The divisional round of the NFL playoffs, and with all teams being quality teams, it makes picking games against the spread a bit more challenging. It is hard to handicap the games because in the playoffs anything can happen, and there is less you can go by in the way of trends.
So without further delay, here are my suggestions for this week's quartet of games.
Saints at Seahawks (-8): This was a tough one for me. New Orleans does not travel well and they were already shellacked in Seattle once this season. The road team in New Orleans games this season has done terribly against the spread -- 2-15. One of them came last week with their win on the road. Likewise, Seattle performs well against the spread against winning teams (15-31) and when favored by more than a touchdown (18-5). With a spread of eight and the way that the Saints played in Philly, I almost took the points. However, I don't see how Seattle loses this game. While the Saints will play tougher this time around, it will still be a 10-point win. Give up the points for this game.
Colts at Pats (-7.5): Two trends make this a tough pick -- New England has covered 10 of their last 12 home games. Meanwhile, New England is also 2-9 ATS in the playoffs. The legend of Andrew Luck grows and neither team has a great defense. This should be a high-scoring affair. That 7.5, though, is tough. I think that the Colts lose by only seven. Take the points.
49ers at Panthers (pick'em): Both teams are extremely hot. San Fran is almost unbeatable against the spread against very good teams. They are 10-1-1 against team with a .700 winning percentage or higher. Carolina beat them once already and in San Fran, but with Michael Crabtree looking better and better, that will add a phase of the offense that wasn't really around the last time they played. I like the 49ers.
Chargers at Broncos (-9.5): San Diego continues their improbable run and plays Denver for the third time this season. They already beat Peyton Manning and company in Denver. However, knowing that, San Diego's run will end. However, since they have shown they can limit the time that the Broncos have the ball on offense, I really like the points. Philip Rivers and his bolo tie will keep the game close, but Denver will win. Take the points.
Here's a bonus! This is where we are at as a staff after the wild card round. Take a look at the results, the leaderboard (I'm still winning( and the picks we made for this weekend.
And now the picks...