I know it’s officially now the “Super Wild Card” playoffs. Other than to make that point, I won’t call it that. (I prefer “Super Duper.”)
But what I will do, along with MDS, is make picks for the six games to be played this weekend.
Before that, we need to wrap up some loose ends from the regular season.
For Week 17, I went 14-2 and MDS went 13-3. He wins the regular-season contest, 167-91 to 164-94.
Against the spread, I went 96-1 and MDS was 8-7-1. For the year, I’m at 120-126-10 and he’s at 104-142-10.
We’ll reset everything to 0-0 and give 13 postseason games a whirl. He are the picks for the first six of them.
Colts (+6.5) at Bills
MDS’s take: Indianapolis has a strong defense, but I just think Josh Allen has too many weapons to choose from for the Colts to shut him down. Philip Rivers may play well, but in the end Allen and the Bills will make enough big plays to host a game in the divisional round of the playoffs for the first time in 27 years.
MDS’s pick: Bills 28, Colts 24.
Florio’s take: The Colts need to crank up the running game and take the full 40 seconds of the play clock as often as possible, keeping Bills quarterback Josh Allen on the sideline for as long as possible. The Bills need to crank up Allen, unleashing him as a runner — like they did last year in the playoffs — and trusting that he won’t be reckless with the ball, like he was last year.
Florio’s pick: Bills 34, Colts 20.
Rams (+3.5) at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The Rams’ defense should play well against Russell Wilson, but I’m not sure I can trust the Rams’ offense, regardless of whether Jared Goff or John Wolford is at quarterback. I like Seattle to win a close, low-scoring game.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 16, Rams 13.
Florio’s take: Russell Wilson is getting too deep into his career to blow a shot at enhancing his legacy on a team that quite possibly will be led by John Wolford.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 24, Rams 21.
Buccaneers (-8.5) at Washington
MDS’s take: This is a closer game than people think, as Washington’s defense matches up well with Tampa Bay’s offense. But in the end I think Tom Brady makes a big play, Alex Smith comes up short, and the Buccaneers advance.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Washington 14.
Florio’s take: The key to stopping Tom Brady is to pressure him up the middle. Even then, the opponent needs to score points. Washington won’t be able to score enough — unless Chase Young has multiple touchdowns on his own.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 31, Washington 14.
Ravens (-3.5) at Titans
MDS’s take: The Ravens are coming on strong at the right time, and the Titans’ defense is highly suspect. I think Lamar Jackson will have a big game as he earns his first playoff win.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 31, Titans 30.
Florio’s take: The Ravens already have won five straight de facto playoff games. That’s the best way of turning the page on the narrative that they can’t win in the playoffs.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 27, Titans 21.
Bears (+10.5) at Saints
MDS’s take: The Saints have the best defense Mitchell Trubisky has faced this season, and I don’t think he’s going to be up to the challenge. New Orleans will win comfortably.
MDS’s pick: Saints 27, Bears 20.
Florio’s take: Another gut-wrenching exit from the postseason could be looming for the Saints. But not on Sunday.
Florio’s pick: Saints 30, Bears 20.
Browns (+6) at Steelers
MDS’s take: The Browns barely won last week, when they had everything to play for and the Steelers had nothing to play for. This week, the Steelers show they’re the better team.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 30, Browns 17.
Florio’s take: We’re about to find out how valuable a good coach is, based on the absence of Cleveland’s head coach.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Browns 17.