May 18, 2022

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The Sports Fanatics

Prisco’s NFL divisional round playoffs picks: Rams topple Tom Brady, Bucs, Bills knock out Chiefs in thriller

The first week of the 2022 NFL playoffs were not kind to me and my NFL picks.

I went 2-4 ATS and 2-4 on Super Wild Card Weekend with my Best Bets as part of the Pick Six Podcast. I did go 6-0 straight up, so I have that going for me.

My ATS record for the season is now 146-129-3, while my Best Bets record is 61-58. And my straight-up record is 174-103-1.

I had a chance to catch Ryan Wilson in our CBS Sports Expert Picks, but that ship has sailed. I choked.

The good news: I won’t lose to Will Brinson.

The divisional round of the playoffs is the best weekend in all of sports. Eight teams to get to four with a lot of good teams left. Super Wild Card Weekend was kind of a bust, so let’s hope this weekend gives us much more drama.

And gives me some winners.

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+)

Latest Odds:

Tennessee Titans
-4

The Titans had last week off and they should have Derrick Henry back running the football. That will be a challenge for the Bengals run defense, which allowed 4.4 per rush this season and has several key players on their front banged up — WITH defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi out. That, as usual, will mean a heavy dose of Henry and the other Titans backs. The Bengals have an explosive pass offense, but it will be up to the offensive line to hold up in front of Joe Burrow. The Titans were 25th against the pass this year, but they were seventh in sacks with 47. The protection will be key for Burrow. That line was solid last week, but this is another tough challenge. They have to keep the inside pressure off Burrow. If they can, he will have success throwing it. This will be Burrow’s first road playoff game, which will be a challenge. But I think he will be up to it. He will play well. The problem is the Titans will play better. Henry and the run game key the Titans to the title game.

Pick: Titans 27, Bengals 20

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Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (Fox)

Latest Odds:

Green Bay Packers
-6

The 49ers impressed going on the road and beating Dallas. But this will be a third straight road game. That’s tough. The Packers are coming off a bye and will be getting injured guys back. That’s a big edge for the Packers. The key to beating the 49ers is blocking them up front. The Packers have done a great job of doing that this year, and now they have left tackle David Bakhtiari back to bolster the front. I think Aaron Rodgers will have success down the field against the 49ers secondary. The key for the Packers defense will be how well they stop the run and put the game on Jimmy Garoppolo. I think they will do a solid job — even if they won’t stop them — to find a way to pull this game out and advance to the title game. The 49ers are a dangerous team, but Rodgers will be the difference.

Pick: Packers 29, 49ers 21

Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (NBC)

Latest Odds:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-2.5

This is a rematch from a game early in the season won by the Rams. But this is a Rams team playing on a short week after playing Monday night, and now it is forced to go across the country. That’s a challenge. The Bucs have some offensive line issues that could ultimately decide this game. Three of their linemen could miss this week’s game, which would not be a good thing against the Rams front and Aaron Donald. Matt Stafford played well against the Cardinals and the Tampa Bay defense has some issues on the back end, although it is healthier now back there. The Rams will want to run the ball to key their passing game, so it’s imperative on the inside three to block Vita Vea and that front. I think they can. This Rams team is loaded with stars, and I think this is when they will show up. Upset special. Rams win it.

Pick: Rams 30, Bucs 28

Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+)

Latest Odds:

Kansas City Chiefs
-1.5

This is a rematch from a game earlier this season that the Bills won on the Chiefs’ home field. The Bills and Chiefs are both coming off impressive victories. Both Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen lit up their opponents last week, but this is a big step up for both in terms of defenses. The Bills have the top-ranked defense in the league and built their pass rush in the offseason to beat Mahomes. The Chiefs defense isn’t as good, but it played much better over the course of the second half of the season. The Chiefs love to blitz, which will leave Allen free to run and make throws on the run. I think that will be the difference here. The Bills behind Allen will win a fun shootout for the ages.

Pick: Bills 34, Chiefs 33