2023 NFL playoff bracket projection: Bills defeat Eagles in Super Bowl LVII as we predict every matchup
The time has come. The 2022 NFL regular season is over and it’s time to begin the process of crowning a new champion. The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles secured first-round nods in the AFC and NFC, respectively. Will it help them? It certainly didn’t help the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans last year, who were both eliminated in the divisional round.
Which team is poised for a deep run and which favorite gets upset early? Will Josh Allen lead us to believe that the Buffalo Bills are a team of destiny? Can Brock Purdy shock the NFL world with a Super Bowl run? Below, we’ll attempt to predict the entire NFL playoff bracket, game-by-game. We’ll be updating this every week as we march further and further into the postseason. Let’s jump in.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
Super Wild Card Weekend
Saturday, 4:30pm ET (Foxes)
Featured Game | San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
This will be a rain game, so Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell and Kenneth Walker will be the main weapons on offense. These division rivals, of course, played twice in the regular season, with the 49ers winning both games. They beat the Seahawks in Seattle by eight points, and at home by 20 points.
This year was actually the first time since 2011 that San Francisco swept Seattle. Since 1970, there have been 23 times when a team has gone 2-0 in the regular season against an opponent and then met a third time in the playoffs. The team that went 2-0 is 14-9 in that third meeting. The Seahawks entered the postseason by the skin of their beak, and I won’t take them to upset the 49ers in the first round.
Pick: Seahawks +10
Predicted score: 49 17-13
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC)
Featured Game | Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Here’s a rematch from Week 3 of the regular season, where the Jaguars destroyed the Chargers in LA, 38-10. Austin Ekeler got a season low in touchdowns, while Keenan Allen didn’t play. Last week, Brandon Staley for some reason played his starters deep in the second half in a meaningless game against the Denver Broncos and saw Mike Williams and Joey Bosa suffer injuries. I expect both to play this weekend, but it’s a shame that Rashawn Slater won’t be there.
I’m not surprised the Chargers are favored in this matchup, but I’ll go with the underdog. The Jaguars are complete, and it was almost strange to see them have home-field advantage against the Titans in Week 18. It also stood out that the defense won the game for Jacksonville when the offense wasn’t exactly clicking on all cylinders.
Pick: Jaguar +2.5
Predicted score: Jaguars 27-20
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Featured Game | Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa is OUT. Without Tua, how can you choose dolphins? These two teams split the season series, with the home team winning each game. Miami has lost four straight playoff games, each by at least 17 points! It is the first franchise in NFL history to lose four consecutive playoff games by 17 points each.
Choice: Bills -13
Predicted Score: Bills 35-17
Sunday, 4:30pm ET (Foxes)
Featured Game | Minnesota Vikings vs. New York Giants
This matchup probably isn’t considered a “must see” game on Super Wild Card Weekend, but I’m glad it worked out that way. The Giants and Vikings gave us an entertaining game in Week 16, with Greg Joseph kicking a game-winning 61-yard field goal. Justin Jefferson and TJ Hockenson exploded, combining for 242 receiving yards and three touchdowns. However, it’s worth noting that Adoree’ Jackson and Xavier McKinney missed that game. They rank second on the team in completion percentage allowed among defensive backs this season.
I’ll take the bore here. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley have been craving this stage, and it has to be somewhat comforting to play a team you just faced a few weeks ago. Minnesota’s defense will make New York’s offense look better than it is, as the Vikings’ defense ranks last in fifth in points per game (25.1), yards per game (388.7) and yards per game (5.9 ) allowed this season.
Choice: Giants +3
Predicted score: Giants 24-21
Sunday, 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC)
Featured Game | Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is reportedly facing an uphill battle to play on Sunday, so the Bengals will win this game. They have momentum, while the Ravens don’t. Cincinnati just beat Baltimore, 27-16, last week. I’m taking the Bengals to cover the spread as well.
Pick: Bengals -8.5
Predicted score: Bengals 28-13
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Featured Game | Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Tom Brady is 7-0 against the Cowboys, while Dallas is 4-5 as a playoff favorite since 1996. Additionally, Brady is 7-3 when Vegas makes the mistake of listing him as a postseason loser. It looks like everything is going in favor of the Buccaneers, but I’m going to go with what I think is the better team.
Maybe the Buccaneers found something on offense with that win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 17, but I have more faith in Tony Pollard and CeeDee Lamb. Notice I didn’t say Dak Prescott, who finished the regular season tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with Davis Mills despite missing five games.
I predict the Buccaneers jump out to a 10-0 lead before the Cowboys take control of the second half and pull out a win. I fully understand not having faith in the Cowboys, but you could say the same about the Buccaneers – even if they have the greatest quarterback of all time.
Pick: Cowboys -2.5
Predicted Score: Cowboys 23-20
Divisional Round (4) Jacksonville Jaguars and (1) Kansas City Chiefs
Here’s a rematch from November, when the Chiefs beat the Jaguars, 27-17. Trevor Lawrence played well with 259 passing yards and two touchdowns, but his defense struggled to stop Patrick Mahomes, who threw for 331 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. I congratulate the Jaguars for making it this far, but I don’t see them upsetting the #1 seed in the AFL on the road.
Predicted Score: Chiefs 30-21
(3) Cincinnati Bengals and (2) Buffalo Bills
The last time these two teams played, we all witnessed the unfortunate Damar Hamlin incident. It looked like we were in for a huge shootout before that scary event happened. Honestly, this might be a bit like the Bills-Chiefs AFC Divisional Round matchup last year.
Joe Burrow will be 4-1 in his playoff career if he reaches the divisional round. The Bengals have already made it known they’re a dangerous playoff team after going 4-0 ATS last postseason — even covering the spread in the Super Bowl loss. However, I think their run ends here against the Bills. Buffalo has been a Super Bowl favorite all year, and Hamlin’s situation certainly gives the Bills extra motivation. Buffalo pulls out a close win in the divisional round.
Predicted Score: Bills 28-24
(6) New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (1)
Another division game, postseason. In December, the Eagles beat the Giants by 26 points, and then Davis Webb kept it close in the regular season finale, losing 22-16. Philly will swing, and Jalen Hurts scores three total touchdowns. I’ll be interested to see what the spread is on this game, but I won’t take the Giants to beat the Eagles straight up. There’s a reason they deleted the season series this year.
Predicted score: Eagles 27-20
(5) Dallas Cowboys at (2) San Francisco 49ers
It’s deja vu in a way, except this Cowboys-49ers game will be played in California. The key to this game for the 49ers is Ezekiel Elliott and Pollard. In the playoffs last year, the two backs combined for just 45 yards. In a weird way, I have more confidence in this Purdy offense compared to Jimmy Garoppolo’s as his chemistry with George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk continues to evolve. Aiyuk is an underrated wide player who is difficult to contain on the pitch. Jerry Jones is pissed, as Purdy beats Prescott.
Predicted score: 49 23-21
Championship Sunday (2) San Francisco 49ers at (1) Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, January 29, 3:05 PM ET (Fox)
Picking Purdy to upset the Eagles in Philly will be a trendy pick heading into the championship game on Sunday. The 49ers’ defense will keep Hurts in check, but ultimately, the Eagles close out the game in the fourth quarter and advance to the Super Bowl again.
Predicted score: Eagles 20-16
(2) Buffalo Bills at (1) Kansas City Chiefs (neutral site)
Sunday, January 29, 6:40 pm ET (CBS)
Remember, this game will take place in a neutral country. OK, for the top two in each conference to make the final four is definitely a stretch, but here we have another upset. Mahomes threw two interceptions in a four-point loss to Buffalo earlier this season, and I project him to throw two interceptions in a three-point loss in the AFC Championship Game.
Devin Singletary rushed for 85 yards on 17 carries (5.0 yards per carry) against the Chiefs earlier this season, which helped balance the offense, but all three touchdowns came through the air. The Chiefs, on the other hand, rushed for just 68 total yards, but Isiah Pacheco wasn’t a big part of the offense early in the season. I predict this rematch in the playoffs will be more like the regular season compared to their game on January 23rd of last year. There won’t be a total of 78 points scored because Buffalo’s defense will be up to the task of containing Travis Kelce and wide receiver. Bills for the Super Bowl.
Predicted Score: Bills 29-26
Super Bowl LVII(2) Buffalo Bills at (1) Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, February 12, 6:30 PM ET (Fox)
In a way, it feels like we’ve been carrying this all year. At the start of the 2022 season, it was the Bills who looked like the best team in the AFC, followed by the Eagles in the NFC. Opinions may have fluctuated after Allen’s elbow injury and Hurts’ shoulder injury, but the cream rises to the top and that’s what happens here.
Allen has played with the Eagles just once in his career, a 31-13 loss in 2019. Philly’s running backs combined for three touchdowns, while Allen threw for just 169 yards and two touchdowns. It will be Hurts’ first time playing Buffalo.
So what will this game bring? I expect a weak first half, followed by a high-scoring second half. This game goes into overtime, with Buffalo scoring a game-winning field goal on the second drive of the overtime period. The Bills fulfill the “lucky team” narrative.
Predicted Score: Bills 33-30 in OT