PFT’s NFL wild card 2022 picks

NFL: DEC 26 Steelers at Chiefs
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A close race became a rout. Sort of.

After chipping away at MDS’s lead and taking a one-game margin into Week 18, a 5-0 sweep in our disagreements blew things wide open.

I finished with a 12-4 week and a full-season record of 177-94-1. MDS went 172-99-1.

Here are our picks for super wild-card weekend. He disagree on three of the games. All picks appear below.

Raiders (+5.5) at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Raiders stamped their ticket to the playoffs in one of the games of the year, and by winning instead of settling for a tie, they got to play the Bengals instead of the Chiefs. That gives them a somewhat better chance of winning, but either way, I think the much fresher Bengals should win.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 30, Raiders 20.

Florio’s take: The last time the Raiders played into overtime and home and went across the country on a short week, they stunned the Steelers. But these aren’t the Steelers. The Bengals, desperate to end a 31-year streak of postseason futility, are loaded with players who don’t care about the past. Led by Joe Burrow, they’re ready to show what they can do now, and what they plan to do moving forward.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 31, Raiders 17.

Patriots (+4) at Bills

MDS’s take: The last time the Patriots went to Buffalo, they threw only three passes on their way to an improbable win. I can’t see this game unfolding like that. The Bills’ defense will be better prepared for the Patriots’ offense, and Josh Allen will have a better game as well.

MDS’s pick: Bills 28, Patriots 17.

Florio’s take: Bill Belichick is the master of coming up with a game plan that takes away what the opponent’s offense does best. But does he have the players to execute it? And will the Bills, faced with the reality of a long-time nemesis trying to spoil a playoff party, be able to rise to the occasion? Belichick has successfully embraced moments like this longer than Josh Allen has been alive.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 20, Bills 19.

Eagles (+8.5) at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: I see the Eagles running the ball a lot and trying to play keep-away from Tom Brady. That will result in a close game, but ultimately a Buccaneers victory.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Eagles 17.

Florio’s take: The Bucs are getting back enough healthy players to advance. Whether they can advance again is an issue for next week.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Eagles 17.

49ers (+3) at Cowboys

MDS’s take: I’m tempted to pick the upset, as I have a hunch that Jimmy Garoppolo is going to look pretty good with another week for his thumb to heal. And yet in the end I think Dak Prescott makes one more big play in the fourth quarter.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 30, 49ers 28.

Florio’s take: The Cowboys wanted to avoid the Cardinals. Congratulations? The 49ers have the right combination of talent and coaching to get it done, as long as Jimmy G doesn’t cook their goose.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 28, Cowboys 27.

Steelers (+12.5) at Chiefs

MDS’s take: This will be Ben Roethlisberger‘s last game, and I think it will be an ugly one for the Steelers, who just don’t have the personnel to keep up with the Chiefs.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 33, Steelers 14.

Florio’s take: This one is setting up to be another memorable night for the Steelers, and a forgettable one for the Chiefs. All reason and common sense suggests a Kansas City win. But with Mike Tomlin coaching and Ben Roethlisberger entering his final postseason run — and the Steelers embracing a natural and authentic nothing-to-lose vibe, they can do the unthinkable if they can deliver an early uppercut to a flatfooted favorite with players who, no matter what they hear from the coaching staff, will approach this one like the easy win that it should be. It won’t be.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Chiefs 24.

Cardinals (+4) at Rams

MDS’s take: Both of these teams have faded down the stretch, but someone has to win, and I trust the Rams more than the Cardinals. Arizona, after such a promising start, will be one-and-done.

MDS’s pick: Rams 20, Cardinals 13.

Florio’s take: Both teams have had lapses. Both teams will have lapses. The Rams will have fewer against a Cardinals team that started hot and faded badly. While it remains to be seen whether Matthew Stafford can take the show on the road to a place like Green Bay or Tampa, the Rams have enough to get a chance to win on the road, wherever the road may take them.

Florio’s pick: Rams 30, Cardinals 24.

85 responses to “PFT’s NFL wild card 2022 picks

  1. Buffalo only dropped the first match up because they got out coached. BB got them to try and play like the Patriots and they didn’t trust Josh with the game until it was too late; they are putting the offense on Josh now and there will be no lack of faith that he can zip it.

    Bills by a billion.

  2. The other lock aside from the Chiefs is clearly the 49’ers. They are playing a regular season team whom have limited talent and heart.

  3. Florio thinks the Steelers can upset the Chiefs, but doesn’t think the Raiders can pull off an upset of their own. Oh, ye of little faith…

  4. Philthy is the most overrated team in the playoffs. They’ll get blown out by Tampa. I expect the 49ers to handle the Cowboys because Dakota can’t read a defense when under pressure (not the same as handling a blitz). The rest are too close to call.

  5. Raiders get the win on the road and Bengals 3rd worst O-line will allow some forced fumble Carr the Star gets that win after sitting out. Chiefs get a bye week vs Steelers, #1 D Bills force Mac Jones into turnovers, Cardinals get revenge for Murray’s injury last year and Palmer’s injury, Cowboys edge 49ers, you take Prescott over Jimmy G, Brady gets his revenge vs the Eagles

  6. Bengals over Raiders -Hoping for a good game But the Bengals appear to be getting hot at the right time..
    Patriots over Bills – just seems like one of those moments in history where the Bills look to be on the brink of greatness and BAMMMM… Belichick would be the one to do it…
    Bucs over Eagles – Eagles have a huge hurdle of overcome after struggling most of this season while the Bucs play well at home…
    49ers overs Cowboys – I think as long as Jimmy G holds up, Shanahan will coach Dallas defense off their game…
    Chiefs overs Steelers – I do think the Steelers could pull out the win because stranger things like that has happened this season BUT Chiefs slip by with win…
    Rams over Cardinals – The Cardinals have been overrated and their past few games have shown it… The Rams live to play another weekend!

  7. Going back and forth all week on Bucs/Eagles and when I think about it I get the sense this could be one of the biggest upsets of the year.

    The Bucs run defense isn’t what it was last year and they haven’t looked good down the stretch. The Eagles have the #1 run offense in the league and they’ve been scary good in the last half of the season. And they’re healthy and the Bucs are not. In fact this is the kind of scrappy underdog team that Tommy hates playing as he’s shown in the past against the Giants.

    Think I’ll go with Eagles. One and done for Tommy 😢

  8. The Bucs and the Patriots will meet in the super bowl. We’ve been saying it all season long. The only ones who aren’t predicting it are those that hate these teams.

  9. Based on his picks it looks to me like Florio is planning to shrink the gap between him and MDS.

  10. Patriots over Bills – just seems like one of those moments in history where the Bills look to be on the brink of greatness and BAMMMM… Belichick would be the one to do it…
    Patriots at least one maybe two seasons away from being ready to contend and win in the playoffs.

    Jones will take away some great experience on Saturday but they desperately need to get younger and faster at LB and they will also need secondary help to compete with the great offenses in this league. They need a big guy clogging running lanes up front which they haven’t had in years. This offseason they can start to close those holes.

    It will be a good game anyway I think… Bills in a close low scoring one.

  11. Florio’s take: The Cowboys wanted to avoid the Cardinals. Congratulations? The 49ers have the right combination of talent and coaching to get it done, as long as Jimmy G doesn’t cook their goose.
    Not to worry.
    Jimmy Glass will mess up some how, some way.

  12. Shades of the Kaepernick game, 9ers run like a bandit that stole something.

    McCarthy canned in favor of Moore.

  13. Steelers are playing with house money. All the pressure is on the Chiefs. I would love to see KC get knocked out. Patriots/Bills in bitter cold? I say advantage Patriots. They have played many more games in January, and Belichick will have a good plan going in. It will be close. The Bills, especially Josh Allen, have not looked comfortable in bad weather this season. Just my take…

  14. Raiders over Bengals
    Bills over Pats
    Chiefs over Steelers
    Bucs over Eagles
    Cowboys over Niners
    Rams over Cards

    The Cowboys will end the Niners without much difficulty. The Niners win over the Rams was because Garoppolo is the Rams kryptonite. Bills and Pats could be exciting, but Buffalo is set to make a run. The Eagles vs. the Bucs could be full of surprises, but I think Brady’s playoff experience will win the day. Cheering for the Raiders and Rams because I’m a homer. Doh!

  15. Bill Belichick can out coach Buffalo but his players can’t out play Buffalo.

    How many times in the second game did the Patriots call the perfect defense but just got out talented by Josh “The Cantaloupe Farmer” Allen. He can put his guys in all the right plays but the talent level isn’t there for the Patriots to stop Josh Allen in less than 50mph gale force winds.

  16. I hope Florio is correct. Then the Steelers come to Titan Town for pay back. We will be ready this time.

  17. Sounds like big Ben’s passive aggressive “nobody expects us to win so let’s go have fun” speech persuaded Florio. Good luck with that. Chiefs are going to roll the Steelers.

  18. Bills crush Pats 37 – 6 (2 Jones picks)
    Bengals cruise 27 – 13
    Chiefs melt steel 31 – 14
    Cowboys roll 20 – 9 (2 JG picks)
    Cards shock Rams 41 – 38
    Bucs spank Philly 33 – 12

  19. Platinum Picks of the Week: (!) The under (currently at 44) in the Bills/Patriots game. These teams are 1-2 in points allowed during the regular season. The defenses are stout, Belichick will have a surprise or two for Josh Allen and the weather will be horrible again, so … Bills 20, Patriots 16. (2) Forty-niners (+3) over the Cowboys. The Cowboys are w-a-a-a-y overrated. They are 6-0 against the NFCE, 6-5 against everybody else. Their signature wins, if you can call them that, are over the Patriots in OT and the not-in-the-playoffs Chargers by 3. The Niners will win this one outright, 31-24.

  20. Bengals 29 Raiders 23 – Close, but I favor Cincinnati
    Patriots 12 Bills 6 – Could be the most entertaining WC game by far if it turns into the defensive masterpiece it’s shaping up to be. Belichek outcoaches in a strong win
    Buccaneers 34 Eagles 3 – Philly (9-8) can’t hold on against the defending champions: a 13-win 2-seed with Brady.
    49ers 27 Cowboys 26 – Close high-score affair where it will come down to the wire. Could go either way.
    Chiefs 44 Steelers 9 – Pittsburgh’s offense is atrocious and this will likely mirror their matchup a few weeks ago.
    Rams 16 Cardinals 10 / OT – This one is hard to predict. Neither team gives me huge confidence after their Week 18 eggs.

    Divisional Round Set-Up (time TBD, ofc)

    49ers vs Packers
    Rams vs Buccaneers
    Patriots vs Titans
    Bengals vs Chiefs

  21. Bucs-Eagles game will be wet and windy. It’ll come down to defense and the trenches, and I just don’t trust the Eagles to win that kind of game. Way too much inexperience. Brady will win it in the 4th.

  22. nite2al says:
    January 13, 2022 at 12:53 pm
    Pats, Bucs none and done.


    None and done are exactly what the Ravens are….! Worse yet they are poised to pay $40M+ a year to a glorified RB. Good times!

  23. Bengals over Raiders. Played earlier in the season in Vegas, and Bengals won easily. No reason to expect different in Cincinnati.
    Chiefs over Steelers. Week 16 blowout, and the Chiefs were without Kelce. Again no reason to expect a different result.
    Bucs over Eagles. I do expect the Eagles to cover. But the strengths of both teams line up as do their weaknesses. Tampa’s run defence versus the Eagles run game, and the Bucs pass defence versus the Eagles passing attack. This rematch is the same as the first two, no reason to expect a different result.
    49ers over Cowboys. Dallas is the more talented team, but has the worst coach in the playoffs. It’s just a matter of time before McCarthy does something to lose a game. Doesn’t help that the Cowboy offence hasn’t looked sharp in weeks against decent competition.
    Rams over Cardinals. Arizona’s RBs have injuries and Hopkins definitely won’t play. Unless Stafford continues his torrid interception streak, 8 in the past 4 games, Rams win easily.
    Bills over Patriots. New England may cover, but their defence simply isn’t making key stops in the fourth quarter. The biggest difference between the two games they played is the pass rush Allen faced. Sacked twice in the first game, zero in the second. At to further highlight New England’s defensive failings, in their last meeting JC Jackson dropped a sure interception in Buffalo territory during the fourth quarter with Patriots down less than touchdown. Game changing moment that they didn’t execute.

  24. I love the Pats but I can’t see them winning this one. I know BB will coach them up, but where was that the last 4 weeks? How have they come out flat every game except JAX. Add the number of important pieces that are very dinged up and I just don’t think they can keep up with Buffalo come Saturday. I would love to see the upset, just don’t think it will happen.

    We’re on to next season

  25. eaglesfanalways says:
    January 13, 2022 at 1:15 pm
    Whenever I count the Eagles out this year, I remember Super Bowl LII.

    Yeah I remember Tommy fumbling away that game near the end and then pouting and not shaking Foles hand at the end.

    That’s the GOAT baby!

  26. Earlier this week I said I’d take the Raiders over any other Road team this week and got thumbed down severely. I’m going to reiterate why I think that. After Cindy beat the Bengals earlier this year, they yapped and flapped and promptly go beat by the Jets. I see a lot of similarities after they beat the Chiefs. If Burrows had to sit because he was injured , fine. If they sat him because they didn’t want to get him hurt , he’s the second coming of china doll Stafford.

  27. Anyone know Buffalo, whose QB sucks in colder weather, are practicing indoors?


    Pats to pull the upset and poor Bills fans will be wondering just what happened.

  28. mixjuan says:
    January 13, 2022 at 2:06 pm
    I love the Pats but I can’t see them winning this one. I know BB will coach them up, but where was that the last 4 weeks? How have they come out flat every game except JAX. Add the number of important pieces that are very dinged up and I just don’t think they can keep up with Buffalo come Saturday. I would love to see the upset, just don’t think it will happen.

    We’re on to next season

    If the Patriots season ends on Saturday I’m cheering for Buffalo to go all the way. They’re ready. It’s their time.

  29. Yeah I remember Tommy fumbling away that game near the end and then pouting and not shaking Foles hand at the end.

    That’s the GOAT baby!

    How did you feel about him in the next SB vs Atlanta?

  30. 49ers defense, 49ers defense, 49ers defense. These yardage totals mean little. Stats mean little. You are overlooking this Dallas defense which is downright scary when they are on point. Who cares about ratings. Dallas’ offense is rated #1, but clearly they are not the overall best offense. Dallas D will be the story of this game. Mark it. Next week the pundits will be saying “Oh boy! NO ONE wants to play the Cowboys!” and it will be as meaningless as them saying “no one wants the 49ers!” Its about football, matchups and who shows up ready to fight. I like the Cowboys ful stop.

  31. Something strange has been going on with the Patriots since the bye week. We heard the weird comment by the QB about the team feeling sorry for itself (?), the QB has not played well since the bye, and I noticed Judon playing less and being on the sidelines more. I thought maybe he was nursing a minor injury, but now it sounds like he is free lancing a bit and it is leaving other players hanging out to dry. The other d-lineman are starting to react and do things to over compensate etc. Judon has to go back to doing his job. It was working pretty well for him up until the bye. I sensed maybe over the bye the players were reading their #1 seed press clippings too much, and perhaps Judon has been out to boost his sack total. The result has been over running plays and losing contain on QB’s like Allen and Tua. It’s one reason they are struggling to get critical stops when they need them. If this is causing a rift between players, it may not go away. If they play that way Saturday night they will get run off the field. Add the fact that Barmore had to be carted off the field last week and it does not look good. He may play but how effective can he be holding up with a knee that was so painful he had to have an MRI? Without Judon doing his job, and Barmore disrupting the interior, the Pat’s slow linebackers and thin secondary get exposed. Because it is the Patriots, I give them a shot at putting it together and getting back to doing their jobs on defense, but right now, I don’t like what we’ve been seeing, and now hearing, and the offense has it’s limitations. It will also be -4 degrees with the wind chill. I’d expect some missed kicks and dropped balls. As a bettor, I’d stay away from this game.

  32. I don’t always root for Tom Brady to lose…

    .. wait, yes I do!

    And while I do, I drink Dos Equis.

    Eat turf Brady!

  33. You had a good week Florio, then decided to bet against the Chiefs and Cowboys. Thus endeth the week that was good.

  34. Niners are gonna roll the Cowboys and we’re all gonna be treated to not only a dose of Jerry Jones face but also Mike McCarthy mug. awesome.

  35. flash1224 says:
    January 13, 2022 at 2:28 pm
    Yeah I remember Tommy fumbling away that game near the end and then pouting and not shaking Foles hand at the end.

    That’s the GOAT baby!

    How did you feel about him in the next SB vs Atlanta?


    Umm, the Philly game came after his Pick 6 before half vs Atlanta and the entire TEAM making the comeback, with incredible games from James White and Edelman on offense.

  36. Yeah I remember Tommy fumbling away that game near the end

    Ol’ crusty Bill couldn’t dial up a defense to stop Nick Foles.

    Nick. Foles.

  37. There is going to be no wind, no rain, no snow – Doesn’t matter how cold it is.

    Bills win.

  38. The Bengals will come out rusty and let the Raiders get a lead.

    The Raiders pass rush takes over.

    Josh Jacobs runs it down their throat.

    Raiders win.


  39. Tom Brady says:
    January 13, 2022 at 3:34 pm
    Yeah I remember Tommy fumbling away that game near the end

    Ol’ crusty Bill couldn’t dial up a defense to stop Nick Foles.

    Nick. Foles.

    Nope. Malcolm Butler could have done something about that but….

  40. Still plenty of tickets for Bills Patriots under $50 😂

    Bills Mafia don’t like the cold I guess.

  41. The biggest difference for Mike McCarthy this year is that he’ll help beat the Cowboys in a playoff game again, but this time he’ll be on the losing side.

  42. BilLs, Bills, Bills is all we hear. Pats fan here: Allen threw 3 picks against Atlanta, and they could barely put it in the end zone against the lowly Jets for 3 qtrs. Who is this dominant Bills team that you speak of? Recall they LOST to Jacksonville without even scoring a TD.
    Allen is good and carries the team, except when he doesn’t.
    We’ll see which Allen shows up on Saturday. BB will keep him in the pocket and make him win the game – see the Pats v Chiefs a few years ago: take away the street ball and scrambling and cover your guy and the offense isn’t so potent.
    Besides, Mac Jones is a rookie – no pressure on him. He has a built in excuse for falling short in a big game. Allen and the Bills?

  43. The Rams were 5-1 down the stretch, don’t let the media fool you…also, they were playing a team that needed a win to get in, not like most teams that were coasting in…

  44. This isn’t Super Bowl 25 or for that matter Super Bowl 36. The defense is not allowed to be physical and that negates too many options for Belichick. The Bills are stacked at WR and will finally have their full stable available, including Sanders who has always performed against the Patriots. The Patriots are a cold weather team, but so are the Bills. I am not sold that Alabama QB Jones has acclimated to the cold to the extent his Bills counterpart has. Bills 41 Patriots 24.

    Steelers have a history of screwing up a Chiefs team that posted a better regular season record. But much like Bills-Patriots, history won’t be a formidable ghost in this postseason.

    Chiefs 30 Steelers 20

    Tom Brady does not bow out often in a first round unless his defense can’t get off the field with 3rd down stops. That could be a problem this postseason but not against the Eagles in round 1.

    Buccaneers 25 Eagles 19

    I wonder which Cowboys team will show for the 49ers. The one that beat the Patriots for the first time in the Belichick Era, beat the Chargers in San Diego, and nearly early upset the Bucs in Tampa, or the team that was blown out by the Broncos and Cardinals. I just can’t seem to pull the trigger for the 49ers in this one. Cowboys will lose in round 2.

    Cowboys 34 49ers 21

    The Rams look better on paper and are heading in the right direction, building momentum at just the right time, which is why they will lose to Arizona.

    Cardinals 22 Rams 17

    Again, history says Cincinnati must lose this wild card game but the Raiders are also serviceable self-saboteurs. This is the toughest game for me to pick.

    Cincinnati 28 Raiders 7

  45. Bengals 24 Raiders 17 Close game with Cincy forcing a pick six to give the Bengals their first playoff win in a long time.

    Bills 16 Patriots 10 I don’t think Jones is quite ready yet and the Bills defense is in his head. I’d love to be wrong.

    Bucs 23 Eagles 13 As bad as the Bucs run defense is I have no faith in Hurts or the passing attack. Plus Tom will score fast and early to put the game away.

    Cowboys 31 49ers 20 Jimmy will turn it over multiple times allowing Prescott to have short fields.

    Chiefs 52 Steelers 13 A Dan Marino like last game for Big Ben.

    Cardinals 21 Rams 9 I have no faith in Stafford.

  46. I think the Raiders will lose to the Bengals. I trust Joe Burrow more than I trust Derek Carr.
    The Bills / Pats game is easy. Josh Allen is better than Mac Jones. Case closed.
    The Eagles have to be able to run the ball and they had better have about a dozen Philly Specials if they want to stay with all the points the Bucs will score. They won’t be able to do it.
    The Cowboys have been up and down a lot this year. I think the Niners have the type of physical team which can cause them problems and I see them winning the game.
    Unfortunately, the Steelers don’t have the offensive weapons they’ll need to keep up with the Chiefs. Big Ben’s career will end on a sad note.
    The Rams will smoke the Cardinals.

  47. Mike picks the steelers, I dont.know, Big Ben 8s playingmon borrowed football time. And Tomlin is Tomlin. But Mahomes is the real deal, he’s made Andy Reid, a.nice guy, look like a winner. I think Chiefs. Because Mahome better than Ben at this point in football time.

  48. Lots of disagreement here.. I guess there is only one thing we can do about it. Gonna have to play those games.

  49. In the early years w NE, Bill would put a spotter on a running QB.
    Don’t know what thinking has them opting to drop off and use a man to cover…but they’ve been burned repeatedly.

    I’m a Bruins Orr era fan…and when Boston played Chicago they had Westfall ghost Bobby Hull all game.

    There’s only so much you can do to contain a body….but… changes are needed.
    Clearly, Allen can grab 10 yds at a pop. In the cold, with hands numb and the ball hard as a rock… there’ll be drops, tips and fumbles. The run game will become a factor. Gotta contain.

    downside: Allen starts finding quick outs, shorts, play action….and the chains keep moving.

    Long day in the cold.
    Edge Buffalo

  50. No way McDermott gets BB 2/3 in one season

    Cinncy ROLLS Vegas

    KC will control Pitt

    TB wins a closer one than most think

    Stafford folds AZ wins

    Jimmy G is the worst Dallas EASY

  51. 20-19 Pats over Bills? Is there a subliminal message? Same score as SB25…wide right game…BB was DC.

  52. Hasnt history told us anything?

    You DONT bet against Belichick

    You DONT bet against Mahomes

    And lastly, you DONT bet on Cowboys, unless its to lose in spectacular fashion

  53. On the Raiders-Bengals

    First, who’s a better quarterback, Carr or Burrow? The answer is obvious. The Raiders previously loss was due in part to Carr having a poor game. One INT and a fumble. If Carr does not turn it over and passes for 300 yards, it’s over.

    Plus, Cincy’s O-Line is weak and the Raiders Defense has finally started to put real pressure on the opponent these last few weeks.

    Raiders 27, Bengals 20

  54. slambros1 says:
    January 15, 2022 at 9:47 am
    Biggest surprise of the new year. Florio picks the Steelers.


    Next biggest: Flori picks the Pats

  55. 8 of the patriots 10 wins were agains the Jets twice, the browns, the chargers, panthers, the Texans, the falcons and the Jaguars… 5 of those teams are picking 1-6 in the draft next year.. patriots have been garbage all year. Bill was/is nothing without Brady. Right place right time for him.

  56. Dak did make one more important play in the 4th. But not for the reason you thought.

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