NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Point Spread Predictions
NFL Odds Courtesy of Sports Interaction.
Saturday, January 13th – NFL ATS Picks
Atlanta Falcons (-160) at Philadelphia Eagles (+135)
4:35 PM EST Kickoff
Pick: Atlanta Falcons -3.0
The absence of Carson Wentz dominates this NFC divisional matchup. Without Carson, the Philadelphia Eagles will be the first number one seed to start the playoffs as an underdog.
Philly’s defense ranked fourth in PPG allowed, which should ensure that the Falcons don’t run away with an easy win. The Eagles third ranked offense will not be the same juggernaut which romped through the regular season. Instead, Philadelphia will rely on Blount and Ajayi to create gains on the ground.
Unfortunately for Philly, Atlanta’s defense rounds into shape at the right time. The Falcons held the Rams to 13 points in the wildcard round. During the last four games of the regular season, Atlanta restricted opponents to 87 yards or less on the ground, including teams who rush the ball well.
Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones, Tevin Coleman and Matt Ryan made efficient, consistent advances against Los Angeles, reflecting comfort and experience in playoff situations. Expect the Falcons to progress to their second consecutive NFC championship finals.
Tennessee Titans (+650) at New England Patriots (-900)
8:15 PM EST Kickoff
Tennessee toughed out a win against the heavily favored Chiefs with some wacky football and a gutsy performance by the Titans defense and pivot Marcus Mariota. Now the Titans travel to Foxborough to face the Super Bowl favorites on primetime television.
Rumors of strife among Kraft, Brady and Belichick won’t prevent New England from executing their gameplan against an overmatched opponent. Mariota can’t expect to throw another touchdown to himself again.
A 13.5 point spread will be the largest of the divisional round, neatly summing the matchup for bettors. Any result other than a lopsided win will be considered a disappointment for the Patriots, who enjoy a massive advantage on both sides of the football.
If New England doesn’t put Tennessee away with ease, the rest of the NFL will take note. The Patriots finished the regular season with the second-most points and the fifth-best PPG allowed, while the Titans were 19th in scoring and 17th in points allowed.
Sunday, January 14th – NFL ATS Picks
Jacksonville Jaguars (+275) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-355)
1:05 PM EST Kickoff
Jacksonville played boring football to perfection last weekend, combining safe coverage schemes and elite, athletic defenders to confound the Bills offense. Buffalo scored only three points last week, despite controlling the lion’s share of possession. Jacksonville’s defense, which ranked 2nd in PPG allowed and 1st in Football Outsider’s DVOA, will be the main story this evening.
Leonard Fournette will get his yards and Blake Bortles will throw some receptions, but the way the Jags defense plays against Steelers superstars will determine this football game. Antonio Brown’s the rest receiver in the NFL, and Le’Veon Bell keeps pace with any opposing running back in the league.
Ben Roethlisberger won’t throw five interceptions again, but he’ll only be effective if Bell and Brown create the conditions for success. Recent reports of Brown suffering from an illness shouldn’t impact his availability, but they’ll make it more difficult for him to break free of one of the finest secondaries in the NFL. This game appears closer than the touchdown spread suggests.
New Orleans Saints (+180) at Minnesota Vikings (-220)
4:40 PM EST Kickoff
Pick: Minnesota Vikings -5.0
Drew Brees looked young again, flinging spectacular strikes around the field during his systematic dismantling of Carolina’s secondary. Things will become much more difficult during New Orleans divisional round clash with the Minnesota Vikings. Brandon Coleman won’t be available, reducing the number of tall targets for Brees. If anything, the Saints will likely feature the Kamara-Ingram duo more often against the Vikings, instead of seeking receivers downfield.
Winning their division granted no favors to the Saints, who now face one of the hottest teams in the NFL after hunting the Panthers. Minnesota’s won eleven of their past twelve games to earn a week off, allowing the fewest points per game in the NFL.
The Vikings offense features an efficient combo of RB Latavius Murray, WR Adam Thielen and QB Case Keenum, but the Pro Bowl and All-Pro defensive group will dominate this matchup.
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