and player!
Wild Card Weekend Betting Locks
(Last Week’s Result, Season Record in Parentheses)
Favorite (LOSS, 8-9): Ravens -3.5 at Titans
Underdog (LOSS, 9-8): Washington +8.5 vs. Bucs
Bet the Over (WIN 7-10): Bears / Saints Over 47
Bet the Under (LOSS, 9-7-1): Steelers / Browns Under 47.5
(Page 2: National Championship Game Picks)