Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I'm not going to say that this year feels a lot like last year, but we're finally down to our final four teams in the NFL, and this year feels a lot like last year. Three of the four remaining teams from this season also made it to the conference title game last season, and for the second year in a row, the Cowboys ended their game by calling one of the dumbest plays imaginable.
Last year, they called a QB draw with 14 seconds left and no timeouts. This year, they somehow outdid themselves by calling an even worse play, which you can see here.
With the Cowboys loss, that leaves the Chiefs, Bengals, 49ers and Eagles as the final four teams left standing. Those first three teams were all in the conference title round last year, which means this is the first time since 2011-12 that we've had three teams return to the conference title game.
Speaking of the conference title games, we'll be taking an early look at those in today's newsletter. Plus, we'll be breaking down the divisional round, and we'll also be trying to figure out what's up with Patrick Mahomes' ankle. Let's get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: Full recap of the divisional round
It's Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about the divisional round. And let me just say, it's probably for the best that you listen.
One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday's action. Here's a look at who made our list.
- Winner: Joe Burrow. The Bengals quarterback might be the coolest person on the planet. Although the Bengals were an underdog going into Sunday's game, the tide quickly turned after "Joe Cool" came out and stunned Buffalo by completing his first nine passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Burrow now has five playoffs wins over the past two seasons, which is impressive, when you consider that the Bengals only won five playoff games total during their first 53 seasons of existence.
- Loser: The Jaguars. After Patrick Mahomes went down with an ankle injury, the upset was there for the taking, but the Jaguars let it slip out of their hands. Defensively, they let Mahomes' backup (Chad Henne) come in and lead a 98-yard TD drive. Offensively, they had two brutal turnovers in the fourth quarter that iced the win for Kansas City.
- Winner: The Kelce family. With Kansas City and Philadelphia both winning over the weekend, that means there's still a chance that Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles center Jason Kelce could end up playing each other in the Super Bowl. The two brothers host a podcast together, and it would probably get pretty wild leading up to the Super Bowl if both of them were playing in the game.
- Loser: Daniel Jones. After a Cinderella season, the Giants quarterback finally turned back into a pumpkin Saturday. Jones threw for just 135 yards during an embarrassing loss to the Eagles where his team was only able to muster one touchdown. To add insult to injury, Jones took a beating, getting sacked five times.
- Winner: Brett Maher. The Cowboys didn't win, but Maher might actually be able to sleep this week knowing that he didn't cost his team the game. Although he did have an extra point blocked, he also hit two key field goals that allowed the Cowboys to stay in the game until the very end.
- Loser: The NFL. The league was on the cusp of having its first-ever neutral-site AFC Championship game, but the Bills. Now that the neutral-site AFC Championship game is off the table, please let it never happen, NFL. with an upset win over the
Not only did we go over each game, but we also took a very early look at the conference championship matchups. To listen to today's episode, be sure to click here. You can also WATCH today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Looking at every divisional round game
Since there were only four games over the weekend, we thought it would make sense to at least take a brief look at what happened in each game, so that's what we're going to do here.
- Chiefs 27-20 over Jaguars. After leaving the game in the second quarter due to a serious ankle injury, Patrick Mahomes returned in the second half to lead the Chiefs to the win. Playing on one foot didn't seem to slow him down, as he completed 10 of 15 passes for 107 yards after suffering the injury. The Chiefs defense also came up with two key turnovers in the fourth quarter to help propel Kansas City to its fifth straight AFC title game. The Chiefs also got some unexpected help from backup QB Chad Henne, who led a 98-yard scoring drive on his only full possession of the game. It was the longest TD drive the Chiefs had all season.
- Eagles 38-7 over Giants. The Eagles jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and then coasted to the win from there. The Eagles were able to pick up the dominating victory thanks to a defense that racked up five sacks while also holding the Giants to fewer than 230 yards of total offense. Offensively, the Eagles were led by a rushing attack that totaled 268 yards on the ground with Kenneth Gainwell (112) and Miles Sanders (90) doing most of the damage. Jalen Hurts also had a big night, and more importantly, his shoulder looked fully healthy as he totaled three touchdowns (two passing and one rushing).
- Bengals 27-10 over Bills. In the biggest surprise of the weekend, the underdog Bengals absolutely destroyed the Bills. The Bengals offense put up some big numbers, but it was the defense that stole the show in this game. The Bengals limited the Bills to just 10 points, which was Buffalo's lowest total of the season. Cincinnati's offense also came through with a big game that included 242 yards and two touchdowns from Joe Burrow, along with 105 rushing yards from Joe Mixon. The Bengals shot out to a 14-0 lead and in the first quarter, and the game never felt close after that.
- 49ers 19-12 over Cowboys. The 49ers earned their second-straight trip to the NFC Championship by winning a defensive battle with the Cowboys. The 49ers picked off Dak Prescott twice and got six points off those turnovers, and that proved to be the difference in the game. The 49ers weren't great on offense, but they did get several big individual performances from George Kittle (95 receiving yards) and Christian McCaffrey (57 total yars and a TD) to eke out the win. The unsung hero in the game for San Francisco was Robbie Gould, who proved to be a huge weapon, as he scored 13 of their 19 points with four field goals and an extra point.
The 49ers-Cowboys game was the only one that really had any drama over the weekend, but I wouldn't be surprised if both conference title games turn into classics considering the teams playing in them.
3. Patrick Mahomes' ankle injury
If you're a fan of ankles, then you're going to be loving the NFL over the next few days, because Patrick Mahomes' ankle is going to be one of the hottest topics around the league this week. Mahomes injured his ankle Saturday against the Jaguars, and right now, it's not clear how close to 100% he's going to be for the AFC Championship Game.
Here's everything you need to know about the ankle:
- How the injury happened. With just under three minutes left to play in the first quarter, Mahomes got tackled while completing a four-yard pass, and as he went to the ground, he got awkwardly sandwiched by two Jaguars players, with one of them falling on his ankle (you can see the play here). It was painful to watch, and it was pretty clear right away that Mahomes had been injured.
- Mahomes missed nearly an entire quarter. Although the Chiefs QB stayed in the game to finish the drive, Mahomes did miss nearly the entire second quarter after Andy Reid forced him to go to the locker room to undergo testing on the ankle. (You can see here how testy things got between Reid and Mahomes when the QB was told he wouldn't be able to return to the game right away.) After getting tested, Mahomes returned to the game in the second half and led the Chiefs to the win.
- The diagnosis. Although his X-rays came back negative, Mahomes underwent an MRI on Sunday that showed he suffered a high-ankle sprain, . This can be a dicey injury, because if it's a bad one, it can keep you out for several weeks, although it appears Mahomes might have avoided the worst.
- What Mahomes said about the injury. Following Kansas City's win, Mahomes said he's going to do whatever possible to be as close to 100% for the AFC title game. "It feels better than I thought it was going to be now," Mahomes said Saturday, via ESPN. "Obviously, I have a lot of adrenaline going right now, so we'll see how it feels. But I'll hop right in the treatment and try to do whatever I can to be as close to 100% by next week. Luckily for us, we played the early game on Saturday, so we get an extra almost half a day that I can let that ankle rest."
No matter how much treatment Mahomes gets, it's highly unlikely he's going to be 100% going into the AFC title game. He might be a fast healer, but high-ankle sprains have a tendency to slow you down for a couple of weeks, even if they're not serious. The best-case scenario for the Chiefs is likely having Mahomes on the field at about 90%.
Of course, even if he's only 70%, it's essentially a guarantee that Mahomes will be out there no matter what his health is. He has already guaranteed that.
4. 13 crazy facts from the divisional round
Every Sunday night I get an email from our research department here at CBS Sports, and every Sunday that email always includes some amazingly wild facts about the games that were just played.
With that in mind, here are 13 crazy facts from the divisional round:
- Rare AFC title rematch. The Bengals-Chiefs game will mark just the third time over the past 35 years that the AFC Championship has been a rematch in back-to-back seasons. The last time it happened came in 2011-12 (Ravens-Patriots), and before that, it hadn't happened since 1986-87 (Browns-Broncos).
- Bengals have been unbeatable in AFC title games. The Bengals are 3-0 in AFC title games, which makes them the only team in NFL history that is unbeaten in AFC Championship games. (The Seahawks and Giants are undefeated on the NFC side.)
- Bengals join rare club. The Bengals are the fourth team in NFL history with a home win and a road win in the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, joining the 1970-71 Cowboys, 1971-72 Dolphins and 1986-87 Commanders. Those three teams all won at least one Super Bowl during their two-year run, and the Bengals will now be attempting to match them.
- Chiefs on a roll. The Chiefs are now headed to their fifth-straight AFC title game, which is tied with the Raiders (1973-77) for the second-longest streak in NFL history. Only the Patriots, who made it to eight straight times (2011-18) have had a longer streak.
- Patrick Mahomes owns the AFC. The Chiefs QB now has as many career conference title game appearances (five) as: Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger and Jim Kelly. Mahomes is also just the third QB in NFL history to make it to five straight conference title games as a starter, joining Tom Brady and Ken Stabler.
- Andy Reid ties a legend and makes history. The Chiefs' AFC title game appearance will be the 10th conference title game of Reid's head coaching career. That's tied with Tom Landry for the second-most of all-time and trails only Bill Belichick, who has been to 13. Reid is the first coach in NFL history to lead two different teams to at least 10 playoff wins.
- Travis Kelce is a catch. The Chiefs tight end finished with 14 receptions against the Jaguars, which is the third-highest total in NFL playoff history. The record of 15 receptions is held by James White and Darren Sproles. Kelce's 14 receptions was the NFL postseason record for a tight end.
- 22 years of dominance. The Eagles are heading to their seventh NFC title game since 2000, which is more than any other NFC team this century. The only other teams that have even been to five are the Packers (six) and 49ers (six). San Francisco earned its sixth trip since 2000 with a win over the Cowboys.
- 49ers break their own record. The 49ers' trip to the NFC title game will be their 18th since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Not only is that number a record, but it's four more than the next closest team in the NFC. (In the AFC, the Steelers have the most appearances with 16.)
- Eagles nearing all-time sack record. With five sacks against the Giants, the Eagles now have 75 on the season, which is the third-most in NFL history. Only the 1984 Bears (82 sacks) and the 1985 Bears (80 sacks) have more. The Eagles need just eight sacks to break the record, and they'll have a lot better chance of making that happen if they win the NFC title game.
- Mike McCarthy can't figure out the 49ers. With the Cowboys' loss to San Francisco on Sunday, McCarty is now 0-4 all-time against the 49ers in the postseason, which is tied with Tom Landry for the most playoff losses all-time against a single opponent (Landry went 0-4 against the Rams).
- Cowboys' losing streak continues. No one does divisional round losses quite like the Cowboys. The loss to the 49ers marked the seventh-straight time that the Cowboys have lost in the divisional round, which is an NFL record. Dallas hasn't won in the divisional round since 1995.
- Zac Taylor moves up postseason list. Thanks to the Bengals' win over the Bills, Zac Taylor now has a postseason record of 5-1. His winning percentage of .833 is the second-highest winning percentage in NFL history for anyone who's coached at least five playoff games. Only Vince Lombardi, who went 9-1 as a coach, has a higher percentage (.900).
If you see any other fun facts, feel free to tweet them at me.
5. Early odds for AFC and NFC title games
We'll be covering the AFC and NFC title games here all week, so I won't dive into these two games very much today. That said, I didn't want to completely ignore them, so here are the early odds for each game. Not surprisingly, the two home teams are favored.
Sunday, Jan. 29
(2) 49ers at (1) Eagles, 3 p.m. ET (Fox)
Opening line: Eagles -2.5
Current line: Eagles -2.5
The immovable force will be facing the unstoppable object in this game with the 49ers' top-rated defense trying to figure out how to slow down the Eagles' high-flying offense. During the regular season, the Eagles scored the third-most points in the NFL while also ranking third in total yards. On the flip side, the 49ers will be going into the game with a defense that surrendered the fewest points in the NFL and the fewest total yards. One thing to watch here is that fact that 49ers QB Brock Purdy will be going up against an Eagles defense that has recorded the third-most sacks for a single-season in NFL history. Purdy has a chance to make history in this game, as he could become the first rookie QB ever to lead his team to a Super Bowl.
Sunday, Jan. 29
(3) Bengals at (1) Chiefs, 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening line: Chiefs -1.5
Current line: Chiefs -1
This is a rematch of a game that was played earlier this season. Back on Dec. 4, the Bengals beat the Chiefs, 27-24, in a thriller, but despite that win by Cincinnati, and despite the fact the Bengals have beaten the Chiefs three straight times, and despite the fact Patrick Mahomes is dealing with an injured ankle, the oddsmakers still have made the Chiefs the favorite in this game. Of course, being an underdog might not be the worst thing for the Bengals, who have covered in nine straight games as an underdog while going 6-3 straight-up.
6. Tom Brady seems to be done in Tampa Bay
One of the biggest questions of the NFL offseason revolves around Tom Brady and where he's going to end up in 2023. Brady's contract with the Buccaneers expired at the end of the season, which means when March rolls around, he'll be hitting free agency for just the second time in his 23-year career (as long as he doesn't retire).
Although no one seems to have any idea where Brady might end up next season, one thing is starting to look more and more likely, and that's that he won't be returning to Tampa Bay. Over the past few days, there have been two major hints that Brady's time with the Buccaneers is now done.
- Julian Edelman thinks Brady is definitely done in Tampa. During the ," Edelman was asked what he thought Brady might do in 2023. Although Edelman didn't make a prediction on where Brady might land, he did make a prediction on where the seven-time Super Bowl-winner WON'T land. "If he has another season, it's not going to be in Tampa Bay," Edelman said. The former Patriots receiver is friends with Brady and spent 10 seasons with the QB in New England, so it's definitely interesting to hear him say that.
- Buccaneers teammates seem to think Brady is done in Tampa. According , several of Brady's teammates seem to think that he won't be returning. They noted that he sounded like a person who was saying goodbye after Tampa Bay's playoff loss to the Cowboys.
- Tom Brady gets going away present from the NFL. If Brady ends up leaving Tampa Bay, the NFL gave him a nice going away present: The league fined him more than $16,000 for attempting to slide-tackle a defender during Tampa Bay's loss to Dallas. For .
If Brady decides to stick around for one more NFL season, the Dolphins, Raiders or Titans could all make some sense as potential landing spots. Even the Patriots wouldn't be totally crazy. If you want to see a full list of possible Brady landing spots, be sure to click here.
In non-Brady news, if you want the latest updates on every coaching and GM interview being held this offseason, then be.