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New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
Date and Time: Saturday, 1/11/13 at 4:35pm on FOX
Game Line: Seattle Seahawks -8 (from G)
Saturday NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Football Analysis: The New Orleans Saints took care of the notion that they can’t win on the road in the playoffs by beating Philadelphia last Saturday but winning in Seattle is a completely different animal. The Seahawks will try to win a sixth straight home playoff contest and secure their 16th victory in 17 games on their own field when they take on a New Orleans team looking to avenge last month’s blowout loss in Seattle. Though all the attention leading up to their wild card contest focused on their inability to win away from home, the Saints snapped a three game road losing streak with a 26-24 victory over Philadelphia last Saturday. Shayne Graham made a 32 yard field goal as time expired to give New Orleans its first postseason road win in six tries, as well as a shot at redemption in Seattle. The NFC best Seahawks led the NFL in total defense and held Drew Brees to just 147 yards passing in a 34-7 home win early in December. It was the Saints lowest scoring output since Drew Brees became their quarterback. The Seahawks have won five straight home playoff games dating back to 2005 and have only lost one home game this season. If New Orleans can pass the ball effectively, they’re going to need to find tight end Jimmy Graham over the middle because their receivers will be shut down. Seattle’s cornerback Richard Sherman is probably the best in the league and Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are two of the best safeties in the NFL. They have shut down just about every passing attack they have seen this season and there’s no reason to think they won’t stop New Orleans here. A big factor for the Saints will be their running game, which was very successful last week in Philadelphia. Mark Ingram had one of his best games as a Saint and they’re going to need that kind of bruising rushing attack if they’re going to keep this game close. It’s always harder to beat a team a second time, especially in just over a month and New Orleans is too good of a team not to cover the big number in this game.
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks Free NFL Picks: New Orleans Saints +8 and over 46
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks Game Prediction: 27-24 Seahawks
What to expect in this NFL Playoff Football match up: The public perception in this game is that Seattle is unbeatable at home. Given the beating they laid on New Orleans just a month ago many bettors will think this game should be a blowout and bet accordingly. However, Sean Payton is one of the best coaches in the league and Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks. They will find a way to have success moving the football and keep this game close from start to finish. Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles will play a big factor as the running game will have to be more effective than it was last time these two teams met.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patroits
Date and Time: Saturday, 1/4/13 at 8:15pm on CBS
Game Line: New England Patriots -7 (from JustBet)
Saturday NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Football Analysis: In his career as an Indianapolis Colt, Andrew Luck has had a knack for winning close games but his one appearance against Tom Brady and the Patriots was anything but close. The Colts suffered their worst loss under Andrew Luck last year against New England but this time the stakes will be much higher. Indianapolis turned in the most stunning performance of the postseason to this point by rallying from a 28 point deficit in the second half last Saturday for a 45-44 home win over Kansas City. Luck was the reason why, throwing for four touchdowns and 443 yards, many of which came after the Colts seemed doomed thanks to his three interceptions. Luck is now 14-2 in games decided by seven points or fewer. The matchup between T.Y. Hilton, who has taken Reggie Wayne’s place as the Colts number one receiver, and corner back Aqib Talib, one of the leagues best corner backs will be a major factor in this game. Hilton had over 200 receiving yards and two scores in the Colts comeback last weekend and he probably won’t have the chance to be as effective in this contest. One big concern for New England is an injury plagued line backing core including their leader Brandon Spikes. Fortunately for the Patriots, Indianapolis’ run game has been their biggest weakness all season. The addition of Trent Richardson was a complete bust and Donald Brown will assume the starting duties but he has proven over his career he is not a feature back in the NFL. It hasn’t been a vintage season for Tom Brady, whose 87.3 passer rating is his lowest in a full season since 2003. He has been sacked 40 times, the most since his first full year in 2001. Their offense isn’t the same without Gronkowski, Welker and Aaron Hernandez and that has forced them to rely more heavily on their run game. Ridley and Blount have combined for 1,500 yards and fourteen touchdowns while Bolden and Vareen have been the third down pass catching backs and it has worked well enough to earn the Patriots a first round bye in the playoffs this year. If they can run the ball effectively against a very mediocre Colts run defense, there’s no reason to think they can’t win and cover on their home field.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots Free NFL Picks: New England -7 and over 52
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots Game Prediction: 38-24 New England
What to expect in this NFL Playoff Football match up: The New England Patriots have one key weapon that Kansas City didn’t have last weekend after Jamaal Charles left the game early, a running game. If they can score a few times in the first half and get a lead they will pound the ball with their committee of backs and keep Andrew Luck off the field, limiting his opportunities to make a come back. If Talib can shut down T.Y. Hilton it will be a long day for a Colts offense that is not as good as they played last weekend. This is Tom Brady’s time of year and if he can limit his mistakes and his young recievers don’t drop passes, this will be the biggest blowout of the weekend.
Sunday’s NFC Divisional Game Picks: San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
Date and Time: Sunday, 1/12/13 at 1:05pm on FOX
Game Line: Carolina Panthers pk (from JustBet)
Sunday NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Football Analysis: While San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick tries to continue his postseason success, Cam Newton will make his playoff debut Sunday in Carolina. Trying for an eighth straight victory that would send them to their third consecutive NFC championship game, Kaepernick and the visiting 49ers look to avenge a regular season loss to Newton and the Panthers on Sunday. In perhaps the roughest of his 27 career starts, Kaepernick went 11 of 22 for 91 yards with an interception, was sacked a career high six times and rushed for just 16 yards during San Francisco’s 10-9 home loss to Carolina in November. By holding the 49ers to a season low 151 yards the Panthers also cooled off a 49ers team that at the time was riding a five game winning streak. San Francisco handled the frigid cold in Green Bay very well last weekend. Kaepernick completed 16 passes including eight to Michael Crabtree who will need to be a focus point for the Panthers defense. He has been a go to weapon for San Francisco in the playoffs for the last three years and seems to play his best football when it matters most. They will also need to contain Kaepernick on the ground. He has averaged 11.3 yards pre carry in his post season career, but the speedy linebackers for Carolina should be up to the challenge. On the other side of the ball, Cam Newton bounced back in a big way this year. He set career highes in touchdown passes, passer rating, and completion percentage while also rushing for 585 yards and six scores himself. Newton did not play his best football down the stretch though, the Panthers were held to 17 points or fewer in two if their last four games and they’re going to need to score more than that if they’re going to beat San Francisco at home. This game will be a hard hitting grinder, with two very similar styles both offensively and defensively. In a game that figures to be a coin flip we give the edge to the team with the playoff experience, who has been in these kinds of games before.
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers Free NFL Picks: San Francisco pk and under 42
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers Game Prediction: 21-17 San Francisco
What to expect in this NFL Playoff Football match up: Offense will be at a premium for both teams throughout this game. These are two of the best total defenses in the league and they will prove it by completely shutting down the rushing attack of both opposing quarterbacks. Neither will have a very good game but it will be Kaepernick’s playoff experience and big plays down teh stretch that will make the difference in this one. Cam Newton has the talent to be an elite NFL quarterback but the San Francisco defense isn’t what he needed to see in his first playoff game.
Sunday’s AFC Divisional Game Picks: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
Date and Time: Sunday, 1/12/14 at 4:40pm on CBS
Game Line: Denver Broncos -9.5 (from JustBet)
Sunday NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Football Analysis: While the San Diego Chargers enter Sunday’s game against Denver as nearly a double digit underdog, they shouldn’t be lacking the confidence after getting the best of Peyton Manning and the Bronco’s in Denver last month. Coach John Fox’s team is trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Denver had outscored their opponents by an average of 20.4 points per game before losing 27-20 to San Diego in December. Ryan Mathews ran for 127 yards and a touchdown, a performance he is going to need to emulate if the Chargers are going to beat Denver again. The Chargers defense also held the Broncos to just 20 points, their lowest total of the season by bringing exotic blitz packages and mixing coverage’s to keep Manning off balance. They’re going to need to get even more creative this time around. Having averaged 37.9 points during the regular season, the highest of any team in the Super Bowl era, the Broncos were held to fewer than 30 in just three games, two of which came against the Chargers. Denver won 28-20 at San Diego in Week 10 behind 330 yards and four touchdowns from Manning. While beating the Chargers remains their top priority, the Broncos are also eager to prove themselves following last season’s divisional round collapse against eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore. Denver gave up a game tying touchdown with 31 seconds left in regulation before falling 38-35 in double overtime exactly a year to the day of Sunday’s clash. The Chargers have run for an average of 170.2 yards during the current five-game win streak and are 10-2 when rushing for more than 102, compared to 0-5 when they don’t. It’s unclear how much Mathews will be able to contribute, though, after leaving last weekend’s game with a lingering ankle injury. The Chargers running game is the key to this one, if they can be effective, move the ball, and keep Manning and company on the sidelines, they have a great chance to cover this number and even pull off the biggest upset of the playoffs this year.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos Free NFL Picks: San Diego +9.5 and under 54.5
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos Game Prediction: 28-24 Denver
What to expect in this NFL Playoff Football match up: Usually the status of one player doesn’t change our opinion on a side or a total but the Ryan Matthews injury is a different story. If he can play and be effective San Diego will cover this spread. Denver’s run defense isn’t as good as they look on paper and if Matthews can be as effective as he was in the Chargers win in Denver last month, they will stay in this game. Keeping the Broncos quick strike offense on the sidelines with dink and dunk passes from Philip Rivers and a strong rushing attack will be the difference maker in this game.