Today's Wild Card Picks Against the Spread

Ralph LongoAnalyst IIIJanuary 7, 2012

Today's Wild Card Picks Against the Spread

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    The NFL playoffs are finally here, and there is certainly some exciting football that is going to be played today. You have the Bengals against the Texans, and the Lions battling the Saints in New Orleans. 

    So, here are my picks for these games, against the spread. Feel free to comment and agree or disagree. 

Pick CINCINNATI -4 Against Houston

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    Andy Dalton is 3-0 in his career at Reliant Stadium, having played there three times throughout his high school career, and I think that streak continues today, by at least a touchdown and maybe more. 

    The Texans came into Cincinnati a few weeks ago and embarrassed them to win on a two minute drive at their own stadium. This will not happen again. TJ Yates played spectacularly in that game, and to be honest there is no way he repeats that level of success again. He'll throw a couple interceptions and the Bengals should capitalize on these turnovers. 

    Expect the Bengals to focus their defense on stopping the run by trying to limit Arian Foster. If they do this, and they should, there is no way they lose by any more than 7-10 points. TJ Yates is hurt and will not repeat the success he previously had against Cincy. 

Pick DETROIT +10.5 Against New Orleans

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    Previously when the Saints and the Lions met, The Saints defeated them 31-17. It was a pretty clean game, with the exception of the Lions missing two field goals, so there isn't a ton of wiggle room in determining if the Lions played poorly or if the Saints are simply that much better. 

    One thing I look at is that in that game, Stafford passed for more yards than Brees. If he can do that again, with the way the Lions have been playing lately, winning three of four with that only loss coming narrowly to Green Bay, I can't see them losing by more than a touchdown if they lose at all. 

    I'm thinking that it will be a game very similar to when they played Green Bay last week, a back and forth shootout where no team really is able to separate itself by more than a touchdown. If that holds true, then Detroit should cover easily. 

    I don't think that Detroit should be picked to win straight up this week, even though the odds for it are pretty good. Their defense simply has been playing too weak for their to be enough confidence to make that pick. Unless Suh and Fairley play ridiculously well, I can't see Detroit beating New Orleans, but they should cover with ease.