Abril 20, 2018

National Football League picks vs. spread, divisional playoffs: Quarterback mismatches define weekend

13 Enero 2018, 07:31 | Gerardo Tarin

National Football League picks vs. spread, divisional playoffs: Quarterback mismatches define weekend

Super Bowl LII Odds With Wild Card Weekend Over Check Out This 40/1 Long Shot

Preview: The Jaguars played a classic defensive game against the Buffalo Bills only allow them to score 3 points. Cameron Heyward is an All-Pro and is relentless in his pass rush and winning one one matchups. However, New Orleans is a different team on the road, and you have to hate what you saw out of the Saints' running game in round one. Don't overthink this one: the Tom Brady and Belichick era won't end with a Divisional Round loss to the Titans. The person who can make it or break it for them is quarterback Blake Bortles. More than half of that came via the team's fourth-year quarterback (88). They made QB Ben Roethlisberger turn it over five times and forced the Steelers to pass 55 times playing right into the Jags great pass defense. With last season's offense largely intact, the Falcons have regressed sharply from 6.7 yards per play under Kyle Shanahan to 5.8 under Sarkisian. Its defense has allowed 8.9 fewer points per game than expected in 2017, the second-best mark behind the Jaguars (12.8) this season and the 16th best effort since 2002.

"There is also the whole emotion around Ryan Shazier". I think it could be.

The Atlanta Falcons traveled across the country to Los Angeles last week where they pulled off a road upset of the NFC West champions to advance to the Divisional Round with a 26-13 win.

I have underrated Dion Lewis' effect on this team this year, but no more.

Philadelphia is No. 1 against the run, is at home and has had an extra week of rest. Against the Rams, they forced quarterback Jared Goff to beat them and he was unable to, and I expect them to do this to Eagles quarterback Nick Foles as well.

Tasked with picking their playoff road to the Super Bowl, and eventual victor, can Graves triumph over the likes of England cricketer Liam Plunkett WWE superstar Baron Corbin and Sky Sports News Deadline Day expert Jim White? The Eagles, on the other hand, are on a steep decline.

The Saints are here because they were able to hold on late against Cam Newton, and because Drew Brees delivered a virtuoso performance, torturing the Panthers with back shoulder throws, deep bombs and everything in between.

I was 2-2 straight up and against the spread last week. It's a defense that has plenty of talent in the front seven who can get to Ryan and win the game by disrupting the Falcons offense.

Of all the games this weekend, I think this will be the closest and most exciting. The Saints have won three of their last four meetings against the Vikings.

Prior to the Falcons' Wild Card Weekend win in L.A., the consensus had them as one- to two-point favorites in this matchup. However, the Vikings stand in the way, and won't be an easy task, especially in Minnesota. The Vikings have the extremely rare chance to host every game in these playoffs including the Super Bowl. I have a lot of faith in the Vikings defense with Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Anthony Barr, Everson Griffin, Linvall Joseph and Danielle Hunter, but that Saints defense is also quite deadly. When the rubber meets the road between good offense and good defense, especially in the National Football League playoffs when the sheer volume of recreational money can make a serious impact on the point spread, more often than not the best value is on the good defense. Brees has an accurate arm and solid receivers at his side, but that might not be enough to crack the Vikings defense. But things have changed since then with Sam Bradford injured and replaced by Case Keenum and Alvin Kamara becoming the main focal point of the Saints offense. It would be nice to see the Patriots line pushed to a field goal with the tease, but I'm not sweating 3 to 3.5.

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