Weather ‘could’ become a factor in the Divisional Round NFL playoff games. Pittsburgh and New England forecasts could become important information as they are playing outdoors in those games.
Should the Eagles be an underdog at home?
Can the Jaguars keep things close in Pittsburgh in what could be snowy conditions?
We pick every NFL Divisional Round Playoff 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.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (+3) – over/under (41) – My pick is Philadelphia Eagles & OVER
The Falcons surprised many by knocking off the Rams last week. Their playoff experience paid off. Their defense really put pressure on Rams QB Jared Goff and limited him to almost 50% completion percentage. Anytime you limit a QB to that percentage in today’s game, you’re setting up your team to win. The Eagles are coming in with backup QB Nick Foles. They are the first #1 seed to play their first game as an underdog. Uneducated bettors will see their 6-0 loss in Week 17 and put some weight in the outcome of that game. The Eagles were just trying to come out of that game without injuries and the Cowboys didn’t give a crap either. I have faith in Philly head coach Doug Pederson’s gameplan. I don’t see them as an underdog and think there’s a lot of value in taking the points and possibly on the Eagles moneyline.
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13.5) – over/under (47) – My pick is New England Patriots & UNDER
The Patriots have only failed to cover one game since Week 4. That’s insanely efficient. If you use that knowledge and add the fact that Pats head coach Bill Belichick is nearly-automatic after a bye week…the Titans are clearly screwed, right? As much as I love to see Patriots in-fighting (sorry, I’m a Colts fan), I don’t see the Titans as a huge challenge this weekend. The Titans needed an elite performance from RB Derrick Henry to come back from a big halftime deficit last week. The Titans would need to play consistent for four quarters to keep this one close…they haven’t done that since Week 2. It’s extremely difficult to cover a double-digit point spread in the NFL and to do it in the playoffs is almost unheard of, but the Pats will have the Titans number…I’m taking the Pats to cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5) – over/under (41) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars & UNDER
The Jaguars defeated the Steelers 30-9 in Week 4. Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette dominated by rushing for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell was still getting into playing shape after sitting out all preseason and only rushed for 47 yards on 15 carries as well as 10 receptions for 46 yards. He wasn’t explosive and struggled breaking tackles. Bell has improved as the season progressed, but the Jags have a great defense. The Jags finished the regular season 8-8 in over/unders, but the Steelers was a strong performer as an under, going 6-10 o/u. The Steelers and Jaguars both have strong defenses and similar offenses, with Steelers QB Big Ben being a huge upgrade over Jags QB Blake Bortles. I like the Jaguars running game more and think they will be able to avoid long third-downs (aka Blake Bortles passing attempts) against the Steelers. It could be snowing in Pittsburgh on Sunday, so that could be in a factor in the over/under. I’m taking the points here.
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-4) – over/under (46.5) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings & UNDER
These teams faced each other way back in Week 1 with the Vikings winning at home 29-19. A lot has changed since then, so it’s difficult to glean anything useful from that game. The Vikings have a different starting QB & RB, and the Saints were starting RB Adrian Peterson back then. The Saints upgraded when they dumped him and focused on running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. I am interested in seeing the Saints offense against the Vikings defense. I think that battle will win the game. Vikings QB Case Keenum is excellent on the run and the Saints gain little advantage by pressuring him out of the pocket. This will lead to a lot of frustrated Saints defenders as the Vikings keep converting third-downs. The Saints are good, but Vegas has smartened up on them and has struggled to cover games the last third of the season. The Vikings are still underrated in my book, so I’m taking them to cover at home.
*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