RossCode Picks - NFL Divisional Playoffs

posted on 01/13/06 at 08:13:05 pm by Joel Ross

We are down to 7(!?!) NFL games left for the season. Then a long seven month layoff until we hit meaningful games again. That's a long time. Enjoy 'em while you can...

  • Pittsburgh* vs. Indianapolis (-9.5) (47.5 O/U): Indy will win. They are too dominating, but a spread of 10 in the playoffs is huge. Pittsburgh is going to have to do whatever they can to turn this into "their game" and that means a lot of running to slow the game down. That's their only?hope - clock control. If they can't hold the ball more than Indy, the Colts offense will go to work and we've all seen what happens when that happens. But, the Colts haven't played a meaningful game in over a month. They'll probably get off to a slower start, which will help the Steelers with their game plan. But at the end, Manning will have figured out the defense, and they'll get the win.
  • New England vs. Denver (-3) (44 O/U): Denver is dominating at home this season, and while cold weather isn't intimidating to the Patriots, that mile high altitude will be a tough adjustment. Denver's been there all year, and they just spent the last two weeks there gearing up for this one (and adjusting to the altitude). And you know Denver's game plan is tire down the Patriot defense. They love to run, and with the combo of Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell, they don't have to worry about either getting tired. But if they do, remember that huge game earlier this year by Ron Dayne? Yeah, they're deep. They should be able to dethrone the defending champs.
  • Washington vs. Seattle (-9.5) (41 O/U): I just got done saying that a 10 point spread was huge in the playoffs, and then I go and pick Seattle to cover it. Go figure. But in the NFC, Seattle is a notch above everyone else. Washington will have a tough time getting through to get to Alexander, let alone stop him. That Seattle line is very good. On the other side, Seattle's defense is good. Not great, but good. Good enough to stop a washed up quarterback. Holmgren is a very good coach, and is back on top of his game, so I don't expect him to get outcoached, even by Joe Gibbs, who's done an excellent job of adjusting his style after seeing it didn't work last season.
  • Carolina vs. Chicago (-2.5) (30 O/U): In what could turn out to be the most boring game ever (for the average NFL fan), this could be a 2-0 game, with only one defense registering any points. Carolina obviously has the better offense. Steve Smith is one of the best receivers in the league, but he's going up against a defense who will be all over them all game. Carolina's defense isn't as good as Chicago's, but the Bear offense isn't nearly as good as the Panther's either. The reinstatement of Rex Grossman has helped the Bears get better, but they still aren't great. After saying all that, why'd I take the over? I'm not sure, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the defenses outscore the offenses in this one - and that could push them over 30 measly points.

Here's an interesting stat. Since the inception of the Divisional Playoff round (where two teams from each division?get a bye), the home team is 49-11 all time. That's pretty good odds for betting on the home team, don't you think? If you look at the money lines, the oddsmakers know the history too! Still, it's a pretty sure bet. But is it worth it? If you put $10 on each home team, you'd come away with $18.30 in winnings. Not a bad return for a weekend's work!

Anyway, see you on the flip side with results.

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Categories: Football