The 2022-23 NFL regular season is in the books, and the NFL’s most jam-packed three-day window of football is almost upon us: Wildcard Weekend.

12 teams will take the field in six matchups over three days, with the AFC-leading Kansas City Chiefs and NFC-leading Philadelphia Eagles enjoying coveted first-round byes.

Divisional rivalry games seems to be the flavor of this year’s Wildcard Weekend, with three of the six games featuring intra-divisional opponents. The other three games still involve rematches of 2022-23 regular season games, so there’s drama and revenge available across the board.

Can Tom Brady make the most of a playoff appearance despite a losing record, and lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a win over Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys? Can the Los Angeles Chargers avenge an early-season blowout loss that was handed to them by the AFC South-winning Jacksonville Jaguars? Can Brian Daboll make enough adjustments to flip a recent three-point loss to the Minnesota Vikings in to the first New York Giants playoff win in a decade?

Read on for my Wildcard Weekend Picks. If you’d like to debate or discuss any picks, or want to follow for more weekly NFL content including Picks and Power Rankings, be sure to connect with Sak Sports Blog on Twitter or on Facebook!

Picks Record

Week 1: 7-8-1

Week 2: 8-8

Week 3: 9-7

Week 4: 11-5

Week 5: 12-4

Week 6: 6-8

Week 7: 9-5

Week 8: 9-6

Week 9: 8-5

Week 10: 5-9

Week 11: 9-5

Week 12: 12-4

Week 13: 7-7-1

Week 14: 7-6

Week 15: 13-3

Week 16: 11-5

Week 17: 7-8

Week 18: 12-4

Season Record: 162-107-2 (60%)

Saturday Games

(Photo: San Francisco 49ers)

#7 Seattle Seahawks (9-8) at #2 San Francisco 49ers (13-4)

Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks are one of the best stories of the year. After trading away Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, Seattle still finished 9-8 with former New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith at the helm.

Seattle clinched the NFC’s final wildcard spot with a thrilling overtime win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 18 (coupled with a Green Bay Packers Sunday Night Football loss) but otherwise sputtered to the finish. After a hot 6-3 start, the Seahawks went just 3-5 in their final eight games.

The San Francisco 49ers have been on a tear since adding Christian McCaffrey, and even down to third-string quarterback Brock Purdy, the NFC West champions just keep on winning.

San Francisco has won 10 straight games, and swept Seattle during the regular season. Division rivalry matchups can always get chippy in the postseason, but the most likely scenario seems to be a surgical day of execution on both sides of the ball for the 49ers.

49ers win 30-13

(Photo: Action Network)

#5 Los Angeles Chargers (10-7) at #4 Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)

Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 38-10 on the road in the Week 3. But four months later, it’s hard to put too much stock in the early season result.

The Jaguars have actually improved overall since Week 3: shaking off a 4-8 start to win their final five games and securing an AFC South title.

But Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, and the Chargers are hot too: winning five of six games prior to a meaningless Week 18 matchup with the Denver Broncos.

Simply put, Herbert and the Chargers have the better team here, as evidenced by their record. I won’t count out the Jaguars completely, but I would be pretty shocked if it’s not Los Angeles coming out on top.

Chargers win 27-20

Sunday Games


#7 Miami Dolphins (9-8) at #2 Buffalo Bills (13-3)

Tua Tagovailoa’s status is in question for this matchup, and even if the former Alabama quarterback is able to play, it’s obvious he may not be 100% healthy.

And that’s a shame, because the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills have given us two of the best games of the entire 2022-23 NFL season.

In Week 3, the Dolphins held on at the last second for a 21-19 win at home to improve to 3-0. In Week 15, Buffalo prevailed 32-29 at home, scoring the game’s final 11 points and walking it off on a Tyler Bass field goal.

An epic round three would be a fitting conclusion to this year’s Dolphins-Bills series. But with uncertainty surrounding both Tagovailoa and backup Teddy Bridgewater, it’s hard to see Miami overcoming Josh Allen and this super efficient Bills team on their home field.

Bills win 30-20

(Photo: AP/Abbie Parr)

#6 New York Giants (9-7-1) at #3 Minnesota Vikings (13-4)

Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings finished 13-4 during the regular season, and played more consistent football than their wildcard playoff opponent.

But on Christmas Eve, the New York Giants played Minnesota hard, losing 27-24 only on a 61-yard game-winning field goal from the Vikings. These two teams are close, and anything goes in the playoffs.

This pick may be more with my heart than with my brain (I’ve been a Giants fan for 12 years) but New York obviously can play Minnesota close. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley may not have experience on this stage, but head coach Brian Daboll has brought Buffalo’s winning culture a hop and skip across I-90 and down I-81.

And while past results, especially with completely different teams, shouldn’t hold much weight, the Vikings have had their fair share of playoff shortcomings over the past decade or two.

Give me New York winning a tight game with solid fundamentals and just maybe a gutsy coaching call or two from Daboll. I’m not sure the Giants are well-equipped for a deep playoff run, but I can see the G-Men earning their first playoff win since their 2011 Super Bowl run.

Giants win 27-23

(Photo: Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports)

#6 Baltimore Ravens (10-7) at #3 Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)

Lamar Jackson has been out for four straight games: with the Baltimore Ravens winning just one of those matchups. Tyler Huntley wasn’t bad last season, but he wasn’t super effective in relief of Jackson this year, failing to surpass 200 passing yards in any of his starts. To make matters worse, Huntley was injured in the Week 18 finale, pushing former Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown on to the the field.

The Cincinnati Bengals are the defending AFC champions, and won 12 of their last 14 regular season games, including eight straight wins to start the season. Joe Burrow and company are clearly the better team, and without Jackson on the field, it’s very hard to see a Ravens win.

This is a Week 18 rematch, which means these AFC North rivals will play each other in consecutive weeks, which is always interesting. If Jackson can play (and actually play, forcing a 50% Jackson to start would be foolish,) Baltimore’s prospects would certainly increase, but Cincinnati would still be favored.

Bengals win 33-17

Monday Night Football

(Photo: Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports)

#5 Dallas Cowboys (12-5) at #4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9)

The Dallas Cowboys are obviously the stronger team here. Dallas survived a few weeks without Dak Prescott, and held a chance to steal the NFC East even towards the end of the season.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured the NFC South with an 8-9 losing record, in no small part due to the lack of elite competition within the division. Tampa Bay earned just three wins outside of the NFC South this season.

But one of those wins was a Week 1 victory over this Cowboys team. The Buccaneers also opened the 2021-22 season with a 31-29 victory in a Brady-Prescott duel.

While Dallas should win here, handling Brady in the playoffs is still a scary task to tackle. Throw in Tampa Bay’s success against Dallas in their Brady-era, and I think an upset could be brewing on Monday Night.

Buccaneers win 26-23

SEE ALSO: How did my preseason Predictions for the Playoffs and Super Bowl pan out?




More By Me

Header Photo Credits: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

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