🏈 Playoffs?! You Kiddin' Me?

Week 18, NFL playoffs set, CFB national championship preview, and more...

Good Morning! After 272 games and 18 weeks of ball scaling from drop-dead gorgeous to Carolina Panthers, the NFL playoffs are set. If you think we’re not recapping every game from Week 18, you’re crazy. If you think we don’t have the wild-card weekend schedule ready for your immediate consumption, you’re even crazier. And if you think we’re not previewing tonight’s college football national championship game, you’re like that guy who jumped into the aquarium at Bass Pro Shop — simply nuts. We also talk about some other sports, but I’m not gonna tell you which ones. In honor of the Cowboys finally winning a road game, we’ll have Dak Prescott kick us off today: “Heeere we gooooooo!”

WTF Stat: If Michigan beats Washington tonight, it will be the Wolverines’ first non-shared national championship since 1947 - Michigan shared a claim to the national title in 1997 with Nebraska.

Written By: Ian Dardani

Blitz Prime Goes 5-0 on the Weekend!

Yes. We did it again, folks. Our new gambling newsletter is now 21-7-1 against the spread. If you placed just $10 on each of our picks from this season, you’d be up $284.66. That’s a decent return on a $2.99 per month product!

🏈 Falcons fired HC Arthur Smith last night after three 7-10 seasons with the team and zero playoff appearances - Atlanta hasn’t finished a season with a winning record since 2017, and hired Smith in 2020 to replace Dan Quinn

🏈 South Dakota State won their second consecutive FCS national championship by defeating Montana 23-3 on Sunday in the title game - it was the Jackrabbits’ 29th consecutive win

🏒 Team USA won the 2024 World Junior Championships by defeating Sweden 6-2 on Friday in the gold medal game - it’s the Americans’ sixth World Juniors titles

🏈 Football. Lots of it.

Photo: 2024 NFL Playoffs | Source: CBS Sports

NFL Week 18 Recap


  • Buffalo Bills (11-6) 21, Miami Dolphins (11-6) 14: In the regular season finale, the Bills and Dolphins clashed with the division title and No. 2 seed in the AFC on the line. And despite trailing 14-7 entering the 4th quarter following three red zone turnovers, Josh Allen (30/38, 15 CAR, 426 Tot. YDS, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) and the Bills rallied thanks to a 94-yard punt return touchdown by Deonte Harty and then a Dawson Knox touchdown grab to ultimately edge out Tua Tagovailoa (17/27, 173 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INTs) and the Fins, who were shutout in the second-half capped by Taylor Rapp’s game-sealing interception with 38 seconds left - it’s Buffalo’s fourth consecutive AFC East title, and they have won five straight games after a 6-6 start

  • Dallas Cowboys (12-5) 38, Washington Commanders (4-13) 10: Dak Prescott (31/36, 279 YDS, 4 TDs, 1 INT) and CeeDee Lamb (13 REC, 98 YDS, 2 TDs) were operating on another level as the Cowboys obliterated Sam Howell (19/27, 153 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INTs) and the Commanders in the nation’s capital to clinch a division title and the No. 2 seed in the NFC, giving them at least one and possibly three home playoff games at Jerry World, where they are 8-0 this season

  • New York Giants (6-11) 27, Philadelphia Eagles (11-6) 10: The wheels haven’t just fallen off in Philly — the entire bus is in flames. AJ Brown (1 REC, 9 YDS, 1 FUM) left the game with a knee injury, Jalen Hurts (7/16, 55 YDS, 1 INT) left the game with a dislocated right middle finger, and the Eagles got absolutely worked by the Tyrod Taylor (23/32, 297 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT), Saquon Barkley (18 CAR, 2 REC, 97 Tot. YDS, 2 TDs) and the Giants at MetLife, marking Philly’s fifth loss in six games after a 10-1 start - needing a win and a Cowboys loss to win the NFC East, Philly elected to play their starters (Reminder to Eagles fans: You’re still in the playoffs!)

  • Tennessee Titans (6-11) 28, Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8) 20: In what will most likely be their final game with the Titans, Ryan Tannehill (17/26, 168 YDS, 2 TDs, 1 INT) and Derrick Henry (19 CAR, 153 YDS, 1 TD) helped end their division rival’s season, as Tennessee staved off a second-half comeback by Trevor Lawrence (29/43, 280 YDS, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) and the Jags in a win-or-go-home scenario for Jacksonville, who was 8-3 and tied for second in the AFC in Week 12 - Henry addressed the fans at Nissan Stadium postgame in a heartwarming farewell speech, and the Steelers clinched a playoff berth with the Titans’ win

  • Green Bay Packers (9-8) 17, Chicago Bears (7-10) 9: Needing a win to reach the playoffs, Jordan Love (27/32, 316 YDS, 2 TDs) and the young Packers delivered as Dontayvion Wicks (6 REC, 61 YDS, 2 TDs) hauled in two touchdown passes from the first-year starting QB to outlast Justin Fields (11/16, 8 CAR, 175 Tot. YDS) and the already-eliminated Bears in Lambeau - with Chicago hold the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft, Fields’ future with the team is in doubt, and the Packers have won seven of their last 10 games

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8) 9, Carolina Panthers (2-15) 0: Well, somebody had to win the NFC South eventually, and Baker Mayfield (20/32, 137 YDS) and the Bucs did it in appropriate style with an ugly win as Chase McLaughlin’s (3/3 FG) three field goals were enough to take down Bryce Young (11/18, 94 YDS) and the Panthers, who were fittingly shutout to end their disappointing season with the league’s worst record - Carolina won't get the benefit of the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2024, as it belongs to the Bears as part of the trade for Young

  • New Orleans Saints (9-8) 48, Atlanta Falcons (7-10) 17: Derek Carr (22/28, 264 YDS, 4 TDs) was outstanding, Chris Olave (3 REC, 56 YDS, 1 TD) snared a sensational juggling catch for six, and the Saints outscored Desmond Ridder (22/30, 291 YDS, 2 TDs, 1 INT) and the Falcons 31-0 in the second half for an easy win; however, the Bucs victory left New Orleans on the outside looking in - now-fired Falcons HC Arthur Smith was irate with Saints HC Dennis Allen after Jamaal Williams' one-yard touchdown run with 1:10 remaining, but Allen actually called for his team to take a knee, only for QB Jameis Winston and the offense to audible into a run play

  • New York Jets (7-10) 17, New England Patriots (4-13) 3: In what was potentially Bill Belichick’s last game as the head coach of the Patriots, his 15-game winning streak against the Jets came to an end as Breece Hall (37 CAR, 178 YDS, 1 TD) rushed for a career-high and a late 50-yard touchdown to put away Bailey Zappe (12/30, 88 YDS, 2 INTs) and New England in a slugfest from Foxboro on a snow-covered field - Belichick has spent 24 seasons as the Pats head coach and GM and will meet with owner Robert Kraft this week to discuss his future with the team

  • Seattle Seahawks (9-8) 21, Arizona Cardinals (4-13) 20: Geno Smith (16/28, 189 YDS, 2 TDs) threw two touchdown passes, and the Seahawks rallied for a win over Kyler Murray (22/30, 262 YDS, 1 TD) and the Cardinals thanks to a missed 51-yard field goal by Matt Prater (2/4 FG, 2/2 XP) on the game’s final play, but Seattle missed the playoffs after the Packers beat the Bears - the Hawks lost control of their playoff fate when they lost to the Steelers 30-23 in Week 17

  • Detroit Lions (12-5) 30, Minnesota Vikings (7-10) 20: Lions HC Dan Campbell elected to take the risk of his starters getting hurt in hopes of moving from the No. 3 to the No. 2 seed in the NFC and potentially hosting two or more playoff games, and although Jared Goff (23/32, 320 YDS, 2 TDs) and Detroit got the win, it came with as a price as their star rookie TE Sam LaPorta (5 REC, 29 YDS, 1 TD) was carted off with a knee injury, putting his status for the playoffs in doubt - Campbell said the injury “isn’t as bad as it looked” but still is “not good news”

  • Los Angeles Rams (10-7) 21, San Francisco 49ers (12-5) 20: Puka Nacua (4 REC, 41 YDS, 1 TD) tied Bill Groman’s rookie record of 1,473 receiving yards that had stood since 1960 and then broke Jaylen Waddle’s rookie receptions record with his 10th catch of the year, while Carson Wentz (17/24, 17 CAR, 219 Tot. YDS, 3 TDs, 1 INT) led the Rams to a win over Sam Darnold (16/26, 189 YDS, 1 TD, 1 FUM) and the Niners’ backups, setting up an awfully intriguing playoff matchup between Matthew Stafford and his former team in Detroit - San Francisco had already locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC entering this week, giving them a first-round bye

  • Cincinnati Bengals (9-8) 31, Cleveland Browns (11-6) 14: Browns HC Kevin Stefanski rested QB Joe Flacco and the majority of his starters with Cleveland already locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC, allowing Jake Browning (18/24, 156 YDS, 3 TDs, 1 INT), Joe Mixon (14 CAR, 111 YDS, 2 TDs) and the already-eliminated Bengals to pick up an easy win their season finale - veteran backup QB Jeff Driskel (13/26, 166 YDS, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) got the start for Cleveland

  • Kansas City Chiefs (11-6) 13, Los Angeles Chargers (5-12) 12: Despite QB Patrick Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce, and the majority of Kansas City’s starters watching from the sideline, the AFC West champs got the win as Mike Edwards returned a fumble 97 yards to the house, and Harrison Butker knocked in a pair of field goals to top Easton Stick (28/47, 258 YDS) and the lifeless Chargers in Los Angeles - Kansas City was already locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC entering Week 18

  • Las Vegas Raiders (8-9) 27, Denver Broncos (8-9) 14: In a battle between two already-eliminated teams, Aidan O’Connell (20/31, 244 YDS, 2 TDs) outdueled Jarrett Stidham (20/34, 272 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT) to give the Raiders a home victory, improving Antonio Pierce’s record to 5-4 as Las Vegas’ interim head coach - “AP!” chants broke out in the game’s final minutes in support of Pierce becoming the full-time coach


  • Houston Texans (10-7) 23, Indianapolis Colts (9-8) 19: The Texans went 3-13-1 last season. Now, they’re hosting a playoff game. In a do-or-die game for both teams, CJ Stroud (20/26, 264 YDS, 2 TDs) put on a dazzling performance to lead Houston past Jonathan Taylor (30 CAR, 188 YDS, 1 TD) and the Colts in Indy for their first playoff berth since 2019 - the Colts season ended on a brutal drop by Tyler Goodson on fourth-and-1 from the Houston 15 with 1:06 to go

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (10-7) 17, Baltimore Ravens (13-4) 10: With Lamar Jackson and a slew of key players sitting for the Ravens, the Steelers were able to keep their season alive with a grimy win in Baltimore as Najee Harris (26 CAR, 112 YDS, 1 TD) carried a heavy workload and Mason Rudolph (18/20, 152 YDS, 1 TD) connected with Diontae Johnson (4 REC, 89 YDS, 1 TD) on a 71-yard touchdown strike - Pittsburgh officially clinched a playoff spot with Jacksonville’s loss, but DE TJ Watt left the game with a Grade 2 MCL sprain

See the full Week 18 box scores here and the final regular season standings here.

Wild Card Weekend Schedule


  • #1 Baltimore Ravens (13-4): BYE

  • #5 Cleveland Browns (11-6) @ #4 Houston Texans (10-7) Saturday, 4:30pm ET, NBC

  • #6 Miami Dolphins (11-6) @ #3 Kansas City Chiefs (11-6) Saturday, 8:00pm ET, Peacock

  • #7 Pittsburgh Steelers (10-7) @ #2 Buffalo Bills (11-6) Sunday, 1:00pm ET, CBS


  • #1 San Francisco 49ers (12-5): BYE

  • #7 Green Bay Packers (9-8) @ #2 Dallas Cowboys (12-5) Sunday, 4:30pm ET, FOX

  • #6 Los Angeles Rams (10-7) @ #3 Detroit Lions (12-5) Sunday, 8:00pm ET, NBC

  • #5 Philadelphia Eagles (11-6) @ #4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8) 8:15pm ET, ESPN

See the full playoff schedule here.

Photo: Dickinson Does It. | Source: USA Today

College Basketball - Top Games

  • NCAAM | #2 Kansas 83, TCU 81: Hunter Dickinson (30 PTS, 11 REB) laid in the game-winning bucket with 3.4 seconds remaining, and the Jayhawks escaped an in-conference scare from Trevian Tennyson (24 PTS) and the Toads to improve to 11-3 on Saturday - TCU fans were very heated after the game as it appeared Dickinson got away with a travel on the game-winner

  • NCAAM | #8 North Carolina 65, #16 Clemson 55: Armando Bacot (14 PTS, 16 REB) was a force inside, and the Heels outscored Chase Hunter (17 PTS) and the Tigers 31-21 in the second half on Saturday to secure their fourth straight win while remaining undefeated in ACC play

  • NCAAW | #13 Virginia Tech 63, #3 NC State 62: In a thriller, Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley (27 PTS, 12 REB) banked in a contested game-winner from the block with 0.9 seconds left to lift the Hokies over Madison Hayes (21 PTS, 9 REB) and the previously unbeaten Wolfpack on Sunday

See the full men’s scoreboard here and the full women’s scoreboard here.

NBA - Top Games

  • Los Angeles Lakers 106, Los Angeles Clippers 103: Nine days after his 39th birthday, LeBron James (25 PTS, 8 REB, 7 AST) proved he’s still beating Father Time by baptizing Paul George (22 PTS, 4 REB, 5 STL) at the rim, and Taurean Prince (13 PTS) sunk a tiebreaking three with 1:17 remaining to snap the Lakers four-game losing streak on Sunday

  • Dallas Mavericks 115, Minnesota Timberwolves 108: Anthony Edwards (36 PTS, 10 REB) and Karl-Anthony Towns (24 PTS, 7 REB) combined for 60, but Kyrie Irving (35 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST) and Luka Doncic (34 PTS, 6 REB, 8 AST) were even better, and the Mavs pulled away in the final minutes to hand the West-leading Wolves their third loss in four games

See the full scoreboard here and the current NBA standings here.

NHL - Top Games

  • Winnipeg Jets 6, Arizona Coyotes 2: The Jets picked up their sixth straight win on Sunday by dismantling the Coyotes in Arizona behind two-point nights from Nikolaj Ehlers (1 G, 1 A) and Mark Scheifele (2 G)

  • Florida Panthers 8, Colorado Avalanche 4: The Cats extended their league-best winning streak to seven games on Saturday as Sam Reinhart (3 G) dropped a hatty while Aleksander Barkov (4 A) and Matthew Tkachuk (1 G, 3 A) dished out a slew of helpers to blow out Velri Nichushkin (1 G, 1 A) and the Aves in Colorado

See the full NHL scoreboard here and the current standings here.

PGA Tour - Sentry Tournament of Champions (Kapalua, HI)

Final Leaderboard:

  • Winner: Chris Kirk (-29)

  • 2. Sahith Theegala (-28)

  • 3. Jordan Spieth (-27)

  • 4. Byeong Hun An (-26)

  • T5. Scottie Scheffler (-25)

  • T5. Brian Harman (-25)

  • T5. Collin Morikawa (-25)

  • T5. JT Poston (-25)

  • T5. Sungjae Im (-25)

See the entire final leaderboard here.

🏈 UM vs. UW… for the Natty!

Photo: JJ McCarthy, Michael Penix | Source: Detroit Free Press

College Football - National Championship Preview

  • #1 Michigan (14-0) vs. #2 Washington (14-0) 7:30pm ET, ESPN, NRG Stadium (Houston, TX)

  • Well, after all that “best or most deserving team” playoff hoopla, it turns out we’ll get a No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup between the nation’s only undefeated teams. After 10 years of little-to-no parody, the four-team playoff system will finish with new blood; Since the BCS began in 1998, neither Michigan nor Washington has played for a national title. After knocking off Alabama in overtime at the Rose Bowl, the Wolverines are seeking their first national championship in nearly 25 years, while the Huskies are a win away from their first national title since 1991 following a narrow victory over Texas in a Sugar Bowl shootout. Shoutout to the Big Ten.

  • It’s a fascinating matchup between two contrasting styles, with UM’s smashmouth bully ball on one side and UW’s run-n-gun spread offense on the other. Jim Harbaugh’s offensive philosophy will be simple: churn out yards on the ground with RB Blake Corum to chew up the clock and keep QB Michael Penix Jr. and Huskies’ quick-striking passing attack off the field. There’s little reason to believe the Wolverines won’t have success doing that. Washington ranks 86th in the FBS in yards per carry allowed (4.40) and just gave up 180 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries to a Texas team that essentially abandoned the run in the 4th quarter.

  • Things are a bit tougher to predict when the Huskies have that ball. Washington's Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line, led by All-American tackle Troy Fautanu, gave Penix Jr. enough time to pick apart the Longhorns' secondary. But UDub's line is weakest on the interior, where Michigan's defensive line excels with a deep rotation of tackles. Washington has allowed pressure on just 27% of dropbacks this season (the 11th-lowest rate in the FBS), while Michigan has pressured quarterbacks on 43% of their dropbacks (the fourth-highest rate in the FBS), so something's got to give. On the ground, both units have been solid, but Washington RB Dillon Johnson (who has rushed for 1,162 yards and 16 touchdowns this season) won't be at 100 percent after reaggravating a foot injury against Texas. Penix will have to play extraordinarily well for Washington to win.

  • Overall, Michigan is built to win this sort of matchup; a seemingly less physical team with a high-scoring passing attack led by star wide receivers — does that remind you of a specific rival from Ohio? We know how that’s shaken out recently. If the Wolverines can control the line of scrimmage on offense, the pressure will be on Penix to keep pace through the air, which will be extremely difficult if his offensive line can’t hold up. Penix is a bonafide superstar, and a monster performance isn’t out of the question, but Michigan is the safer bet. Pick: MICH -4.5

Other Odds: Over/Under: 56.5. MICH ML (-200). WASH ML (+165).

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When was the last time the NFC East had a repeat champion?

A. 2017

B. 2010

C. 2004

D. 1996

College Football - National Championship

  • #1 Michigan vs. #2 Washington 7:30pm ET, ESPN


  • Boston Celtics @ Indiana Pacers 7:00pm ET, Local

  • Utah Jazz @ Milwaukee Bucks 8:00pm ET, Local

  • Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Clippers 10:30pm ET, NBA TV

  • Full Schedule


  • Vancouver Canucks @ New York Rangers 7:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Dallas Stars @ Minnesota Wild 8:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Boston Bruins @ Colorado Avalanche 9:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Full Schedule

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Trivia Time Answer

C. 2004. The last time the NFC East had a repeat champion was in 2004, when the Eagles won the division for the fourth consecutive time. Since then, the Cowboys have the most division titles with seven, followed by Philadelphia (six), New York (three), and Washington (three) - however, the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007-08 and 2011-12 without winning the division.

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