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Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

I don't want to sound the alarm bells, but I'd like everyone to know that there are only SEVEN games left in the NFL season and four of them will be going down this weekend, so you're definitely going to want to watch all of them. 

The divisional round of the playoffs almost always gets crazy, and I'm expecting nothing different this weekend.

  • Lamar Jackson trying to prove he can actually win in the playoffs? I'm watching. 
  • The Packers and 49ers renewing one of the best playoff rivalries in NFL history? Can't miss that. 
  • The Lions trying to get to the NFC championship game for the first time in 32 years? I will be glued to my TV for that.  
  • JOSH ALLEN vs. PATRICK MAHOMES with a trip to the AFC Championship on the line? That's must-see TV ... and it's on CBS, which makes it even better. 

We'll be covering all four games in today's newsletter with some best bets, bold predictions, and of course, picks.

As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. Actually, you don't even have to tell all of your friends; just tell one friend and I'll be happy. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here. Let's get to the rundown. 

1. Today's show: Divisional round best bets

Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield USATSI

If you're a regular listener of the "Pick Six NFL" podcast or a regular reader of this newsletter, then you know what we do on Fridays: We make picks. And then, just when you think there's no way we'll make any more picks, we make more picks. 

For today's show, host Will Brinson was joined by R.J. White and Alex "PropStarz" Selelnick -- two of our gambling gurus over at SportsLine -- and the three of them offered some of their best bets for the divisional round of the playoffs. They're coming off a week where they went a combined 8-4, so you should definitely pay attention to what they have to say this week.

The crew spent an entire hour handing out picks, and we're going to go over a few of their best bets here. 

Will Brinson (2-1 in picks we shared here last week, 27-29-1 on the season)

R.J. White (2-1 in picks we shared here last week, 24-30-3 on the season)

  • Chase McLaughlin OVER 6.5 kicking points vs. Lions
  • Josh Allen OVER 0.5 interceptions vs. Chiefs
  • Ravens (-5.5) to cover in the first half vs. Texans

Katie Mox (2-1 in picks we shared here last week, 27-23 on the season)

  • Texans (+9.5) to cover against Ravens
  • C.J. Stroud OVER 34.5 passing attempts
  • 49ers OVER 30.5 team points

As for PropStarz, he handed out a few of his favorite props for the weekend, because when your nickname is PropStarz, that's what the people expect. 

PropStarz went 2-1 with his picks last week and is now 31-22 on the season. (PropStarz started the season 2-7, so he's 29-15 since Week 4.) We also have a few more prop plays that you can check out over on SportsLine. 

To hear what the rest of the best bets are for the divisional round -- and there are quite a few -- be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast. You can also watch the episode on YouTube here

2. Ranking the final eight playoff teams: Lions near the bottom

As you've probably noticed, we love to rank things here at CBS Sports, so in news that probably won't come as a huge surprise, we decided to rank the eight remaining playoff teams. And let's be honest, with no power rankings from Pete Prisco this week, we needed something to fill the rankings void, and that's where Bryan DeArdo comes in. 

BDA ranked all eight remaining playoff teams, and not surprisingly, he has two No. 1 seeds in the top two spots. Here's a look at his entire rankings: 

  • 1. 49ers. "It's hard to argue against the 49ers, whose roster boasts a league-best nine Pro Bowlers. San Francisco finished third in the NFL in both points scored and points allowed during the regular season."
  • 2. Ravens. "Baltimore enters the playoffs with a healthy Lamar Jackson and the regular season's top-ranked scoring defense. Jackson will probably win the second league MVP of his career after throwing more than three times as many touchdown passes as interceptions and also leading the Ravens in rushing."
  • 3. Bills. "The Bills are a dangerous squad. Buffalo jumped out to a 21-0 lead over the Steelers en route to a 31-17 win. Josh Allen played like the star that he is with three touchdowns passing and a 52-yard scoring jaunt. The defense forced two critical Steelers turnovers that the offense turned into 14 points."
  • 4. Chiefs. "The Chiefs remind me a lot of the 2018 Patriots team that "sucked" (in Tom Brady's words) before winning the franchise's sixth Lombardi Trophy. That New England team underwhelmed for most of the year before turning it on in the playoffs."
  • 5. Packers. "You could argue the Packers deserve an ever higher spot after being the only road team to win a playoff game during Super Wild Card Weekend. But given where they were at the start of the playoffs (a 9-8 team that made the postseason as a No. 7 seed), I think No. 5 is a fair spot."
  • 6. Buccaneers. "It was a hard call between Tampa and Detroit, but the Buccaneers' defense ultimately gave them the nod over the team they'll face this weekend. Defense usually wins games in the playoffs, and Tampa has a decided edge here."
  • 7. Lions. "I can hear the boos from Detroit, but before Lions fans bury me, let me just say that it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Detroit wound up in the Super Bowl. The Lions are that good and have been that good all year, starting with their season-opening win over the Chiefs. Detroit's pass defense, however, is a red flag, and a big one. The unit, despite the inspired play of rookie safety Brian Branch, has struggled all year, especially against elite receivers. That's bad news this weekend considering the wideouts the Buccaneers have."
  • 8. Texans. "I'm not taking anything away from Houston and the awesome season they've had. But someone has to be last on this list, and that distinction unfortunately goes to a Texans team that has the most question marks of any of the remaining clubs."

Remember, Lions fans, this list was made by Bryan DeArdo and not me, so please don't direct any hate mail at me! If you want the full explanation for why DeArdo ranked each team where he did, you can read his entire story by clicking here

If you're looking for more divisional round coverage, we took a look at some under-the-radar player who could help decide who wins each game this weekend and you can check that out here. We also ranked the most important rookies left in the playoffs and you can see that here

3. Why Lamar Jackson may be feeling more pressure than anyone this weekend

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson USATSI

The Ravens quarterback is likely going to win the second MVP of his career in the next few weeks, but that award is based on how you play in the regular season. If it was based on how you played in the postseason, Jackson would likely have zero awards, because he has struggled in the playoffs. 

Doug Clawson decided to take a look at just how bad things have been: 

  • Jackson has flopped in the playoffs. In Jackson's four postseason starts, the Ravens have gone 1-3 while averaging only 13 points per game. Jackson has just four total touchdowns compared to seven turnovers, which is a big reason why he has a 68.3 passer rating. (He's thrown three TD passes, and all three have come in garbage time in the fourth quarter with the Ravens trailing by at least 13.) Jackson's QB rating in the regular season is 98.0, which means his rating has fallen an average of 29.7 points in the playoffs. That's tied with Andy Dalton for the worst regular season-to-postseason drop in NFL history. (And just as a reminder, if you've being mentioned in the same playoff conversation as Andy Dalton, that is definitely not a good thing.) 
  • Jackson approaching ugly territory. If the Ravens lose this week OR next week, Jackson will have the WORST playoff record in NFL history for any QB who has made at least five playoff starts. IF the Ravens lose this week, he'll be 1-4 and have the record to himself. If he loses next week, he'll be 2-5 and tied with Dak Prescott, Alex Smith and Billy Kilmer for the worst playoff record.  

So why has Jackson struggled? Clawson attempted to come up with those answers. 

  • He's been rattled by pressure. "Jackson has been the improv king this season ... but his game has been completely off with pressure in his face in the playoffs. He's just 9-for-34 passing vs. pressure in the postseason, the worst completion rate (27%) in the league since 2018 (min. 25 attempts). He's looked rattled, and his off-target rate when pressured has increased from 15% in the regular season to 32% in the playoffs."
  • He's struggled to throw in the pocket. "Defenses have also played Jackson differently in the postseason, blitzing less and playing more zone coverage in an effort to keep as many eyes on Jackson as possible and contain him on scrambles. He hasn't responded by carving them in the pocket up to this point. His accuracy has been inconsistent (as noted) above, but he's also failed to notice open receivers, missed checkdowns and held onto the ball too long, resulting in more sacks. His numbers from the pocket in his playoff career: completion rate of 59%, 6.5 yards per attempt, two touchdown passes, five interceptions and a 65.7 rating."

Clawson went on to explain why this year might be different for Jackson, and you can see why by checking out his full story here

Jackson has been phenomenal this year, but if the Ravens lose Saturday, he's going to be labeled as a QB who can't win the big one. Andy Dalton and Dak Prescott are quarterbacks who have had to deal with that label in recent history, and Lamar will certainly join that group if he loses. There's a lot of pressure on Jackson and the Ravens this weekend, and it will be interesting to see how they respond.  

4. Divisional playoff picks from your four favorite writers

I hope you're ready for some more picks, because we have even more of them coming at you right now. This batch will be coming from NFL senior writer Pete Prisco along with Jordan Dajani, Tyler Sullivan and myself. 

The reason we're your four favorite writers is because we don't miss. During the opening round of the playoffs, we went 5-0 against the spread, which means we're now 53-38-3 against the spread with our picks that have been featured in the newsletter. I gave the guys a pep talk and I think we're going to keep our undefeated streak going this week. 

Anyway, you know the drill here: I'm going to give you one pick from each guy and then direct you to the rest of their picks. That way, if you like their pick, you'll be able to read the rest of them, but if they pick against your favorite team, you can ignore the rest of their picks and move on. 

  • Pete Prisco: Ravens 30-29 over Texans (+9.5). From Prisco: "Lamar Jackson will likely be the regular-season MVP, but he has to go out and show he can do it in a playoff game. The pressure is on. But I think in this offense he will respond. Look for a lot of points as both quarterbacks play well, but the Ravens win a close one behind Jackson." For the rest of Prisco's divisional picks, be sure to click here.
  • Tyler Sullivan: 49ers 30-21 over Packers (+10). From Sullivan: "This 49ers defense has been a bit shaky at home this year, allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 65.2% of their red zone trips, ranking eighth-worst in the league. While it is still holding opponents to fewer than 20 points at home, it's giving up a full field goal more per game at home than on the road this year as well. I do believe the Niners, fresh off a first-round bye, will pull out the win, but it'll be within double digits." For the rest of Sullivan's divisional playoff picks, be sure to click here.
  • Jordan Dajani: Lions 24-23 over Buccaneers (+6.5). From Dajani: "The Lions are the better team on paper, but Baker Mayfield may be creating a bit of a narrative for himself. He's 3-0 against the spread in the playoffs in his career. I'm not bold enough to call for an upset like I did last week with the Bucs, but I'll take the 6.5 points." Dajani actually predicted ALL of the seven remaining playoff games -- covering from the divisional round through the Super Bowl -- and you can check out each one of his picks here.
  • John Breech: Bills (-2.5) 27-24 over Chiefs. From me: "The past five meetings between these two teams have been played in Kansas City, but this one is being played in Buffalo and I think that's going to be the difference. The Bills have been nearly unbeatable in Buffalo this season, their fans are crazy, and Patrick Mahomes is playing the first road playoff game of his career. If the Bills can't beat the Chiefs in the playoffs this week, it might not ever happen. The last two times the Bills beat the Chiefs in the playoffs, Buffalo ended up going to the Super Bowl, and it's feeling like we might see that trend continue this year." For the rest of my weekend playoff picks, be sure to click here

For more playoff picks, you can check out our CBS Sports picks page here

5. Bold predictions for the divisional round

Packers QB Jordan Love USATSI

After crushing it during the wild card round, Garrett Podell is back with five bold predictions for the divisional round, and we're going to share three of them below. Last week, Garrett boldly predicted that both the Buccaneers and Lions would win. 

Let's see what Garrett has in store for us this week. 

1. Jordan Love leads Packers to shocking upset win over 49ers. "Over Love's last three games, must-wins at the Vikings, against the Bears and at the Cowboys, he has generated a perfect passer rating (158.3) when pressured with 290 yards and four touchdowns on 17 of 21 passing. Love was 5 of 7 for 152 yards and two touchdowns when pressured against the Cowboys on Sunday. He continues to rise above imposing pass rushes to power the Packers to their first NFC Championship Game appearance since the 2020 season"

2. C.J. Stroud throws multiple interceptions. "Stroud led the NFL in touchdown-to-interception ratio in the regular season (23-5). He also has the best touchdown-to-interception ratio (21-2, 10.5) against winning teams in NFL history (min. 250 pass attempts), but that changes against the Ravens. Baltimore leads the NFL in scoring defense (16.5 points per game), takeaways and sacks (60). They are the first team in NFL history to lead and/or co-lead the league in those categories all in the same season. The Ravens' top-ranked defense flusters Stroud in his first playoff road game Saturday, turning him over at least twice."

3. Josh Allen has huge game against the Chiefs. "The Chiefs have allowed 17.3 points per game this season -- the second-lowest number in the NFL -- they have yet to allow a 300-yard passer this season, and their 81% press man coverage rate is the second-highest in the NFL. Forget that, though, because the prediction here is that Allen shreds Kansas City's defense that loves playing with its back turned to the quarterback."

Garrett actually has five bold predictions for the divisional round, and if you want to see each prediction along with his explanation for each prediction, you can check those out here

6. Extra points: Kirk Cousins interested in playing for Bill Belichick

Here's a small roundup of playoff-related stories that you may have missed this week:

  • Cousins open to playing for Belichick. In an interview with CBS Sports this week, Kirk Cousins was asked if he would be interested in playing for Bill Belichick and he didn't have to think twice. "I'm not going to turn down an opportunity to play with a future Hall of Fame coach." You can read the full interview here
  • Chargers interview Mike Vrabel. The former Titans coach took part in his first interview of the offseason and it was with the Chargers. The Falcons and Seahawks are also interested in talking to Vrabel, according to ESPN. It would be a total shock if Vrabel isn't coaching somewhere in 2024 and the Chargers make a lot of sense, especially because he's been so successful against Patrick Mahomes (Vrabel has a 2-1 regular-season record against the Chiefs QB). 
  • Mike Tomlin answers key questions about Steelers future. Tomlin was in a talkative mood Thursday. During his end-of-season press conference, he revealed two big things: The Steelers will definitely have a new offensive coordinator in 2024, and they might have a new starting quarterback. (The team will have a QB competition.) You can read our full story on Tomlin here. The Steelers head coach also said he's locked in and will definitely be coaching in 2024. 
  • Kliff Kingsbury could be returning to the NFL. The former Cardinals coach will be interviewing today with the Bears for their open offensive coordinator job, according to One reason this is interesting is because Kingsbury spent the 2023 season with USC, which means he's very familiar with Caleb Williams. The Bears currently have the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and there's a very real chance they could end up drafting Williams.