Four More Games—the NFL’s Divisional Playoff Round, Against the Spread

The NFL grants us four more games before its Final Four determines who plays for it all, and for that I couldn’t be more excited.

What comes across as odd from last week’s playoff action isn’t that every home team won: It’s that they all covered so easily. They’re hosting playoff games for a reason, and as my father always says, “Each day a little smarter.”

On with the picks:

New Orleans (-4) @ San Francisco. I know this sounds like a contradiction of everything I just said, but this pick has a lot of logic behind it. The Saints have scored more than 40 points in their last four ballgames, and they could easily do it again. The 49ers do so much well, yet scoring isn’t one of them; in fact, they walk off the field more often than not kicking field goals—something that will certainly not work against the New Orleans Saints.

Denver @ New England (-14). The last time these two played Denver jumped out to an early lead and then the Patriots took over the game and never looked back. New England also won the game 41-23 in Denver, and, with this one in Foxborough, expect the Patriots not to repeat the same mistake at home. The number only looks too big, because once the Pats begin putting the hammer down, I don’t think they’ll stop until this one is over.

Houston @ Baltimore (-9). If I know one thing, it’s that the Ravens’ D cannot wait for this one, nor can their offense for that matter. Baltimore is obviously better, so I hope you didn’t need my help with this one. I’d set the over/under of Texan turnovers at 3 ½, and I’m guessing the over in my book.

New York Giants (+9) @ Green Bay. A lot of people are picking the G-Men to win outright, but I’m not one of them; I just think this one will be close. Neither team turns the ball over regularly, and they both have good enough defenses and special teams to keep each other from running away with it, so I’ll take the points, and watch a great football game without worrying about if the Packers win by enough.

Most likely not to be back next year. Of all the teams that got eliminated last week, this is a layup: It’s the Atlanta Falcons. The Bengals and Lions are too young and inexperienced to get all bent out of shape about their early exits, and the Steelers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon; the Falcons, however, might be watching the playoffs with the rest of us—especially with how deep the NFC’s East and West are, and therefore how competitive the Wild Card race will be next season.

Hopefully I do better than 1-3 this week, and tune in next week for some Conference Championship picks. Au revoir.

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