Graphic by Haley Hoidal
So, here we are — 271 games later, the 2022-23 NFL regular season has drawn to a close.
It’s been a season of ups and downs, surprising twists and storybook runs.
The Seattle Seahawks snuck into the playoffs at the expense of the Green Bay Packers, thanks to an overtime field goal against the Los Angeles Rams and a Detroit Lions win in Green Bay. They will face off against a stout San Francisco 49ers team, who have won their past 10 games.
The Wild Card round is also highlighted by an AFC North showdown — and a Week 18 rematch — between the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. Meanwhile, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will look to turn up the heat against an aging Tom Brady, who has never lost to the Cowboys.
Off the field, the NFL community’s thoughts are still with Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin. Hamlin returned home Jan. 11 after nine days in two separate hospitals to treat his cardiac arrest during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2.
On the NFL Picks side of things, Pepperdine alumni Zack Born (’22) has jumped into the top spot in the weeks since the last article. He’s followed closely by News Editor Sam Torre and Co-Copy Chief Alec Matulka.
Sports Editor Jerry Jiang forgot to turn in his picks for a few weeks and has thus rocketed down the table. Sports Assistants Jaan Jafri and Maximilian Pohlenz have long since given up the ghost, having failed to turn in their picks on time since the first half of the season. Indeed, this is an unforgiving game we play.
To the picks!
Saturday, Jan. 14, at 1:30 p.m., PST
Seattle Seahawks (9-8) at San Francisco 49ers (13-4)
- Seahawks: Alec
- 49ers: Ali, Jerry, Lucian, Sam, Zack
“The storybook season continues! Geno Smith Super Bowl Champion 2023!” — Alec
“Every time I hear ‘Geno’ I think of ‘gyno,’ which is too much for me on a Sunday. He has to get out of the news.” — Ali
“Here’s me checking in after not paying attention since Week 6. Wow, the 49ers are actually good!” — Jerry
“The run — if it can even be called that — ends here, Alec.” — Lucian
“Are seahawks even real birds?” — Sam
Saturday, Jan. 14, at 5:15 p.m., PST
Los Angeles Chargers (10-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)
- Chargers: Ali, Jerry, Zack
- Jaguars: Alec, Lucian, Sam
“The Chargers just lost to the Broncos. Enough said.” — Alec
“I am in love with the fact that an L.A. team is in the playoffs the year after the city took home the championship, and it’s not the Rams. Justin Herbert will have 700 passing yards.” — Ali
“Rooting for the one L.A. team in the playoffs.” — Jerry
“I refuse to let L.A. disappoint me any more than it already has.” — Sam
“In the words of Randy Newman, I love L.A.” — Zack
Sunday, Jan. 15, at 10 a.m., PST
Miami Dolphins (9-8) at Buffalo Bills (13-3)
- Dolphins: None
- Bills: Alec, Ali, Jerry, Lucian, Sam, Zack
“Bills! Bills! Bills!” — Ali
“The downfall of the Dolphins this season has to be one of the larger collapses in NFL history.” — Lucian
“I don’t think I even have to justify this one.” — Sam
“The Bills.” — Zack
Sunday, Jan. 15, at 1:30 p.m., PST
New York Giants (9-7-1) at Minnesota Vikings (13-4)
- Giants: Sam
- Vikings: Alec, Ali, Jerry, Lucian, Zack
“I want to support the G-men as much as possible, but there’s definitely a limit. In my heart, I want to knock the smug look off of Kirk Cousins’ face as the Giants continue through to the playoffs and repeat a Super Bowl. But to be realistic, I have to choose the Vikings.” — Ali
“I don’t think the Vikings are good. But I think they are better than the Giants.” — Lucian
“I’m not a ride or die for nothing.” — Sam
“The Vikings are the best worst best worst best best solid good decent playoff team.” — Zack
Sunday, Jan. 15, at 5:15 p.m., PST
Baltimore Ravens (10-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
- Ravens: None
- Bengals: Alec, Ali, Jerry, Lucian, Sam, Zack
“What a shame that Poe, who just got off the IR, has to watch this bloodbath. The unkindness will stay unkind.” — Ali
“Didn’t we just watch this game?” — Lucian
“Wow, a never before seen matchup, I wonder how this will go.” — Sam
“I wish there was a recent matchup that could give us an insight into how these teams play each other.” — Zack
Monday, Jan. 16, at 5:15 p.m., PST
Dallas Cowboys (12-5) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9)
- Cowboys: None
- Bucs: Alec, Ali, Jerry, Lucian, Sam, Zack
“Fact: the home team always has the advantage. Fact: Tom Brady is absolutely GOATed in the playoffs. Fact: The Cowboys always choke. Fact: Tom Brady has no family left to distract him from absolutely balling out on Sunday.” — Alec
“Tom Brady. The cowboys.” — Lucian
“A piece of my soul dies every time I vote for Tom Brady, but that’s a small price to pay for the win.” — Sam
“This result would humor me.” — Zack
Follow the Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic
Email Alec Matulka: email@example.com