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NFL Week 18 picks: 49ers, Packers win to set up playoff rematch


Long story short, my NFL picks won’t finish below .500 this season, no matter what wild finishes come in these Week 18 offerings:

49ers 31, Cardinals 7: Brock Purdy caps a 5-0, Garoppolo-ish finish to the regular season as the 49ers’ starting quarterback. The Cardinals used four quarterbacks this season, and they really should have drafted the franchise’s 2017 High School Player of the Year: Purdy, an Arizona native. Line: -14

Chiefs 26, Raiders 17: Kansas City finishes off a 14-3 regular season and heads into the AFC abyss, also known as a neutral-site championship game. Line: Raiders +9 1/2

Titans 16, Jaguars 14: The Titans clinch the AFC South, end a six-game skid, and watch Derrick Henry pass the 1,500-yard rushing mark for the third time in four seasons. Line: Titans +6 1/2

Falcons 23, Bucs 14: Tom Brady and other key players for the NFC South-champion Bucs make a first-series cameo then rest up for the playoffs. Line: Falcons -4

Bills 31, Patriots 16: The Bills take a monumental step to mentally overcome Monday night’s harrowing collapse of Damar Hamlin. Line: Bills -7

Bengals 26, Ravens 16: The division-winning Bengals take a six-game win streak into the playoffs as they look to repeat as AFC champs. Line: Bengals -7

Vikings 23, Bears 13: The Vikings settle for the No. 3 seed, while the Bears absorb loss No. 10 in a row under first-year (last-year?) coach Matt Eberflus. Line: Vikings -7 1/2

Colts 23, Texans 20: Houston locks up the No. 1 overall draft pick to — as the Colts annually attempt — bring in a new quarterback, likely Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud. Line: Colts -2 1/2

Dolphins 26, Jets 13: Time for ex-49ers Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. to get back in the playoffs, and to get Miami off a five-game slide. Line: Dolphins -2

Saints 23, Panthers 21: New Orleans goes undefeated (4-0) after its bye. Who coaches these teams next year, and who quarterbacks them? Line: Panthers +3 1/2

Steelers 16, Browns 13: The Steelers’ fourth straight win puts them at 9-7 and marks the 19th consecutive season at or above .500, behind the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL-record 21 seasons. Line: Steelers -2 1/2

Chargers 27, Broncos 14: Maybe the Bosa-vs.-Bosa matchup we were denied two months ago may come next month — in a Super Bowl rematch between these franchises who met for the 1994 season’s crown. Line: Chargers +2 1/2

Eagles 23, Giants 10: Philadelphia emerges from its late-season fade thanks to a defense that entered this game with 68 sacks – fourth-most in a season. The sixth-seeded Giants switch to subs (say that six times fast). Line: Giants +14

Rams 23, Seahawks 21: The Seahawks bow out of the playoff chase as the NFL makes sure Sunday night’s Lions-Packers winner gets the No. 7 seed. Line: Rams +6

Cowboys 26, Commanders 14: Washington’s new speaker, er, starting quarterback is Sam Howell. Why does it feel the Cowboys and/or the Packers are destined to meet the 49ers in the playoffs a second straight year? Line: Cowboys -7

Packers 27, Lions 21: There it is, Green Bay advances as the No. 7 seed, and Aaron Rodgers gets a shot at avenging his 0-4 playoff record against the No. 2-seed 49ers. Line: Packers -4 1/2

READ MORE:  Oakland: Holy Names University will close doors by next spring

Last week: 11-4 straight up; 10-5 against the spread

Season: 134-90-2 straight up, 120-104-1 against the spread

 

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