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The mad dash to Arizona for Super Bowl LVII begins now. The playoff field is set and we are on the doorstep of Super Wild Card Weekend in the NFL, which is expected to kick off the postseason with a bang. 

Before we dive into the next stage of the 2022 campaign, let's check out some of the things we've learned throughout the regular season. It's worth pointing out that this was a historic season for the Under and Underdogs. The Under hit 55% of the time this year, which is the best since the 1991 season. Meanwhile, dogs of 4+ points had their best season since 1987. And if you thought games being played on the road or at home made a difference this year, you'd be wrong. Home and road teams went exactly 50% this year, owning a 133-133-5 ATS record. 

We'll take those trends into account as we look forward to the beginning of the postseason where we'll try to finish up a bit better than we did in the regular season where I finished 41-45-4 in my locks of the week. 

Ready or not, here comes the NFL playoffs! 

2022 record


Regular season
Locks of the Week ATS
: 41-45-4
ATS: 125-137-9
ML: 172-97-2

All NFL odds via Caesars Sportsbook

Seahawks at 49ers

San Francisco owned this matchup throughout the regular season, sweeping Seattle and outscoring it 48-20. Not only that, but the Niners had 754 yards of total offense to the Seahawks' 493 yards, and San Fan forced four turnovers. Kyle Shanahan's defense has also played Geno Smith well; the quarterback has an 87.4 passer rating against the 49ers this season and a 102.3 passer rating against all other opponents. 

While Brock Purdy is a virtual unknown in this playoff setting, he will be able to lean on a stout defense and Christian McCaffrey, who could be in for a massive day. Seattle's run defense is among the worst in the NFL, and McCaffrey has dominated this team throughout his career. In three games against the Seahawks, the back is averaging 183.3 yards from scrimmage and 1.7 touchdowns. If he comes anywhere close to those averages, Purdy won't have to do too much. 

Oh, and if you're nervous about laying double-digit points, double-digit underdogs are 1-10 SU and 3-8 ATS in the playoffs the last 10 years. 

Projected score: 49ers 28, Seahawks 17
The pick: 49ers -9.5

Chargers at Jaguars

There are bound to be a couple of upsets this weekend and I'll circle the Jags pulling off the win at home over the Chargers as one of them. Personally, this is the matchup I'm most excited about this weekend. You have two of the brightest young quarterbacks duking it out in their first-ever playoff games. These two teams did meet earlier this season and Trevor Lawrence outplayed Justin Herbert by throwing three touchdowns and registering a 115.5 passer rating in a 38-10 victory. 

While Jacksonville's offense was a bit up and down against the Titans last week as they clinched the AFC South, the defense was stellar. And it wasn't a one-off either. Over the last five weeks, Jacksonville's defense has held opponents to just 15.6 points per game. To its credit, L.A. has been just as good over that same stretch allowing 15 points per game. So with their quarterbacks and defenses playing roughly the same, what's the tiebreaker? Coaching. And I'll gladly side with Doug Pederson over Brandon Staley here. 

Projected score: Jaguars 27, Chargers 23
The pick: Jaguars +2

Dolphins at Bills

Tua Tagovailoa will not play in this playoff opener as Mike McDaniel announced on Wednesday that the quarterback has still not been cleared by doctors after suffering another concussion a few weeks ago. That means, it'll either be Teddy Bridgewater -- who is dealing with a dislocated finger in his throwing hand -- or rookie Skyler Thompson. No matter who is ultimately under center, the scoring ceiling for Miami has fallen dramatically and Buffalo should win this game rather easily. 

With this line still sitting under two touchdowns, I'll lean in the Bills' direction and lay the 13 points, but it's hardly a lock simply given how big that number is. However, as I mentioned above in the Seahawks-Niners section, double-digit dogs are just 3-8 ATS over the last decade. 

Meanwhile, Josh Allen has never lost to the Dolphins at home (5-0) in his career and the Bills are averaging 32.6 points per game against Miami with him as the starter. Buffalo has also been a strong bet at home in the postseason, historically. Since the 1970 merger, the Bills are 12-1 ATS at home and own a +13.6 point per game differential. 

Projected score: Bills 33, Dolphins 17
The pick: Bills -13

Giants at Vikings

I'll be honest, I'm a bit nervous about this pick. For weeks I have been fading the Vikings, calling them fool's gold, and saying they are ripe to be plucked in this opening round of the playoffs. While I still feel that way and will take the points with the Giants and expect New York to win on the Moneyline, this feels like the chalk play, which gives me some trepidation. 

However, it's hard for me to lean on a team that is the first club in NFL history to have at least 12 wins and a negative point differential. Minnesota has been phenomenal in one-score games this season, boasting an 11-0 record. One of those wins came against these Giants, but it's worth pointing out that they were missing both of their starting corners for that game and could have both healthy for this matchup this weekend. New York was the best team to bet on this season with a 13-4 ATS record and Brian Daboll is arguably the best coach in these playoffs. He formulates a plan that continues to highlight the skill set of Daniel Jones, and DC Wink Martindale deploys a defense that gives this banged-up Vikings O-line fits en route to the upset. 

Projected score: Giants 28, Vikings 24
The pick: Giants +3

Ravens at Bengals

It's unclear if Lamar Jackson will play in this game at the time this post is being written, but we'll assume that he tries to give it a go. Even if Jackson is out there, it's safe to assume he isn't 100% and is set to face a Bengals defense that is no joke, ranking just outside the top 10 in DVOA. It's also worth pointing out that Jackson hasn't enjoyed much success in the playoffs once he's gotten there. In his career, Jackson is 1-3 in the playoffs with four total touchdowns and seven turnovers. 

While Cincy's defense should be able to handle Jackson or whoever is under center for them, the real matchup in this game will be the Bengals offense against this stout Ravens defense. Since Week 9, the Bengals have the third-best scoring offense in the NFL, while the Ravens have the second-best scoring defense. Something will need to give there and I believe it'll be Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense that ultimately wins out. Last week, Burrow completed just 59% of his passes against this defense for 215 yards and a touchdown, but the Bengals offense still put up 20 points. I don't expect Burrow to have back-to-back sluggish games, and I'm not so confident Baltimore can get north of 21 points with a limited Jackson, especially if they are forced to start Tyler Huntley or Anthony Brown

Projected score: Bengals 27, Ravens 17
The pick: Ravens -7

Cowboys at Buccaneers

I think the popular play by the public will be to fade the Cowboys in this spot, especially after that dud in the regular-season finale against Washington where they were playing their starters and still lost. However, with this number below the field goal threshold, I'll fade that consensus and lean toward Dallas. When firing on all cylinders, the Cowboys are one of the more talented teams in the NFL. 

If their defense can get its head on straight, there is a path to slowing down Tom Brady. The Cowboys applied the most pressure in the NFL this season. To Brady and the Bucs' credit, they allowed the fewest amount of pressure, but when they did pressure Brady he had the fourth-worst passer rating in the league. Specifically, the key matchup in this game could be Micah Parsons against Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith. Parsons led the NFL in pressures this season, while Smith ranked 44th among offensive tackles in pass blocking, per Pro Football Focus. 

On the other side of things, Dak Prescott will need to drastically reduce his turnovers. If he can do that, and the Dallas defense can get some pressure on Brady, the Cowboys should be able to survive. 

Projected score: Cowboys 24, Buccaneers 21
The pick: Cowboys -2.5