2023 NFL playoff bracket projection: Bills beat Eagles in Super Bowl LVII as we predict every postseason game

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 the first round bye 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 knocked out in the divisional round.

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Which team is poised for a deep run, and which favorite is upset early? Will Josh Allen convince us that the Buffalo Bills are a team of the future? 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 will update this every week as we march further and further into the post-season. Let’s jump in.

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All NFL odds are by Caesars Sportsbook.

Super Wild Card Weekend

Saturday, 4:30 PM ET (FOX)

Featured game | San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks

This will be a rainy game, so Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell and Kenneth Walker will be the main weapons on offense. The division rivals, of course, played twice in the regular season, with the 49ers winning both matchups. They beat the Seahawks in Seattle by eight points, and at home by 20 points.

This year marked the first time since 2011 that San Francisco swept Seattle. Since 1970, there have been 23 instances of a team going 2-0 in the regular season against an opponent, and then meeting for a third time in the playoffs. The team that was 2-0 is 14-9 in the third meeting. The Seahawks are in the postseason by the skin of their beak, and I won’t take them to upset the 49ers in the first round.

The choice: Seahawks +10
Projected score: 49ers 13-17

Saturday, 8:15 PM 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 received a season low in touches, while Keenan Allen did not play. Last week, Brandon Staley for some reason played his starters deep into 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 unfortunately, Rashawn Slater won’t be there.

I’m not surprised the Chargers are favored in this matchup, but I’m going with the underdog. The Jaguars are juiced up, and it was almost weird 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.

The choice: Jaguars +2.5
Projected score: Jaguars 27-20

Sunday, 1 PM ET (CBS)

Featured game | Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa is out. Without Tua, how could you choose the dolphins? The two teams split the season series, with the home team winning each matchup. Miami has lost four straight playoff games, each by at least 17 points! It is the first franchise in NFL history to lose four straight playoff games by 17 points each.

The choice: Bills -13
Projected score: Bills 35-17

Sunday, 4:30 PM ET (FOX)

Featured game | Minnesota Vikings vs. New York Giants

This matchup probably wasn’t considered a “must-watch” 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 hitting a 61-yard game-winning field goal. Justin Jefferson and TJ Hockenson exploded, combining for 242 receiving yards and three touchdowns. However, it is noteworthy that Adoree’ Jackson and Xavier McKinney missed the game. They rank top two on the team in completion percentage allowed among defensive backs this season.

I’m going to take the upset here. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley graced the stage, and there has to be some comfort in playing a team you only faced a few weeks ago. The Minnesota defense will make the New York offense look better than it is, as the Vikings defense ranks in the bottom five in points per game (25.1), yards per game (388.7) and yards per game (5.9) allowed this season.

The choice: Giants +3
Projected score: Giants 24-21

Sunday, 8:15 PM 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 defeated Baltimore, 27-16, last week. I take the Bengals to cover the spread as well.

The choice: Bengals -8.5
Projected score: Bengals 28-13

Monday, 8:15 PM 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 underdog. It seems like everything is in favor of the Buccaneers, but I’ll go with what I think is the better team.

Maybe the Buccaneers found something on offense with the win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 17, but I have more faith in Tony Pollard and Seede Lamb. Note 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 control the second half and pull out a win. I completely 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.

The choice: Cowboys -2.5
Projected score: Cowboys 23-20

Divisional Round

(4) Jacksonville Jaguars at (1) Kansas City Chiefs

Here’s a rematch from November, when the Chiefs defeated 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. Congratulations to the Jaguars for making it this far, but I don’t see them upsetting the No. 1 seed in the AFC on the road.

Projected score: Chiefs 30-21

(3) Cincinnati Bengals at (2) Buffalo Bills

Last time these two teams played, we all witnessed the unfortunate Damer Hamlin incident. It looked like we were in a big shootout before that scary event happened. Honestly, this could be a bit like the Bills-Chiefs AFC matchup in the divisional round last year.

Joe Burrow will be 4-1 in his playoff career if he makes it to the divisional round. The Bengals have already made it known that they are a dangerous playoff team, as they went 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 the Super Bowl favorite all year long, and the Hamlin situation certainly gives the Bills some added motivation. Buffalo pulls off a close win in the divisional round.

Projected score: Bills 28-24

(6) New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (1)

Another divisional, postseason matchup. In December, the Eagles blew out the Giants by 26 points, and Davis Webb kept it close in the regular season finale, losing 22-16. Philly will be rocking, and Jalen Hurts scores three total touchdowns. I’ll be interested to see what the spread is in this game, but I won’t take the Giants to beat the Eagles outright. There’s a reason they swept the season series this year.

Projected score: Eagles 27-20

(5) Dallas Cowboys at (2) San Francisco 49ers

It’s deja vu in a way, except the Cowboys-49ers game will be played in California. The key to this game for the 49ers is with Ezekiel Elliott and Pollard. In the playoffs last year, the two backs combined for just 45 rushing yards. In a weird way, I have more faith in the Purdy offense compared to the Jimmy Garoppolo offense, as his chemistry with George Kittle and Brandon Ayuk continues to evolve. Aiyuk is an underrated wideout who is difficult to contain downfield. Jerry Jones is fuming, as Purdy defeats Prescott.

Projected score: 49ers 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 on Sunday’s championship game. The 49ers’ defense would keep Hurts in check, but ultimately, the Eagles would close out the game in the fourth quarter, and once again advance to the Super Bowl.

Projected 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 be held on a neutral site. OK, having both top seeds in each conference make the final four is definitely chalky, but here we get another upset. Mahomes had two interceptions in a four-point loss to Buffalo earlier this season, and I predict he throws 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 playoff rematch will be more of a regular season game as opposed to their January 23rd matchup last year. It won’t be 78 total points, as Buffalo’s defense will be up to the task of containing Travis Kelce and the Chiefs wide receivers. Bills to the Super Bowl.

Projected 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 leading up to this all year. In the early part of the 2022 season, it was the Bills who looked like the best team in the AFC, and then the Eagles in the NFC. Opinions probably fluctuated after Allen’s elbow injury and Hurts’ shoulder injury, but the cream rises to the top, and that’s what’s happening here.

Allen played the Eagles just once in his career, losing 31-13 in 2019. Philly’s running backs combined for three touchdowns, while Allen had just 169 yards and two touchdowns. It will be Hurts’ first time playing Buffalo.

So, what will this game come down to? I expect a sloppy first half followed by a high-scoring second half. The game goes to overtime, where Buffalo kicks a game-winning field goal on its second drive of the extra period. The Bills fulfill the “future of destiny” narrative.

Projected score: Bills 33-30 in OT


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