Another weekend of playoff football means the whole betting world has its eyes on the same four games. Last week the underdogs won three of them, while Super Bowl XLIV participants in Indianapolis and New Orleans were sent home without a single playoff victory.Do you expect more upsets this weekend, or will it be chalk city?
Here’s how we see it unfolding.
The Spread: Patriots -9
The Pick: There's only one way the Jets can win this game: they have to keep Tom Brady on the sideline as long as possible. The two most effective means to that end are running the ball effectively and limiting turnovers. Luckily for the Jets, they have one of the best run games in the league, and the Patriots run D has been porous -- especially against upper echelon rushing attacks (in five games against top-15 rushing teams, New England allows 4.94 yards per carry).
The bad news is that Mark Sanchez is about as turnover prone as quarterbacks come. But Rex and OC Brian Schottenheimer have seven days to remind him -- repeatedly -- that he cannot afford to make a bad decision. Better to throw it away. If the message gets through to Sanchez, the Jets can keep it within nine points. Win the game? Now that's a different story.
The Spread: Steelers -3
The Pick: The public likes the Baltimore better than any team this week (62 per cent have money on Ray Lewis & Co.) and we do, too. The Ravens thrive in opposing stadiums where they're 4-2 in road playoff games under Jim Harbaugh and the team's already won in Pittsburgh once this season.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are just 1-4 against winning teams since October, and simply don't look to have the ingredients in place for a prolonged postseason run this winter. Take the Ravens.
The Spread: Falcons - 2.5
The Pick: Once again the Packers find themselves in the hardest game to handicap of the weekend, and once again, we're going to pick them. Aaron Rodgers has simply been the best quarterback west of New England in recent weeks, and when in doubt, take the best signal caller.
More importantly, Green Bay finally got some production from their ground game last week in rookie running back James Stark, and with two teams dependent on the pass, his ability to move the chains could be the difference. Pick the Pack.
The Spread: Bears -10
The Pick: It's one thing to pull off a shocking upset against a weak defence with the benefit of homefield advantage, it's quite another to knock off a strong defence on the road in chilly Chicago. That being said, the Bears are giving 10 points, and considering Seattle beat them on the road earlier in the season and has gotten better play from Hasselbeck of late, we think they'll keep it to single digits. Yep, we're going all in this weekend on the 'dogs.
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