Saturday, January 14, 2017

2016 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round

Seattle Seahawks (+4-1/2) at Atlanta Falcons: This will be a fun one to watch as the NFL's top scoring offense in Atlanta looks to overcome the Seattle D, ranked 3rd in the NFL in fewest points allowed.

While everyone is eagerly anticipating a Julio Jones-Richard Sherman matchup (Jones had 7 catches, 139 yards and 1 TD in the Week 6 loss at Seattle), look for the Falcons to gash the Seahawks defense with a lot of underneath stuff. This is where Seattle will really feel the loss of stud FS Earl Thomas, who is out with a broken tibia.

While Atlanta's offense can put up points, they also have difficulty slowing teams down. Russell Wilson & Co. will get theirs but I don't believe it will be enough to overcome the Falcons' firepower.
Atlanta 34 Seattle 27

Houston Texans (+16) at New England Patriots: The Texans were shut out 27-0 in Week 3 at Foxboro despite the Pats starting third string quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Not much has changed for Texans since that game as their starting QB, Brock Osweiler, continued to underwhelm while the Houston defense attempted to shoulder that burden. The good news? The Texans' D allowed the fewest yards in the NFL. Bad news? The Houston offense generated the fourth fewest.

As long as Pats' Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady is healthy (and he is), this should be little more than a speed bump on the way to New England's 11th AFC Championship Game appearance over the past 16 seasons.
New England 35 Houston 14

Green Bay Packers (+4-1/2) at Dallas Cowboys: Despite utilizing a rookie quarterback and running back all year, the Cowboys proved they were legit contenders when they whipped the Packers 30-16 in a Week 6 matchup at Lambeau Field. Since that game, Dallas has stayed strong finishing the season 13-3 and earning the top seed in the NFC. Their reward? The white hot Aaron Rodgers.

I could list all sorts of legitimate reasons why Dallas should win, but their top priority needs to be limiting the number of snaps Rodgers & Co. take on offense. That can be accomplished with stud RB Ezekiel Elliott, who ran over Green Bay with 157 yards rushing in the regular season meeting.

The Cowboys have all the components for a Super Bowl contender right now, given their play at the skill positions (QB, RB and WR) as well as having the best offensive line in football.

On the other side of the ledger, I can only give you one reason why the Packers can win this game: Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay 34 Dallas 31

Pittsburgh Steelers (+1-1/2) at Kansas City Chiefs: In looking at this Chiefs team, I still have no idea how they finished 12-4 and earned a first round bye. They don't even rank in the Top 10 of total yardage for offense or defense and aren't exactly loaded with superstars at skill positions. But KC coach Andy Reid has a solid reputation of having his teams ready to play in the postseason when coming off a bye.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been in a walking boot most of the week but will absolutely play in this game. With treacherous weather conditions expected, the Steelers will rely on a heavy dose of All Pro RB Le'Veon Bell. Granted that's always a good strategy, but especially here in a matchup against a Chiefs defense allowing 4.4 yards per carry.
Pittsburgh 21 Kansas City 20

Postseason Record:
Against the Spread: 3-1
Straight Up: 4-0


Mr. D said...

Right on the number on the GB/DAL game! Impressive!

Brad Carlson said...

Blind squirrel, acorn, etc.