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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Divisional Playoffs 2022

2022 NFL Playoffs Divisional

It’s the Divisional Playoffs and we’re down to the final 8 teams in the 2021 NFL season. A number of blow outs last weekend, and a few surprises lead us down the road to LA and Super Bowl 56.

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 6-0
Against the Spread: 5-0-1

There will definitely be a different outcome this weekend.

Saturday, January 22

bengals titans

Cincinnati at Tennessee
Line: Titans by 3½

The Bengals with a huge win over Las Vegas, 26-19 was the final score. Joe Burrow was 24/34 for 244 yards and 2 TD’s, big numbers by Rookie WR JaMarr Chase, 9 catches for 116 yards. The Raiders has all kinds of problems scoring, they would get only two FG’s until late in the half. Derek Carr passed to Zay Jones to try and get some momentum for the 2nd half, but Carr would be sacked twice, and they would also lose possession on a fumble. Controversy also over a Bengals TD by the referees, they would blow the whistle when Joe Burrow was clearly in-bounds while throwing. The NFL announced that the officiating crew will not be in another game for the rest of the playoffs. Cincinnati heads to Nashville to take on the well-rested Titans, who gets a much-needed boost with the return of RB Derrick Henry. He was sidelined with a broken foot since the beginning of October. Home field has been a big advantage for the Titans lately, especially defensively. Tennessee has won seven of its last eight at Nissan Stadium. As much of the attention is on Henry’s return, Ryan Tannehill and the passing game could be key for Tennessee. Cincinnati has struggled to stop the pass, and Tannehill has struggled. Eventually, the game will come down to ball control and who has it more. Give the advantage to the home team.

Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee (23-19)

niners packers

San Francisco at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 6

The Niners come off an impressive 23-17 victory over Dallas. The difference was the ground game of San Francisco. The Cowboys defense just could not stop the run. Eli Mitchell and Deebo Samuel each with TD. Samuel had 110 total yards on the day. Dallas got behind early and paid for it dearly. Dak Prescott went 23/43 for 254 and a TD, but a key interception led to a 49ers TD, and on a last second drive, Prescott tried to get more yards by running the ball with :14 second left. Not enough time for another play. San Francisco heads to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers. Green Bay is currently 0-3 in playoff games against the Niners, most recently losing in 2019 in the NFC Conference Championship. This season, Green Bay beat San Francisco during week 3 on a last second field goal. The Pack needs to get in front quickly in this game, and give Jimmy Garoppalo lots of pressure. Being at home helps. For the Niners, they need DE Joey Bosa to be at 100% percent. He was knocked out of last week’s win with a concussion. He is currently questionable to play. This will be a harder game to win, so their run game has to be as good, if not better for this game. This will be a major battle.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (24-21)

Sunday, January 23

rams bucs

LA Rams at Tampa Bay
Line: Bucs by 3

The Rams were dominant over Arizona on Monday night, pulling out quicky to a 21-0 lead early and finishing with a 34-11 win. Matthew Stafford with two passing TD’s and one rushing TD. Odell Beckham Jr. with his first playoff TD in the win. The Rams defense forced two sacks and two Interceptions off Kyler Murray, one of which was a pick-6. John Conner was the lone bright spot for the Cardinals with 3rd quarter TD. LA heads to Tampa to take on the Bucs, who easily handled Philadelphia, 31-15. Tom Brady went 29/37 for 271 yards and 2 TD’s, one was to Mike Evans, who caught 9 passes for 117 yards, Rob Gronkowski with the other score. Problems all day for Jalen Hurts, he was sacked twice and picked off twice. The Bucs are in great shape despite injuries to key players, including Leonard Fournette, Cyril Grayson Jr., and Chris Godwin. Many bettors are picking Tampa Bay because of the impact of Tom Brady. But the Rams beat the Bucs by 10 points during week 3 at So-Fi Stadium in LA. This game will all depend on which defense is fresher and who commits less penalties. We picked LA to go to the Super Bowl in our pre-season picks, and we’re sticking with ‘em.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Rams (27-24)

bills chiefs

Buffalo at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 2

The Bills had a record-breaking playoff win against New England, 47-17 was the final. Buffalo scored TD’s on its first 7 possessions of the game. Josh Allen went 21/25 for 308 yards passing and 5 TD’s. Dawson Knox with two of the 5 scores. Devin Singletary with 2 rushing TD’s on the night. Mac Jones was sacked three times and threw two picks. However, he did throw for two TD’s late after the game was decided. Buffalo shuffles off to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs, who beat Pittsburgh, 42-21. The game was actually even until the 2nd quarter when TJ Watt returned a KC fumble for a 26-yard TD. But the Chiefs would roar back scoring 5 straight times courtesy of Patrick Mahomes. He was 30/39 for 404 yards and 5 TD passes. Travis Kelce would catch a TD and throw a TD. He would also end the day with 5 receptions for 108 yards receiving. The last time these two teams met was during week 5, where the Bills crushed the Chiefs in Kansas City. KC was also in the mist of a losing skid, where they dropped 4 of 6 games. They would recover and win 8 straight and make the playoffs. This game will be decided by mistakes, and who can capitalize on them. We also have the Bills going to the Super Bowl and raising the Lombardi Trophy in our pre-season picks, and we’re still confident they can make it happen.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (28-24)

That’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks for the Divisional Playoffs. Join us next week for our picks for the AFC/NFC Championship Games. It all starts next Thursday at 8:30am eastern, with repeat broadcasts all weekend long until 30 minutes before game time. You can also get our picks by subscribing to our podcast. It’s available on Apple, Google, Amazon, IHeartRadio or wherever you get your podcasts, or read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

We’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks EXTRA – (Analyzing the 2021 NY Giants Season)

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You know, I’m reminded of the scene in ‘Goodfellas’ when Tommy is under the impression that he’s going to become a “made” guy. Then, he goes to the ceremony, and he realizes too late that he was gonna get whacked for killing Billy Bats after playing it off for so long.

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Well, that’s what I thought about with Joe Judge. He was basically way over his head. Now getting killed by the mob shouldn’t be a consequence for two bad NFL season, and New York’s fan base is notorious for being very hostile when things don’t go right. A historic franchise like the Giants needs someone who knows what their doing, and after the last 6 games of the season, it was evident by his press conferences that he had no answers.

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John Mara and Steve Tisch made the right decision by firing Joe Judge. I feel bad for him. He seems like a nice guy, he’s a family man, and I’m sure he means well. He was given an impossible task of putting together a rag-tag group of underachievers, with the help of an incompetent management group and expect to make a competitive run. Not picking your own players, forcing Jason Garrett on you to run your offense. Judge was put in a situation no one would really succeed in.

I’m sure he’ll bounce back on his feet and get another head coaching job, maybe at the college level, he’s clearly not ready for prime time.

———————————————

So, we’re at the end of another disastrous losing campaign for the G-men, and I don’t know what was worse this season.

  •  Seeing WR Kenny Galladay fail to give it his all on the field after being given a $72 million dollar contract.
  •  Watching Mike Glennon bamboozle another team into giving him another shot at QB after Daniel Jones saw his season end.
  •  Watching the right side of the offensive line completely collapse every week before our very eyes.
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  • Or, maybe it was this picture Fox Sports got of outgoing General Manager Dave Gettleman texting on his cell phone, without a care in the world of what’s going on in the season finale, where the G-Men got trounced by the Washington no-names.

That last one was probably the exclamation point on the season. Gettleman left this Giants team in worse shape than he did coming in. In 2018, he brings in Pat Schurmur as head coach and expectedly ends the season with 5-11, but then when there should be improvement in 2019, Big Blue falls back and ends at 4-12. Exit Schurmur, enter Joe Judge on the recommendation of Bill Belichek. His first season ended at 6-10 and then, the disastrous 4-13 record this season.

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Gettleman ends his 5-year reign 19-46 as Giants GM, the worst record in the NFL during his tenure. He also whiffed on NFL draft picks, selecting Saquon Barkley 2nd overall in 2018 instead of getting Bradley Chubb or QB Josh Allen. In 2019, he over stepped his boundaries with his three 1st round selections, picking Daniel Jones at #6. He did fine with Dexter Lawrence at #17, but then trades up a bunch of picks and selects CB Deandre Baker at #30, knowing he had a troubled history. After his rookie season, Baker gets arrested for armed robbery, and a few weeks later, the G-Men put him on waivers.

Not only is our team a dumpster fire, our salary cap situation is a mess, as well. As I mentioned before, Gettleman spent $72 million on Golladay, and now, there’s only $3 million dollars left to sign free agents and newly drafted rookies going into the 2022 season.

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Much of the inept management goes directly towards John Mara. Moving forward, Mara needs to step outside his comfort zone and get a real football person outside of the organization who can evaluate talent, who can make the right moves and has a plan moving forward.

That means cleaning house. Tear it up, burn it down, put a bulldozer on that foundation and get rid of everyone involved in the decision making. That includes Kevin Abrams, the architect of the salary cap hell we’re in, John Mara’s nephew Chris, who is currently the head of the team’s talent evaluations, and all of the other in-house decision makers.

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I still think Daniel Jones can do something with this team, but they need to develop him properly. With virtually no cap space, finding a quality back up to test Jones will be beneficial to his future, even if he doesn’t get an extension. Some Giants fans say, get rid of Saquon Barkley. I say, “NO”. Build your offensive line around Andrew Thomas with one of your top 10 #1 picks and then see what Barkley can do. Grab an Edge rusher that has been so neglected by Gettleman for three years with the other #1.

Moving forward, the Giants have to right this ship, and that means getting individuals who knows what the hell they’re doing, administratively and on the field.

My words to John Mara, “Enough is enough! It’s time to step back and let someone who knows football run things. We’re at “Rock Bottom” again because of your selfishness, and it’s time to climb out of this stinkin’ mess.”

dumpster
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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – (Super Wildcard Weekend 2022)

2022 NFL Playoffs

Super Wildcard Weekend and we’re ready for an exciting three days of NFL playoff action. Before we do that, we’d like to go over the casualty list from Black Monday.

vic-fangio-broncosIn Denver, they didn’t event waste time, they fired head coach Vic Fagino just before game time on Sunday. He was 19-30 during his three years in the mile high city.

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Minnesota dismissed head coach Mike Zimmer and their GM Rick Spielman. Zimmer joined the Vikings in 2014, and led the team to three playoff appearances. He was 8-9 this season.

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Miami stunned everyone by firing head coach Brian Flores. He had back-to-back winning seasons and made the playoffs last year, but his dismissal is rumored to be a power struggle. He’ll probably get another head coaching job very soon.

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Chicago parted ways with head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace. Nagy began his tenure in the windy city pretty strong in 2018 at 12-4, but back-to-back 8-8 records and a 6-11 season doomed his stay.

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And of course, NY Giants fired head coach Joe Judge on Tuesday. He ended his season at 4-13, 10-25 in his career with Big Blue. GM Dave Gettleman announced his retirement on Monday, and co-owner John Mara thought it was the right time to go in another direction.

We give our thoughts on the NY Giants 2021 season on a special episode. You can listen on the Smooth Jazz and More Podcast. Download it today at our website or subscribe for free wherever you get your podcast. (The New York Football Giants are the official football team of Smooth Jazz and More.)

Last Week Results

Head-to-head: 10-6
Against the Spread: 9-6-1

Final Results

Head-to-head: 175-94-1
Against the Spread: 119-94-50

Saturday, January 15

raiders bengals

Las Vegas at Cincinnati
Line: Bengals by 5½

The Raiders went down to the final play of overtime to finally clinch a playoff spot, eliminating the Chargers, 35-32. A missed field goal still would have assured Las Vegas and the Bolts playoff spots by way of a tie, eliminating Pittsburgh in the process, Daniel Carlson with a 47-yard game winning FG for the Silver and Black and sent the Bolts packing. It’s only the Raiders second playoff appearance in 19 years. As for the Bengals, they dropped their season ender to Cleveland 21-16. Very few starters participated in that game. The last time these two teams met was during in week 11 in Las Vegas. Joe Mixon was the go-to guy on the ground for Cincinnati as they defeated Raiders, the defense also held the Silver and Black to 72 yards rushing. Defense will be the key in this game. I lean towards the home team.

Smooth’s Pick: Cincinnati (32-16)

pstriots bills

New England at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 4

Both teams clinched their playoff spots during week 17. Buffalo ended their regular season by beating the Jets, 27-10, while New England dropped their season finale to Miami, 33-24. This will be the third meeting this season for these two AFC East rivals. The Patriots rammed the running game down the Bills throat in their win in Buffalo during week 13, but the Bills got their revenge in Foxborough convincingly. But this game will be the one that counts. It will be back in Western New York, but the Patriots are 7-1 in their last 8 games in Buffalo. Stopping the run is a must for the Bills, but it’s just as important is preventing turnovers, which has plagued Josh Allen lately. Look for Bill Belichek and the Patriots to have something else under his sleeve. That is, forcing Allen to make mistakes. Look for a close matchup.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (24-21)

Sunday, January 16

eagles bucs

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay
Line: Bucs by 8½

The Eagles used their second stringers in their season finale against Dallas and they were hammered, 51-26. They’ve exceeded expectations this season, going 9-8 on the year and securing a wild card berth. Meanwhile, the Bucs ended their season in dominating fashion, crushing Carolina 41-17. Vegas odds started this game at 10 points, but have lowered to their current totals, possibly because of the Bucs situation with Antonio Brown and with the COVID situation. In their last meeting, Jalen Hurts rushed for 44 yards and two touchdowns in Philly’s loss at home to the Bucs during week 6. This time, they’ll have to contend with a hostile crowd at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The Bucs are on a red hot run, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this will be a blow out.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (38-16)

niners cowboys

San Francisco at Dallas
Line: Cowboys by 3

The Niners secured their spot to the playoffs with a 27-24 overtime win over the Rams. Robbie Gould with a 24-yard chip shot with 2:48 to go in OT to win it for San Fran. They head to Dallas, where the history of these two teams is legendary. From “The Catch” from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark in 1981, to the beginning of the Dallas dynasty in 1992, to the bitter end and a Niners win in 1994. This year, the Cowboys defense has been the key to their success, forcing 14 takeaways during the season. As for the Niners, a second half surge where they won seven of their last nine games put them on an upward trajectory, much of it thanks to the running game. If they slow the game and prevent Dax Prescott from being on the field often, they have a chance. That, and the fact that the Cowboys were 3-4 against playoff teams this season. I’m going on a hunch.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (23-20)

steelers chiefs

Pittsburgh at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 12½

The Steelers did their part to make the playoffs by eliminating Baltimore, 16-13. Then it was the waiting game. It got all the way down to the final play of the Las Vegas-LA Chargers game when they would know if they were going to the post-season. Steelers nation can thank the Raiders for their support. It keeps Ben Rothlisberger career continuing for another week in Kansas City as they take on the Chiefs, who defeated Denver 28-24 in their season finale. The last time these two teams met was three weeks ago in a brutal 36-10 shellacking by the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes was on fire with three TD’s, the KC defense was +3 on turnovers. The Steelers must do ball control if they want to extend Big Ben’s career, but with the Chiefs running on all cylinders, this game will be a sendoff for him.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (37-16)

Monday, January 17

cadinals rams

Arizona at LA Rams
Line: Rams by 4

The Cardinals ended their season in a rut, losers of 4 out of their last 5 games, including the season ender against Seattle, 38-30. Not the way you want your team to end the season. The Rams ended their season with a loss to San Francisco in OT. They had a 5-game losing streak end. Looking at both teams during the season, they matched up during week 4 in Glendale where the Cardinals rushed for 216 yards in their win over LA. In the rematch during week 14, the Rams got the passing game going, 3 TD’s by Matthew Stafford in the win. That’s what needs to happen for LA, they paid big money for all the free agents to execute during the playoffs. For Arizona, turnovers need to me nonexistent. For the first Monday night playoff game, I anticipate this one will be a classic. I lean towards the home team in this one.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Rams (33-21)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks for Super Wildcard Weekend. Join us next week for the Divisional Playoffs. Our picks will premiere next Thursday at 830am eastern. If you miss out, then subscribe for free to our weekly podcast. You can listen to the Smooth Jazz and More Podcasts on Apple, Google, Amazon Music, IHeartRadio or wherever you get your podcast, or you can read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

We’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Week 18 (Season Finale)

2022 NFL Playoffs

Week 18, and the season finale of the 2021 season is upon us. Taking a look at the playoff bracket. IN the NFC, 6 of the seven spots have been decided, Green Bay captures the top spot with Rams currently in the #2 spot, fighting for the NFC West title, NFC South champions Tampa Bay is in the #3 slot, with Dallas at #4 as NFC East Champs. Your wildcards are Arizona, still in it for the division crown and Philadelphia, with San Francisco and New Orleans battling for the 7th and final wildcard spot.

In the AFC three of the four divisions are locked in with Tennessee, Kansas City and Cincinnati winning their titles. Buffalo and New England are in the playoffs, but are battling for the AFC East title. That leaves 5 teams fighting for 2 spots, Indianapolis and the Chargers are currently in the 6th and 7th wildcards, with Las Vegas, Pittsburgh and Baltimore still in contention.

Everything will be cleared up late Sunday night, and the drive to Super Bowl 56 ready to head on.

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 12-4
Against the Spread: 9-4-3

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 165-88-1
Against the Spread: 110-88-49

Saturday, January 8

Kansas City at Denver
Line: Chiefs by 10

KC blew their chance to stay ahead of Tennesee for the #1 overall seed when they were upset by Cincinnati, 34-31 was the final. A wild set of events to end the game, two consecutive off-setting penalties set up the game winning FG. As we predicted last weekend it was going to be a high scoring matchup. Patrick Mahomes with 2 TD passes in the loss. Now they’re in a must win situation in the Mile High city against the Broncos. They were eliminated by the Chargers, losing 34-13. Drew Lock starting for Denver threw for 245 yards and a TD in the losing cause. They could play spoiler and force an extra game for the Chiefs with the win. Being at home will help their cause.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (24-21)

Dallas at Philadelphia
Line: Cowboys by 7

Dallas ruined their chances to pick up the #1 seed when they came up short against Arizona, 25-22. They trailed early, but made a comeback, scoring twice in the 4th quarter. Dak Prescott with two of his 3 TD passes. But a controversial call involving a possible fumble was unable to be looked at because it was before the 2-minute warning and the Cowboys were out of time outs. They head to Philly to take on the Eagles, who were one of the surprises this season, making the playoffs by beating Washington, 20-16. Much of their success goes to the run game. Boston Scott with 2 rushing TD’s in the win. With a dozen Eagles players on the COVID list and the potential for both teams to rest some of their top offensive talent, look for a sloppy matchup, even though these two teams may play each other again next week.

Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia (23-21)

Sunday, January 9

Chicago at Minnesota
Line: Vikings by 2½

The loss of unvaccinated Kirk Cousins to COVID ended the Vikings playoff hopes, after a brutal 37-10 loss to Green Bay. Head coach Mike Zimmer was forced to start Sean Mannion under center, and he threw for 189 yards and a TD. Dalvin Cook with a season low 19 yards rushing. They host the Bears, who took advantage of two turnovers in the first 3 minutes of the game against the Giants, 29-3 was the final. The Bears defense also had 2 INT’s and 4 sacks on the day. With nothing to play for except their jobs, look for both coaches to throw everything but the kitchen sink for that final win.

Smooth’s Pick: Minnesota (28-17)

Cincinnati at Cleveland
Line: Bengals by 3

Cleveland’s playoff dreams ended with a 26-14 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday night. The Browns finally shut down Baker Mayfield after playing most of the year with an injured shoulder. He’ll have surgery and return next season. They host a meaningless game against Cincinnati, who were the other surprise team of the year, capturing the AFC North, upsetting Kansas City in the process. Ja’Marr Chase may have made his case for offensive rookie of the year with an 11 catch, 266-yard, 3 TD game. Joe Burrow with another 4 TD game on 446 yards passing. Look for the Bengals to sit most of their players, giving this game a closer than expected matchup.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (23-20)

Green Bay at Detroit
Line: Packers by 2½

The Pack sewed up the #1 seed in the NFC with a dominating win over Minnesota on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers with 288 yards passing and 2 TD’s in the win. Davonte Adams with 11 catches for 136 yads and a score. The Pack defense held the Viking rushing game to 27 yards on the night. They head to the motor city to take on the Lions, who were ripped by Seattle 51-29. Tim Boyle in for the injured Jared Goff threw 3 picks on the day. The Lions defense gave up nearly 500 total yards in the loss. It might not be as bad, now that the Pack sewed up the #1 overall seed in the playoffs, so they may have a chance in this game, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (31-19)

Indianapolis at Jacksonville
Line: Colts by 15½

The Colts blew a chance to clinch a playoff spot with a loss to Las Vegas. Jonathan Taylor with 108 yards on the day. That puts him at 1,734 rushing on the year. It will take a monster game to reach 2,000 and he’ll have to do it on the road in Jacksonville against the Jags. They were leveled by New England, 50-10. Trevor Lawrence with 3 picks on the day. With the exception of Lawrence and RB James Robinson, everyone will be auditioning for positions next year and another bad game could have owner Shad Khan handing out pink slips after the game.

Smooth’s Pick: Indianapolis (36-18)

Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Line: Ravens by 5½

Ben Rothlisberger may have played his final game at Heinz Field. If he did, he’ll be leaving the game a winner with the victory over Cleveland. Najee Harris broke Franco Harris’ rookie record for most rushing yards in a season, 166 yards on the night and a score. The Steelers playoff hopes lies on a win in Baltimore and some badly needed help. The Ravens at one time were on their way to the playoffs, but an injury to Lamar Jackson and COVID issues had them losing five straight including last Sunday against the Rams. Justin Tucker with four straight FG’s for the Ravens, but a late TD by LA hurt their playoff hopes. They also need a win and lots of help. That help may not come for either team, but look for a strong effort by the Ravens to send Big Ben to retirement.

Smooth’s Pick: Baltimore (27-17)

Tennessee at Houston
Line: Titans by 10½

A win will give Tennessee the #1 overall seed in the AFC. They helped their chances with a convincing win over Miami, 34-3, ending the Dolphins playoff hopes. Ryan Tannehill with two TD passes, D’Onta Foreman with 132 yards rushing and a score in the win. They head to Houston for an important divisional finale with the Texans. Davis Mills threw to Brandin Cooks to open the scoring, but the defense gave up 23 unanswered points to San Francisco. 23-7 was the final. Mills was also intercepted and sacked 3 times in the loss. Unless Rex Burkhead and Houston’s run game can return like it did two weeks ago, this game will be tough to pull off an upset.

Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee (27-13)

Washington at NY Giants
Line: DC by 6½

DC’s hopes for the playoffs ended with their loss to Philadelphia. They had built a 16-7 lead into halftime, then couldn’t stop a rushing attack by the Eagles which led to a loss. BTW, DC will be getting a new nickname next month. It will be among 8, including the Washington Football Team. They head up I-95 to the Meadowlands to take on the hapless G-Men. -10 passing yards on the day. That was the worst in Giants history and the post-game presser didn’t help Joe Judge. Be on the lookout this Black Monday if his name comes up. We’ll have our post-mortem on Big Blue’s disastrous season, during next week’s Wildcard Weekend picks. Meanwhile, don’t expect much except to keep an eye on the clock for another stinker.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: Washington (34-6)

Carolina at Tampa Bay
Line: Bucs by 8

Another coach to watch out for this Black Monday is Matt Rhule. His second season with the Panthers has been a disaster with the loss of his top RB Christian McCaffery and the lack of a consistent QB. It all came apart with their 6th straight loss, 18-10 to New Orleans. Sam Darnold was sacked 7 times and threw a pick in the loss. They head to Tampa to take on the Bucs, who overcame Antonio Brown’s meltdown on the sideline. They trailed the Jets, until Tom Brady threw a 33-yard TD pass to Cyril Grayson with :33 seconds to go in regulation. The Bucs win it 28-24. They still have an outside chance for the #2 seed with a win and some help. They should get it, and then some.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (38-13)

NY Jets at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 16½

Going back to Gang Green’s loss to Tampa Bay, they stunned the Bucs by leading for most of the game. The Jets defense flustered Brady for most of the day, but eventually were unable to stop him. They gave up 410 passing yards and 3 TD’s. They fall to 4-12 and end their season with a match in Buffalo. The Bills overcame three INT’s by Josh Allen to beat Atlanta, 29-15. Allen made up for it with 2 rushing TD’s, Devin Singletary with 110 yards rushing and 2 scores in the win. It’s simple, win and you’re the division champions. Lose, and your path to LA gets harder. Look for the Bills to wrap up the AFC East.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (44-19)

New England at Miami
Line: Patriots by 6½

Give credit to Bill Belichek, he took a rookie QB in Mac Jones, re-arranged his defense and within a year after losing Tom Brady, his Patriots are once again going to the playoffs. The did it with a dominating win over Jacksonville. Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris each with 2 rushing TD’s. Kristian Wilkerson also with 2 TD receptions. They head south to Miami to take on the Dolphins, whose luck ran out after winning 7 straight. They were eliminated after the loss to Tennessee. Virtually no offense for the Fish, Tua Tagovailoa was sacked three times and threw a pick. They could still play spoiler and ruin the Pats division title hopes.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Miami (19-17)

New Orleans at Atlanta
Line: Saints by 4½

The Saints are still in it, but just barely. They need a win and a San Francisco loss to make the playoffs. But it will be a tough task, as they close the season in the ATL to take on the Falcons. A big win over Carolina in their home finale. Taysom Hill returns under center for 267 total yards and a TD. DE Cameron Jordan with 3½ sacks, that was more than half of the Saints 7 on the day. The dirty birds tried and failed to stay alive in the wildcard race. The Bills defense was just too much on Matt Ryan, as he was the victim of 4 sacks on the day. They can still end the Saints playoff hopes with a win. Look for them to go all out to close the season.

Smooth’s Pick: Atlanta (21-18)

San Francisco at LA Rams
Line: Rams by 4

LA trailed most of the game against Baltimore until a 7-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to Odell Beckham Jr. with 1:01 left in regulation won it for the Rams. Not a perfect day for Stafford 309 passing yards and 2 TD’s, but also threw 2 picks. They host San Francisco, who easily disposed of Houston in their season finale. Rookie Trey Lance with the start 249 yards passing and 2 TD’s, Eli Mitchell over the century mark in rushing. The Niners are currently in the 6th spot, and could make the playoffs with a win over the Rams or a Saints loss. LA could win the NFC West with a win. San Fran dominated LA during week 10 but it will be tougher to do on the road.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Rams (24-19)

Seattle at Arizona
Line: Cardinals by 6½

Russell Wilson may have played his final game in the Emerald City. If he did, he went out in style, throwing 4 TD passes in the drubbing of Detroit. DK Metcalf with 3 of those 4 TD receptions. Rashaad Penny with 170 rushing and 2 scores. They head to the desert to take on Cardinals who ended their three-game skid by beating the Cowboys in Dallas. Kyler Murray with 263 yards and 2 TDs in the win, Antoine Wesley was the beneficiary of both of those scores. Unfortunately for Seattle, their power offense arrived too late to help them down the stretch. It will be tough for them to equal the numbers this weekend on the road. My money is on the Cards to take the wildcard and come up short in the division.

Smooth’s Pick: Arizona (29-17)

LA Chargers at Las Vegas
Line: Bolts by 3

Vegas with a huge win over Indianapolis to keep their playoff dreams alive. Daniel Carlson with a 33-yard FG with no time on the clock to seal it for the Silver and Black. Derek Carr found Hunter Renfrow in the end zone for his only TD of the game, but he also threw two picks on the day. They host the Bolts, who stayed alive in the wildcard hunt with a big win over Denver. Justin Herbert with 237 yards passing and 2 TD’s. The Bolts are on the bubble in the final wildcard spot, so a win outright is a must. For the Raiders, a win would mean an unlikely playoff spot for a team beleaguered by chaos all season long. This Sunday night match up will be the one to watch. Turnovers will be the key to victory.

Smooth’s Pick: Las Vegas (26-22)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Pick for week 18. Join us next week for Wildcard Weekend. Our picks will premiere next Thursday at 830am eastern. If you miss out, then subscribe for free to our weekly podcast. You can listen to the Smooth Jazz and More Podcasts on Apple, Google, Amazon Music, IHeartRadio or wherever you get your podcast, or you can read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

We’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s College Football Playoff Picks – 2022 National Championship

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It’s a rematch of the SEC Championship game, where Alabama made easy work of Georgia. The Bulldogs look to get their revenge on the Crimson Tide.

College Football Championship
Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis, Indiana
#3 Georgia vs. #1 Alabama
Line: Bulldogs by 3

Here’s how both teams got to the big game.

Nick Saban

In the Cotton Bowl, it was “Run Tide” rather than “Roll Tide” as Alabama used to run game to pummel previously undefeated Cincinnati into submission, 27-6 was the final. Senior running back Brian Robinson, Jr. ran for 207 yards on the ground. Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young threw three touchdowns in the win for the Crimson Tide. The sophomore QB did have one hiccup throwing a pick on the day. He also broke the record for the most passing yards in a season. That was held by Mac Jones. It was a bitter end for Bearcats senior QB Desmond Rider, who was sacked 6 times by the Alabama defense and the offense for Cincinnati was held to only 74 yards rushing. Alabama goes to 13-1 on the year and heads to its 6th college football championship in 7 years with also a chance to go back-to-back champions this season.

rbkc5wwf3ian_b2es146hemz1_1440x980In the Orange Bowl, Georgia wanted to send a message to Alabama and they made it at the expense of Michigan. Stetson Bennett threw 3 TD passes, as the Bulldogs hammered the Wolverines, 34-11. The senior QB was 21-31 with 310 yards passing on the night. Junior LB Nakobe Dean led an angry Georgia defense that neutralized the Michigan offense for two interceptions and 4 sacks on the night. Heisman Trophy runner-up Aidan Hutchinson was a non-factor on defense, as the Bulldogs became the first team in the eight-year history of the College Football Playoff to score on each of its first five possessions and led 27-3 at halftime. Georgia will face Alabama for the second time in the national championship. They’ve lost seven straight meetings against the Tide, including the 2017 College Football Playoff championship in overtime.

Analysis: For Georgia, I’m sure head coach Kirby Smart has taken a look at the game films from last week and the SEC championship game and figured out what adjustments need to be made for Alabama this time around. For Nick Saban, it’s just business as usual, keeping his team fresh and well adjusted. To this point, both teams haven’t been affected by COVID, but that could change in the next few days as of this broadcast. It’s very hard to beat a team twice during the regular season, which is why the point spread is so small this time around. This will be a wild one, and it may take overtime to decide again. I’m leaning slightly towards the Bulldogs based on their hunger for revenge.

Smooth’s Pick:

1280px-Georgia_Athletics_logo.svgGeorgia (39-32) 

That’s gonna do it for Smooth’s College Football Playoff pick for the national championship. Join us for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks during the playoffs every Thursday at 830am eastern time. You can also subscribe to our free podcast. It’s available on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, IHeartRadio, or where ever you get your podcasts. You can also read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

We’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Week 17 (Remembering John Madden)

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Week 17 and we’d like to take this opportunity to remember the life of one of the NFL’s greatest ambassadors of the sport of football. John Madden died suddenly at his Northern California home on Tuesday.

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Madden first made his mark as head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 1969. Hired by owner Al Davis, Madden immediately began his championship reign with the Silver and Black that season with a 13-1 record, and reaching the AFL title game, where they would lose to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Starting in 1971, his Raiders would reach the AFC Championship game 5 out of the last 6 years in a row, finally reaching the Super Bowl in 1976, where they would win in dominating fashion over the Minnesota Vikings. He resigned as head coach of the Raiders in 1978 as the winningest coach in the team’s history and the youngest head coach to win 100+ games.

patsummerall_johnmadden_2002_gettyjpgAfter leaving the Raiders, Madden began his long broadcasting career as a color commentator at CBS in 1979. There, he would team with Pat Summerall, announcing 8 Super Bowls between them. They both moved on to Fox in 1994, giving the network instant credibility in their newly formed NFL contract. Madden would go on to ABC’s Monday Night Football in 2002 where he would team up with Al Michaels, and then the two would move on to his final stop with NBC’s Sunday Night Football in 2006. That year, Madden would be selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his coaching career.

Beginning in 1984, he would select his “All-Madden” team, a group of players who Madden thought represented football and played the game the way he thought it should be played. In addition, every Thanksgiving, he would also award a turkey drumstick to players of the winning team, often bringing out a “nuclear turkey” with as many as eight drumsticks on it for the occasion.

Madden retired from broadcasting in 2008, but was still a frequent guest on local sports radio in the San Francisco Bay area.

fhvf5msvkamrxmkIn 1988, He lent his name for use in the booming video gaming market. “MADDEN” by EA Sports is one of the best-selling video games on the market worldwide. The documentary “All-Madden” talked in detail about this topic. It’s available to stream on ESPN+, Peacock and is free on Tubi to viewers in the United States.

John Madden, dead at the age of 85.

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The playoff picture continues to be clearer with only two weeks left in the regular season.

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 10-6
Against the Spread: 8-6-2

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 153-84-1
Against the Spread: 101-84-46

Sunday, January 2

Atlanta at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 14½

Buffalo got their revenge against New England and took back control of the AFC East, 33-21 was the final. Josh Allen with 314 yards passing and 3 TD’s. Micah Hyde with to picks for the Bills defense. They will host the Falcons, who all of the sudden find themselves in a wildcard race after beating Detroit, 20-17. Matt Ryan broke a 13-13 tie with a 12-yard TD pass to Hayden Hurst in the 4th quarter to seal the win for the dirty birds. With the Bills getting their act together with two straight wins, look for them to solidify their standing.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (30-17)

Jacksonville at New England
Line: Patriots by 15½

The Jags played better than expected against the Jets, but still came up short, 26-21 was the final. Trevor Lawrence with 317 total yards on the day, but special teams ruined it for them. We’ll tell you how later in the broadcast. They head north to take on the Patriots, who lost their 2nd straight game at home to Buffalo. The usually solid secondary for New England were caught off guard, giving up 314 yards in the air. Damien Harris was the only bright spot for the Pats, with over 100 yards rushing and 3 TD’s on the day. The weaker run defense of Jacksonville gives the Patriots a big edge.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: New England (34-13)

Kansas City at Cincinnati
Line: Chiefs by 5

KC locked up the AFC West with a convincing 36-10 win over Pittsburgh. Another 3 TD day for Patrick Mahomes. Byron Pringle with two of those scores. The Chiefs head to Cincinnati for an important matchup with the Bengals, who also made easy work out of beating Baltmore, 41-21. Joe Burrow with a monster day, 525 yards passing and 4 TD’s. Tee Higgins with 194 yards receiving and 2 TD’s, JaMarr Chase with 125 yards on 7 catches. This has the makings of a high scoring battle, so look for the sparks to fly on both sides.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (34-31)

LA Rams at Baltimore
Line: Rams by 3½

The Rams climb back to the top of the NFC West with a 30-22 win over Minnesota. Sony Michel with 131 yards rushing and a TD, Cooper Kupp with another 100+ yards day to inch him closer to 2,000 on the season. They head to Baltimore to take on the slumping Ravens, who were pounded by Cincinnati. Josh Johnson started for both Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley. He still managed to throw for over 300 yards and 2 TD’s, but also threw a pick in the loss. It’s unclear who will start for the Ravens, but there’s one that is clear, they need this game, which will be tough.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Rams (26-21)

Las Vegas at Indianapolis
Line: Colts by 7½

The Raiders continue to fight for a wildcard spot and they get a much-needed win to stay alive by beating Denver, 17-13. Peyton Barber with the go-ahead TD run in the 3rd quarter. They head to Indy for an important matchup with the suddenly hot Colts, who deliver another loss to Arizona, 22-16 was the final. Jonathan Taylor with another 100+ rushing day, Carson Wentz with 2 passing TD’s. With Tennessee within their sights, look for the Colts to close in.

Smooth’s Pick: Indianapolis (32-16)

Miami at Tennessee
Line: Titans by 3½

The Dolphins started the season 0-7, in a span 8 games, the Fish have come back to not only play over .500, but they’ve also positioned themselves into the 7th and final playoff spot. They won their 8th straight beating New Orleans, 20-3, taking advantage of a depleted Saints squad. The Miami defense with 8 sacks and 2 picks on the night. They head into Nashville, to take on a Titans team that is holding on to the AFC South for their dear lives. They get a big win in San Francisco, 20-17. Kicker Randy Bullock with a game-winning 44-yard FG to seal it for the Titans. This is going to be a defensive low scoring struggle, but I like the hot Fish to sneak out with a win in this one.

Smooth’s Pick: Miami (17-13)

NY Giants at Chicago
Line: Bears by 6

There was no offensive input by Big Blue in the 37-10 loss to Philadelphia. Starter Jake Fromm looked like he picked up a playbook two weeks ago. He was replaced by Mike Glennon, who proceeded to throw a pick-6. We’ll have our post-mortem of the G-Men’s season later in January. As for the Bears, they were able to sneak out of Seattle with a win, 25-24 was the final. Nick Foles returns under center, he throws the game winning 15-yard TD pass to Jimmy Graham with 1:07 in regulation. Looking at this game, it’s going to be for positioning in next year’s NFL Draft. Big Blue has both picks, so a loss by either team will benefit the G-Men. This game though favors the Bears based on no offense by Big Blue.

Smooth’s Pick: Chicago (24-10)

Philadelphia at Washington
Line: Eagles by 3½

Looking more into the Eagles and Giants, the game was actually tied at 3-3 in the half. But Philly would score 31 unanswered points in the second half, including a pick-6 by LB Alex Singleton. The Eagles keep their slim playoff hopes alive, but they have to head down the beltway to DC, who were ripped by Dallas, 56-14 on Sunday night. Taylor Heinicke returned to the lineup, but was ineffective throwing two INT’s including a pick-6. He was also sacked 5 times. DC only chance is to keep the score low and control Jalen Hurts, but that’s a hard task.

Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia (27-16)

Tampa Bay at NY Jets
Line: Bucs by 13

The Bucs wrapped up the NFC South with a 32-6 win over division rival, Carolina. William Gholston with 2½ sacks on the day. The Bucs defense had 7 sacks total and a pick in the win. They head to the Meadowlands to take on the Jets, who had a 102-yard kickoff return by Braxton Berrios in Gang Green’s win over Jacksonville. Zach Wilson also went deep with a 52-yard TD run of his own. He also threw for a TD as well. This will be a tougher task for the Jets, and I see the Bucs defense swarming all day.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (34-13)

Denver at LA Chargers
Line: Bolts by 5½

The Broncos are collapsing before our very eyes. They lost to Las Vegas on Sunday with only 18 yards rushing on the day. RB Javonte Williams did find the endzone for the Broncos’ only TD on the day. They head to LA to take on the Bolts, who may have seen their playoff hopes go up in smoke with the 41-29 upset loss to Houston. The Texans stunned the Bolts by outscoring them 24-14 in the 4th quarter, including a pick-6 given up by Justin Herbert. This is a must win for the Bolts, but with the Broncos also desperate to stay alive in the playoff hunt, it will depend on who has the better defense.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Chargers (23-17)

Houston at San Francisco
Line: Niners by 15

Getting back to that Chargers/Texans game, Rex Burkhead had two 4th quarter TD’s. He also rushed for 149 yards. Davis Mills also with two TD passes in the win. They head to Santa Clara to take on the Niners, who were stunned on a last second FG by Tennessee. Jimmy Garoppalo with 322 yards passing and a TD, but he also threw two key picks in the loss. Deebo Samuel with 9 catches for 159 yards. Whether it was unpreparedness or getting caught off guard, the Texans finally got it done. But look for the Niners to be prepared.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (30-19)

Arizona at Dallas
Line: Cowboys by 5½

Dak Prescott with 4 TDs on the night in the Cowboys destruction of Washington. Trevon Diggs with his 11th interception ties Emerson Walls team record for the most picks in one season. They also sewed up the East division and look towards the top seed in the NFC. They take on Arizona, who continue to struggle, losing their third straight game, this time to Indianapolis. Most of their problems had to do with either injury or COVID. John Conner and DeAndre Hopkins were both out and that affected the offense. The Cards have been outscored 82-51 during the three-game losing skid. They actually play better on the road, but the way the Cowboys are playing, that may be harder to do. Look for a closer than expected matchup with both Conner and Hopkins returning.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Arizona (31-28)

Carolina at New Orleans
Line: Saints by 7½

The Panthers continue to struggle and it doesn’t matter who the QB is. San Darnold returned under center and shared the duties with Cam Newton and the experiment had no effect on the offense in the loss to Tampa Bay. Both were sacked mercilessly by the Bucs defense. They head to the Big Easy to take on the Saints, who were just as bad, if not worse in their loss to Miami. Ian Book got the start and he look horrible, throwing two picks and getting sacked 8 times. The Saints still have a shot at the playoffs, but they need this game and get some help in the next two weeks. This game could go their way if COVID doesn’t get in the way.

Smooth’s Pick: New Orleans (17-10)

Detroit at Seattle
Line: Seahawks by 6½

The Lions continue to play hard, despite their 2-12-1 record and issues on the COVID front. They narrowly lost to Atlanta on Sunday. The defense managed to get 3 sacks on Matt Ryan. Tim Boyle starting for Jared Goff with a TD and a pick in the loss. They head to the Emerald city, where for the first time in his career, Russell Wilson won’t be going to the playoffs or have a winning record. The Seahawks with another disappointing loss, this time to Chicago. Wilson with 2 TD passes on the day. Carlos Dunlap and Rasheem Green each with 2 sacks in the loss. Hard to see a team like the Seahawks collapse like this. This is a chance for the Lions to get the upset.

Smooth’s Pick: Seattle (24-21)

Minnesota at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 6½

The Vikings are a game behind Philadelphia for the final wildcard spot. They have a hard task getting a win this week by going to Lambeau against their rivals, the Packers. They didn’t help their cause losing to the Rams last Sunday. Kirk Cousins with 315 yards passing and a TD, but he also threw an INT in the loss. Justin Jefferson with 8 catches for 116 yards. For the Pack, they’re very lucky to come out of Christmas Day with a win against Cleveland, 24-22 was the final. We’ll tell you why later. Aaron Rodgers with 3 TD passes in the win. With the #1 seed in their sights, look for the Pack to close it out on Sunday night and deal a blow to the Vikings playoff chances.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (33-15)

Monday January 3

Cleveland at Pittsburgh
Line: Browns by 3

Going back to that Browns/Packers game, the Browns had no business being competitive in that game, considering Baker Mayfield threw four interceptions on the night. Nick Chubb did his part, he rushed for 126 yards and a score. They hurt their chances in the wildcard and now must rely on the AFC North division to win, which is now a log jam. They travel to Pittsburgh, where the Steelers were ripped apart by Kansas City. Ben Rothlisberger was atrocious, managing only 159 yards passing and giving up a pick. This is a must win for both teams and both don’t look good going in. This will be a battle in the trenches for survival, with the loser seeing their playoff hopes die right in front of them.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (23-21)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Pick for week 17. Join us next week for our final picks of the regular season. Week 18 picks premieres next Thursday at 830am eastern.

And don’t forget our College Football Playoff pick for the national championship. That begins next Wednesday January 5th at 8:30am eastern. If you miss out, then subscribe for free to our weekly podcast. You can listen to the Smooth Jazz and More Podcasts on Apple, Google, Amazon Music, IHeartRadio or wherever you get your podcast, or you can read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Happy New Year! We’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s College Football Playoff Picks – 2022 Semi-Final

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College Football Playoffs takes place in the middle of an emerging pandemic, in which five bowl games were affected. The Easy Post Hawai’i Bowl would have pitted Memphis against the Rainbow Warriors of Hawai’i, but Omicron has affected the home hosts and had to forfeit.

Texas A&M were also forced to pull out of their match against Wake Forrest in the Gator Bowl. Rutgers will play in their place. The Scarlet Knights were 5-7 this season.

Over the holiday weekend, the inaugural Wasabi Fenway Bowl in Boston was cancelled. This after 40 players for Virginia tested positive for COVID. They were supposed to play SMU on Wednesday. Boston College pulls out of the Military Bowl due to COVID staffing issues. They were supposed to play East Carolina on Monday.

And Miami couldn’t get enough players to field a team to play the Sun Bowl against Washington State and were forced to pull out. As of this broadcast, organizers were still looking for a school to take Miami’s place on December 31.

Omicron is a concern for all four college teams in the semi-finals. Let’s take a look how they stack up starting with the Cotton Bowl.

cotton-bowl classic

Cotton Bowl
#4 Cincinnati vs #1 Alabama
Line: Crimson Tide by 13½

The Bearcats became the first Group of Five program to make it into the college football playoffs. They also finish the regular season undefeated at 13-0. Their most notable win came in South Bend beating nationally ranked Notre Dame. Head coach Luke Fickell has led Cincinnati to 24 consecutive regular season wins and back-to-back AAC titles. Senior QB Desmond Ridder threw for nearly 3,200 yards and 30 TD on the year. He also ran for 8 TD’s. The Bearcats have a solid run game with junior RB Jerome Ford, he rushed 1,238 yards on the season with 19 TD’s. In the air, senior Alec Pierce is their leading receiver with 8 TD receptions. On defense, the Bearcats senior LB Joel Dublanco leads the team in tackles with 106, senior DT Curtis Brooks is their sack master with 7½ and sophomore LB Deshawn Pace leads the team in interceptions with 4.

Head coach Nick Saban brings his Crimson Tide to their 6th straight college bowl playoff since 2015. Last year, they smoked Ohio State for their 18th national championship. This season, Alabama suffered their only loss to Texas A&M in October. They went 12-1 the rest of the way, knocking off Georgia for the SEC title. They’re led at QB by Heisman Trophy winner, Bryce Young. The senior threw for over 4,300 yards and 43 touchdowns with only four interceptions on the year. His favorite targets were junior WR’s Jameson Williams and John Metchie III. Williams leads the team with 1,445 yards receiving and 15 TD. Metchie, who hails from Brampton, Ontario, Canada had over a 1,000 receiving yards and 8 scores. Senior RB Brian Robinson Jr. led the team in rushing for 1,071 yards and 14 touchdowns. On defense, sophomore LB Will Anderson, Jr. is one of the leading sack masters in college football with 15 this season. Junior LB Henry To’o To’o leads the team in tackles with 100, while junior DB Jordan Battle is tied for the team lead with 3 picks on the year.

As much as I want to say Cincinnati, you have to take a look at the strength of schedule this season, and it doesn’t look pretty. Sure, they got convincing wins, but they played programs like Tulsa, South Florida, East Carolina and Houston. But they’re not teams that are normally positioned in the AP Top 25 on a regular basis. Alabama has been there and then some. I can’t see them losing to a team like the Bearcats, considering how untested they’ve been. The point spread is like that for a reason, and why I’m favoring the Crimson Tide in a blowout.

Smooth’s Pick: Alabama (51-20)

orange bowl

Orange Bowl
#3 Georgia vs. #2 Michigan
Line: Bulldogs by 7

The Bulldogs were at the top of the rankings for all of this year, until the SEC Championship game, where they loss to Alabama. Head coach Kirby Smart is now 0-3 against Nick Saban, that includes the 2018 National Championship loss to the Crimson Tide. Georgia will get another chance against Alabama if they win their game against Michigan, and Alabama does their business with Cincinnati. QB Stetson Bennett put together a solid senior year, throwing for over 2,300 yards and 24 TD’s. RB Zamir White – 135 carries, 718 yards, 10 touchdowns. WR Brock Bowers – 47 receptions, 791 yards, 11 touchdowns. On defense, junior LB Nakobe Dean led the team in tackles with 61, he’s also tied with senior LB Adam Anderson with 5, and is in a three-way tie in picks with 2.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh got the monkey off his back, when his Wolverines finally beat Ohio State and moved on to the Big-10 championship, where they soundly beat Iowa for a birth in the college football playoff. Their only blemish this season was a loss to rival, Michigan State. Junior QB Cade McNamara threw for 2,470 yards and 15 touchdowns on the year. He’s had a number of targets, but his favorite was junior WR Cornelius Johnson, who had 609 yards receiving and 3 TD’s. On the ground, senior RB Hassan Haskins had nearly 1,300 yards and 20 touchdowns on the year. On defense, the story is senior EDGE rusher Aidan Hutchinson. The Heisman Trophy runner up is slated to be a top-5 pick in next year’s NFL draft. That’s because he had 13 sacks on the year with 89 total tackles. Senior LB Josh Ross led the team with 95 tackles, junior DB’s Daxton Hill and DJ Turner are tied in picks with 2.

This semi-final will be much more competitive and I like the defense scheme coach Jim Harbaugh has put together all season for his Wolverines. They will give the Bulldogs a test all day. However, Kirby Smart has prepared his team to overcome adversity, minus the SEC Championship game against Alabama. If they don’t look ahead to Alabama and concentrate on this week’s opponent, they will succeed. This is going to be a classic.

Smooth’s Pick: Georgia (20-17)

That’s gonna do it for Smooth’s College Football Playoff picks, we’ll be back next week for our pick for the National Championship. It premieres next Wednesday at 830am eastern time, with repeat broadcast all thru Monday January 10th. Check our website for dates and times, or subscribe to our podcast. You can also read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Happy New Year, and we’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Week 16 (Omicron Continues to Wreck Havoc!)

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Week 16 and the Omicron variant of COVID continues to affect all 32 teams in the NFL. So much so, that last week, they had to move three games from their regularly scheduled Sunday start time, to Monday and Tuesday.

495495ab233f4665ae4e85d446cba443-e1637545089497The latest casualty is NY Jets head coach Robert Saleh. The team announced that tight ends coach Ron Middleton will lead practice and be in line to handle the head coaching duties on Sunday versus Jacksonville, if Saleh hasn’t cleared the COVID protocol. Saleh is currently 3-11 in his first year as Gang Green’s head coach. As of this broadcast, over 140 players are currently on the COVID Protocol.

Meanwhile, the Green Bay became the first team to clinch the playoffs. The Pack sewed up the NFC North. More teams can clinch their way into the playoffs this Christmas weekend.

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 11-5
Against the Spread: 8-5-3

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 143-78-1
Against the Spread: 93-78-44

Thursday, December 23

San Francisco at Tennessee
Line: Niners by 3½

San Francisco continues to improve their chances for a playoff spot, as they beat Atlanta in dominating fashion, 31-13 was the final. RB Jeff Wilson led the Niner ground attack with 110 yards and a TD. Three scores on the ground by different Niners RB’s. They head to Nashville to take on the Titans, who had trouble with Pittsburgh, losing 19-13. Tennessee led 13-3 at the half, that’s when the Steelers racked up 16 unanswered points. D’onta Freeman in for the injured Derrick Henry at RB hit the century mark in the loss. Ryan Tannehill was sacked 4 times. The Niners defense is pretty similar to Pittsburgh, but at home, it could be a different outcome.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (23-18)

Saturday, December 25

Cleveland at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 7

The Browns lost 22 men to the COVID protocol last week. Because of that, the NFL moved the game to Monday afternoon and the loss of manpower showed in their loss to Las Vegas, 16-14. The loss included QB Baker Mayfield, receiver Jarvis Landry, pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney and head coach Kevin Stefanski. They also lost Myles Garrett due to a groin injury. Cleveland limps into Green Bay desperate for a win. The Pack clinched their division squeaking a victory over Baltimore, 31-30. Aaron Rodgers with 3 TD passes in the win. They’re still in the mix for #1 overall in the NFC, so look for the Pack to put the screws into a vulnerable Browns squad.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (37-14)

Indianapolis at Arizona
Line: Cardinals by 1

The Colts have been hot, winners of 5 their last 6 games. Last week, they cooled down New England, 27-17. RB Jonathan Taylor continues to make waves for league MVP with another great day, 170 yards and TD. The Colts head to Glendale, Arizona to take on the Cardinals, who have all of the sudden forgot how to play football, as they were upset by Detroit, 30-12. Not a good day for Kyler Murray, who was sacked twice and threw a pick in the loss. With a hot team like the Colts coming to town, now is not a good time for a losing streak. This will still be a tough one.

Smooth’s Pick: Arizona (20-17)

Sunday, December 26

NY Giants at Philadelphia
Line: Eagles by 10

4 weeks ago, the G-Men were in better shape when they face the Eagles. They won that game handily. But since then, both teams are going in different directions. Big Blue ensured their 5th straight 10-loss season with a defeat to Dallas, 21-6. Absolutely no offensive power, and they’ve given up 65 points within the last 2 minutes of the half. To make matters worse, they lose Daniel Jones to IR. For the Eagles, they improve to .500 with a 27-17 win over Washington. They took advantage of a COVID-ridden DC squad. Jalen Hurts with three TD’s including 2 rushing scores. I don’t know what to expect if Jake Fromm gets the start, but I do know that Mike Glennon is a horrible QB and a guaranteed loss if head coach Joe Judge starts him. What do they have to lose other than a fall from a top 5 spot in next year’s draft?

Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia (30-10)

LA Rams at Minnesota
Line: Rams by 3

LA was able to finish off Seattle and their playoff hopes, 20-10 in a game that was rescheduled to Tuesday due to COVID issues. WR Cooper Kupp with another big day, 9 catches for 136 yards and 2 TD’s. That gives him 1,625 yards receiving, and he’s closing in on 2,000 on the season. The Rams head to Minneapolis to take on the Vikings, who easily disposed of the Bears on Sunday night 17-9. Kirk Cousins with only 87 yards passing, but he accounted for two of the Vikings TD’s in the win. This will be a much more competitive game for both teams, and could be a nailbiter with the loser in worse shape playoff-wise.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Minnesota (23-20)

Buffalo at New England
Line: Patriots by 2½

The Bills got a much-needed win with a victory over Carolina, 31-14. Josh Allen back to his old self with 3 TD passes. The Buffalo defense with 4 sacks and a pick in the win. They head to Foxborough for a rematch against the Patriots, whose seven-game win streak came to an end against Indianapolis. Mac Jones with nearly 300 yards passing, but he threw two picks in the loss. Will Belichek do the same game plan like he did the last time? Run the ball constantly? You can bet the Bills will be ready this time around. Another loss, and it’s bye-bye AFC East title.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (25-23)

Tampa Bay at Carolina
Line: Bucs by 10

A stunner in Tampa, as New Orleans once again surprise the Bucs. Not only did they beat Tom Brady, they shut him out for the first time in 15 years, that’s 255 games. 9-0 was the final. To make matters worse, the Bucs lost RB Leonard Fournette and WR Mike Evans to hamstring injuries. They head to Charlotte to take on the Panthers, who are still looking for answers at QB after losing to Buffalo. Cam Newton with only 156 yards passing, a TD and an INT in the loss. Sam Darnold could be on his way back to starting, but it won’t really matter. Look for the Bucs to bounce back big time.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (27-16)

Jacksonville at NY Jets
Line: Pick ‘em

The Jags replaced Urban Meyer with assistant Darrell Bevell, and they experienced the same results. Jacksonville losing to division rival, Houston 30-16. The Jags are dead last in scoring with only 14 points a game. They’ll take on a Jets team that’s are experiencing a COVID outbreak. As we mentioned earlier, head coach Robert Saleh has been affected, along with 13 other players. Last week, they almost pulled off the upset against Miami, but a late TD sealed their fate, 31-24 was the final. Gang Green with two interceptions including a pick-6 by Brandin Echols to tie the game at 24. There’s still chance Saleh will be able to coach on Sunday, but symptoms would need to dissipate, and he’d have to test negative before being cleared. Despite that, I like Gang Green to outplay the visiting Jags.

Smooth’s Pick: NY Jets (23-17)

Detroit at Atlanta
Line: Falcons by 5½

The Lions got their second win of the season, and it came at the expense of an unlikely opponent in Arizona. Jared Goff with three TD passes, Craig Reynolds in for D’Andre Swift at RB, 112 yards rushing. The Lions defense with 2 sacks and an INT in the win. They head to the ATL to take on the Falcons, who fell hard to the Niners last Sunday. Virtually no running game for the dirty birds, and they managed only 62 yards rushing on the day. Not much of a pass rush on defense, either. Their hope for a win is to get Cordarrelle Patterson into the mix both as a rusher and receiver. Otherwise, the Lions could be looking at another upset.

Smooth’s Pick: Atlanta (24-19)

LA Chargers at Houston
Line: Bolts by 10

The Bolts and the Chiefs got into a shootout, with Kansas City becoming the last team standing in overtime. 34-28 was the final last Thursday night. Justin Herbert with 236 yards passing and 2 TD’s, but he also threw an interception in the loss. They travel to Houston to take on the hard-luck Texans, who managed a big win over Jacksonville. Brandin Cooks with 7 catches for 102 yards and 2 TDs in the win. Houston’s “D” also sacked Trevor Lawrence three times. Despite being at home, they’re heavy underdogs and will be hard pressed to pull off another performance two games in a row.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Chargers (30-17)

Baltimore at Cincinnati
Line: Bengals by 3

Tyler Huntley started in place of Lamar Jackson because of an ankle injury and played his tail off, 288 total yards and 4 TDs, including a chance to win with :47 seconds left in regulation. The two-point conversion failed as Baltimore fell to Green Bay. They take on the Bengals in an important AFC North matchup. They got a big win against Denver 15-10 in a hard-fought, low-scoring match. Joe Burrow with a 56-yard go ahead TD pass to Tyler Boyd in the 3rd won it for Cincinnati. Both teams are 8-6, and with Jackson still nursing his injury, you have to like the Bengals in this game, despite Huntley’s heroics in Green Bay. Look for the defense to lead the way.

Smooth’s Pick: Cincinnati (24-13)

Chicago at Seattle
Line: Seahawks by 6½

The Bears are getting to the point where it’s about rock bottom. They’ve lost eight of their last 9, including an embarrassing home loss to Minnesota. Justin Fields managed to find Jesper Hostead in the end zone with :01 second remaining in the game. That’s pretty much how it’s been for the Bears. They travel to the Emerald city to take on the Seahawks, who had their playoff hopes dashed by the Rams. Russell Wilson will suffer his first losing season as a QB for Seattle, and it could be the bitter end of his tenure. But this weekend could be a chance to get into the win column with a weaker team.

Smooth’s Pick: Seattle (24-19)

Pittsburgh at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 10

The Steelers kept their playoff hopes intact with a much-needed win over Tennessee. Ben Rothisberger with a 1-yard TD, kicker Chris Boswell with four FG’s to seal the win for Pittsburgh. They travel to KS to take on the suddenly hot Chiefs, who re-established control in the AFC with a big win over the West rival, Chargers. Patrick Mahomes with three TD passes, two of those to Travis Kelce to tie the game and win it in overtime. However, he may be without Kelce and his other top receiver Tyreek Hill this Sunday, as they’re in the COVID protocol. That will be a huge factor. Look for the Steelers to use rookie Najee Harris on the ground and extend the game for the Steelers.

Smooth’s Pick: Pittsburgh (22-20)

Denver at Las Vegas
Line: Raiders by 1

At one time, both of these teams were in contention for the AFC West title. But now that KC has regained their footing, both are fighting for a wild card spot. The Broncos not only lost Cincinnati, they lost their starting QB Teddy Bridgewater due to a concussion. Backup Drew Lock stayed out of trouble, throwing for a TD pass to Tim Patrick to give Denver a lead, but they would fall late to the Bengals. The Raiders were outplayed against Cleveland, but managed to put together a last-minute scoring drive capping with a Daniel Carlson 48-yard FG with no time on the clock to win it for the Silver and Black. Both teams are at .500, but the Broncos are in tougher shape without Bridgewater. I like Raiders in this one.

Smooth’s Pick: Las Vegas (23-16)

Washington at Dallas
Line: Cowboys by 11

The Washington Football Team lost starter Taylor Heinicke and backup Kyle Allen because they were in COVID protocol. That left third stringer Garrett Gilbert to play. He played well, staying out of trouble, actually leading DC to a 10-0 lead in the 1st quarter before giving up 17 unanswered points to Philadelphia. They travel to Dallas for a Sunday night matchup with the Cowboys. They put away the Giants and won their 10th game of the year. The Dallas “D” got 3 picks off an ineffective Mike Glennon, which is my biggest fear in this team. Unless Heinicke starts, we could be looking at a blowout.

Smooth’s Pick: Dallas (31-14)

Monday, December 27

Miami at New Orleans
Line: Saints by 3

Tua Tagovailoa got into trouble early throwing two INT’s, but threw two late TD’s, including the game winner to beat the Jets and get back into the playoff race with their 7th straight win. Duke Johnson with 22 carries for 107 yards rushing and two score in the win. The Fish head to the “Big Easy” to take on the Saints, who shut out defending Super Bowl champion, Tampa Bay. In the two games they played at Raymond James Stadium against the Bucs, the Saints defense has only given up three points. Kicker Brett Maher accounted for all 9 points in the win. DE Cameron Jordan had two of the Saints three sacks on Tom Brady. With the Dolphins, it might be trickier. Tua is a much more agile QB, and will run the ball more often. The Saints need to score more than 9 points to win this game, even if they’re at home.

Smooth’s Pick: Miami (19-18)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Pick for week 16. Week 17 picks premieres this Thursday at 830am eastern. And don’t forget our College Football Playoff picks begins next Wednesday at 8:30am eastern. If you miss out, then subscribe for free wherever you get your podcast or read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Merry Christmas! We’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Week 15 (COVID Returns!)

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Week 15 and once again, COVID has reared its ugly head within the NFL, affecting a number of teams this week. As of Monday, 36 players have been affected by COVID. 25 are on active rosters, 11 on practice squads. That’s the largest number of players put in protocol since last year. Cleveland has been affected the most with 8 players currently on the Protocol list. They’re scheduled to play against Las Vegas on Saturday. Earlier this season, NFL officials informed teams that they will forfeit games if they are unable to play on schedule. The current outbreak will test that rule this week, as well as the rest of the season.

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 10-4
Against the Spread: 8-4-2

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 132-73-1
Against the Spread: 85-73-41

A full slate of teams, as all 32 have completed their bye weeks. Before we start our Week 15 picks, we want to go over how we did in our Grey Cup pick last Sunday.

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers go back-to-back, beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 33-25 in overtime. QB Zack Collaros hits Auburn’s Darvin Adams for the go-ahead TD. The Bombers converted the 2-point conversion, but Hamilton’s hopes for a home town win were dashed on the ensuring drive on an interception by Fresno State’s Kyrie Wilson off former Ol’ Miss QB Jeremiah Masoli.

Collaros, the 10-year CFL veteran out of Cincinnati, wins Grey Cup MVP honors, the Outstanding Canadian in the game was Winnipeg’s receiver Nic Demski.

Thursday, December 16

LA Chargers at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 3

The Bolts humiliated the Giants on Sunday, pounding them into submission. 37-21 was the final. Justin Herbert with 3 TD passes. One was to Jason Palmer for a 55-yard score just before halftime. Time of possession was brutal, 34 minutes to just 25 for Big Blue. They head to KC to take on the Chiefs, who continue to climb up the latter of success, destroying Las Vegas, 48-9. Patrick Mahomes with 2 passing TD’s, Clyde Edward-Hellaire with 2 rushing scores of his own. This game will depend on who has the better defense. One I lean towards the hometown Chiefs in this crucial AFC West matchup.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (31-28)

Saturday, December 18

Las Vegas at Cleveland
Line: Browns by 3

Going back to that Raiders/Chiefs game, the defense of the Silver and Black allowed 4 sacks. Despite that, Derek Carr had a TD and a pick on the day. Hunter Renfrow was the beneficiary of that score, catching 13 passes for 117 yards. They travel to Cleveland to take on a COVID-ravaged Browns squad. Last week they pulled the upset, knocking off Baltimore, 24-22.  Baker Mayfield with 2 TD passes, one to Jarvis Landry, the other to Austin Hooper. Just how bad will it be for the Browns to field a team this Saturday? It all depends on their main guns. If they suit up, they’ll be as right as rain against the Raiders.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (24-13)

New England at Indianapolis
Line: Colts by 2

Both the Patriots and Colts are coming off bye weeks. New England is sporting a 7-game win streak, having beaten Buffalo during week 13. The Colts are also winners of four of their last 5 games. The last win was a shutout of division rival Houston. This stands to be a playoff preview. The Patriots have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. Of course, Bill Belichek keeps a short leash on rookie QB Mac Jones using mostly the run game. This will be a low scoring battle that will all come down to special teams.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: New England (19-17)

Sunday, December 19

Arizona at Detroit
Line: Cardinals by 13½

Not the best night for Kyler Murray, as he throws two picks in the 30-22 loss to the Rams. He was also sacked four times. James Conner with two TD runs, that makes it 14 on the year. They head to the motor city to take on the Lions, who were ripped by Denver, 38-10. Detroit made it interesting at halftime trailing by 7, but three TD’s by the Broncos ended their upset hopes. Even though their at home, it won’t be easy taking on another offensive power in the Cards.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: Arizona (35-16)

Carolina at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 10½

Buffalo has all of the sudden look like a middle of the pack team, having lost two straight and three of their last four. They did manage to come from behind against Tampa Bay, but fell in OT 33-27. Josh Allen with over 400 total yards and three TD’s in the loss. They get a bit of a break with the hard luck Panthers coming to town. They lost their third straight, falling to Atlanta 29-21. Cam Newton rushed for a TD but also threw a pick in the loss. Their defense let down their guard in the fourth quarter. It won’t be any easier for the Panthers verses a desperate Bills squad.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (31-19)

Dallas at NY Giants
Line: Cowboys by 10½

The Cowboys got out to a 24-0 lead at halftime, but they survived a late rally by Washington to win, 27-20. Micah Parsons with 2 of the Cowboys five sacks on the day. Dorance Armstrong, with a 37-yard fumble recovery for a TD in the win. They head to the Meadowlands to take on the slumping Giants, who were humiliated by the Chargers. Don’t let the final score fool you. The G-Men were down 24-7 at the half. They’ve given up the most points within 2 minutes before the half this season. Big Blue’s only hope is for the defense to step up, because their offense won’t.

Smooth’s Pick: Dallas (24-17)

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Houston at Jacksonville
Line: Jags by 3

Breaking news hot off the presses, as Urban Meyer has been dismissed as Jacksonville head coach. A number of missteps over the last three months made him toxic to the team and owner Shad Khan finally seen enough and gave him his walking papers. He was 2-11 during his tenure with the Jags. It was pretty evident Meyer was on his last legs after last week’s 20-0 shut out by Tennessee. Some are even calling Trevor Lawrence is a bust after throwing 4 interceptions. They can have a little self-respect with a win against the Texans, who were ripped by Seattle, 33-13. Davis Mills was back under center for Tyrod Taylor, 331 yards passing, a TD and no picks. In the battle of two of the worst teams in the league, this actually could be an entertaining game.

Smooth’s Pick: Houston (26-18)

NY Jets at Miami
Line: Dolphins by 8

Gang Green had no offensive production and their defense sputtered as they fell to New Orleans, 30-9. Only 78 yards rushing and they were 3 for 14 on 3rd downs. They head to south Florida to take on the Dolphins, who are coming off a bye week. They’re riding a 5 game win streak, and a victory this weekend with put them at .500 for the year and give them hope for a wildcard.

Smooth’s Pick: Miami (35-12)

Tennessee at Pittsburgh
Line: Titans by 1½

The Titans had no problem with Jacksonville, preventing them from getting on the scoreboard. Their defense had four interceptions and three sacks on the day. They also had good news as their star RB Derrick Henry could be back for the final week of the season. He’s been out with a foot injury during week 8. They head to the steel city to take on the Steelers. Pittsburgh started off slow, trailing 23-0 at halftime, but Ben Rothlisberger worked his magic, throwing three TD passes. They would come up short with seconds to go, falling to Minnesota, 33-26. The Steelers will play better at home, but they will have trouble with the Titans defense.

Smooth’s Pick: Pittsburgh (24-21)

Washington at Philadelphia
Line: Eagles by 4½

DC showed some heart after falling behind to Dallas. Landon Collins with two sacks and an INT. Cole Holcomb with a 31-yard pick-6. Taylor Heinicke left the game with a concussion. They head to Philly to take on the Eagles, who were on a bye week. Both teams are 6-7 and playing for their playoff lives. Jalen Hurts returns under center this week and should make the difference.

Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia (30-13)

Atlanta at San Francisco
Line: Niners by 9

Jimmy Garoppolo passed to Brandon Aiyuk for a 12-yard, walk off touchdown to beat Cincinnati, 26-23. Garoppalo with 296 yards passing and 2 TD’s including the game winner. George Kittle with 13 catches for 151 yards and a score. They head home to face the Falcons, who took control late against Carolina. Mykal Walker with a 66-yard pick-6. The Niners look for their third win in a row, and stay close in the wild card race.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (27-16)

Cincinnati at Denver
Line: Broncos by 1½

The Bengals elected to kick a field goal in overtime and let their defense try win the game for them. But it wasn’t to be as San Francisco won in walk off style. Joe Burrow with 348 yards passing and 2 TDs, both of those scores to JaMarr Chase in the loss. They head to the mile high city to take on Denver, who put a hurting on Detroit. Teddy Bridgewater with two TD passes on the day. This game stands to be a defensive struggle, and will be a battle to the end.

Smooth’s Pick: Denver (20-17)

Green Bay at Baltimore
Line: Packers by 4½

The Pack won their second straight game, beating fierce rival Chicago 45-30 on Sunday night. The Bears had a lead at halftime, but Aaron Rodgers with two of his four TD passes in the second half, 341 yards passing on the night. They head to Baltimore, where the Ravens had some disheartening news in their loss to Cleveland. Their star QB Lamar Jackson left the game early with an ankle injury. Sources say it’s not a high ankle sprain, which would have meant weeks out. If he plays, the Ravens have a chance to win. However, I like the Pack to take advantage.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (31-24)

Seattle at LA Rams
Line: Rams by 4½

The Seahawks kept their playoff hopes in tact with a win over Houston. Russell Wilson with 280 yards passing and 2 TDs. Tyler Lockett with a big day, 5 catches for 142 yards and a score. Rashaad Penny with 137 yards rushing and two TDs. They head to LA for an important matchup with the Rams, who stunned Arizona on Monday night. Matthew Stafford with 3 TD’s passes, one to Odell Beckham Jr., who will not play in this game after being placed on the COVID protocol list. Really doesn’t matter, as the Rams should be able to knock off the Seahawks and end their playoff dreams.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Rams (34-21)

New Orleans at Tampa Bay
Line: Bucs by 10½

The Saints were able to get their offense working against the Jets. Taysom Hill with two rushing TDs. Alvin Kamara with 120 yards rushing and a score. They head to Tampa for an NFC South Sunday night showdown with the Bucs, who needed OT to beat Buffalo. Tom Brady with 363 yards passing and 2 TDs. Leonard Fournette with 113 yards rushing and a score. Unlike last year when the Saints had Drew Brees to humiliate the Bucs at home, this time around should be much better outlook for the Bucs.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (30-17)

Monday, December 20

Minnesota at Chicago
Line: Vikings by 3½

The Vikings got out front quickly against Pittsburgh, but ran into trouble trying to hold on. They did win, just barely. Dalvin Cook with 206 yards rushing and 2 TDs. The Vikings defense with 5 sacks and an INT in the victory. They head to the windy city to take on the Bears, who lost seven of their last eight games, this time to division rival Green Bay. Justin Fields was back under center, 224 yards passing and 2 TDs, but he also threw two picks in the loss. This is a must win for the Vikings, but the Bears could play spoiler at home. The only issue is their beleaguered defense.

Smooth’s Pick: Minnesota (24-16)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Pick for week 15. Week 16 picks premieres this Thursday at 830am eastern.  If you miss out, then subscribe for free wherever you get your podcast or read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

We’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Week 14 (The 108th Grey Cup)

Hamilton vs Winnipeg Grey Cup

Week 14 and we want to get things started by making out pick for the 108th Grey Cup. This year it takes place at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Usually, the game is played during the US Thanksgiving weekend. This time around, the game is being played in December, the first time this has happened since 1972.

Sunday, December 12
Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Line: Blue Bombers by 4½

Taking a look at last week’s Eastern Final, The Ti-Cats battled it out with the Toronto Argonauts at BMO Field, and got themselves rewarded with home field this Sunday, 27-19 was the final. QB Dane Evans scored two rushing TD’s in the 4th quarter to give the Hamilton the victory, and a chance to win their first Grey Cup since 1999. The Ti-Cats trailed 12-0 at halftime, when both teams traded FG’s until the 4th quarter.

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Hamilton’s Jeremiah Masoli has taken his QB talents from Ol’ Miss to the Canadian steel city of Hamilton, Ontario. (Getty Images)

Looking at Hamilton, Evans, who is the third-year pro out of the University of Tulsa shared time under center with Jeremiah Masoli. The 8-year pro out of Ol’ Miss threw for over 2,400 yards and 10 TD’s, but he also had 6 picks on the year. Hamiliton’s running backs consist of Montreal native Sean Thomas Ertlington, Nevada’s Don Jackson and Kansas State’s Brandon Banks, with York University’s Nikola Kalinic their blocking back. Their leading receiver is Arizona State’s Tim White who caught 56 catches for 774 yards and 2 TD’s. Western Illinois’ Jaelon Acklin and Houston’s Steven Dunbar are tied for the team lead with 4 TD’s. On defense, Minnesota Golden Gopher Simoni Lawrence leads the team in tackles with with 73, SMU’s Ja’Gared Davis is their sack master with 6 on the year, and Cariel Brooks of Division II Adams State in Colorado leads the team in Interceptions with 5.

In the Western final, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers held off a late challenge by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, 21-17 was the final score in front of a packed house at a cold and windy IG Field. The Bombers trailed 10-7 at halftime, but both teams would trade scores in the 3rd quarter. Sean McGuire would take a quarterback sneak for a 1-yard TD late, and the Bombers defense would stop a Saskatchewan last minute drive to give Winnipeg a chance to repeat as Grey Cup champions.

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Former Cincinnati Bearcat QB Zach Callaros has a chance to add another Grey Cup ring to his collection with Winnipeg this weekend. (Photo: Candice Ward/CFL)

McGuire, who is a 2nd year QB out of Western Illinois led the team during the season with 8 rushing TD’s, and is the back up to starting QB Zach Collaros. The 10th year pro out of Cincinnati threw for nearly 3,200 yards and 20 TD’s. 6 of those TD’s were to California Golden Bear Kenny Lawler, who also led the team with 64 catches and over 1,000 yards receiving. Manitoba’s Nic Demski and Delaware State’s Rasheed Bailey each had over 600 yards receiving and combined for 9 TD’s. On the ground, Winnipeg native Andrew Harris led the team in rushing with 623 yards and three scores on the year. He won MVP and Most Valuable Canadian honors in the 2019 Grey Cup. On defense, linebacker Adam Bighill of Central Washington led the team in tackles with 70, Texas longhorn Jackson Jeffcoat is the Bombers sack master with 9 on the year, and DeAundre Alford out of Division II Tusculum led the team in picks with 4.

Sunday’s game will be a rematch of the 2019 final, where Winnipeg won, 33-12 for their 11th Grey Cup. That year, it was played in Calgary. This year, Hamilton gets the advantage of playing at home, where they have expanded the seating of Tim Horton’s Field to 40,000. The Ti-Cats are going to need every ounce of that home field advantage, as they’ve been having problems scoring all year long. They’re in the middle of the pack on offense, scoring only 18 points per game, as opposed to the Blue Bombers 22 points per game. Their last meeting with Winnipeg was in August, and the Ti-Cats only generated 6 points in a loss to the Blue Bombers. That’s not gonna win a Grey Cup for Hamilton. A low scoring game will help their cause, but Winnipeg has a strong run game and an adequate pass offense. If the Blue Bombers get on the board first, it will be a tough mountain to climb for the Ti-Cats.

Smooth’s Pick: Winnipeg (26-11)

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Now, let’s get back to the NFL.

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 9-5
Against the Spread: 6-5-3

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 122-69-1
Against the Spread: 77-69-39

Bye Week Teams: Indianapolis, Miami, New England, Philadelphia

Thursday, December 9

Pittsburgh at Minnesota
Line: Vikings by 3

Tough loss by the Vikings losing to Detroit. They’ll have to pick their lip off the floor and face the Steelers who got a big win against Baltimore. This is a must win for both teams, but I see the Vikings rebounding against a vulnerable Steelers team.

Smooth’s Pick: Minnesota (24-19)

Sunday, December 12

Dallas at Washington
Line: Cowboys by 4

The Cowboys gets back on the winning track by beating New Orleans, but they head to the nation’s capital to take on Washington. DC with a big win against Las Vegas to stay close in the NFC East. They may not have the firepower to keep up with the Cowboys offense, but being at home helps. Look for a closer matchup as always.

Smooth’s Pick: Dallas (20-17)

Jacksonville at Tennessee
Line: Titans by 9

The Jags kept it close with the Rams, but they fell off late, falling to LA. They head to Nashville for an important AFC South matchup with the Titans who are coming off a bye week. The tired Titans, who were all the sudden having issues with their run game, will find the week off helpful.

Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee (34-18)

Seattle at Houston
Line: Seahawks by 7½

Seattle gets a much-needed win over San Francisco to keep their playoff hopes alive. They head to Houston, who were blanked by Indianapolis. They also lost Tyrod Taylor because of an injured hand. Despite being at home, this game will be brutal.

Smooth’s Pick: Seattle (33-16)

Las Vegas at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 9½

The Raiders lose a heartbreaker the Washington and fall to 6-6. They head to Arrowhead to take on the Chiefs, who win convincingly over Denver on Sunday night. This is a crucial game for both teams in the AFC West, one that favors the Chiefs as they continue to get stronger as the season progresses.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (27-13)

New Orleans at NY Jets
Line: Saints by 6

QB Taysom Hill threw 4 picks in the loss to Dallas. They take on the Jets in the Meadowlands, who got pummeled by Philadelphia. Both teams are falling quickly, but Gang Green could put a stop to their offensive woes based on a weak Saints secondary.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: NY Jets (24-17)

Atlanta at Carolina
Line: Panthers by 3

The Falcons made it close with a pick-6 off Tom Brady to close the half, but the Bucs held on with a strong defense win. The dirty birds head to Charlotte to take on the Panthers who are coming off a bye week. Cam Newton will get the start and should be able to get some offense going.

Smooth’s Pick: Carolina (26-13)

Baltimore at Cleveland
Line: Browns by 2½

Lamar Jackson hit Sammy Watkins with a late score in the 4th, but the 2-point conversion failed giving Pittsburgh the win. The Ravens head to Cleveland to take on the Browns, who are coming off a bye week. The rest will guarantee a health backfield for the Browns and control of the game.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (21-18)

NY Giants at LA Chargers
Line: Bolts by 10

Without Daniel Jones, the Giants looked lost. With Mike Glennon under center, they looked even worse, and they fall to Miami. The G-Men head west to take on the Bolts, who gave Cincinnati a slice of humble pit, winning easily. Big Blue may start Jake Fromm at QB this Sunday. He was just signed off Buffalo’s practice squad. That’s a disaster movie in the making in Hollywood.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: LA Chargers (36-10)

Detroit at Denver
Line: Broncos by 8

The Lions end their 11-game winless streak by beating Minnesota. They head to the mile high city to take on the Broncos, who are coming off a bad loss to division rival, Kansas City. They might not catch a break, as they face a Lions team that wants to add to their win streak.

Smooth’s Pick: Denver (28-16)

San Francisco at Cincinnati
Line: Bengals by 1

The Niners got caught napping against Seattle and lost ground in the NFC West. They still have a wildcard spot, but will be in Cincinnati to take on a Bengal team who were rocked by the Chargers. This game will be a pick ‘em by game time, as both teams are evenly matched. Flip a coin on this one.

Smooth’s Pick: Cincinnati (21-20)

Buffalo at Tampa Bay
Line: Bucs by 3

The Bills find themselves in danger of losing the AFC East. This, after coming up short against New England on Monday night. They’ll take on the Bucs who were in a close battle with Atlanta before they took control late to seal the victory. This may be the Bucs toughest opponent this year, as the Bills take on a familiar foe in Tom Brady.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (19-17)

Chicago at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 12½

The Bears continue to spiral out of control, losing to Arizona behind 4 Andy Dalton interceptions. They head to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers, who are coming off a bye week. Usually this would be a closer than expected matchup, but the way the Bears are playing, the Pack may wind up winning this running away.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (34-16)

Monday, December 13

LA Rams at Arizona
Line: Cardinals by 3

The Rams ran the score up late to beat Jacksonville and end a three-game losing streak. They now travel to the desert to take on the high-flying Cardinals, who took advantage of four turnovers to beat Chicago. This NFC West matchup will be to determine who has control of the division and who will settle for a wild card.

Smooth’s Pick: Arizona (23-21)

That’s gonna do it for Smooth’s CFL Grey Cup special. Join us for week 15 of the NFL. It premieres this Thursday at 830 am Eastern. If you miss out, you can always read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com, or you can subscribe to our free podcast.

We’ll see you later!