SPREADS (as of JAN. 7, lines are subject to change. SOURCE: bovada)
KC -3.5 at HOU o/u 40
PIT -3 at CIN o/u 45.5
SEA -6 at MIN o/u 40
GB -1 at WAS o/u 45
Right off the bat, all the favorites seem to be easy bets. Steelers, Chiefs, Seahawks and Packers, but we all know it’s never that easy. With this being one of the weirdest NFL seasons I can recall, it’s been impossible to say anything will happen for sure. With that being said….. These are my predictions.
CHIEFS VS TEXANS
I like the Chiefs minus the points in this matchup. The chiefs are on a tear right now and are a force to be reckoned with. Andy Reid is a monster in December- January (as we all know) and I don’t think Bill O’ Brien and the Texans have what it takes to knock off the red hot Chiefs. Does anyone really trust Brian Hoyer in the playoffs? I sure as hell don’t. The guy has half a brain after numerous concussions this season and his only weapon is DeAndre Hopkins, who is a freak, but not freaky enough to singlehandedly win a playoff game. Now, Romeo Crennel and the Texans D are nothing to underestimate, and give them credit, but should they even be in the playoffs? Houston comes out of the shitty AFC south, the only division that may be worse than our very own NFC east. If it wasn’t for the dismantling of Andrew Luck and the Colts the Texans wouldn’t even be sniffing a playoff spot. Therefore, take Andy Reid and the Chiefs. They just won 10 in a row and its been 22 years since their last playoff win. Kansas City is hungry for a win, Big Red is hungry for a win, and probably a hot pocket as well…go Chiefs!
EDITOR’S NOTE: I agree with Shane here. Take KC -3.5
STEELERS VS BENGALS
My immediate reaction when I looked at this game was to pick Pittsburgh. They’re the favorite, they have the best receiver in the league in Antonio Brown, Cincinnati’s back up QB AJ McCarron is starting his first playoff game ever, Big Ben is a vet when it comes to the playoffs, Oh, and Cincinnati is 0-6 in wildcard playoff games dating back to the 2005-2006 season. That 2006 matchup was the last time they played PIT in the playoffs, which resulted in a 31-17 loss as well as the Steelers going on to win the Super Bowl. I think the outcome will be different this time, I’m going with Bengals +3. Although McCarron is starting at QB, the Bengals will win this game. They have the best all around roster in the NFL and McCarron has proven he can fill in just fine for Andy Dalton. Normally when a back up QB is called upon the playbook becomes limited. We don’t see that with McCarron. Since Dalton went down Aj has shown he can put the ball where it needs to be when it needs to be there. With the help of AJ Green, Tyler Eifert and both Running Backs, the Bengals will finally get it done in January. Another reason I’m going with Cincinnati is defense. Their defense has the tools to shut down Roethlisberger and AB. The Steelers on the other hand, do not have that prolific, punch you in the mouth D, that they’ve had in past years. Go Cincy!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Cincy has been my AFC Super Bowl pick all season. I agree with Shane and think they get the job done without the Red Rifle. Cincy +3 at home.
SEAHAWKS VS VIKINGS
This should be an easy pick, go with Seattle. The Seahawks are just a better team. Not to mention, they’re coming off 2 consecutive Super Bowl appearances where they smashed the Broncos in 2014, and then blew a sure win with possibly the worst play call in sports history in 2015. They should be going for their 3rd straight Super Bowl victory, instead they’re going for their 2nd in 3 years, which is still fucking awesome. The line opened up with Seattle a 3 point favorite, since then the line moved 3 points which must mean there’s some $harp money being thrown on Seattle. Seattle has one of the few defenses that can match Adrian Peterson’s intensity. It’s going to be about 2 degrees at kickoff, which only lessens that intensity. The key to this matchup will be Russell Wilson. There is only one person in the league that is playing better than him, Cam Newton. Wilson is absolutely on fire, the Doug Baldwin connection has been deadly (thank you for winning me my fantasy championship) and Minnesota does not have what it takes to stop it. Go Hawks!
EDITOR’S NOTE: 3 FOR 3 so far, Seattle -6.
PACKERS VS REDSKINS
This game is the trickiest of them all. With the slumping Packers and the surging Redskins it’s tough to make a sure pick. But lets not be fooled by the Redskins, yes, Kirk Cousins has had a 100+ QB rating in the past six games but what does that really mean? Washington had one of the easiest schedules in the 2nd half of the season, with Desean blowing off the tops of these defenses and Jordan Reed open in the middle all day, I could’ve had a 100 QBR vs these crappy teams. This game reminds me of the recent Clemson vs North Carolina ACC championship. Everyone starts calling for an upset and that NC is going to win, and what do you know Clemson comes out and puts up 45. If it wasn’t for a late rally by The Tar Heels it would’ve been a blowout. Although the Packers aren’t the top team, they’re just better. Aaron Rodgers will put the team on his back and get the job done, it’s the playoffs after all, go packers minus the point.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ahh, the disagreement. I feel like the Skins feel disrespected at the fact that they are a home dog. Jordan Reed has a game like he had vs the Eagles in their week 16 match up, and Rodgers throws a pick on the final drive. Skins +1 at home.
In Conclusion, I feel confident in all four of these picks. I mainly feel confident in the Chiefs and the Seahawks, a bit more iffy on the Bengals and Packers for obvious reasons. But whatever you do, I would suggest buying a point which ever way you decide to go. This is the playoffs, and these are professional athletes, so you can count on there being some close games.