Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs? That can only mean one thing…..
Oh yes world, we back! And we’re back in a big way. Every game, every line, and a couple of surprises along the way. The divisional round of the NFL playoffs is easily one of the best football weekends of the year. The best eight teams in the league are still vying for the Lombardi Trophy and the matchups this week couldn’t be any better. A rematch of the Beast Mode game? Colts at Patriots for the 474th time in the last 10 seasons? A matchup of two of the leagues best defenses? A divisional matchup in the divisional round? Yes please.
Saints @ Seahawks
You want a prediction? Sure, I’ll feed ya baby birds. The Seahawks are nearly unbeatable in Seattle; however, they did lose to the Arizona Cardinals at the CLink this season and, as we saw last week in Cincinnati, no home team is safe. The Bengals were 8-0 this season at home and basically threw up an air ball against the San Diego Chargers. I think that game solidified the “Always bet against Gingers” theory. I don’t mean that to be derogatory, but I will not ever bet on Andy Dalton or Jason Garrett in any game that actually means something.
Basically the message is this: It’s the playoffs, crazy shit tends to happen. Do I think the Seahawks are going to lose? Hell no. But do I think the Saints are capable of winning in Seattle? Sure. Anything can happen in the playoffs. The Saints are coming off their first road playoff win in team history. Read that sentence again. THEIR FIRST ROAD WIN EVER IN THE PLAYOFFS. How long have the Saints been around? Um, forever? How is that even possible?
Anyways, I believe in the 12th man, especially early on. The Seahawks are going to be up by a touchdown at halftime and will win the game by that same margin. Both defenses are going to shine in what should be an ugly game. The weather reports call for heavy rain and wind, which favors the Seahawks because of their stellar defense and potent running attack. Look for Marshawn Lynch to carry a heavy load and for the Saints to struggle throwing the ball deep down the field. Seahawks at half, New Orleans for the game and under 46.5 are the plays.
Prediction: Seahawks 20 – Saints 13
Seahawks -5 1st half
New Orleans +8
Colts @ Patriots
Andrew the Giant pulled off one of the best comebacks in playoff history last weekend in the Colts 45-44 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Colts were down 38-10 when I half jokingly tweeted this:
Colts have the Chiefs right where they want them.
— Jason Gold (@TheSportsGuy33) January 4, 2014
It proved to be relatively clairvoyant. The Colts have made a habit of making incredible 2nd half comebacks this season, mostly due to the fact that Luck is an amazing talent and when Indy is down the playbook opens up. No one in the NFL throws a better deep ball over the middle of the field than Luck. It’s incredible what he has done in such a short amount of time. I have a new rule: Never bet against Andrew Luck.
The Patriots have had a great season despite losing what seemed like half of their starting lineup to injuries. It’s tough to justify betting against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in Foxboro in the playoffs. The reason I’m deciding to ride with the Colts is because I think that the Pats are being held together by the thread and the man to cut the chord is Mr. Luck. I like the Patriots to jump out to an early lead because that’s what the Colts do and for Indianapolis to come storming back and eventually pull off the upset in New England. I also like the over.
Plus, how do you bet against that playoff beard? My god, Andrew. Doin’ it right. His NHL brethren would be proud.
Prediction: Colts 34 – Patriots 31
Patriots -4.5 1st half
Colts ML +270
Just remembered the Patriots beat the Colts 59-24 in 2012. So….there’s that. Eff it we’re sticking with the Colts.
49ers @ Panthers
If you like offense you can go get brunch or something. The Panthers and the 49ers both possess incredible defenses that have carried them through most of the season. The Panthers, 12-4, are in the playoffs for the first time in the Cam Newton-Riverboat Ron era. How will they fair? I have no idea. Rivera, who may be the coach of the year, has been incredible once he decided that analytics actually matter. Cam Newton has shown in his previous life, as the Auburn Heisman winning QB, that he can play well and win in big games (2010 Iron Bowl, 2011 National Championship). However, as we know very well, collegiate success means next to nothing in the NFL. For that reason there is simply no other pick than the 49ers in every which way.
Jim Harbaugh is a magnificent playoff Head Coach. His record in the playoffs during his three years as 49ers Head Coach is 5-2, including last weeks victory over the Green Bay Packers. Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers dynamic QB, has been fantastic in the playoffs as well going 3-1, with the only loss being last years Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers are built for the playoffs. I just don’t know about the Panthers.
I have to believe that the Seahawks and 49ers are going to meet in the NFC Championship game. It’s just the way it has to be. That game has been building up for three seasons. It’s bound to happen. I’m completely disregarding the Panthers 10-9 victory over the 49ers in Candlestick early this season. The 49ers have ripped off seven straight victories and are probably the hottest team going in the NFL right now. There are so many reasons to take the 49ers that I’m simply forced into making that decision.
The 49ers will jump on the Panthers early and the game will slow down from then on. I believe the total points will jump over 42 with ease. The over/under line is too low due to that 10-9 game earlier in the season. Scoring will be at a premium but it won’t be incredibly low scoring. 49ers win by a touchdown.
Prediction: 49ers 27 – Carolina 20
49ers -.5 1st half
Chargers @ Broncos
If Philip Rivers knocks off Peyton Manning in the Divisional Round I’m buying Bolo Ties for the whole squad. #CrewLove
This will be the third time the Chargers and Broncos meet up this season. The season series is split with both road teams taking down the home team. Will this trend continue? If my prediction is correct, yes it will.
First of all, let’s start with the fact that the Chargers are 11-point underdogs despite being the hottest team in the NFL along with the 49ers. California is really on a freaking roll. Between the 49ers and the Chargers they have won 12 straight games. Yes, we’re taking the Raiders out of the equation because the Black Hole has been annexed from California until further notice or until they move to Los Angeles. I think this is a smart decision for the State. Who needs the black hole? It’s more like the black eye than the black hole. Get it together Davis family.
Ok, back to the Chargers. 11 points dogs? REALLY Vegas? REALLLLY?!
I’m taking that one to the bank. I hope you do as well. Peyton Manning is the greatest QB in the history of the NFL*. Just look at the stats. It’s not even close. Why the asterisk then? We all know why. Manning is just 9-11 in the playoffs, is coming off a bye week, and has lost his first game of the playoffs 8 times. I repeat, EIGHT TIMES! Do you know how many first game losses the next QB on that list has? Four.
Yes, that statistic is a little unfair to Manning because he has made the playoffs 14 times; however, it still shows that Manning isn’t quite the QB he is in the regular season. The Chargers, even if they don’t win, are going to keep this close. In their first matchup of the season the Broncos beat the Chargers in San Diego 28-20. In their second matchup in Denver the Chargers took down the Broncos 27-20. It’s going to be a close game, I’m telling you.
The biggest issue facing the Chargers in this game is whether Ryan Mathews, suddenly one of the best running backs in the NFL, is going to be healthy. He has been battling a multitude of injuries in the second half of the season. Coincidentally, the injuries have paralleled his uptick in production. Is the key to Ryan Mathews success injuries? Perhaps. I guess I’m betting under the assumption that Mathews will be productive once again against a depleted Broncos defense.
I like the Chargers a ton in this game. When in doubt bet on the hotter team. The NFL playoffs are all about getting hot at the right time and the Chargers are basically in NBA Jam mode right now. Break out the Bolo Ties, everybody! The Chargers are going to take down Evil Manning this weekend.
BOLO TIES FOR EVERYONE!!!!
Prediction: Chargers 27 – Broncos 23
Chargers +6.5 halftime
Chargers ML +335