NFL Divisional Round: A do-over for my playoff picks

Last week’s picks were flat-out awful. Terrible. Couldn’t do worse. I’m a sports radio guy…and I went 0-4 straight up? Are you serious? So this week I’m going to reset my playoff predictions and we’ll see if I can get it right the rest of the way. I am due for a 4-0 week after all to even things out!

This week I’m not ignoring momentum (at least when it comes to my spread picks) so fade my choices below at your own risk!

San Diego Chargers v Baltimore Ravens

Last Week (0-4 SU, 1-2-1 ATS)

Divisional Playoffs

KANSAS CITY 27, Indianapolis 24 (ATS: Colts +5.5)
I really wanted to pick Indy here considering Andy Reid’s spotty playoff history when it comes to earlier than expected exits. Also, KC was 10-0 vs. non-playoff teams this season but only 2-4 against those who made the tournament (as I refer to it). The Colts have lost only once since October…so I’m pretty much stating all of the reasons I should pick Indy. But something tells me that Patrick Mahomes has some kind of magic and a late touchdown defeats Andrew Luck’s team. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was wrong on that…but either way I LOVE the Colts getting 5.5 points. Take it to the bank! A slight lean towards the under as well.

Los Angeles Chargers 23, NEW ENGLAND 21 (ATS: Chargers +4.5)
Last week I said that the winner of Baltimore-LA was Super Bowl-bound out of the AFC…and I’m sticking with that prediction. I came away so impressed with LA’s ferocity on defense and they pretty much destroyed the Ravens on that side of the ball for three quarters. In what could be inclement weather, I like that angle. I also like that the Chargers are undefeated outside of California this season. However I don’t like that Philip Rivers is winless in his career against Tom Brady. So something has to give on Sunday. To me, the Chargers look like a team on a mission to get Rivers to his first Super Bowl. The road warriors strike again…and I also lean towards the under as well.

LOS ANGELES RAMS 31, Dallas 23 (ATS: Rams -7)
The Cowboys’ defense has been very good throughout the second half of the season…especially when playing at home. Well this game isn’t in Dallas. While there should be plenty of Cowboys fans in the LA Memorial Coliseum, I expect to see a higher-scoring game than Vegas predicts (the total is 49) with a slight cover by the Rams. It’s fairly clear that their star RB Todd Gurley isn’t 100% but this is QB Jared Goff’s time to shine…and I’m expecting a 275+ yard passing day with three touchdowns. Dak Prescott will play well and Ezekiel Elliott will get his yards…but this is the Rams’ opportunity to make the NFL’s Final Four.

NEW ORLEANS 31, Philadelphia 26 (ATS: Eagles +9)
Several months ago, the Eagles lost by six TDs in New Orleans. But this is Nick Foles-magic and not an injured-Carson Wentz under center. I think the game will be close and fairly high-scoring (aka take the over)…but I have a hard time seeing the Saints losing at home this postseason. In what will be a fun final game of the Divisional Round, New Orleans advances to the NFC Championship Game.

Conference Championships

Los Angeles Chargers 30, KANSAS CITY 27
This is Philip Rivers’ time. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers won a Super Bowl in 2010-11 by first winning three road games in the playoffs. Rivers is just too good of a QB to have never made a Super Bowl. Andy Reid’s playoff (and especially Conference Championship Game) nightmares continue…and the Chargers stay undefeated outside of California.

NEW ORLEANS 37, Los Angeles Rams 30
(Sticking with this pick from last week’s column)

These teams played to a fun 45-35 score in early-November and while it won’t be quite as high-scoring, this game will be just as fun. I believe this will be Drew Brees’ last game in the Superdome before retiring into the sunset this offseason. While I proclaimed the Rams as unbeatable in midseason, playing in New Orleans will ultimately be their kryptonite.

Super Bowl

NEW ORLEANS 23, Los Angeles Chargers 20
(Sticking with my rationale from last week’s column despite the adjusted AFC team and score)
My first bet in this game would be to take the under. With two weeks to prepare, both defenses will be fantastic in the first half before the game opens up in the final 30 minutes. But in a dome stadium with the better coach, QB, playmakers, and a defense that isn’t all that inferior, give me New Orleans to raise their second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history (and the last decade). Drew Brees is named the MVP and rides off into the sunset a la John Elway 20 years ago or so.

 

For more NFL analysis and thoughts, listen to The Daily Blender, weekdays from 3-6pm on 1580TheFanatic.  You can tune in here.

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