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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks 2022 – (EXTRA POINT: New York Giants Post-Season Wrap – A Season to Be Grateful For)

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Saturday’s 38-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles should not be one for Giants fans to be angry at. All of the NFL pundits picked the G-Men to finish with 5-6 wins, well out of the playoff race.  At 10-8-1, which included a playoff berth, and an upset win on Super Wildcard weekend, the team is well ahead of schedule in its rebuild.

John Mara’s decision to hire Joe Schoen as GM was right on the money. Bringing Brian Daboll along from Buffalo as head coach was pure genius. With having virtually no salary cap space to sign free agents, this team was basically the same as what previous head coach, Joe Judge had.  It turns out, the only thing that this team needed was competent leadership. Daboll’s method wasn’t an “in your face” style, nor was it “laying blame others in front of the team.” He gave all the players a simple game plan, and everyone, minus a few bad apples that were jettisoned in the middle of the season, got on board.

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The result was immediate, with wins against quality teams, such as Tennessee, Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Green Bay. At one point, the G-Men were in the NFL’s top 10 power rankings, toping out at number 5. But it was big losses against division rivals Dallas and Philadelphia brought Big Blue back down to earth.

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A November swoon almost jeopardized the G-Men’s playoff hopes, going 1-5-1 in the process. But a huge win in Washington at the beginning of December pretty much secured their playoff spot. No one believed they were up to the task in their wildcard game against the highly touted Minnesota offense. But we made Big Blue our ‘upset special’ based on the Vikings’ poor losses against teams they should have defeated, and they didn’t disappoint. We were holding out hope that the same could happen the week after against Philly, but the blowout loss showed just how far away this team is from making a Super Bowl push.

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Going into the off-season, there’s a number of holes that needs to be addressed. Namely, getting Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley signed. Both are unrestricted free agents, and will be highly sought after. Most notably, DJ. There are at least 4 teams looking for new QB’s, and the price could be high. Barkley could be given a franchise tag, which could keep him for another year at below the value price. Other questions that need to be addressed are help at WR, LB and on the O-line.  The G-Men are slated to pick 25th in the NFL Draft and they’ll 11 picks on draft day. The salary cap will also be alleviated with the anticipated release of WR Kenny Golladay and other players eligible for free agency.

The 2022 NFL season was one that Giants fans should be grateful for. ‘Giants Pride’ has returned.  Trust the process of what Daboll and Schoen is putting together. Year two of the rebuild will be interesting, and we can only hope for a better outcome moving forward.

The “Drive for Five” starts now!

(The New York Football Giants are the official NFL team of Smooth Jazz and More.)

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BLOG ENTRY: Smooth’s NFL Football Picks 2022 – (AFC and NFC Championships)

2023 NFL Playoff Bracket

It’s championship Sunday, and the top four teams fight it out for the right to go to Super Bowl 57 in Glendale, Arizona in two weeks. We here as Smooth Jazz and More weren’t too thrilled about the way the Giants season ended, but we’re still thankful for the progress that took place down the stretch. We’ll have our post-season analysis of Big Blue’s 2022 season, and what we hope to see moving forward in 2023 in a future blog post.

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AFC Championship

Cincinnati at Kansas City
Line: Bengals by 1

And that has a lot to do with the condition of Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs overcame a big health scare with their star QB during their divisional playoff game with Jacksonville. Mahomes was forced out of the 2nd quarter after spraining his ankle. Chad Henne came in and led a 98 yard drive that ended with a TD pass to Travis Kelce. Mahomes did return in the second half, leading the Chiefs to score a game winning 6 yard TD pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. KC eliminates the Jags, 27-17. They will host Cincinnati, who made it look easy in their divisional playoff against the Bills in Buffalo. Joe Burrow with two quick TD’s in the 1st quarter. They would put the ball on the ground for Joe Mixon, 20 carries for 105 yards and a game clinching TD in the 4th quarter. The Bengals go to their second straight AFC championship, 27-10 was the final. The Bengals defense neutralized the Bills run game to just 63 yards on the day, and controlled the time of possession. This is a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship. The Bengals won it on an Evan McPherson 31-yard FG that sent them to the Super Bowl in a huge upset. This time around, the teams are evenly matched, with the injury to Mahomes a deciding factor. If he stays in the pocket and throws 5-yard passes, a la West Coast offense he should be fine. But, look for the Bengals to try to exploit that injury by getting him mobile if he’s not at 100% percent. Unlike Buffalo, KC will be ready and we could see another overtime finish.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (31-28)

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NFC Championship

San Francisco at Philadelphia
Line: Eagles by 2½

Dallas hasn’t appeared in the NFC Championship game since 1996. They’ll have to wait a lot longer, as the 49ers made sure of that not happening. The Niners defense picked off Dak Prescott twice, and limited the Cowboys to just six points in the first half. Christian McCaffrey’s 2-yard TD run was the end for Dallas, 19-12 was the final. Penalties were also the death knell of the Cowboys, as they committed seven for 50 yards on the night. The Niners head to Philly to take on the Eagles, who made it pretty clear they were not fazed by their late season swoon. The Philly defense neutralized Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, they got 5 sacks and an INT, and Jalen Hurts threw for two TD’s and ran for a score. The Eagles eliminated the G-Men convincingly, 38-7. This game is even harder to predict, as the Niners defense is just as potent as the Eagles defense all season long. They can certainly shut down Hurts, but the deciding factor will be the play of QB Brock Purdy. At some point, the magic has to wear off. One mistake will make the difference. We’re sticking with our Super Bowl prediction, but I expect a low scoring affair that will also be decided by special teams.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (19-16)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth NFL Football Picks for our AFC and NFC Championship picks. Join us in two weeks for our final picks of the season, it will be who will win Super Bowl 57. We’ll have complete analysis of both teams, from top to bottom, leaving no stone unturned. Our Super Bowl pick premieres February 9th at 830am eastern time, with repeat broadcast up to 30 minutes before the Super Bowl. Subscribe on Apple, Amazon Music, Google, IHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcast, or read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks 2022 – (Divisional Round)

2023 NFL Playoff Bracket

It’s the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, and we’re down to the final 8 teams. We had a great weekend picking the winners. Head-to-Head we were a perfect, at 6-0. Even our record against the Against the Spread was pretty stellar, 5-1. Now of course, we’re not guaranteeing another undefeated weekend, but we’ll do our best to make sure it works out in our favor. This weekend round marks the first time ever that one division sent three teams to the Divisional Round. Just by chance, the NFC East also has the most Super Bowls won by a division. Of the three, Dallas has five, the G-Men has four, Philadelphia has only one. Washington, who didn’t make the playoffs this year, has the other 3 for a total of 13 Lombardi Trophies won by the NFC East.

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Saturday, January 21

jags chiefs

Jacksonville at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 8½

It wasn’t a good start for Trevor Lawrence in his playoff debut for the Jags, 4 interceptions given up in the first half. The Chargers took advantage and went up 27-0 just before the end of the 1st half. But the 2nd year QB didn’t panic. He rallied his team to a historic come-from-behind win, capped by a Riley Patterson 36-yard field goal. The Jags win it, 31-30. It was the third highest deficit overcome by a team in NFL playoff history. Lawrence threw 4 TD’s passes in the second half. The win earns the Jags a matchup against the Chiefs in Kansas City. This is the first time these two franchises will meet in the playoffs. In regular season action, KC holds an 8-6 record over Jacksonville. They last met during week 10 on November 13. That’s where Patrick Mahomes threw four TD passes, and the KC offense piled up nearly 500 yards despite three turnovers in their victory over the Jags. A well-rested Chiefs team will certainly be ready to go, but don’t count out the young Jags, who are led by a proven winner in head coach Doug Peterson. I’m not taking the points, but I am picking the Chiefs for a narrow win.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (27-24)

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giants eagles

NY Giants at Philadelphia
Line: Eagles by 7½

We’re clearly excited for the G-Men’s big win against Minnesota. All the credit goes to Daniel Jones, who played his best game since getting drafted 6th overall by Big Blue in 2019. 24-31 for 301 yards passing and two TD’s, he also rushed for 78 yards. Saquon Barkley with 109 total yards two rushing TD’s in the win, their first playoff victory since their Super Bowl run in 2012. They head to the city of brotherly love to take on the Eagles who got the bye week by beating this same Big Blue team in the season finale. In that game, Philly used their starters to secure the win, and they struggled against the G-Men’s 2nd and 3rd stringers. The Eagles were 14 point favorites in that game, and Vegas obviously took notice this weekend. Jones and company will be tasked hard against a tough Philly defense. The key will be the G-Men’s young secondary. They also must stop Boston Scott, who has been a Giant killer the past few years. If they can keep the score low, and control the ball for 35-40 minutes, they can win the ball game. The Eagles struggled the last 6 weeks of the season, and that’s why I’m going on another limb. Not an upset special.

Smooth’s Pick: NY Giants (26-21)

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Sunday, January 22

Cincinnati at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 5

QB Tyler Huntley led some big drives to keep Baltimore in the game against the Bengals. He went 17-29 for 226 yards and 2 TD’s. However, it was his fumble on the 2 yard line that lead to a 98 yard TD return by DE Sam Hubbard. That was the game winner for Cincinnati, 24-17 was the final. They head to Buffalo for a rematch of their game between the Bills that was suspended during week 17. This time, it will be for the right to go to the AFC Championship. The Bills were tested by young QB Skylar Thompson, who almost led Miami to a huge upset. The Fish were up 24-20, before QB Josh Allen threw two TD passes, one to Cole Beasley, the other to Gabe Davis. A TD run by Jeff Wilson in the 4th quarter made it close, but a late drive by Miami stalled, giving Buffalo a 34-31 win. Allen was 23-39 for 352 yards and 3 TD’s. Both Davis and Stefon Digs had over 110 yards receiving on the day, and the Bills defense only allowed 42 yards rushing. Despite the five point spread, these two teams are evenly matched, with the Bills getting the advantage of being at home this time around. For the Bengals to get back to the AFC Championship game, their o-line needs to protect Joe Burrow, give him time to throw and score some points. No mistakes will also be the key for the Bills. This will also be a close matchup and will come down to special teams. Our pre-season pick to win the Super Bowl was the Bills, and we’re still picking them.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (33-28)

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cowboys niners

Dallas at San Francisco
Line: Niners by 4

The Cowboys finally got a road win in the playoffs. It was their first time since 1992, as they shellacked Tampa Bay 31-14, and may have sent Tom Brady into retirement. It wasn’t a close contest, as the Dallas defense frustrated Brady all night long, two sacks and an INT in the end zone to kill a Bucs TD drive. Dak Prescott was sharp, 25-33 with 305 yards passing and 4 TD’s, two of those scores were to TE Dalton Schultz. They head to Santa Clara to take on a hot 49ers team, that also had a field day eliminating Seattle, 41-23. The Niners were down 17-16 at the half, that’s where Brock Purdy would rush for a TD and then throw two more scores. One to Elijah Mitchell, the other to Deebo Samuel for 74 yards to close the deal. Purdy was 18-30 for 332 yards and 3 TD’s along, with that rushing score. He is now 8-0 since coming in to start for Jimmy Garoppalo. This Sunday will be his toughest test with a strong Cowboys defense. This reminds me of another matchup 42 years ago when another young QB named Joe Montana faced off against the Cowboys. That was the beginning of a dynasty. But as far as now is concerned, Purdy has showed he can lead his team to victory. The Niners were also our pick to make the Super Bowl in the pre-season, and we’re sticking with them as well.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (31-27)

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And that’s gonna do it for Smooth NFL Football Picks for the Divisional Round. Join us next Thursday for our AFC and NFC Championship picks. They premieres next Thursday at 830am eastern time, with repeat broadcast up to 30 minutes before gametime. Subscribe on Apple, Amazon Music, Google, IHeartRadio, or 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 2022 – Super Wildcard Weekend

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Super Wildcard Weekend, and we have the fourteen teams that will fight it out for the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy in February. This year’s game takes place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

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Before we talk about that, let’s find out which coaches didn’t survive Black Monday. Starting with Lovie Smith, who was given his walking papers after one season with the Houston Texans. He finished 3-13-1, and becomes the second ‘one and done’ head coach in a row behind David Culley, who was also fired by Houston after one season. In the meantime, the Chicago Bears wound up with the #1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. That was after Houston’s stunning win over Indianapolis to close out the season.

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Kliff Kingsbury is out of a job after 4 years in Arizona. He took the Cardinals to the playoff once, but had a 28-37-1 record and was 4-13 this season. Meanwhile, Todd Downing and 3 other assistants are out at Tennessee, the Titans lost seven straight and missed out on the playoffs losing to Jacksonville in the final week if the season.

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And Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is out of the hospital after seven tense days. Hamlin was given CPR on the field after a hard hit during the Bills/Bengals game and taken to a local Cincinnati hospital, where he was in critical condition at the time. Doctors released him to continue his recovery in Buffalo. All 32 teams showed their support by wearing or displaying the #3 during last weekend’s season finale.

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Before we get to last week’s results, we want to congratulate Georgia for winning their second straight national championship, beating TCU 65-7. It was a total beatdown by the Bulldogs, who were actually tied 7-7 in the first quarter. But Georgia would go on an unprecedented 58-point run, to successfully defend their national title. Senior QB Stetson Bennett ran for two TD’s and threw for four, as he would be named the offensive player of the game. Sophomore defensive back Javon Bullard with two INT’s was named defensive player of the game.

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2023 NFL Playoff Bracket

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 10-6
Against the Spread: 7-6-3

Final Regular Season Stats

Head-to-Head: 172-97-2
Against the Spread: 118-97-50

Saturday, January 14

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Seattle at San Francisco
Line: Niners by 10

The unlikely story of the Seahawks playoff run came true last Sunday. They held on to the final wildcard spot by beating the Rams in overtime, 19-16. They got help, when Detroit ended Green Bay’s playoff ambitions, beating them 20-16 on Sunday night. The Lions were eliminated from playoff contention with the Seahawks win. As for the Niners, they continue to roll, easily putting away Arizona, 38-13. Three more TD’s thrown by Brock Purdy. It’s also his seventh straight since taking the reigns as the starting QB. The Seahawks march into Santa Clara as heavy underdogs against a team that has a devastating defense and an offense led by a rookie QB who was not expected to lead this team, but has eased into the starting role without much problems. On paper, this is a mismatch, and the way the Niners are playing, it should play itself out.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (34-19)

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LA Chargers at Jacksonville
Line: Bolts by 1

Head Coach Brandon Staley is in hot water after using his starters in a meaningless final game against Denver. Austin Ekeler took some hard hits all day. Mike Williams was carted into the locker room and Joey Bosa limped off the field. Both are questionable for this Saturday. In the end, the Broncos win it, 31-28. Now they head to North Florida to take on a hot Jags team who won their last five games and got a fumble recovery by DB Josh Allen for the TD. The Jags take the AFC South, 20-16 and get a home playoff game. Defense played a big part in Jacksonville’s run to the playoffs, having prevented the Titans from getting 6 points on four different occasions. In this game, they will be challenged by Justin Herbert, who found his mojo again after three disappointing starts. The point spread started at 1 and a half and will continue to drop up to game time. So, look for special teams to be the difference maker.

Smooth’s Pick: Jacksonville (21-19)

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Sunday, January 15

Dolphins Bills

Miami at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 11

The Fish relied on 3rd string QB Skylar Thompson to start the biggest game of his career, and he somehow got the job done without turning the ball over. Three FG’s and a safety was all that was needed, as Miami beats the Jets, 11-6. But now they have a bigger challenge as they head to Buffalo to take on a Bills team coming off the emotional roller coaster of teammate Damar Hamlin. The Bills scored from the first kickoff, eliminating New England, 35-23. Nyheim Hines with two kickoff TD’s. Tua Tagovailoa won’t be available for Sunday’s game, and neither will Teddy Bridgewater. That has the Fish leaving the ball in the hands of Thompson. Not a good sign at all. Look for the Bills go full force on Miami at home.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (37-16)

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NY Giants at Minnesota
Line: Vikings by 3

Having locked up the 6th seed, head coach Brian Daboll rested most of his starters, with Davis Webb getting the start. Second and third string players frustrated the Eagles starters, who had to win outright to secure a 1st round bye. Eventually, Philadelphia beat the G-Men, 22-15. Big Blue heads to Minneapolis for a rematch against the Vikings. Head coach Kevin O’Connell elected to get his starters some reps before replacing them in the second half. The Vikings with a 29-13 win over Chicago. In their last meeting, Minnesota got a last second, 61 yard FG from Greg Joseph to beat the G-Men. This time around, Big Blue has more of their top playmakers coming back healthy. Expect another close match up, but a different outcome.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: NY Giants (24-21)

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Baltimore at Cincinnati
Line: Bengals by 6½

Lamar Jackson sat out his third straight game, and there’s no telling if he will be available for this weekend’s playoff. Head coach John Harbaugh went to third stringer, Anthony Brown to rest Tyler Hunley for this weekend’s game, and it clearly affected the Ravens offense. They fell to the Bengals, 27-16. The Bengals defense took care of the scoring, as they forced a fumble on Brown and led to a TD. They also forced 4 sacks and 2 INT’s. In most cases, whenever the same two teams play each other a week later, a different outcome happens. But with Jackson still on the mend, the chances of that happening go down.

Smooth’s Pick: Cincinnati (26-17)

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Monday, January 16

bucs cowboys

Dallas at Tampa Bay
Line: Cowboys by 3

Jerry Jones made it clear that there needs to be progress in the playoffs for the Cowboys, or there will be major changes taking place. If this weekend’s season finale is any indication, Dallas is looking at another ‘one and done’ in the playoffs. Dak Prescott threw his seventh INT in seven games, a pick-6 to Kendal Fuller, as they fell to Washington, 26-6. They head to Tampa to take on a Bucs team that used mostly their 2nd and third string backups to prepare for this week. Tom Brady did throw an 8-yard TD to Kyle Rudolph in the 1st quarter, but the Bucs fell to Atlanta, 30-17. Even though they win the NFC South, Brady ends the season under .500 for the first time in his 22 year career at 8-9. In their last meeting during week 1, the Bucs defense held the Cowboys to 3 points, forcing two sacks and an INT. I think it will be a different outcome, with the Cowboys having the better defense.

Smooth’s Pick: Dallas (28-17)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth NFL Football Picks for Super Wildcard Weekend. Join us next Thursday for our Divisional Round picks. They premieres next Thursday at 830am eastern time, with repeat broadcast up to 30 minutes before gametime. Subscribe on Apple, Amazon Music, Google, IHeartRadio, or 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 2022 – Week 18 (Damar Hamlin Tragedy Oversees The Final Week of the Season)

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Update: 1/6/2023 12:54am

Week 18, and we were going to talk about the final week of the regular season and the playoff race in the NFL. But all eyes have been focused on the medical condition of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin.

During Monday night’s game against Cincinnati, Hamlin took a hard hit trying to tackle WR Tee Higgins. After the play Hamlin stood up, then dropped to the turf. Trainers began administering CRP and an ambulance took him to a local hospital, where he was listed in stable but critical condition. Members of both teams were shaken emotionally, and after a long pause, both teams left the field to go into the locker room to recover.

Initially, league official wanted the game to continue, giving both teams 5 minute to prepare. But upon discussions with both head coaches, the league decided that it was in the best interest to suspend the game.

As of this broadcast, Hamlin’s condition has improved but he is still critical, and the league has not re-scheduled the game for this week.

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Social media was swift to give Hamlin their well wishes, and his Christmas fundraiser on GoFundMe received a huge boost. Initially, Hamlin wanted a goal of just $2,500 dollars to help give out toys to needy kids in his community.

In less than 24 hours, the amount raised once he was injured on the field, went from $74,000 what is now approaching $8 million dollars.

Among the donors, they include Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and his wife Ciara, Matthew Stafford, Pro wrestler Chris Jericho, Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale and his wife, and many others giving their donations and heartfelt well-wishes.  Lots of love and support from the Bills Mafia, NFL football fans and concerned individuals all over the world.

We wish Damar Hamlin and his family all the best for a swift recovery.

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NFL-Playoff-Bracket

With the Buffalo/Cincinnati game at a pause, the playoff races are in limbo. Both teams along with Baltimore and Kansas City are fighting for the #1 seed in the AFC. The Bengals and Ravens are also fighting for the AFC North title. AFC South will be a fight between Jacksonville and Tennessee with the winner hosting a playoff game. The #7 seed wildcard spot in the AFC will be against four teams, New England, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville, all are 8-8. The Patriots are currently in the spot, needing only a win to clinch.

In the NFC, the #1 seed is a fight between Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Minnesota. Dallas has a chance with a win and an Eagles loss to take the NFC East. As for the final wildcard spot in the NFC, Seattle currently occupies the seventh spot, but they’ll need a win and a Green Bay loss to Detroit to clinch. They can’t afford a Packers win, because Green Bay would get the wildcard the based on the better conference record. The Lions would get the wildcard if they can beat the Packers, and a Seattle loss.

Last Week’s Results (Minus the Buffalo/Cincinnati game)

Head-to-Head: 12-3
Against the Spread: 5-3-7

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 162-91-2
Against the Spread: 111-91-47

Saturday, January 7

Kansas City at Las Vegas
Line: Chiefs by 9½

The Chiefs won their 12th in a row over Denver, 27-24. As for the Raiders, they took San Francisco to overtime before falling to the Niners, 37-34. That ended their playoff hopes for this season. They can play spoiler by beating the Chiefs, but look for KC to win it in a close race.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (34-29)

Tennessee at Jacksonville
Line: Jags by 6½

This is the second Saturday matchup that will determine the AFC South crown. The Titans continues to implode as they fall to Dallas last Thursday, 27-13. On the other side, Jacksonville smothered Houston, 31-3. This game will all depend on ball control and right now, the Jags have the edge being at home. The Titans must get Derrick Henry into the mix or they are toast.

Smooth’s Pick: Jacksonville (23-21)

Sunday, January 8

Tampa Bay at Atlanta
Line: Falcons by 3

Tom Brady and the Bucs wrapped up the NFC South with a 30-24 win over Carolina. The Dirty Birds with a 20-19 win over Arizona. With nothing really to play for on both sides, this game will look like it’s the pre-season game. Look for the Falcons with the edge.

Smooth’s Pick: Atlanta (19-14)

New England at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 7½

The Patriots with a big win over Miami, 23-21. The Bills game with Cincinnati was suspended due to the Damar Hamlin tragedy. No pick on this game, yet. That all depends on the finish of the Bills/Bengals postponement.

Minnesota at Chicago
Line: Vikings by 3½

The Vikings lose to Green Bay, 41-17. They need a win over the Bears, who lost badly to Detroit, 41-10. Without Justin Fields who will not play in the finale, look for the Vikings to steamroll the Bears on the road.

Smooth’s Pick: Minnesota (35-12)

LA Chargers at Denver
Line: Bolts by 3

The Bolts win the battle of LA with a 31-10 victory over the Rams and locks up the 5th seed. As we mentioned before, the Broncos lose to Kansas City, but they beat the spread in the process. The question this off season will be, ‘who takes over the Broncos?”

Smooth’s Pick: LA Chargers (22-16)

Houston at Indianapolis
Line: Colts by 2½

The Texans are in line for that #1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft after their loss to Jacksonville. On the other side, the Colts were brutalized by the Giants, 38-10. Both teams just want to get this season over with.

Smooth’s Pick: Houston (20-17)

NY Jets at Miami
Line: Dolphins by 2½

Gang Green’s playoff hopes ended with a 23-6 loss to Seattle. They’ll have a big decision at QB on who will lead the team next season. As for Miami, they blew a chance to sew up the 7th seed with a loss to New England. They desperately need a win, but without Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater, that may be impossible.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: NY Jets (24-21)

Carolina at New Orleans
Line: Saints by 3½

The Panthers playoff hopes ended with a loss to Tampa Bay. The Saints did manage to beat Philadelphia, 20-10; but their playoff hopes went up in smoke with the Carolina loss. Both teams will have to regroup for next season.

Smooth’s Pick: New Orleans (26-22)

NY Giants at Philadelphia
Line: Eagles by 14

The G-Men make their first playoff appearance since 2016 with a dominating performance over Indianapolis. As for the Eagles, they lose their 2nd in a row, falling to New Orleans. This is a must win game for Philly, and with their playoff spot secured, Big Blue has nothing to play for. I wouldn’t trust the point spread. Look for the G-Men to make ‘em sweat.

Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia (27-23)

Cleveland at Pittsburgh
Line: Steelers by 3

The Browns eliminated Washington for playoff contention with the win, 24-10. As for the Steelers, they keep their playoff hopes alive with 16-13 win over Baltimore. The Browns would love nothing more than to eliminate their AFC North rivals, so look for a close battle between the two.

Smooth’s Pick: Pittsburgh (17-15)

Arizona at San Francisco
Line: Niners by 14

The Cardinals limp to the finish line with a loss to Atlanta. The Niners were taken to the limit by Las Vegas before finally winning it is OT. This is a miss-match on paper, and with the Cards with all kinds of injuries, look for the Niners to finish the season strong.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (35-10)

LA Rams at Seattle
Line: Seahawks by 6½

The Rams with a lot of decision making in the off-season, as they fall to the Chargers. The Seahawks keep their playoff hopes alive with the win eliminating the Jets. It’s a must win, and should be able to handle a weakened Rams squad, but they’ll need help.

Smooth’s Pick: Seattle (24-17)

Dallas at Washington
Line: Cowboys by 4

The Cowboys have an outside chance to win the division and maybe the #1 seed with their win over Tennessee. The Commanders not only fell out the 7th wildcard position, they missed the playoffs entirely with their loss to Cleveland. With the Cowboys needing a win for better seeding, look for the Commanders to give them a challenge at home.

Smooth’s Pick: Dallas (23-20)

Baltimore at Cincinnati
Line: Bengals by 7

It was an ugly loss to Pittsburgh by the Ravens. As we mentioned before the Bengals and Bills have been suspended and await the league’s response on when that game will be finished. Thus, our pick for this game will be on hold.

Detroit at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 4½

This game has been flexed into the Sunday night. The Lions dominated against Chicago, while the Packers did the same to Minnesota. The Packers are running the table to get to this point, and so are the Lions. So, look for a fight to the finish for these two rivals.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (21-19)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth NFL Football Picks for week 18. Join us next Thursday for Wildcard Weekend pending the results of the Buffalo/Cincinnati game. Follow us on Twitter or Mastodon for updates. Our picks premieres next Thursday at 830am eastern time, with repeat broadcast up to 30 minutes before gametime on Sunday. Subscribe on Apple, Amazon Music, Google, IHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcast, or read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

We’ll see you later.

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Here’s an update from the NFL:

The league has decided not to resume play of the Buffalo Bills/Cincinnati Bengals game that had took place on Monday night and was suspended after the emergency situation with Bills safety Damar Hamlin. The league announced the game has officially been cancelled.

Buffalo and Cincinnati have already clinched the playoffs, but the league has called for a special league meeting on Friday to vote on the possibility of the AFC Championship game being played at a neutral site.

Both the Bengals and Bills will play their final games during week 18.

Having said that, here’s our selections for both games,

New England at Buffalo
Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (27-14)

Baltimore at Cincinnati
Smooth Pick: Cincinnati (31-16)

For more updates, you can follow us on Twitter or Mastodon; subscribe to our podcast or blog, or you can tune in to our Wildcard Weekend picks next Thursday morning at 830am eastern at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Until then, I’m Mike James, we’ll see you later.

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks 2022 – (SPECIAL: College Football Playoff – National Championship)

CFB National Championship 2

It was a wild night of college bowl games on New Year’s Eve. Both were barnburners. However, one was a stunning upset, with the other, a nailbiter going right up until the clock struck twelve on the new year.

College Football National Championship

SoFi Stadium
Inglewood, California
#3 TCU vs. #1 Georgia
Line: Bulldogs by 13½

Let’s take a look at what happened in that Fiesta Bowl upset.

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TCU stunned Michigan at the very beginning with two quick scores. One, a pick-6 by sophomore safety Bud Clark, the other was a 1-yard TD run from senior QB Max Duggan. Another TD made it 21-6 at halftime. Then all hell broke loose. Throw away the defense, as both teams combined for 44 points in the third quarter. After recovering a fumble that ended the quarter, Michigan shaved TCU’s lead to a field goal at 41-38 with 14:13 to go in the 4th quarter. Then, Duggan found junior WR Quentin Johnson to go 76 yards for the score to restore TCU’s two-score lead. Johnson would end the night with 6 catches for 163 yards and that score. Michigan cut the lead to six points with 3:18 to go in regulation, and got the ball back with 52 seconds and no timeouts remaining.

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But the Wolverines would commit a bad snap on fourth down with 25 seconds to go to end their national title hopes. TCU wins the Fiesta Bowl, 51-45. Senior RB Emari Demercado with 150 yards rushing and a TD in the win. The Horned Frogs head to LA for the national championship on Monday.

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In the Peach Bowl, it was a see-saw battle between defending champion Georgia and Ohio State. The Buckeyes got on the board first with a TD pass from junior QB CJ Stroud to sophomore WR Marvin Harrison Jr. The Bulldogs would answer with a score from senior QB Stetson Bennett to senior RB Kenny McIntosh. Both teams would each score two TD’s in the 2nd quarter to stay even. Then, after a Bulldog FG, the Buckeyes would take the lead into the half, 28-24 on a 37-yard TD pass from Stroud to senior WR Xavier Johnson. Stroud had a field day with the Georgia defense, finishing with 348 yards passing and 4 TD’s. A FG would make it 38-24 going into the 4th quarter. The Bulldogs would get their own FG, then a pass from Bennett to sophomore WR Arian Smith would go 76 yards for the score. Along with a 2 pt conversion, they would to cut the lead to 3. The defense would finally hold the Buckeye offense to a late FG with 2:49 to go in regulation.

downloadBennett would then lead the Bulldogs to a 5 play, 72 yard drive, capping off with a 10 yard TD pass to sophomore WR Adonai Mitchell. That would be the game winner. A late 50-yard FG try by Ohio State would miss right at stroke of midnight. Georgia wins it in a thriller, 42-41. They head west to defend their national championship, and have hopes to make it back to back.

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Analysis: These two teams met only four times in their history, with Georgia being undefeated at 4-0. The last meeting took place in 2016, where the Bulldogs won 31-23 in the Liberty Bowl. TCU has a history of winning national championships, two to be exact. But you have to go all the way back to 1938 for their last title.

The lack of defense should be a concern for coaches Kirby Smart of Georgia and Sonny Dykes of TCU. The Bulldogs gave up 467 total yards and their offense was only 2-10 on 3rd down. As for the Horned Frogs, they gave up 488 total yards, but their numbers were fairly even in rushing and passing. 3rd down tries were much better for TCU, going 8 for 16. The big difference is the turnover matchup, with TCU getting three takeaways to Georgia’s 1. That will be important, because mistakes will be the determining factor in this matchup. The high odds that favor Georgia is a bit much, as TCU is capable of running up the score, as they did on New Year’s Eve. So, look for special teams to be decisive in the finish.

Smooth’s Pick: Georgia (47-44)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth’s College Football Playoff picks. Our picks airs repeat broadcasts right up to 30 minutes before gametime on Monday. Subscribe on Apple, Amazon Music, Google, IHeartRadio, or 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 2022 – Week 17 (The Playoff Hunt, Part II)

Week 17 NFL Playoff Bracket

Week 17, and we hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas holiday, as we move forward into the new year and the march towards the NFL post-season. The playoff hunt continues to tighten, as more teams punch their ticket into the post-season. Baltimore and the Chargers clinched playoffs spots in the AFC, with one wildcard slot still available between Miami, the Jets, New England, and Pittsburgh. Las Vegas still has a mathematical chance to make to the playoffs, but at this point, it will take a miracle for that to happen. The AFC South title is still at play, with Jacksonville and Tennessee looking at a week 18 play-in game to win the division. The NFC still has three playoff positions still to be decided. The NFC South is a battle between current leaders Tampa Bay, with Carolina and New Orleans breathing down their back. There are still two wildcard slots yet to be decided, with the Giants in the driver’s seat needing only a win this week or next, and Washington holding on to the second wildcard spot. Seattle is in the running, along with Detroit and Green Bay, who could be looking at a play-in game during week 18, but both teams need to win this week and hope for help the rest of the way.

Some rumblings on the coaching carousel, we’ll tell you about that later on in the broadcast.

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 9-7
Against the Spread: 7-7-2

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 150-88-2
Against the Spread: 106-88-40

Thursday, December 29

Dallas at Tennessee
Line: Cowboys by 10

The Cowboys with a big win to put some heat on the Eagles in the NFC East and the #1 seed with a win in Dallas, 40-34 was the final. It was a shootout from beginning to end, as Dak Prescott throws for 347 yards and 3 TD’s, Ezekiel Elliott with a score, CeeDee Lamb with 120 yards receiving and two TD’s in the win. They get a short week as they head to Nashville on Thursday to take on the Titans, who have imploded as of late, losing to the lowly Houston Texans, 19-14. Malik Willis was in at QB and scored his first TD, but he also threw two crucial INT’s as they fall out of 1st place in the AFC South. At least seven players were on the injury report for Tennessee this Tuesday, including Derrick Henry who was limited this week in practice. Not a good sign going down the stretch. Look for the Cowboys to air it out all day.

Smooth’s Pick: Dallas (36-23)

Sunday, January 1 (New Year’s Day)

Arizona at Atlanta
Line: Falcons by 3½

Both the Cardinals and the Falcons fell out of playoff contention. The dirty birds made it official as they fall to Baltimore, 17-9. Practically no offense, with three FG’s by Koo Younghoe to show for it. They host the Cards, who were in an offensive struggle with Tampa Bay on Christmas night. They went ahead 16-6 on a James Conner 22-yard TD run late in the 4th quarter, but Tom Brady would work his comeback magic like he’s done for 22 years. The Bucs win it in OT on a 40-yard FG by Ryan Succup, 19-16 was the final. With both teams struggling on offense, this looks like a battle in the trenches, one that favors the Falcons.

Smooth’s Pick: Atlanta (17-13)

Chicago at Detroit
Line: Lions by 6

The Bears made it a close game at halftime against Buffalo, leading 10-6. But the Bills outscored the Bears 29-3 in the second half to win, 35-13. The Chicago defense got two picks off QB Josh Allen and Justin Fields threw for a TD in the loss. They head to the Motor City, where it’s an important NFC North matchup for the Lions. They all of the sudden went cold, losing their second straight, falling to Carolina, 37-23. They were down 31-7 before they came storming back, but they fell short in the process. Jared Goff with 355 yards passing and 3 TD’s, all to TE Shane Zylstra. A must win for the Lions, but don’t think it will be an easy win against the Bears.

Smooth’s Pick: Detroit (26-24)

Denver at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 13½

The embarrassing display of football on Christmas Day for the Broncos cost Nathaniel Hackett his job. Denver relieved the first time NFL head coach with two games to go in the regular season where he was 4-11. The once reliable defense gave up the most points to an opponent this season, 51-14 was the final as they lost to the Rams. Four picks thrown on the day by Russell Wilson and Brett Rypien, including a pick-6. It gets worse, as they head to Kansas City to take on a Chiefs team that’s playing for playoff position. They dominated Seattle, 24-10. Patrick Mahomes with three TD’s (two passing, one rushing), Travis Kelce with 6 catches for 113 yards. The demoralized Broncos limp into KC like a battered prize fighter. Throw the damn towel!

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (45-10)

Miami at New England
Line: Patriots by 2½

Tua Tagovailoa got the Fish off to a quick start with an 84-yard TD pass to Jaylen Waddle. But he would commit three crucial errors that would lead to scoring opportunities for Green Bay. The Pack wins it, 26-20 and keep their playoff hopes alive. Miami now has an important matchup with New England in Foxborough that will determine who has control of their playoff destiny. The Patriots were down 22-0 to Cincinnati, when Marcus Jones would take an INT from Joe Burrow 69 yards for the score. Then Mac Jones would throw two TD passes to cut the lead down to 4, but they would lose in on a Rhamondre Stevenson fumble late, 22-18 was the final. There’s another concern about Tua being in the concussion protocol again. If he doesn’t make it a go, the Fish are in trouble.

Smooth’s Pick: New England (20-14)

Indianapolis at NY Giants
Line: G-Men by 5½

Give credit to Big Blue for not panicking late after trailing by eight. Saquon Barkley’s 4th and 1 rush up the middle gave the G-Men the TD, the two-point conversion from Daniel Jones to Daniel Bellinger would tie the game. Unfortunately, it would be heartbreak, as Greg Joseph’s 61-yard FG would be the game winner. Minnesota wins it, 27-24. They host Indianapolis, who stunk up the joint against the Chargers. Nick Foles, who started for Matt Ryan at QB, was sacked 7 times, as the Colts lose it 20-3. For the G-Men to make it to their first playoffs since 2016, they have to play smart football, which means no mistakes. They already have the advantage of being at home. Now they need to go the next step and take advantage of a weakened Colts squad.

Smooth’s Pick: NY Giants (27-13)

New Orleans at Philadelphia
Line: Eagles by 7

The Saints keep their NFC South title hopes intact, as they beat Cleveland, 17-10. Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill with rushing TD’s in the win. They head to the city of brotherly love to take on the Eagles. Philly was in a shooting match with Dallas. Gardner Minshew, in at QB for the injured Jalen Hurts, threw for 355 yards and two TD’s, both of those scores thrown to Devonta Smith. But two interceptions by Minshew made the difference in the loss to the Cowboys. Philly has the stronger defense and should be able to finish off the Saints playoff hopes.

Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia (31-19)

Carolina at Tampa Bay
Line: Bucs by 3

The rushing tandem of Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman did some serious damage to the Detroit run defense, as they both had over 125 yards in the upset win over the Lions. Sam Darnold with two TD’s, (one rushing, one passing). It’s hard to believe it, but the Panthers could very well make the playoffs after firing head coach Matt Rhule earlier this season. But they’ll have to do it by beating Tampa Bay this weekend. The Bucs control their own destiny, as they got a 44-yard FG by Ryan Succop in OT to beat Arizona. Tom Brady had all kinds of problems, throwing two INT’s, but he would lead a 66-yard drive that would lead to the game winning FG. Problems on offense will spell doom for the Bucs if they can’t get a handle on it. This will be much harder than expected, but I still think the Bucs can pull it out and win the division this weekend.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (20-17)

Cleveland at Washington
Line: Commanders by 2

The Browns playoff hopes were dashed, as they fell to New Orleans. Deshaun Watson began the scoring with a 12-yard TD run, but he would throw a pick that would lead to the game winning TD drive for the Saints. They head to the nation’s capital to take on the Commanders, who switched back to Carson Wentz, but got the same results. Washington falls to San Francisco, 37-20. They stay in the 3rd wildcard spot and can make the playoffs if they win their final two games. This game will depend on who will start, and if Ron Rivera stays with Wentz, it could be fatal.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (19-14)

Jacksonville at Houston
Line: Jags by 4½

The Jags are the other big story of this season, as they are in 1st place in the AFC South, after a Tennessee loss and a 19-3 win over the Jets last Thursday night. Trevor Lawrence with 280 total yards and a rushing TD in the win. The win puts the division title clearly in their hands leading to next week’s final game with the Titans. But first, they have to deal with a matchup with Houston, who played spoiler by beating Tennessee. Davis Mills with a TD pass to Brandin Cooks late to seal the win for the Texans. They continue to play their hearts out and they will do so this weekend, but look for the Jags to continue their push to an unlikely division title.

Smooth’s Pick: Jacksonville (21-17)

San Francisco at Las Vegas
Line: Niners by 6

The Niners continue their push for a higher playoff seed, as they knock off Washington. Brock Purdy with 237 yards passing and two TD’s, both to George Kittle, who caught 6 receptions for 120 yards. They look to keep pace with Philadelphia and Minnesota as they head to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders. The Silver and Black with another disappointing loss as they fell to Pittsburgh. Derek Carr with three picks on the night, and now have a minuscule chance of making the playoffs, 2% percent to be exact. This will be another challenge for Purdy, as he leads the Niners to a higher seed in the playoffs. It’s one I think he can handle well.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (28-21)

NY Jets at Seattle
Line: Jets by 2

Gang Green must win both of their games and hope for help if they want to get to the post season. One thing for certain, Zach Wilson will not be leading the team after his dismal performance on Thursday night against Jacksonville. HC Robert Saleh had to go to their 4th string QB Chris Streveler to try and bring some life to the offense. Only minimal success, as they fell to the Jags. They head to the Emerald city to take on the Seahawks, whose playoff chances are slowly disappearing. Geno Smith with a TD pass and an INT in the loss to Kansas City. Mike White will be the starter for Gang Green, and will be the difference maker in jumpstarting the offense. However, look for a measure of revenge from Smith to his former team.

Smooth’s Pick: Seattle (30-27)

Minnesota at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 3½

The Vikings were taken to the limit by the Giants, and had to rely on a 61-yard game winner by Greg Joseph to keep pace with Philadelphia for the #1 seed. Justin Jefferson broke the team record for most reception yards with 133 yards on the day and a TD. It was once held by Randy Moss. TJ Hockenson with 109 yards receiving and two TD’s. They head to Lambeau Field, where the Packers continue to charge their way into playoff position with a big win in Miami. It was the defense that came to the rescue for the Pack with INT’s by De’Vondre Campbell, Rasul Douglas and Jaire Alexander late in the 4th quarter to seal the victory. Aaron Rodgers’ experience in running the table down the stretch for the Packers will be the determining factor in the last two games of the season.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (26-22)

LA Rams at LA Chargers
Line: Bolts by 6½

Cam Akers made mincemeat out of the Denver defense, 23 rushes for 118 yards and three TD’s. Tyler Higbee with two TD receptions from Baker Mayfield, as the Rams steamrolled over the Broncos. It will be the battle of LA, as they take on the Bolts. They secured their spot in the playoffs after beating Indianapolis, 20-3. It was all defense for the Bolts, as they got to Nick Foles seven times for sacks. They also intercepted him three times. Austin Ekeler with two rushing TD’s in the win. A disturbing pattern is the play of Justin Herbert, who has not looked good down the stretch at QB. However, look for the Bolts to strike hard against a depleted Rams squad.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Chargers (24-19)

Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Line: Ravens by 3

An emotional night, as Franco Harris’ #32 was retired on the weekend of the Immaculate Reception. The Steelers got a miracle drive in the final minute, as Kenny Pickett found George Pickens for the go ahead 14-yard TD, as they beat Las Vegas, 13-10. They head to Baltimore for a must win game against the Ravens. They sewed up a playoff spot defeating Atlanta on Sunday. Tyler Huntley in for Lamar Jackson at QB, set up a 6-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson, and the Ravens defense took care of the rest. This is a flex game that moved to Sunday night due to the importance for both teams. It’s a must win for the Steelers to stay alive in the wildcard race. They also need help. A win for Baltimore keeps them in the hunt for the division against Cincinnati. HC John Harbaugh has been tight lipped in the status of Lamar Jackson, but a start could generate the Ravens offense and put the Steelers playoff hopes to rest.

Smooth’s Pick: Baltimore (23-12)

Monday, January 2

Buffalo at Cincinnati
Line: Bills by 1

The Bills made adjustments after trailing Chicago at halftime. Rushing TD’s by Devin Singletary and James Cook got things started, then QB Josh Allen with a rushing TD and a TD reception to Dawson Knox wins it for Buffalo. They head to Cincinnati for what could be a playoff preview against the Bengals. Joe Burrow with three TD passes on 375 yards, but two INT’s late almost got New England back in the game. A late turnover ended that possibility for the Patriots. This game could very well be a pick ‘em by gametime on Monday as both are evenly matched. However, I slightly favor the Bengals being at home.

Smooth’s Pick: Cincinnati (24-23)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth NFL Football Picks for week 17. Join us next Thursday for our final picks of the regular season. Week 18 picks premieres next Thursday at 830am eastern time, with repeat broadcast up to 30 minutes before gametime on Sunday. Subscribe on Apple, Amazon Music, Google, IHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcast, or read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

We wanna wish everyone a save and prosperous 2023. We’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks 2022 – (SPECIAL: College Football Playoff – Semi-Final)

CFP 2022

It’s the College Football Playoffs. The top four teams in the country square off in college bowl action on New Year’s Eve, with the two winners getting the chance to fight it out for the national championship at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California on January 9.

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peach bowl GA OSU

Peach Bowl
Atlanta, Georgia
#1 Georgia vs. #4 Ohio State
Line: Bulldogs by 6½

Georgia
Record: 13-0, 9-0 SEC

The defending national champions have been No. 1 in every one of the College Football Playoff rankings all season. Georgia has been dominant, with wins over Oregon, South Carolina, and LSU. Even though the LSU Tigers put up 30 points in the SEC title game, the combined margin of victory in those three wins over top-25 opponents was 147-40.

638c06918ad69.image_Georgia allows fewer than 13 points per game on defense and is scoring nearly 40 points per game itself. Senior QB Stetson Bennett (shown left) completed 68% of his passes, throwing for over 3,400 yards and 20 TD. RB’s senior Kenny McIntosh, juniors Dai-jun Edwards and Kendall Milton have each rushed for over 500 yards. And sophomore Brock Bowers is the best tight end in the country, leading the team in receiving yards. On defense, the Bulldogs rely on sophomore LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson he’s tied in tackles and sacks, along with fellow sophomore LB Smael Mondon Jr and freshman DB Malaki Starks.

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Ohio State
Record: 11-1, 8-1 Big Ten

The Buckeyes thought their national title hopes were over after Michigan ran all over them in their rivalry game. Instead, USC’s loss in the Pac-12 title game opened the door for Ohio State to sneak into the playoff despite not playing in a conference title game.

20221126161124-63828406821cf083b82691e7jpegThis team puts up nearly 45 points per game and has phenomenal receiving talent. Junior QB CJ Stroud (Shown Right) was a Heisman Trophy candidate, throwing for over 3,300 yards and 37 TDs this season. Sophomore WR Marvin Harrison Jr. was his top target this season along with fellow sophomore Emeka Egbuka.  The question of Ohio State’s national title viability might rest with its defense. It’s been significantly better for much of the season than it was in 2021 after an offseason coordinator switch but the Buckeyes have given up 75 points in their last two games. Senior LB Tommy Eichenberg leads the team in tackles, sophomore Edge Rusher Jack Sawyer and sophomore Interior lineman Michael Hall, Jr. are co-leaders in sacks with 4½, and senior safety Tanner McAllister leads in interceptions with 3.

Analysis: The Buckeyes have lots of talent, but they don’t matchup with the Bulldogs on paper. I don’t see Ohio State getting past them in the Fiesta Bowl, but they will give them a fight early. Simply put, this is a Georgia team that’s primed to repeat as national champions and are heavy favorites to win the national title.

Smooth’s Pick: Georgia (38-24)

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fiesta bowl MI TCU

Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Arizona
#2 Michigan vs. #3 TCU
Line: Wolverines by 7

Michigan
Record: 13-0, 10-0 Big Ten

The Wolverines capped an undefeated season with a convincing 43-22 win over Purdue in the Big Ten title game. Michigan won just two games by a single possession all season and topped 30 points scored in all but three games.  Sophomore QB J.J. McCarthy leads the offense with 20 TD thrown on the year. Senior WR Ronnie Bell is was his favorite target with over 750 yards in the air. But the Wolverines specialty on offense is their ground game.

nv5xtgsykvah5lqgggao75ijkaJunior RB Blake Corum (Shown Left) was the offensive engine in Big Ten play, but he suffered a knee injury after rushing for over 100 yards during Michigan’s win over Illinois. Sophomore Donovan Edwards assumed the No. 1 back role in his absence and been even more explosive. Edwards broke two long TD runs against Ohio State and rushed 25 times for 185 yards against Purdue. With Edwards averaging over 7.5 yards a carry, the Michigan run game is in very good hands even without Corum.

On defense, senior DE Mike Morris leads the team in sacks with 7½ on the year. Sophomore LB Julio Colson is the team leader in tackles with 89, and DB’s Sophomore Rod Moore and Freshman Will Johnson each have three of the 12 team interceptions on the year.

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TCU
Record: 12-1, 9-1 Big 12

The comeback kings of college football came with a couple feet of potentially completing another comeback win in the Big 12 title game against Kansas State. Instead, TCU ended up with its first loss of the season against a top-10 team that it had beaten earlier in the year.

max-duggan-tcu-footballWhile TCU has played with fire at times in 2022 and allows 25 points per game, its offense’s ability to score from anywhere on the field makes it a very dangerous team. Senior QB Max Duggan (Shown Right) was also a Heisman Trophy candidate. He singlehandedly led TCU to its game-tying drive with 95 rushing yards on an 80-yard drive. He’s thrown for over 3,000 yards and 30 TDs with just four interceptions and has also rushed for over 400 yards and six scores. Junior Kendre Miller is one of the best running backs in college football with over 1,300 yards rushing and 17 TD’s. Junior WR Quentin Johnston averages 17 yards a catch, with over 900 receiving yards and 5 TD on the year. On defense, senior LB Dee Winters led the team in sacks with 7½, Junior LB Ja-moi Hodge has 77 tackles to lead the team along with his 4 ½ sacks, and sophomore safety Bud Clark led TCU in INT’s with 4.

Analysis: The Horned Frogs are heavy underdogs, and benefited from a schedule where they played only two nationally-ranked teams, Texas, and Kansas State, twice. It also doesn’t help that they barely got by in wins against Baylor and Oklahoma State. Still, with a gunslinger like Max Duggan, TCU can run up the score. But Jim Harbaugh’s kids will make that a tough assignment. I like the Wolverines to win this running away.

Smooth’s Pick: Michigan (38-21)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth’s College Football Playoff picks. Join us next Wednesday at 830am when we’ll give our selection on who will win the national championship. Our College Playoff pick airs repeat broadcasts right up to 30 minutes before gametime. Subscribe on Apple, Amazon Music, Google, IHeartRadio, or 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 2022 – Week 16 (The Playoff Hunt)

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Week 16, and the playoff picture is becoming more clearer with only three weeks to go in the regular season. Taking a look at who is on top, in the AFC, Buffalo owns the #1 seed which would earn them a bye. Kansas City is currently in the #2 seed having clinched a playoff berth. #3 is Cincinnati with the #4 seed being Tennessee. Currently holding the three wildcard slots are Baltimore, the Chargers and Miami. Right now, New England and the Jets are on the outside looking in, with Jacksonville still in contention for the AFC South title. Las Vegas, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis are still in the hunt.

In the NFC, Philadelphia is in the #1 seed, followed by Minnesota and San Francisco. All three teams clinched playoff berths. Tampa Bay is in a four-way fight with New Orleans, Carolina, and Atlanta for that #4 spot and a home playoff game. Dallas has clinched the #5 wildcard spot, the Giants are currently in the #6 seed, with Washington holding on at #7. Teams on the bubble are Seattle and Detroit at 7-7 and Green Bay at 6-8.

Anything can happen with three weeks to go in the regular season, so fasten your seat belt for a wild ride into the new year.

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 11-5
Against the Spread: 6-5-5

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 141-81-2
Against the Spread: 99-81-38

Thursday, December 22

Jacksonville at NY Jets
Line: NY Jets by 1

A big win by the Jags over Dallas on a last second pick-6 by Rashawn Jenkins, 40-34 in Overtime was the final. The Jags were down 27-10 midway thru the 3rd quarter, when Trevor Lawrence led the team by throwing 4 TD’s on 318 passing yards. Riley Patterson’s 48-yard FG with time running out in regulation led to overtime and the win for the Jags. They keep their slim chances for the AFC South title alive as they head to the Meadowlands for a matchup against the Jets. It was 4th and 1 for Detroit, and Gang Green anticipated a rushing play, but they were badly fooled as the Lions scored the game winning TD, 20-17. Mike White was not given clearance by doctors to play. That gave Zack Wilson the start, 317 passing yards, 2 TD’s and pick on the day. He’ll get another start and a chance to get Gang Green back in the playoff hunt. They need to be perfect against a Jags team that’s beginning to play well of late. Look for a close fight to the finish.

Smooth’s Pick: NY Jets (26-21)

Saturday, December 24 (Christmas Eve)

Atlanta at Baltimore
Line: Ravens by 7½

Both teams are coming off losses. The dirty birds fall to New Orleans, 21-18. Tyler Allgeier with 17 carries for 139 yards and a TD, Cordarelle Patterson with a score in the losing effort. They still stay a game behind Tampa Bay in the NFC South race. As for the Ravens, Jk Dobbins rushed for 125 yards, but couldn’t’ find the end zone. They fall to Cleveland, 13-3 and damaged their chances to win the AFC North. The key in this game will be whether Lamar Jackson can play. He was not at practice due to injury. Vegas odds are on Jackson getting the start, and unless they can get him in their to jump start their stalled offense, this game will be a hard-fought battle. Still, I think the Ravens can pull it out…just barely.

Smooth’s Pick: Baltimore (17-12)

Buffalo at Chicago
Line: Bills by 9

This is one of five games that is looking at sub-freezing temperatures on game day. -9 is the forecast in Windy City. But it shouldn’t affect either team, as they’re used to playing in the elements. The Bills got a 25-yard FG from Tyler Bass with :02 seconds left in regulation to seal a hard-fought win over Miami, 32-29. QB Josh Allen with 4 TD’s on 301 passing yards. Allen also rushed for 77 yards including one for 44 yards. The Bears fall to Philadelphia, 25-20. Justin Fields, goes over 1,000 rushing yards for the season. He also threw for 2 TD’s in the loss. Even though the Bills have won their last three games, they haven’t covered the spread. However, with a weaker Bears secondary, their losing streak against the spread should end.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (33-19)

Cincinnati at New England
Line: Bengals by 3½

Cincy was down 17-0 going into the half, but Joe Burrow and company went on a 34-point run, and also forced four turnovers, on route to a 34-23 win over Tampa Bay. Joe Burrow with 4 TD passes in the win. Tre Flowers and Germain Pratt with INT’s over Tom Brady. They head to Foxborough, where it was a crazy end to the Patriots/Raiders game. Tied at 24 and with no time left on the clock, Rhamondre Stevenson lateraled the ball to Jakobi Meyers, Meyers then attempted a second lateral, but it was picked off by Chandler Jones, who took it 48 yards for the walk-off TD, 30-24 Las Vegas wins it. You had to see it to believe it, folks. Stevenson with a wasted effort, 19 carries for 172 yards and a score. Even worse, they knocked themselves out of the final wildcard spot with three games to go. No time to cry about it. With the Bengals running on all cylinders as of late, it will take a massive effort by the Pats to win this Saturday.

Smooth’s Pick: Cincinnati (24-19)

Detroit at Carolina
Line: Lions by 3

Since starting the season 1-6, the Lions have gone 6-1 to pull to a .500 record and very much in the playoff hunt. The gutsy call by HC Dan Campbell to run a pass on 4th and 1 was the difference maker in the win over the Jets. That was a 51-yard reception from Jared Goff to Brock Wright with 1:52 to go in regulation. They head to Charlotte to take on the Panthers, who ruined their chances to tie Tampa Bay in the NFC South. They would fall to Pittsburgh, 24-16. Not a good look for the offense, who couldn’t get past a stingy Steelers defense in the 4th quarter, settling for three Eddy Pineiro FG’s. Only 21 total yards rushing on the day for Carolina. If they think they’re going to get a break against the Lions defense, they got another thing coming. Look for the Lions to continue their impressive run.

Smooth’s Pick: Detroit (26-17)

Houston at Tennessee
Line: Titans by 5

Even though the Texans are 1-12-1 on the year, they’ve still been able to play hard in just about every game they’ve been in. They’ve also taken some of the best teams to the limit. They did it again in their loss to Kansas City. They were actually up 21-16 going into the 4th quarter, but their defense couldn’t hold Patrick Mahomes at bay. They would fall to the Chiefs, 30-24. Davis Mills was back at QB for the Texans, three TD’s scored in the loss. They look to play spoiler in an AFC South matchup in Nashville against the Titans. Ryan Tannehill with a TD run late to tie the game with the Chargers at 14, but with :08 seconds in regulation, a Cameron Dicker FG wins it for the Bolts, 17-14. Derrick Henry with 104 yards rushing puts him over 1,300 yards for the year, he also scored his 12 TD of the season in the loss. A win keeps the Titans in the driver’s seat. A loss, and a Jags win, and we got ourselves a crapshoot. However, look for Henry to slow things down and secure the win for the Titans.

Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee (20-13)

NY Giants at Minnesota
Line: Vikings by 3

An impressive night for rookie edge rusher Kavyon Thibodeaux. Five tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble that led to him scoring a TD, as the G-Men beat Washington the second time around, 20-12. Thibodeaux was also given NFC Defensive Player of the Week Honors. Saquon Barkley with a TD run, as he goes over a 100 total yards on the game. Big Blue also broke a 4-game winless streak and take their playoff chances to Minneapolis, where the Vikings spotted Indianapolis 33 points before they pulled off the biggest comeback in NFL history. They win it in overtime, 39-36. Another big day for Justin Jefferson with 123 yards and a TD, that puts him over 1,600 yards and a chance for 2,000 with three games remaining. The young secondary of Big Blue will be exposed all day, so their best chance to win will be ball control. This was one of my locks a few months earlier, but the way the Vikings have been playing of late, a win is not a sure thing. Look for a closer than expected matchup.

Smooth’s Pick: Minnesota (25-23)

New Orleans at Cleveland
Line: Browns by 3

Andy Dalton and Taysom Hill threw for TD passes, as the Saints got a big win over their rival Atlanta. New Orleans also got to rookie QB Desmond Ridder four times for sacks, as they keep pace with Tampa Bay for the top spot in the division. The Saints travel north to Cleveland, where Deshaun Watson got his first win as Browns QB in their win over division rival, Baltimore. 161 yards passing and a TD for Watson. Myles Garrett with 1½ sacks now puts him at 13½ for the year. With the weather being a major factor, look for this game to be a low scoring affair, with the edge going to the Browns.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (13-10)

Seattle at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 9½

The Seahawks ran into a eager rookie QB and got hammered at home against San Francisco, falling 21-13. Geno Smith with 238 yards passing and a TD. Their playoff hopes took another dive, as they fall to 7-7 and sunk their chances for the division. Now, they must fight for that final wildcard spot, and must do it against a heavily favored KC team, who were taken to the limit against Houston. Not a good day for the bettors if you had them winning by 14½ points. Patrick Mahomes did score three times, two for passing TD’s and one rushing TD. If KC can get their run game going, this would be the time to do it, as Seattle’s run defense has been torched for 201.6 rushing yards in 5 games. Add that to their passing attack, and you could see the bitter end of an unlikely Seahawks playoff run.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (31-20)

Washington at San Francisco
Line: Niners by 7

The Commanders seemed to think they were robbed on the final drive of their game against the Giants. WR Terry McLaurin was called for not being on the line of scrimmage and pass interference wasn’t called on 4th and goal. It didn’t matter, as the game was lost on Taylor Heinicke’s fumble on the Giants 1 yard line earlier. A lost night for Jahan Dobson, who caught 12 catches for 102 yards and a TD in the loss. They head to Santa Clara to take on the Niners, who continue to win under rookie QB Brock Purdy against Seattle. Christian McCaffrey also continues to pay dividends for San Francisco, with 138 total yards and 3 TD’s on the night. The win, and the Seattle loss clinched the division, and another victory will keep them at pace with Philadelphia for the #1 overall seed. Washington controls their own destiny and a loss would be devastating for their playoff chances. I like the Niners to continue their trek toward the top seed.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (24-17)

Philadelphia at Dallas
Line: Cowboys by 5

The win against Chicago ended with some devastating news, as QB Jalen Hurts suffered a shoulder injury and is questionable for this Saturday’s game with the Cowboys. Hurts rushed for 3 TD’s in the victory. He also threw for 315 and had 2 INT’s on the day. Gardner Minshew would get the start if he doesn’t get the okay. As for Dallas, Dak Prescott continues to have issues turning the ball over, as was the case last weekend against Jacksonville. The game ending pick-6 was one of two on the day for Prescott, and he currently has 11 this season. No doubt, the loss of Jalen Hurts is bad for the Eagles, but Minshew is a solid back up, as was the case when he was in Jacksonville. But I give the slight edge to the Eagles based on their defense. They can certainly rattle Dak Prescott all day. Still, this will be an outstanding showcase for Christmas Eve.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia (27-24)

Las Vegas at Pittsburgh
Line: Steelers by 3

This weekend is the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, the play that began the Steelers dynasty during the 70’s. Both teams meet again, but the setting is different. Both teams are two games out of the wild card and need help badly. For the Raiders, they had their own immaculate finish against New England last weekend. Derek Carr with three TD passes in the win. Pittsburgh went on the road and got a big win over Carolina. Mitch Trubisky stayed out of trouble, and scored on a 1-yard rushing TD to win it for the Steelers. This game could determine where Trubisky will end up next season. As for the Silver and Black, they’ll need to play mistake-free and keep the score close.

Smooth’s Pick: Pittsburgh (21-19)

Sunday, December 25 (Christmas Day)

Green Bay at Miami
Line: Dolphins by 4

Aaron Rodgers threw for 229 yards passing and a TD to Aaron Jones, as the Packers beat the Rams, 24-12. AJ Dillon also rushed for two TD in the win. They head to South Beach to take on the Fish, who benefited from a clear environment in Buffalo and kept the game close, until late in the game, when the snow and wind began to fall. It was just a matter of time until the elements gave the Bills the home field advantage and the win. Tua Tagovailoa with 234 yards passing and 2 TD, Raheem Mostert with 136 yards rushing, Jaylen Waddle with 3 catches for 114 yards, one was a 67-yards for a score. With the division still in reach, the Fish needs to step up. They have the advantage based on home field and the Pack’s inconsistency.

Smooth’s Pick: Miami (30-17)

Denver at LA Rams
Line: Broncos by 2½

Both teams were eliminated from playoff contention last weekend, so this will simply be a game that determines who has a job next season. Brett Rypien led the Broncos to their first win since October, beating Arizona, 24-15. Rypien with 197 yards passing and a TD. Latavius Murray with 130 yards rushing and a TD in the win. They head to LA to take on the Rams, where Baker Mayfield’s magic ran out in Lambeau Field on Monday night, only 111 yards passing, but he did throw a TD in the loss. With the Rams being injury riddled, look for the Broncos to steal a win on the road.

Smooth’s Pick: Denver (19-16)

Tampa Bay at Arizona
Line: Bucs by 6½

The Bucs were cruising along in the first half in their game against Cincinnati, and if you would have turned off the channel under the assumption they would have won, you would have been mistaken. Turnovers were the death of them, four allowed by the Bucs offense, as they collapsed over the Bengals. The good news is that they’re still on top of the AFC South, but they can no longer afford to lose any more games. They head to Glendale to take on the Cardinals, where Kliff Kingsbury is a name to watch for on Black Monday at the end of the season. He could get the ax after Arizona was eliminated in their loss to Denver. Injuries played a big part of the Cards failure this season. Three INT’s between Colt McCoy and Trace McSorley. James Conner with a late TD in the loss. With McSorley getting the start, look for Brady and company to take full advantage of a banged and bruised Cards team.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (24-12)

Monday, December 26

LA Chargers at Indianapolis
Line: Bolts by 4

Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley each had rushing TD’s as the Bolts squeaked by Tennessee to put themselves in the 2nd wildcard spot at 8-6. Justin Herbert with 313 yards passing, but also threw two picks in the win. The Bolts head to Indianapolis, where the Colts were humiliated after blowing a 33-point lead to Minnesota. To make matters worse, RB Jonathan Taylor left the game on the opening drive after a hard tackle. On Monday, the team put him on season ending IR. The loss didn’t help Jeff Saturday’s chances of becoming the permanent head coach, but a strong in the next three games could at least give him some clout. Look for both teams to fight it out, on Boxing Day.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Chargers (22-18)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth NFL Football Picks for week 16. Week 17 picks premieres next Thursday at 830am eastern time, with repeat broadcast up to 30 minutes before gametime on Sunday. And don’t forget to tune into our College Football Playoff picks, next Wednesday at 830am. We’ll give our analysis on who will win between #1 Georgia and #4 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl and #2 Michigan and #3 TCU in the Peach Bowl. Our College Playoff picks airs repeat broadcasts right up to 30 minutes before the first game on Saturday, December 31st. Subscribe on Apple, Amazon Music, Google, IHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcast, or read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

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We want to close out this broadcast by remembering a key figure from that Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty in the 1970’s. Franco Harris, who caught the Immaculate Reception 50 years ago, which led to the game winning TD, and began the Steelers reign throughout the decade, died on Wednesday at the age of 72. Harris played in Pittsburgh for 12 years, making the Pro Bowl 9-times and won four Super Bowl championships with the legendary team that featured many stars that ended up in Canton. Harris ended his career in Seattle in 1984, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

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We take this opportunity to remember Franco Harris and give our condolences to his friends and family.

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks 2022- Week 15 (Updated Power Rankings)

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Week 15, and taking another look at the Power Rankings. Lots of movement in the ranks, but the familiar names are still in the top 5. At number one is the Philadelphia Eagles, followed by San Francisco at #2, number #3 is Cincinnati, #4 is Buffalo and rounding out the top five is Kansas City.

Looking down at the bottom five is Chicago at #28, Arizona at #29, Denver is at #30, Indianapolis is in at #31 and at the bottom of the list is Houston at #32.

The biggest leap comes from the Chargers, who climbed 9 spots from #19, into the top 10 at #10. The biggest drop comes from two teams who fell 6 spots. Tennessee falls from the top 10 from #9 to #15, and Arizona who fell into the bottom 6 from #23.

As for the Giants, they fell five spots from #14 to #19. That’s because, Big Blue haven’t won a game in a month, going 1-4-1 during the stretch.

Wanna know how your favorite team did? Check out the link HERE!!

Last Week’s Results

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

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 130-76-2
Against the Spread: 93-76-33

Thursday, December 15

San Francisco at Seattle
Line: Niners by 3½

The Niners with a dominating performance over Tampa Bay, 35-7. Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy with an outstanding 1st start of his career at QB, two TD passes along with a rushing TD. Despite the win, San Francisco lost Deebo Samuel, who was carted off the field because of an ankle injury. His status for this Thursday’s game is listed as doubtful. The 49ers head north to the Emerald City to take on the Seahawks, who were in playoff position before their game with Carolina, but they couldn’t take advantage as they lose, 30-24. Disappointing day for Geno Smith, two interceptions, but he did throw for 3 TD’s in the loss. Smith will be pressured even further with the Niners defense. The 12th man will be a big test for the young rookie Purdy, but if he can stay out of trouble, the Niners can give the Seahawks further trouble in their Wildcard hopes.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (24-17)

Saturday, December 17

Indianapolis at Minnesota
Line: Vikings by 4

The Colts are coming off a bye week. They’re currently 4-8-1 on the year, but they’re 2 games behind in the loss column to division leading Tennessee. They need to run the table and hope for help. They head to Minneapolis to take on the Vikings, who were stunned by Detroit. Kirk Cousins threw for 425 yards and 2 TD’s, Justin Jefferson with another big game 11 catches for 223 yards. You would have thought with those numbers, the Vikings would have won, but they were upset by the Lions, 34-23. A win will give them the NFC North title, a loss and the Colts stay alive in their playoff hopes, but the window is closing. Look for the Vikings to bounce back from that ugly loss.

Smooth’s Pick: Minnesota (28-19)

Baltimore at Cleveland
Line: Browns by 3

QB Tyler Hunley left last Sunday’s game against the Steelers because of a concussion. Their offense relied on the returning J.K. Dobbins for offense, 15 carries for 120 yards and a TD. The Ravens grind out a 16-14 win over Pittsburgh. They stay ahead of Cincinnati in the AFC North race. They head to Cleveland for another battle with their rivals, the Browns. Another so-so day for Deshaun Watson, 310 total yards, a TD and an INT in the 23-10 loss to the Bengals. Myles Garrett with two sacks in the losing effort. The Ravens will have to get their passing game going if they want to win this rivalry matchup. Not easy with the QB issues they’re having. Without Lamar Jackson, look for the Browns to ruin the Ravens chances to lock up the AFC North.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (20-16)

Miami at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 7½

Tua Tagovailoa played a stinker of a Sunday night game against the Chargers. 10 for 28 for 148 yards and a TD. The only excitement for the Fish was a fumble recovery by Tyreek Hill returned for 57 yards for a TD. He also had the other TD reception for 60 yards. Miami falls to the Bolts, 23-17. They travel north to Buffalo to take on the Bills, who were in a dogfight with the Jets, but came out on top, 20-12. QB Josh Allen with two TD’s, one rushing, the other was a pass to TE Dawson Knox for the score. The last time these two teams met, it was in hot and sunny Miami. This time, it will be cold, windy, and the forecast calls for lots of snow. Not a good surrounding for the Fish. Look for the Bills to come out smoking.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (31-17)

Sunday, December 18

Philadelphia at Chicago
Line: Eagles by 9

The Eagles proved last Sunday they’re the team to beat in the NFC, as they trounced the G-Men, 48-22. Brandon Graham with three of the Eagles 7 sacks on Daniel Jones. Miles Sanders goes over the 1,000- yard mark for the year, with 144 yards rushing and two TD’s. They also clinched a playoff berth with the win. They head to the windy city to take on the Bears, who are coming off a bye week, and they needed it badly. Justin Fields is now healthy enough to start. But at 3-10 and well out of the playoff hunt, would it be beneficial to even start him? What ever the game plan is, it will be a miracle to shut down this complete team.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia (30-18)

Atlanta at New Orleans
Line: Saints by 4

The Dirty Birds are coming off a bye week, and in preparation of their next game in the Big Easy against the Saints, they announced that Desmond Ridder will be the starting QB. He’s a rookie out of Cincinnati and he led the Bearcats to the College Football Playoff in 2021, where they were beaten by eventual national champion, Alabama. With that news, Marcus Mariotta left the team and its uncertain if he will return. The Saints are also coming off a bye week. They’re a game behind the Falcons, and that win during week 1 would give them the edge in tie breakers verses Atlanta. Being at home helps their case, so look for the Saints to edge it out in a tough divisional matchup.

Smooth’s Pick: New Orleans (23-21)

Detroit at NY Jets
Line: Pick ‘em

Since going 1-6 to start the season, the Lions have gone 5-1 and are in good shape to make the playoffs. Their big win against division rival, Minnesota gave them lots of confidence with only 4 games to go in the regular season. Jared Goff with his best game of the season 330 yards passing and 3 TD’s in the win. They head to the Meadowlands to take on the Jets. Mike Wilson got roughed up in the loss to Buffalo. He got hit hard in the abdomen and after the game had to be taken to the hospital for observation. HC Robert Saleh said he should be good to go for this Sunday. Gang Green’s secondary is beginning to come together, and this will be a tough one to call. Flip a coin on this one.

Smooth’s Pick: NY Jets (21-16)

Pittsburgh at Carolina
Line: Panthers by 2½

More QB woes for the Steelers, as Kenny Pickett was taken out of the game early. His replacement Mitch Trubisky didn’t fare any better. Three INT’s in the loss to Baltimore. He did find Pat Freiermuth late in the game for a score, but they never got the ball back, sealing their fate. They head to Charlotte to take on the Panthers, who won their 2nd game in a row, with a victory over Seattle. Three sacks for the Panthers defense, CJ Henderson and Jaycee Horn with picks off Geno Smith. All of the sudden, the Panthers look like a completely different team, thanks to interim coach Steve Wilks. Can they make a late charge for the division crown? That could be possible looking at the rest of the NFC South. I like their chances against a weaker opponent in the Steelers.

Smooth’s Pick: Carolina (18-13)

Dallas at Jacksonville
Line: Cowboys by 5

There was a lot of over confidence on the part of the Cowboys, as they very nearly fell to the lowly Houston Texans. It was a last-minute drive from 98 yards that ended with an Ezekiel Elliott 2-yard TD run that sealed the win for Dallas, 27-23. Not a game to be thrilled about for Dak Prescott, two INT’s given up. They head to North Florida to take on the Jags, who stunned Tennessee in Nashville. Trevor Lawrence with 3 TD passes in the 36-22 win over the Titans. He also threw for 368 yards on the day. Evan Engram with 11 catches for 162 yards and two scores. It seems like the Cowboys always play weaker teams a bit soft and then have to play catchup. Don’t take the Jags for granted, they could play spoiler as well. Look for the Cowboys to escape with the win.

Smooth’s Pick: Dallas (25-23)

Kansas City at Houston
Line: Chiefs by 14

The Chiefs are back to their winning ways, as they eliminate Denver from playoff contention. Patrick Mahomes with 352 yards passing and 3 TD’s in the 34-28 win over the Broncos. Despite the win, Mahomes also gave up three picks. They head to Houston to take on the Texans, who gave it their all to Dallas for 57½ minutes. Unfortunately, you have to play 60 in this game. Tremon Smith with both picks off Dak Prescott in the loss. Expect the same effort for the Texans in this game as well, but my money is on the Chiefs to cover.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (35-16)

Arizona at Denver
Line: Cardinals by 2½

Kyler Murray left Monday night’s game in the 1st quarter with a non-contact injury, and the Cards worst fears came true, as he suffered a torn ACL. With that, Murray’s 2022 season comes to an end. His back up, Colt McCoy didn’t fare well either, as he threw an INT and was sacked six times, as the Cardinals lose to New England, 27-13. James Conner with the only TD for Arizona. The Cards head to the Mile High city to take on the Broncos who faded out of contention, despite finally scoring multiple TD’s in the loss to Kansas City. They were behind 27-0 before Russell Wilson found Jerry Jeudy twice in the loss. Wilson with 304 total yards and three TD’s, Jeudy with a third TD, that was from Brett Rypien off the bench. With their focus now on 2023, the Broncos will have to regroup, and go for draft position. Look for them to beat a vulnerable Cards squad.

Smooth’s Pick: Denver (23-12)

New England at Las Vegas
Line: Patriots by 1

Getting back to that Monday night game, John Uche had 3 of the Patriots 6 sacks, and they defeated Arizona. Raekwon McMillan returned a DeAndre Hopkins fumble 23-yards to score late to seal the victory. The Pats head to Sin City to take on the Raiders, who were shocked by Baker Mayfield coming off the bench to score the game winner in their loss to the Rams. A real stinker of a game by Derek Carr, with two picks on the day. Josh Jacobs just missed the century mark in rushing and score a TD in the loss. This was a pick ‘em, but the Pats look more organized as they fight for a post-season berth. Should be closer than expected, but my money is on the Pats for the win.

Smooth’s Pick: New England (26-23)

Tennessee at LA Chargers
Line: Bolts by 3

Despite the upset loss to Jacksonville, the Titans are still two games in front of the Jags in the AFC South. But now they have no room for error, and their rematch with Jacksonville on January 8th could very well determine who wins the division. Derick Henry with 121 yards rushing and a TD, but also had two key fumbles that led to scoring opportunities for the Jags. The Titans head west to LA to take on the Bolts, who leaped into wildcard position with the win over Miami on Sunday night. Justin Herbert was 39/51 for 367 yards passing and a TD. The short-handed Bolts defense still got the job done against a tough Miami offense. This will be a battle between two desperate teams, but look for the Titans to use the run game to slow things down.

Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee (20-17)

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay
Line: Bengals by 3½

Joe Burrow didn’t have Tee Higgins due to a late scratch at game time, but Ja’Marr Chase was more than enough to lead the charge in the win over Cleveland. Chase with 10 catches for 119 yards and a score. The Bengals are tied with Baltimore at 9-4, but are in the 1st wildcard position based on their loss to the Ravens during week 5. They get another chance the last week of the season. For now, they head to Tampa Bay to take on the Bucs, who were destroyed by San Francisco last Sunday. It got so bad that Fox turned to more competitive game. Tom Brady with two INT’s in the loss. The Bucs should get their offense back, but it won’t be easy on defense with a strong Bengals air attack.

Smooth’s Pick: Cincinnati (24-20)

NY Giants at Washington
Line: Commanders by 4½

A tough loss by the G-Men against a complete, Philadelphia team. They were down 21-0 before they finally scored a touchdown pass by Daniel Jones to Isaiah Hodgins, Jones also rushed for a TD. Big Blue heads to the nation’s capital for a rematch with the Commanders, who they tied with two weeks ago. Washington, who is coming off a bye week gets the edge over the G-Men for the 2nd wildcard based on the better division record. This game was flexed in by the NFL and will be the Sunday night matchup on NBC. Something to consider, with all the issues with Daniel Jones over the last 5 years, he’s still 4-1 against Washington in his career, and Big Blue gets more healthy bodies back. I smell an upset.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: NY Giants (24-21)

Monday, December 19

LA Rams at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 7½

Baker Mayfield literally read the playbook two days prior to gametime. He ended up with 230 yards passing and the game winning 23-yard TD pass to Van Jefferson with :15 seconds left in regulation. The Rams’ 98-yard score was the longest game-winning TD drive that began with less than two minutes to play by any team in the past 45 NFL seasons. LA heads to Lambeau Field to take on a Packers team who needs to run the table and hope for help to get to the playoffs. Not a good road to travel, as they play Miami, Minnesota and Detroit along with their matchup with the Rams this Monday night. Now, would be a time for Aaron Rodgers and company to bring Baker Mayfield back down to earth.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (27-16)

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth NFL Football Picks for week 15. Week 16 picks premieres next Thursday at 830am eastern time, with repeat broadcast up to 30 minutes before gametime on Sunday. Subscribe on Apple, Amazon Music, Google, IHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcast, or read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

We’ll see you later!