NFL Division Round Playoff Games – Previews and Predictions

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
Saturday January 11 at 4:30 pm ET on FOX
Announcers: Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch

Yes, the Saints did win a game against a quality opponent on the road last week. However, the Eagle defense and Seattle defense are polar opposites; the Seahawks led the NFL in points (14.4), yards (274), passing yards (172), yards per pass attempt (5.8), passer rating (63.4), takeaways (39), interceptions (28) and turnover differential (plus-20). Seattle is rested and healthy, and after losing at home three weeks ago they will be mentally prepared and not take this game lightly – despite the fact that they beat the Saints by 27 last month.

This game should be closer than last time – Drew Brees is going to pass for more than 147 yards and 3.9 yards per attempt – but there is no way that I don’t go with the team that does so very well at home, versus the club that so often looks like a different team when they have to play on the road.

Pick • Seahawks 23, Saints 17
Saints plus 9½
Under 44
Final Score: Seahawks 23, Saints 15 … Seahawks win by 8 but Saints cover by 1½ … under by 6


Sincere condolences to friends and family of Sam Berns

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
Saturday January 11 at 8:15 pm ET on CBS
Announcers: Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf (in his announcing farewell)

While many worry about the New England passing game, the Indy pass defense didn’t look very special last week either. This season the Pats are 8-0 at home and 5-0 at home versus teams with a .500 record or better; Colts are 5-3 on the road and 2-3 on the road against teams with a record of .500 or better. Bill Belichick game plans every week to take away an opponent’s top offensive threat – and is usually successful in doing just that – so don’t expect T.Y. Hilton to replicate his 13 reception, 224 yard, two-touchdown performance. Once that happens, how much faith do you have in LaVon Brazill, Griff Whalen and Coby Fleener winning the game for Indy?

Pick • Patriots 27, Colts 24
Colts plus 7½
Under 51½
Final Score: Patriots 43, Colts 22 … New England wins by 21 and covers by 13½ … over by 13½


San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
Sunday January 12 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX
Announcers: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman

Carolina at home is still getting no respect, since they weren’t very good the last couple of seasons. The Panthers will do what they have been doing all season, which is to limit the number of possessions with long drives while forcing opponents to punt – while the Niners are caught looking ahead to next week against Seattle. Fans that pine for the days of yesteryear with quality physical defenses should love this game.

Pick • Panthers 23, Niners 20
Panthers plus 1½
Over 41½
Final Score: Niners 23, Panthers 10 … San Francisco wins by 13 and covers by 11½ … under by 8½


San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
Sunday January 12 at 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Announcers: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms

Peyton Manning’s playoff performances in cold or windy weather is well documented, and the Chargers have already won in Denver this year. I just don’t know if San Diego has enough talent on their roster to win this game outright, but I do believe they will make it a competitive game. While Denver has shown at times that they are vulnerable and prone to committing multiple mistakes, they also have the offensive firepower to easily overcome those miscues.

Pick • Broncos 27, Chargers 24
Chargers plus 9½
Under 55½
Final Score: Broncos 24, Chargers 17 … Denver wins by 7 but San Diego covers by 1½ … under by 14½



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No pick were made during the wildcard round, but there are the week 17 and regular season tallies. Oddly enough I fared much better with college games than with the NFL this year, even though I follow the pro games much more closely. The most likely reason for that is that hard as I might try not to do so, I may sometime be susceptible to letting personal rooting interest cloud my judgement, which is far less likely to occur with the NCAA games than with NFL games.


Tale Of The Tape

Week 17 Results

Straight Up: 13-3, 81%
Underdogs to win straight up: 0-2

Against the Spread: 8-8, 50%
ATS picking favorites: 6-4, 60% (1-0, +200)
ATS picking underdogs: 2-4, 33% (0-0, +/-0)
ATS Confidence Picks: 1-0, 100% (+200)
One Unit Plays ATS: none
Two Unit Plays ATS: 1-0, +200
Three Unit Plays ATS: none
Four Unit Plays ATS: none
Five Unit Plays ATS: none
220 risked, net +200; +90.9% ROI

Over Under Total: 8-8, 50%
Picking Over: 2-4, 33% (0-1, -220)
Picking Under: 6-4, 60% (3-0, +400)
O/U Confidence Picks: 3-1, 75% (+180)
One Unit Plays O/U: 2-0, +200
Two Unit Plays O/U: 1-1, -20
Three Unit Plays O/U: none
Four Unit Plays O/U: none
Five Unit Plays O/U: none
660 risked, net +180; +27.3% ROI

Money Line: none

Best Play of the Week: correct (Dolphins-Jets under 41½); +200

3-Game Teasers: none
3-Game Parlays: none
4-Game Parlays: none

College Games: none

Week 17 Grand Total:
4-1, 80%
880 risked
net +380
+43.2% ROI


Season Totals

Straight Up: 172-83-1 (67%)
Underdogs to win straight up: 24-25 (49%)

Against the Spread: 125-123-8 (50%)

ATS picking favorites: 63-60-7, 51% (27-23-1, 54%, -200)
ATS picking underdogs: 62-63-1, 50% (15-9, 63%, +570)
ATS Confidence Picks: 42-32-1, 57% (+370)
One Unit Plays ATS: 28-17-1, 62% (+920)
Two Unit Plays ATS: 11-11, 50% (-210)
Three Unit Plays ATS: 1-2, 33% (-360)
Four Unit Plays ATS: 1-2, 50% (-480)
Five Unit Plays ATS: 1-0, 100% (+500)

Over Under Total: 129-127 (50%)
Picking Over: 70-62, 53% (20-14, 59%, +700)
Picking Under: 59-65, 48% (19-16, 54%, +280)
O/U Confidence Picks: 39-30, 57% (+980)
One Unit Plays O/U: 26-19, 58% (+510)
Two Unit Plays O/U: 10-10, 50% (-200)
Three Unit Plays O/U: 2-1, 67% (+270)
Four Unit Plays O/U: 1-0, 100% (+400)
Five Unit Plays O/U: none

Money Line: 2-0-1, +860

Best Play of the Week: 13-3, 81% (+2800)

3-Game Teasers: 8-6 (+610)
3-Game Parlays: 4-7 (+1420)
4-Game Parlays: 0-1 (-110)

College Games: 50-18-1, 74%; net +5415

Season Grand Total:
174-94-3 (65%)
38,840 risked (3,000 bankroll)
net +9,545
+24.6% ROI (318% ROI of bankroll)



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