Friday, January 15, 2010

NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions and Odds

The NFL playoffs are in full swing, and if last weeks Green Bay vs. Arizona game was any indication, we are in for one hell of a ride this upcoming weekend. Last week the Wild Card round brought a few surprises, mainly I went 1-3 with my NFL picks, horrible. Seriously, how could I forget that Kurt Warner doesn't lose in the playoffs? Anyways, this week I am back and making predictions for the NFL playoffs, and this time you can rest assured, I am going to redeem myself, and my money from last week.

Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints:
Last week the Cardinals proved they have not lost the playoff magic that took them to the Super Bowl last season. Arizona put on a show in the desert and broke a few NFL records in the process. However, the biggest surprise of the game came when the Cardinals defense came up with the winning play. Now the Arizona Cardinals travel to New Orleans where they will take on the Saints in the Super Dome. If last weeks game was any indication, the winner of this playoff game could be the first to 60 points.

The New Orleans Saints may enter the postseason as the coldest team in the NFL. They backed their way into the number one seed in the NFC by losing their last two games and receiving help from the Chicago Bears. The Saints rested plenty of players over the last month of the season, and it is assumed they will all be back on the field on Saturday night. Now the question is can the Saints regain their swagger that took them to a 13-0 start.

While all the NFL playoff games this weekend look enticing, this one has the potential to be the most exciting. Neither the Cardinals or the Saints have shown a willingness to play defense over the past few weeks. Both teams have explosive offenses, that like to score points in bunches. The spread is set at 7 points and favoring The Saints. In a strange twist of fate, the winner of this game won't be the team who has the most explosive big plays, but most likely the team that can control the clock and and maintain long scoring drives.

Winner: The Arizona Cardinals pull the upset and win the game. Also take the over its sitting at 57 points, you know these teams can eclipse this.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts -7: The Indianapolis Colts find themselves in familiar territory. They enter the playoffs at 14-2, Peyton Manning is the leagues MVP for a record 4th time, and they appear to have all the necessary parts to make the Super Bowl. SO why is everyone doubting that the Colts can get it done? Because we have seen this movie before and it never ends well if you are an Indianapolis Colts fans. Indy rested their starters the final two weeks of the season, and they lost both games. Much like the New Orleans Saints, the Colts have gone nearly a month without winning a game. Peyton Manning and company claim they are an experienced playoff team, and they know how to turn up the intensity for a playoff game. The Baltimore Ravens will put that philosophy to the test.

Last Sunday the Baltimore Ravens put a beating on the New England Patriots, the likes of which we have not seen in years. Tom Brady and company went into the off season with their tail between their legs, and the world saw that the Baltimore Ravens still have plenty of fight left in them. Baltimore's defense looked amazing against the Patriots. They brought loads of pressure directly up the middle and rattled Tom Brady all day. He was so affected by the pressure that Brady was responsible for four turnovers. The downside of the Ravens play was their offense. Yes Ray Rice had a field day rushing the ball, but Joe Flacco was good for 4-11 and just over 40 yards on the day. At some point he will be called on to make a play, the question is can Flacco answer the call?

The spread for this game favors the Indianapolis Colts by 7 points which oddly enough seems like a fitting spread. The Colts will have a bit of rust to shake off, but if they can avoid the early blitz from the the Ravens, Indianapolis should be able to settle into a comfortable grove and simply put pace the Ravens.

Winner: Indianapolis wins the game.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings -3: BRETT FAVRE Okay, got that out of the way. Brett Favre is back in the playoffs and this time it is with the Minnesota Vikings, which is still a bit strange to see. The Vikings are another team that came out strong at the beginning of the season, but really struggled through the month of December. What's the biggest problem facing the Vikings? Their rushing attack has diapered. Andria Peterson has been a non factor for the past month. This should be a huge concern for Minnesota. If they cannot move the ball on the ground it means the Mall of America Arena becomes the house of Favre, and he is going to chuck the ball the field 30-40 times. While that could be a good thing, it could also have disastrous results as we all know how turnover prone Brett Favre can be.

Who would have thought the Dallas Cowboys would be the team entering the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs as the hot club, but it's true. The Dallas Cowboys are red hot and frankly they can thank their entire team effort for their recent success. The Cowboys defense has been the best in the NFL over the last four weeks. Their front eight have been aggressive at the point of attack, and are putting amazing amounts of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. On the offensive side of the ball, Tony Romo has shaken the December slump rumors, and if he can deliver a win on Sunday, all the past post season loses will be forgotten.

The spread at this game is sitting at 3 points and favors the Vikings. One has to think at least two of those points come simply because the Vikings are the home team. The key to this game will be both teams rushing attacks. If Minnesota can get Peterson going on the ground, it opens up their complete arsenal of weapons. If the Cowboys get their 3-headed rushing attack going they can dominate the clock and control the game. Right now the Cowboys are playing some great football, and I love the way their defense is flying around the field and making plays.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys pull the upset and win the game.

New York Jets vs. San Diego Chargers -8:The New York Jets were gifted their final two games of the regular season and earned their way into the playoffs as a result. Lucky for them, they have made the best of their opportunity to this point. Last weekend the Jets went on the road and put on a defensive clinic in earning a win. This week they will need to step up the intensity if they want to slow down the high flying Chargers offense. New York relies on their defense to make plays and their shut down corners will have to be on their toes to keep the bigger San Diego receivers at bay and out of the endzone.

This may be the San Diego Chargers last chance at greatness, and lucky for them they have the best team they have had in decades. Philip Rivers has played like a man possessed since mid October. Quietly the Chargers have transformed from running team to a passing team, and that has not been a bad thing. However, the Chargers will need to find their running game if they want to be successful on Sunday. LT, does not have to return to his old form, but he will need to put in a solid effort to help punch some holes in a stout Jets defense.

This game has the largest spread of the four games with San Diego being favored by 8 points. The Jets have a very good defense, and they have featured a punishing rushing attack thus far in the playoffs. However, they have skated by on a bit of luck and are playing with house money right now. The Chargers desperately want to prove a point, and the first step comes on Saturday by dominating the Jets.

Winner: San Diego Chargers win the game and cover the 8 point spread.

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LDUTheCoach said...

This week TheCoach has the Cardinals in a close battle… the reason being is because the Saints simply screwed themselves by benching starters in the last week of the season… They haven’t won a game in a month now with the BYE and haven’t won’t a meaningful game since the Patriots or looked good winning in the process. I don’t trust the way the Saints decided to finished off the season and even if they do win… no way they cover the touchdown spread…

Indy on the other hand can win this game, it once again will be closer than the touchdown spread predicts though. Baltimore is playing great smash-mouth football but I am concerned at the fact they are playing Peyton Manning who can single handily win a game as we have seen many times.

Minnesota played out the season and of course we all know what happened, they stomped the Giants 44-7 (who beat Dallas twice this season) but lets be realistic in the fact that Dallas is playing the best football since 1996 but Romo is finally playing football since ditching Jessica Simpson. Good move for his stats!

Last but not least, I know everyone is saying the Chargers are going to kill the Jets, but again, Vegas is giving to many points here (7.5). The Jets match up so well against the Chargers, Revis blanket whoever he wants, and they stop the run while running the ball against a Chargers team who other than week 17 when they played the Redskins, gave up 100+ on the ground to 6 straight opponents to finish off the season.

Also, to finish off since 2005, seven teams have won round one on the round and they are 7-0 against the spread in the 2nd round (take Baltimore and New York)

For a full in depth write up with TheCoach Prediction visit:

Best of luck to all this week…

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