NFL picks, predictions for Week 18: 49ers, Raiders, Colts reach playoffs; Eagles, Browns disrupt seeding

Week 18 of the regular season is here, and the playoff intrigue remains.

Five AFC teams are pushing for the bottom two spots in the playoffs, and the Sunday Night Football showdown between the Chargers and Raiders is a game that should be a fun way to end the regular season. The Steelers and Ravens play, too, but they need the Colts to open the door with a loss.

The NFC landscape is more focused, and San Francisco needs a win against the Rams to enter the wild-card round. If not, New Orleans could come in with a win against the Falcons.

The rest of the weekend is about mixing up seeds, and various teams, like the Packers and Bengals, could be resting their starters this week. How does that affect our weekly picks?

Here’s a look at our history heading into week 18:

  • Week 17: 11-5
  • Total: 162-92-1

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NFL selections, predictions for week 18

  • Kansas City Chiefs (-10) at Denver Broncos

Saturday, 4:25 pm, CBS

The Chiefs may not gain home advantage as a result of their loss to the Bengals in Week 17. Kansas City can put pressure on the Titans heading into Sunday’s opening games. Either way, Patrick Mahomes is heading against an AFC West division rival.

Chiefs 33, Broncos 20

  • Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Saturday, 8:15 pm, NFL Network

Both teams secured playoff spots, and Dallas lost its chance to play at home with a loss to the Cardinals. The Eagles have won the last two of the series at home, making this a troublesome spot for Big D. Will it be more of a dress rehearsal in the second half?

Aguilas 24, Vaqueros 21

  • Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)

Sunday, 1 pm, FOX

Kirk Cousins ​​could return for this COVID-19 roster showdown, and the Bears could start with Andy Dalton or Nick Foles. Will this be the last game from Mike Zimmer or Matt Nagy? Both of them? The Vikings end a disappointing season with a home win.

Vikings 28, Bears 20

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  • Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9.5)

Sunday, 1 pm, FOX

The Buccaneers will be looking to put the Antonio Brown drama behind them, and this is a team that needs to bounce back for the postseason. That means incumbents, including Tom Brady, could sit on this one. The Buccaneers proved last year that playoff seeding doesn’t matter with Brady. The problem is, the Panthers are in disarray either way.

Buccaneers 27, Panthers 16

  • New England Patriots (-5.5) against Miami Dolphins

Sunday, 1 pm, CBS

Mac Jones continues to advance in preparation for his first postseason run with New England. The Dolphins, who were eliminated in Week 17, are keeping it competitive. New England, however, notch another AFC East win and finish 7-1 S / U on the road. That matters going into the postseason.

Patriots 28, Dolphins 21

  • New Orleans Saints (-4.5) at Atlanta Falcons

Sunday, 1 pm, FOX

The Saints need a win and a loss from the 49ers to enter the postseason. Taysom Hill bounced back at quarterback in an ugly win against the Panthers, and will play the game against a spoiler-minded Atlanta team. That’s going to put pressure on the 49ers on the afternoon board.

Saints 21, Falcons 19

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  • Green Bay Packers (-11) at Detroit Lions

Sunday, 1 pm, FOX

Prepare for this line to change dramatically, because Aaron Rodgers (toe) is unlikely to play knowing the Packers have home-court advantage for the playoffs. Green Bay has time to bounce back, but that doesn’t mean Jordan Love can’t beat the Lions. Detroit can’t hold out in the final at home.

Packers 23, Lions 20

  • Indianapolis Colts (-15.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, 1 pm, CBS

The Colts need a win to get in, and Jacksonville is clearly looking to 2022. Look to Indianapolis to hammer out MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor against a Jacksonville running defense that allowed 227 rushing yards per game in its last two losses. Can Taylor reach 2,000 yards?

Colts 34, Jaguars 17

  • Washington soccer team (-6.5) at New York Giants

Sunday, 1 pm, FOX

There is not much to see here. Both teams are playing and Joe Judge’s tenure could be in jeopardy knowing the Giants have scored more than 13 points once in the past seven weeks. Washington puts more pressure on New York.

Washington 21, Giants 14

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  • Tennessee Titans (-10.5) vs. Houston Texans

Sunday, 1 pm, CBS

We anticipate the Titans will need to win to get that No. 1 seed, and Mike Vrabel won’t need to preach about overlooking the opponent knowing the Texans won the first game 22-13. Tennessee rolls on the road with the running game, and maybe Derrick Henry will return after the playoff bye week.

Titans 27, Texans 16

  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-4.5)

Sunday, 1 pm, CBS

Will this be Ben Roethlisberger’s last game? Will Lamar Jackson play if the Ravens are still in contention for the playoffs? This Black-Blue rivalry will not be for the AFC North championship, and if both teams miss the postseason, questions from the quarterbacks will be louder.

Ravens 21, Steelers 18

  • New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-17)

Sunday, 1 pm, CBS

The Bills need a win to take over the AFC East, and that’s bad news for the Jets, who allowed an unexpected opportunity against the Buccaneers in Week 17. Josh Allen is 4-2 as a starter against New York, but he has modest totals of five TDs and five interceptions in those games. Will the Jets stay in the second half?

Tickets 31, Jets 17

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  • Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (-3)

Sunday, 1 pm, CBS

Sure, the Bengals would love to have this game knowing it’s an intra-state rivalry and Baker Mayfield has tormented Cincinnati. He is also 3-0 against Joe Burrow. The problem? Burrow has already led the Bengals to the AFC North title, and this is an opportunity to rest his knee for the playoffs if the Chiefs win on Saturday. If Burrow plays, we will re-evaluate this selection. Cleveland takes advantage.

Brown 28, Bengals 21

  • San Francisco 49ers against Los Angeles Rams (-5.5)

Sunday, 4:25 pm, FOX

The 49ers can clinch a playoff spot with a win, and it will be interesting to see if it’s Trey Lance or Jimmy Garoppolo at the center. San Francisco is 5-3 S / U on the road this season and won the first match. They could also be a dangerous team in the playoffs. Eli Mitchell late scores the game-winning touchdown to send San Francisco to the postseason.

49ers 26, Rams 24

  • Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (-6.5)

Sunday, 4:25 pm, FOX

The Cardinals got back on track with a win against the Cowboys, and Arizona has won three of the last four meetings. Arizona needs help to win the NFC West, but the most likely scenario is playing away from home. The Seahawks miss the opportunity to play spoiler.

Cardinals 28, Seahawks 24

  • Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Las Vegas Raiders

Sunday, 8:20 pm, NBC

It’s a scenario where both AFC West rivals win and enter, and it should be a classic. Four of the last five meetings have been one-scoring games, and Justin Herbert led a 30-27 victory on his last visit to Las Vegas. Will Raiders tight end Darren Waller (knee) return? The Raiders, as part of a season of ups and downs, pay the ultimate tribute to John Madden.

Raiders 30, Chargers 27