All four games this weekend are rematches from games early in the season. Don’t get too hung up on the outcomes from those games since all the games took place in September and October. Many impact players like Tom Brady and Dez Bryant didn’t even play in those contests.
Will the first-round bye leave teams rusty or will they come in well-rested?
We pick every NFL Divisional Playoff round games against the spread.
Since there are only four games this weekend, as a bonus I will also pick the over/under for each game.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (-5) – over/under (51.5) – My pick is Seattle Seahawks & UNDER
We all know the schtick about Seattle, they aren’t as good on the road. They are still a good road team, but they get a reputation as a weak road team just because they are such beasts at home. Seattle barely beat Atlanta 26-24 early this season. Many thought Richard Sherman should have been called for pass interference on a play late in the game. Atlanta has an explosive offense, but I think this one will be close once again. Also, Seattle could plan to use RB Thomas Rawls to slow down the game. 51.5 points is a under over/under hurdle to clear.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots (-15) – over/under (44.5) – My pick is New England Patriots & UNDER
The Patriots beat the Texans 27-0 in late September. It was just the beginning of Houston’s scoring issues. They went on a stretch following that loss that nearly cost QB Brock Osweiler his job a few times. The Patriots had a healthy TE Rob Gronkowski, who they will be without for the remainder of the season. Oh, and by the way, they didn’t even have QB Tom Brady for that game. I know fifteen points is a huge cover, but if you add Brady to a team that already beat the Texans by 27 points, it just makes sense. I don’t expect the Texans to score much, so the Pats would really need to run up the score to clear the over/under of 44.5.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5) – over/under (44) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers & OVER
The Steelers beat Kansas City 43-14 at Heinz Field in early October. The Steelers jumped out to a 22-point lead in the first quarter and just coasted. The Chiefs can beat you in a variety of ways. They can dink and dunk you to death with QB Alex Smith, pound the ball on the ground or force a team to commit turnovers on defense. The Steelers will come into this game with ice water in their veins. Nearly every impact player has playoff experience and/or a Super Bowl ring(s). I don’t think you will get many surprises from them. Pittsburgh will once again give a lot of carries to RB Le’Veon Bell. I do think the over of 44 points will be exceeded in what could be a high-scoring, close game.
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) – over/under (52.5) – My pick is Green Bay Packers & OVER
The Cowboys beat the Packers 30-16 in mid-October. The last time they played each other, the Packers were in the midst of a bad stretch of games. The Cowboys didn’t even have WR Dez Bryant. The Packers now come into this game on a seven-game winning streak. They played very well last week against the Lions. QB Aaron Rodgers has played like an MVP since about Week 11. I believe this game will be a high-scoring contest and the Cowboys could come into this game a little rusty due to most of the stars sitting out Week 17 and they are coming off a first-round bye. I believe this game will be close, so I also have to take the points.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob