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NFL Pick’off – Divisional Round

Jan 3, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is pursued by Arizona Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson (22) at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Want to find out the winning formula for this weekend’s playoff games?

This weekend I’ll make my selections “Straight-Up” (SU) and “Against The Spread” (ATS) from the slate of games.

The team listed in bold is the straight up pick, where as the red +/- indicates the pick when including the Vegas line.

I’ll provide a brief sentence or two of nonsense or logic (depending on the outcome), for what led me to that choice.

I’ll be competing against Catch-22’s NFL Senior Editor (Mark Staniusz) throughout the playoffs, and I will list his picks below.

Wild Card Weekend Results:

Mark 4-0 SU / 1-3 ATS

Phil 2-2 SU / 1-3 ATS

 

PHIL PICKS… 

Seattle (+6.5) @ Atlanta

Alarm bells and warning signs are going off everywhere for this NFC Divisional playoff match-up. The longer I stare at the line, the more complex it gets as the potential results of this game keep morphing into different scenarios within the creative craters of my mind. The Falcons have a 5-3 record at home, which is the worst record out of any of the 12 playoff teams entering play last weekend. Despite a potent offence, the Dirty Birds still feel like a risky play in a playoff senerio… The Seahawks dusted off a listless and injury riddled Lions team last week at home, taking a 4-point lead into the 4th quarter. Seattle is 3-4-1 on the road this season, and seem to be mortal away from CenturyLink Field. They’ve beaten the Falcons earlier this year but lost to Atlanta back in the 2013 playoffs where they nearly came back from a 20-point, 4th quarter deficit… History lessons aside, I see the Falcons pulling this one out thanks to some late, hard yards, from Devonta Freeman. Heed warning, the Seahawks won’t go quietly into the Georgia night, and will keep this one close enough to cash the (+6.5).

Falcons

 

Houston @ New England (-16.5)

The Texans were 2-6 away from their home field this season. They’re relying on a QB making his first career road playoff game start in Foxborough against Brady, Belichick and the Patriots. Let’s be honest here, this is unquestionably an insurmountable challenge for Brock Osweiler and company. New England will win this game outright, rest assured of that. The real fun begins when we scheme to have the Pats win by more than 16 points in this potential slaughter. Seeing how New England beat Houston by 27 earlier this year using a 3rd string signal caller, you should be good here. No J.J. Watt for the Texans, and decent weather in the forecast, strongly urges you to push the chips in on a Patriot victory by more than 3 scores. You may have to sweat the cover, but at the end of the day you’re going to be much more comfortable riding with Tom Brady, than praying Brock Osweiler keeps this game close. Don’t complicate a simple formula, take advantage of what equates to the easiest call of the weekend.

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks over Earl Mitchell #92 of the Houston Texans for a receiver in the third quarter as Antonio Smith #94 attempts to make contact at Reliant Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

 

Green Bay @ Dallas (-5)

The Packers welcomed it… Not at first, but… right there in the last instant. It’s an unmistakable relief. See, cause they were afraid, and now they saw for the very first time how easy it was to just… let go. Yeah, they saw, in that last nanosecond, they saw… what they were. You, yourself, this whole big drama, it was never more than a jerry-rig of presumption and dumb will, and you could just let go. To finally know that you didn’t have to hold on so tight… After a remarkable Aaron Rodgers led run for a team that was once 4-6, the magic ends for Green Bay in Dallas. The Cowboys are the monster at the end of the Wisconsin Superbowl dream. A Jordy Nelson-less Packers team will tread water for the first 3 quarters, kept afloat by Davante Adams, until they finally meet their demise. History suggests you take the home team in this playoff match-up that dates back to New Year’s Day, 1967.

CowboysPackers

 

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City (-1)

In many ways like the Seahawks and Falcons game, the potential results of this game keep morphing into different scenarios. I have the least confidence in this selection of all four of the match-ups over the weekend. The start time in this one has been pushed back to due an ice storm that could play a major factor with game time conditions. Pittsburgh has dominated the all-time series, however the Chiefs have won the lone playoff game between these two that went to overtime back in 1994. We could be in for another close game that will come down to a field goal, potentially in the 5th quarter. Alex Smith’s sneaky mobility will keep drives alive and be the difference over a lumbering and ginger Ben Roethlisberger. Gambling logic also likes Andy Reid and the Chiefs here, who have a chance to exorcise some playoff demons and punch their ticket to Foxborough.

Steelers

2016 Season: 129-89-2 (SU) / 98-112-10 (ATS)

 

STANIUSZ SAYS…

Seattle (+6.5) @ Atlanta 

Houston @ New England (-16.5)

Green Bay (+5) @ Dallas

Pittsburgh (+1) @ Kansas City

2016 Season: 136-83-2 (SU) / 105-105-10 (ATS)

 

*All NFL point spreads from www.vegasinsider.com (VI Consensus) as of 1:15 PM EST

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Follow authors: @Phil_Jones2020 and @MarkStaniusz

 

 

 

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