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NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Posted by in NFL Picks on January 10th, 2008 | Comment »

Here are my predictions for the Divisional round of the playoffs this weekend.  Last week, my Wild Card playoff picks went 3-1 straight up and 3-1 against the spread.  I opted for the Bucs over the Giants, perhaps giving their defense too much credit. This week the spreads aren’t too favorable to the favorite, so I think taking the points this week may be the way to go.

SATURDAY DIVISIONAL ROUND PLAYOFF SPREADS:

Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers -9

9 points is too much to give up if you want to take the Packers.  It’s going to be cold and that usually translates into low scoring defensive battles.  Both teams points scored and points allowed are practically identical. Packers are 7-1 at home (6-1-1 against the spread). Seahawks are 3-5 on the road (3-5 against the spread). 64% of the consensus at Covers.com is taking the Seahawks +9 and 5/4 of the “experts” are taking the points too. I’m concerned about the Seahawks 2/11 3rd down conversions against the Redskins.  I’m going to go with the Packers win by 10 because I’m not impressed with the Seahawks and they’re not a good road team, while the Packers, on the other hand, are a dominant home team.  Green Bay’s 11th ranked defense and 2nd ranked offense also gives them an edge over Seattle’s 15th ranked defense and 9th ranked offense.

Prediction – Packers defeat Seahawks 28-17

Packers Moneyline – Confidence 4/5
Packers -9 Spread – Confidence 2/5

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots – 13.5

I truly think the Jaguars have a chance to beat the Patriots, although an extremely small chance.  63% of the consensus and 8/11 “experts” at Covers.com say take the points.  I’m going to agree.  Last year when these teams met in January, the Pats escaped with a 24-21 win.  I guess that doesn’t mean much considering the Pats are a completely different team this year, but I would give it a little weight.  The Pats are 5-3 against the spread at home.  The Jags are 6-3 against the spread on the road. I’m also impressed with the Jaguars offense.  They’ve scored more than 24 points in their last 10 games and have averaged 31 points in that span.  New England is also 1-5 against the spread in their last 6, but who wouldn’t be with spreads like 24, 19, 20.5, 22.  Teams are starting to figure out how to hang with the Pats and I think the Jaguars will be able to hang with them too.

Prediction – Patriots defeat Jaguars 31-20

Patriots Moneyline – Confidence 5/5
Jaguars +13.5 Spread – Confidence 2/5

SUNDAY DIVISIONAL ROUND PLAYOFF SPREADS:

San Diego Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts -9

The Colts’ offense is ranked 5th.  The Chargers’ offense is ranked 20th.  The Colts’ defense is ranked 3rd.  The Chargers’ defense is ranked 14th.  Those are some big discrepancies in the offensive and defensive rankings.  The Colts are 6-2 at home (5-3 against the spread; also keep in mind 1 loss was from a meaningless Week 17 game for them).  The Chargers are 4-4 on the road (4-4 against the spread).  51% of the consensus at Covers.com say take the Colts and the “experts” are split 5/5.  I think the Colts have the best chance of beating up on a team this week.  I think the offense will be clicking: Manning, Addai, and Wayne should have huge games and Manning will benefit by the return of Harrison.  I think taking the Colts spread is the way to go.

Prediction – Colts defeat Chargers – 31-17

Colts Moneyline – Confidence 5/5
Colts -9 Spread – Confidence 3/5

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys -7.5

I would avoid this one.  I think the Giants can and probably will cover.  Tony Romo’s thumb is an issue, Terrell Owen’s status is still questionable, and the Cowboys 1 rushing yard (with their starters too) against the Redskins in Week 17 is disturbing; however, I think the running game will fair pretty well against the Giants rushing defense although the Giants are ranked 8th against the run.  Owens will probably play, but he’ll be nowhere near 100% and will not be as effective as he normally is.  We already know the Cowboys defeated the Giants by 10 points in the first meeting, 45-35, and 11 points in their next meeting, 31-20.  We know the Cowboys’ offense has had a lot of success against the Giants, but that is with a healthy Terrell Owens doing most of the work: 9 receptions, 117 yards, and 4 TDs from those 2 meetings.

Eli is getting hot at the right time.  Against the tough Bucs defense, which is ranked 1st against the pass, Eli went 20/27, 185 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs.  His stats were just as good when he faced the Patriots: 22/32, 251 yards, 4 TDs, I INT.  That translates into a passer rating of 118.6 and 117.1 respectively.  That doesn’t bode well for a team that has struggled against the pass at times: ranked 13th in passing defense.  The last time Eli was in Dallas he had a pretty good game as well: 28/31, 312 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT.

Here is a look at the Cowboys from the Giants perspective.  You can also check out the report on the Giants.

I’m concerned with the injuries to Romo and Owens and perhaps overemphasizing the success of Eli in the past too weeks, but these are reasons to avoid the Cowboys spread.  However, with the home-field advantage, I think they’ll escape with a win in a close battle.  69% of the consensus and 7/10 “experts” at Covers.com are taking the Giants +7.5 spread and I’m also leaning towards that side.  The Giants are 7-1 against the spread on the road and the Cowboys are 5-3 against the spread at home.

Prediction – Cowboys defeat Giants – 27-24

Cowboys Moneyline – Confidence 3/5
Giants +7.5 Spread – Confidence 3/5



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