Thanks to Doug Pederson's decision to lay down in the fourth quarter Sunday night, I didn't quite end the season at .500 picking NFL games against the spread.
Yes, I had the Eagles. I know the number was bloated to around seven when the game kicked off, but when we made our picks last week it was at 1.5. So I got stuck with a loss.
That meant I didn't finish the regular season over .500, but instead wound up 123-124-1. That's OK because I've been on a little roll, going 9-5-1 last week.
As far as the Best Bets on the Pick-Six Podcast, I did finish as the regular-season champ. I went 4-2 last week to up my record to 59-41-1. That is something to brag about, especially considering our entire group had a great season.
Now it's playoff time, a time of year I usually do my best.
The Colts defense has waned in the second half of the season, which has to be a concern facing Josh Allen and the high-flying Buffalo offense. Indianapolis was once the top-ranked defense in the league, but they fell off in a big way in the final six games. Allen, meanwhile, continues to light up defenses and he will do the same here. The ideal plan for the Colts is to pound Jonathan Taylor and keep Allen off the field, but what happens when the Colts get down? Buffalo is rolling, but they will be challenged early here. In the end, Allen will get it going with his arm and move to the next round.
Pick: Bills 30, Colts 20
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These two split their games in the regular season, with each winning at home. Seattle beat the Rams two weeks ago in a game where Jared Goff hurt his thumb. The Rams had chances in that matchup, even with Goff banged up. The Rams defense always seems to give Russell Wilson problems -- that will be the case here. But Seattle's defense has picked up its play in a big way. That will make for big problems for the Rams offense, no matter who starts at quarterback. Seattle will win a low-scoring game.
Pick: Seahawks 20, Rams 18
Tampa Bay has been impressive on offense the past three games, but this defense will present a big challenge. Tom Brady's issues over the years have come against fronts that can pressure. This group can do that. I think they will slow down Brady some. Washington has problems on offense. Alex Smith was just OK last week, and there is talk of using both him and Taylor Heinicke this week. That would be odd. Tampa Bay's defense should be up to handling this offense. I think it's a lower-scoring game with Washington hanging around behind the front four.
Pick: Tampa Bay 21, Washington 17
These two make no secret about what they want to do on offense, which is to pound the football. Baltimore was the top rushing team in the league, while the Titans counter with Derrick Henry, the NFL's leading rusher. Tennessee beat Baltimore earlier this year and also beat them last year in the playoffs in a big upset. This time around I think the Ravens get revenge of sorts. Their defense is much better than the bad unit the Titans put on the field. Lamar Jackson will have a big day to advance the Ravens.
Pick: Ravens 33, Titans 23
The Bears seemed to come alive on offense in December, but that was against bad teams. They didn't do much against Green Bay last week, yet here they are in the playoffs. The Saints have a tough defense that will present a big challenge for Mitchell Trubisky. New Orleans' offense hasn't been as explosive this year, which is why I think the Bears will hang around in this one. It's not like we haven't seen the Saints blow a playoff game in this role in the past. This time, they will hold on to win it. But it's close.
Pick: Saints 26, Bears 21
The Browns beat the Steelers last week to get into the playoffs, but it was a Steelers team that rested a lot of players, including Ben Roethlisberger. This will be much more of a challenge, especially without Browns coach Kevin Stefanski, who is out with COVID-19. The Browns' plan will still be to pound the football at the Steelers to control the clock and let Baker Mayfield make plays on the move. But the Steelers defense will respond to that and play well here. Roethlisberger came alive in the second half of his last game against the Colts and I think that will carry over against the Browns. The Steelers own the Browns in Pittsburgh and that will continue.
Pick: Steelers 27, Browns 17