Well, I didn’t see that coming Cleveland Browns…
A 28-0 first quarter doomed the Steelers who started out 2020 11-0. Mind blowing that they got whooped by their arch rivals, who hadn’t won in Pittsburgh in God knows how long. And oh yeah, the Browns were without their head coach due to COVID!
If I was a Steelers fan, I’d be in hiding this week. I like Mike Tomlin as a head coach and let’s be honest, the Steelers haven’t fired a coach since the 1960s. But it’s time to move on from Ben Roethlisberger, whose 501 yards passing was downright ugly considering he threw 4 interceptions.
I went 4-2 last week picking games straight up though you might want to cover your eyes looking at the against the spread and over/under record. My other loss was the Seahawks, who seemingly forgot how they were winning games earlier this season. ‘Let Russ cook’ damn it! The fact that Pete Carroll wants to re-establish the run makes no sense to me. How the heck did it work out for you during the second half of the season? Bounced at home by a QB with a broken thumb…pathetic!
Based on my un-scientific research, there’s an average of 2 road upsets in the Divisional Round each year. If the Rams beat my Packers, I might be the one going into hiding next week. See below for this week’s picks plus a thought or two on each game:
NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND PREDICTIONS
Last Week: 4-2 Straight Up (SU), 2-4 Against the Spread (ATS), 1-5 Over/Under (OU)
Playoffs: 4-2 SU, 2-4 ATS, 1-5 OU
(Picks against the spread in parentheses; HOME TEAMS IN CAPS)
GREEN BAY PACKERS 27, Los Angeles Rams 16
(ATS: Packers -6.5, Under 45.5)
The Rams have a QB with a busted thumb on his throwing hand and the weather in Green Bay is scheduled to be freezing on Saturday (surprise, surprise!) Pretty much the only way the Rams win this is to hold Aaron Rodgers in check and most importantly, keep him off the field with a steady running game. Otherwise I just can’t see the likely MVP choking this one as he did in 2012 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants.
Baltimore Ravens 31, BUFFALO BILLS 27
(ATS: Ravens +2.5, Over 50)
Upset Special #1. Lamar Jackson finally got over the playoff hump in last week’s road win in Tennessee. Baltimore and Buffalo are arguably the two hottest teams in the league…but I’ll take the Ravens defense to make a play late to advance my preseason Super Bowl champ to the AFC title game.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 30, Cleveland Browns 23
(ATS: Browns +10, Under 57)
The Chiefs have been miserable against the spread of late and it will have been three full weeks since Patrick Mahomes last played in a game. Expect the Browns to come out fired up and to put a real scare into the Chiefs before a 2nd half comeback a la January 2020 in all three of their playoff games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 23
(ATS: Bucs +3, Under 52)
Upset Special #2. I think I’m just going to keep picking against New Orleans from here on our until I get it right. The Bucs got walloped by the Saints twice this season but you know the old adage, “it’s hard to beat a team three times in the same season.” Brady vs. Brees will be a ratings dynamo for FOX…and either vs. Green Bay would be epic in the NFC Championship Game. Brady trails most of the game but leads Tampa on a game winning drive in the final minute to likely end the career of his counterpart, Drew Brees.
Divisional Round Betting Locks
(Last Week’s Result, Season Record in Parentheses)
Favorite (WIN, 9-9): Packers -6.5 vs. Rams
Underdog (WIN, 10-8): Bucs +3 at Saints
Bet the Over (LOSS, 7-11): Ravens / Bills Over 50
Bet the Under (LOSS, 9-8-1): Browns / Chiefs Under 57