NFL Week 18 Picks - Early Games

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NFL Week 18 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 17 Results: Rick: 9-6-1; Coin: 7-8-1
Cumulative: Rick: 122-131-3; Coin: 117-136-3


Saturday, January 8

Kansas City Chiefs (-10, 44) at Denver Broncos 4:30 pm - The Chiefs lost for the first time in nine week, dropping a 34-31 decision at playoff-bound Cincinnati last week. The Bengals locked up the AFC North with the win, so it's hard to blame KC for losing a tough one on the road.

Kansas City should be well-intentioned going in because they can still take the #1 seed in the AFC with a win and a Tennessee loss. Denver fell to the Chiefs, 22-9, in week 13. The Broncos won just one game since, a 38-10 pasting of Detroit, and are riding a three-game losing streak.

Coin Flip: Denver

Prediction: Chiefs 34 Broncos 14


Dallas Cowboys (-7, 42 1/2) at Philadelphia Eagles 8:15 pm - Dallas didn't do itself any favors, losing at home to the Cardinals last week and they have many questions to answer leading into the playoffs. The Cowboys have little reason to be concerned over the outcome of this game as they have the division wrapped up and can only gain in the seedings if Tampa Bay or the Rams lose on Sunday. In any case, they will get a home game against one of three wild cards next week to start the playoffs.

With nothing much to play for, their favoritism is quite questionable. The Cowboys rocked Philly, 41-21 back in week three, but much has changed since then and this game isn't vital to the Eagles either. They've already earned a wild card and will be either the #6 or #7 seed.

Probably wise to pass on this game as it doesn't matter much to either team and a host of starters will either be sitting or see limited play.

Coin Flip: Dallas

Prediction: Cowboys 17 Eagles 13


Sunday, January 9

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (-3, 42 1/2) 1:00 pm - Bengals are in, Browns are out, so there's really no reason to put faith in either side in this nothing contest. Very good likelihood that neither starting QB will play. Joe Burrow needs to get ready for next week and Baker Mayfield has been playing through injury such of the past six weeks, so he's likely to sit. Go with the coin flip.

Coin Flip: Cincinnati

Prediction: Bengals 23 Browns 13


Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-3 1/2, 42) 1:00 pm - In the most meaningful game in the early time slot, the victor could possibly get into the playoffs, but would need help as the Ravens are 8-8, the Steelers, 8-7-1. There are only two wild card spots remaining.

The Colts, Raiders and Chargers are all 9-7, so a win by the Colts sends both the Ravens and Steelers home, and the Colts are playing the Jags, so an early lead by Indy could cause scoreboard woes and change the nature of the second half of this game. The Steelers are better suited for a win. The Ravens have dropped their last five and Lamar Jackson could be out again, with Tyler Huntley as his replacement.

Coin Flip: Pittsburgh

Prediction: Steelers 27 Ravens 20


Green Bay Packers (-2 1/2, 44) at Detroit Lions 1:00 pm - There's a nearly 100% probability that Aaron Rodgers won't play as the Packers have already locked up the #1 seed in the NFC and a bye for next week. Backup Jordan Love will be calling signals for the mostly-second-string Packers. Are they good enough to beat the Lions, who are already assured the #2 pick in the upcoming draft unless Jacksonville upsets the Colts (fat chance)?

Nobody can reasonably answer that question, and the Lions may be willing to at least be half-hearted against the division champs.

Coin Flip: Detroit

Prediction: Lions 23 Packers 14



Tennessee Titans (-10 1/2, 43) at Houston Texans 1:00 pm - After all is said and done, the Titans can take the #1 seed with a win against the 4-12 Texans, even if the Chiefs defeat Denver on Saturday. Tennessee should be highly motivated and already have a 22-13 win over Houston in the books. Tennessee has won three of their last four and two straight, putting in strong defensive efforts agains the 49ers (20-17) and Miami (34-3).

Coin Flip: Tennessee

Prediction: Titans 27 Texans 10


Indianapolis Colts (-15 1/2, 44) at Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm - A win puts the Colts into the playoffs, so, since Jacksonville has managed to lose eight straight and rookie QB, #1 draft choice, Trevor Lawrence is a complete bust at QB, the Colts are an iron-clad lock for the win. They need to cover by two TDs and a field goal, which may be more than the doctor ordered, but it's a risk worth taking because the Jags are so bad.

Coin Flip: Indianapolis

Prediction: Colts 34 Jaguars 3


Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-2 1/2, 44 1/2) 1:00 pm - Both teams head for beaches or golf courses at the conclusion of this nothing game. The Vikings downright suck, so take the Bears.

Coin Flip: Chicago

Prediction: Bears 24 Vikings 17


Washington Football Team (-6 1/2, 38) at NY Giants 1:00 pm - Another meaningless game between two of the worst in the NFC. Even draft seeding doesn't play into this contest, so, by all means, take the home team with points.

Coin Flip: Washington

Prediction: Giants 20 Football Team 17


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