NFL Week 18 picks: Steelers sneak into playoffs, Titans shock Jaguars, Eagles destroy Giants

Welcome to the Week 18 choices.

I’ve been making NFL choices here at CBS Sports for ten years and today marks the very first time where I do not believe my head was totally in it. I generally end up this column on Monday night weekly, however after enjoying what taken place in the Bills-Bengals video game, making choices was the last thing on my mind. 

What took place to Damar Hamlin was tough to enjoy and it’s a tip that NFL gamers are risking their health with every breeze of the ball. We’ve seen some major injuries for many years, however none resembled the one suffered by the Bills security, who really entered into heart attack on the field after taking a shoulder to the chest. It was a psychological scenario that wasn’t simple for anybody to enjoy and it was among the scariest minutes in NFL history. 

If you’re not in the state of mind to check out any choices today, I totally comprehend — I wasn’t actually in the state of mind to compose them — however they’ll be here when you’re prepared. 

NFL Week 18 Picks

Kansas City at Las Vegas

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)

Featured Game | Las Vegas Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs

If the Chiefs wish to have any chance at making the leading general seed in the AFC, they need to win this video game. On the other hand, the Raiders have absolutely nothing to bet other than pride, however after blowing another double-digit lead in Week 16, I’m not exactly sure just how much pride they have actually left. No group has actually been much better this season at blowing leads than the Raiders. As a matter of truth, no group in NFL history has actually been much better at blowing leads than the Raiders. Including their Week 16 loss, the Raiders have actually now lost 5 video games this season where they led by 10 points or more in the 2nd half, which is an NFL record. Obviously, this implies I will be forecasting that the Raiders dive out to a double-digit lead on Saturday prior to blowing it and losing

The Chiefs are 9-1 in their previous 10 video games versus the Raiders, so I seem like I’d need to be insane to choose the Raiders and according to my diminish, I’m not insane. 

The choice:  Chiefs 30-17 over Bronco

Tennessee (7-9) at Jacksonville (8-8)

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET  (ESPN/ABC)

Featured Game | Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans

Someone in the NFL scheduling workplace plainly dislikes the Jaguars since that’s the only method to describe how this video game got bent to Saturday. Not just do the Jags need to use a brief week, however they’ll be playing a Titans group that used Thursday in Week 17, so Tennessee will be entering into this video game with 3 additional days off. 

Yes, the Titans were going to have a rest benefit anytime this video game was played, however if it had actually been set up for Sunday, then the Jags would have gotten an additional day off that they’re now not going to get. Before he understood which day the Jags would be playing, Doug Pederson made it extremely clear that he would choose to use Sunday over Saturday. 

“I would love to play Sunday, obviously, to have these next couple of days,” Pederson stated his group beat the Texans on Sunday, through the group’s site. “But we’ll play when they ask us or tell us to play, and our guys will be ready to go. If I could pick, I would pick Sunday.”

Look, the Jaguars are the more skilled group in this video game, however I have a tough time selecting versus Tennessee since nobody is much better than the Titans at winning video games they’re not expected to win. In their previous 15 video games as an underdog of 5 points or more, the Titans are 11-4 versus the spread and 8-7 directly. They’ve won majority their video games as an underdog of 5 OR MORE.

I believe Tennessee’s strategy is going to be easy here: They’re going to provide the ball to Derrick Henry 75 times in hopes of managing the clock and if they manage the clock, that will keep Jacksonville’s offense off the field, which need to keep this video game close. 

The Titans will be beginning a QB (Josh Dobbs) who will have just been on their lineup for less than 3 weeks by the time this video game begins, which isn’t perfect, however I’m selecting the Titans anyhow. I’m not exactly sure if this certifies as my boldest choice of of the year or my dumbest, however we will learn.  

The choice: Titans 20-17 over Jaguars

Note: If my insane choice ends up being right, all is not lost for the Jaguars. They can really enter into the playoffs as a wild-card group if the Steelers lose to the Browns, the Patriots lose to the Bills and the Dolphins lose to the Jets. 

N.Y. Giants (9-6-1) at Philadelphia (13-3)

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

Featured Game | Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

The Giants have actually clinched the 6th general seed in the NFC which will not alter no matter what occurs versus the Eagles, which implies they actually have absolutely nothing to bet in this video game. I understand that, you understand that, and Brian Daboll understands that, which is why I might see the Giants resting their beginners.

That being stated, there’s a factor that selecting video games in Week 18 is essentially an intoxicated crapshoot which’s since I do not understand if the Giants will really be resting their beginners. Daboll stated on Sunday that he would likely play his beginners, however then he reversed on Monday and stated he’ll do what’s “best for the team,” which I believe is code for “Our starters definitely won’t be playing because I don’t want to risk getting anyone injured for the playoffs.”

The Eagles will clinch the front runner in the NFC with a win, however if they lose, they might drop all the method to the five-seed. The Giants might turn the NFC playoff race upside down with a win on Sunday, however I do not believe that’s going to take place. They like things ideal side up. 

The choice: Eagles 30-17 over Giants. 

Houston (2-13-1) at Indianapolis (4-11-1)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Featured Game | Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans

If you asked 10 individuals what the worst video game is on the NFL schedule today, I’m thinking all 10 of them would state this one. You have actually the Colts, who have been the worst group in football over the previous month, taking on the Texans, who presently have the worst record in the NFL.

If you’re questioning what’s incorrect with the Colts today, it’s whatever: They’ve been outscored 97-16 because halftime of their Week 15 loss to the Vikings, they’re going to be down to their third-string quarterback (Sam Ehlinger) and Jeff Saturday remains in the argument for worst interim coach ever. Every bone in my body is informing me to choose versus the Colts, however I can’t do it. 

No group has actually been much better at losing this year than the Texans and they have every factor to wish to lose this video game because a loss will clinch the No. 1 general choice in the 2023 NFL Draft. On the other hand, if Houston wins, the Bears might get the leading choice with a loss to Minnesota, so not surprisingly, Texans fans really desire the Texans to lose. 

The most Texans thing ever would be for them to win a video game their fans desire them to lose, however I’m going to state that they really make their fans delighted for as soon as by not winning this video game. 

The choice: Colts 23-16 over Texans

Cleveland (7-9) at Pittsburgh (8-8)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Featured Game | Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns

For the 2nd straight year, the Steelers are going to require a wonder to get in the playoffs and for the 2nd straight year, that wonder may really take place. In 2021, the Steelers required the 13-point underdog Jaguars to distress the Colts in the last week of the season which’s precisely what took place. 

This year, the Steelers require to beat the Browns and after that get some assistance from the Bills and Jets, who need to beat the Patriots and Dolphins. If those 3 things take place, then the Steelers will be punching their ticket to the postseason for the 2nd straight year. 

The last time these 2 groups played returned in Week 3 with the Browns winning 29-17 in a video game where the Steelers didn’t have T.J. Watt. Watt will be playing today and the Steelers are 7-2 this season when they have their human damaging ball on the field. 

The Steelers defense has actually gotten far better because Week 3 and it’s taking on a Browns offense has actually been primarily sputtering because Deshaun Watson return in Week 12. As for the Steelers offense, I’m believing we need to begin calling them the “opossums” since they tend to play dead for 3 quarters prior to coming alive in the 4th quarter, which is what they have actually performed in each of the previous 2 weeks.

So what’s my choice? I believe I like the opossums to top the Browns here.

The choice: Steelers 22-19 over the Browns

Detroit (8-8) at Green Bay (8-8)

8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Featured Game | Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions

We just get one winner-take-all video game in Week 18 and the unfortunate thing is that it may not even be winner-take-all since the NFL dislikes us. The issue with this video game is that there’s a likelihood that a person group may be gotten rid of prior to things even begin on Sunday night. 

If the Seahawks beat the Rams at 4:25 p.m. ET, that will remove the Lions from playoff contention, which implies I need to choose this video game not understanding if the Lions are going to have a shot at the postseason. The great news for me is that I do not actually care if there’s a playoff berth on the line for the Lions which’s since I intend on selecting versus them no matter what. 

The issue for the Lions is that this video game is being played in Green Bay and Detroit has a quarterback who tends to:

A. Struggle in roadway video games AND
B. Struggle cold-weather video games, and this video game will have both of those. 

Although Jared Goff has actually been outstanding this year — he’s tossed 29 goals to simply 7 interceptions — I need to most likely explain that 23 of those 29 goals have actually come at house. In 7 roadway video games, Goff has actually tossed simply 6 goals in addition to 4 interceptions and the Lions have actually gone 3-4. 

If you put Goff in winter, he’s even worse: In 6 profession video games where the kickoff temperature level was under 35 degrees, Goff has actually tossed 5 interceptions compared to simply 4 goals while balancing 227.4 lawns per video game. However, those numbers are a little deceptive since a great deal of that was available in trash time throughout a 37-23 loss to the Panthers in Week 16 where Goff accumulated some huge numbers while the Lions were routing 31-7. 

If you get the trash time things, then Goff has one goal and 5 interceptions in 5 profession video games where the kickoff is under 35 degrees. On the other hand, we have Aaron Rodgers, who has a 28-4 profession record in December and January regular-season video games, consisting of 18-1 with Matt LaFleur. I overlooked Rodgers’ December/January record recently when I selected him to lose to Minnesota, however I will not be making the exact same error today. 

The choice: Packers 27-24 over Lions.

NFL Week 18 choices: All the rest

Buccaneers 19-16 over Falcons
Bears 20-16 over Vikings
Chargers 27-20 over Broncos
Jets 23-20 over Dolphins
Saints 21-17 over Panthers
49ers 31-17 over Cardinals
Seahawks 24-16 over Rams
Cowboys 27-17 over Commanders

Note: Due to the scenario with Damar Hamlin, there will be no choice for Patriots-Bills or Ravens-Bengals till later on in the week. 

Last Week 

Best choice: Last week, I forecasted that the Seahawks would score precisely 23 points and beat the Jets and think what took place? The Seahawks scored precisely 23 points and beat the Jets. This was a vengeance video game for Geno Smith and if I’ve found out something this year, it’s that nobody in the NFL does revenge much better than Geno Smith. Before finalizing with Seattle, Smith had actually bet 3 NFL groups in his profession (Jets, Giants, Chargers) and he got to deal with all 3 of those groups this season. Not just did Smith go 3-0, however the Seahawks won those 3 video games by an typical of 15 points per video game. I believe what I’m attempting to state here is that the Seahawks would most likely be unbeaten today if every video game this season had actually been a vengeance video game for Geno Smith.  

Worst choice: The just thing dumber than selecting versus Aaron Rodgers in your home in cold-weather is selecting versus Tom Brady in a huge video game, and I did both of those things recently. Those 2 men have actually integrated to win 3 MVP awards over the previous 5 years, and for some factor, I selected them both to choke recently, and as it ends up, the only one who choked in this scenario was me. I would state I had the greatest choke task of Week 17, however Carson Wentz tossed 3 interceptions versus the Browns, so that award absolutely goes to him. 

Finally, if you men have actually ever questioned which groups I’m really proficient at selecting, here’s a glance at my finest and worst groups when it pertains to choices this year. 

Teams I’ve been the very best at selecting this year: Chiefs (15-1), Patriots (13-3), Bills (12-3), Texans (12-3-1), Chargers (12-4), Falcons (12-4), Rams (12-4)
Longest present streak of selecting a group’s video games properly: Chiefs (13 straight video games selected properly)

Teams I’ve been the worst at selecting this year:  Raiders (6-10), Jaguars (7-9), Panthers (7-9), Packers (7-9), Jaguars (7-9), Browns (7-9)
Longest active streak of selecting a group’s video games incorrect:  Browns (Three straight video games selected improperly) 

Every other group is someplace in the middle. 

Picks Record

Straight up in Week 17:  11-4
SU general:  156-97-1

Against the spread in Week 17: 8-7 
ATS overall:  121-125-9

Exact score forecasts:  1. 

You can discover John Breech on Facebook or Twitter.

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