The day gets started at 1:00 PM ET with the Eagles taking on the defending Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers. It was stunning that the Eagles began the season at 3-6, yet ended up winning 6 of their next 7 games to clinch a playoff spot. One could nitpick that 6-1 stretch, though, and point to the fact that those wins included the Jets, Giants (twice), and Football Team (twice). Jalen Hurts played the role of dual-threat quarterback well, and their defense had some timely moments.
Aside from an odd 9-0 shutout loss to the Saints a few weeks ago, the Buccaneers and Tom Brady are right at the top of teams favored to win this year’s Super Bowl. The element that Tampa Bay is missing is some of their top threats at the wide receiver position, as Antonio Brown is gone and Chris Godwin is out to injury. Brady leans extra hard on Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski now; besides them, former Browns wide receiver Breshad Perriman figures to be the guy who can make the biggest contribution. I like the Buccaneers to win this one fairly comfortably. Buccaneers 31, Eagles 20
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Buccaneers are 8 point favorites against the Eagles.
The 49ers are another team that put things together down the stretch. After starting the year at 3-5, they went 7-2 to close out the year, including a dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Rams on the road in Week 18 to make the postseason. Unlike the Eagles, the 49ers are a team that can make some noise this postseason, as Kyle Shanahan has started to re-establish a better tempo with his ground game. The utilization of Deebo Samuel has been the big key. He rushed for 8 touchdowns this year, aught 6 touchdown passes (with 1,400 yards receiving), and even threw a touchdown pass last week.
Dallas featured a really high-powered offense this year with the return of Dak Prescott. There were five games this season in which Dallas scored more than 40 points, and they had 50+ points in two of their last three games. Incredible. Dallas’ defense was a lot more respectable this year, so it’s important to note that Dallas wasn’t forced to get into back-and-forth high shootouts. I think this one could be either team’s game to win, but I’ll take the Cowboys by a field goal. Cowboys 27, 49ers 24.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Cowboys are 3 point favorites against the 49ers.
Obviously, I was rooting for the tie last week in the Chargers-Raiders game, which would have ousted the Steelers in the most dramatic fashion. Instead, Pittsburgh’s season got to live on, and it’s almost laughable (in a “can you believe this shit?”) kind of way how Ben Roethlisberger is getting this opportunity at an improbable sendoff. What if Pittsburgh pulls off some magic? Nah, I’ll stop right there.
These two teams met just a couple of weeks ago, and the Chiefs routed Pittsburgh 36-10. The Steelers’ defense can definitely try to play spoiler, but their success came against teams with protection breakdowns, and the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes don’t fall into that category. Chiefs 28, Steelers 13.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Chiefs are 12.5 point favorites against the Steelers.
You can use this as your open thread to discuss all of the Sunday games too.