NFL Playoff Picks: ATS and Straight-Up Predictions for Championship Week

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NFL Playoff Picks:  ATS and Straight-Up Predictions for Championship Week
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Can't stop this

NFL Playoffs Picks Record

Straight Up: 5-3

Against the Spread: 4-4 (But I feel 2-0 coming.)

Over/Under: 4-4


Regular Season NFL Picks Record

Straight Up:  176-80

Against the Spread:  148-108

Over/Under:  130-126

How we got here:

Memo to NFL coaches: stop resting your players at season’s end! The Pats never do it, the Giants never do it and the Steelers do it very judiciously. Winners of Super Bowls, all.

The Colts ruined two Super Bowl runs doing it and now the Packers have emphasized the folly once again.

It’s playoff football; rust is a killer—you cannot recover from many mistakes here.

Ask all of the GB WRs except consummate pro, Donald Driver. Driver was the only Packers skill position player possessing playoff focus last Sunday.

On the other hand, I don’t know why the seemingly tuned-up Saints lost their first-half focus two weeks in a row. They didn’t rest anyone and seemed to be on a hot roll going into San Francisco. But those early turnovers cost them the game Saturday.

I’m so sorry to say it, but for three quarters the Saints looked, well, soft. All of those dropped passes and fumbles were the direct result of not bracing well enough for the hard hits being dished out by San Francisco defenders.

I was afraid of that after seeing NO get rattled by both Detroit and Atlanta. I’m sure that Harbaugh saw the same thing. The 49ers defensive plan was obviously to get the Saints behind early by completely disrupting their offense. And it worked perfectly.

Worse, the Saints defense faltered badly. Gregg Williams’ squad struggled all year to achieve a consistently high caliber of play. When Jonathan Vilma wasn’t available to read the opposing QB's mind, the Saints defense was perplexingly weak.

I never got the feeling that anyone was scared of them, with the exception of the Atlanta Falcons in the second half of two games. And that will not win you a championship.

What happened to the secondary that put the clamps on both Brett Favre and Peyton Manning? Roman Harper, Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter seem to have lost a collective step.

I’ll lighten up on Greer a little bit because of his two INTs in the Wild Card game. But as a group they couldn’t scare Alex Smith. Alex Smith!

The sentiment towards Williams in the Crescent City as soon as the game ended was, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

And he agreed to a deal with the Rams on Sunday. Wow.

The other failed D last week belonged to Denver. This squad declined throughout December and finished the month giving up almost 141 yards rushing per game. I still thought they would do better than that against a virtually non-existent Patriots running game.

Further, Denver went into Saturday night holding opposing passers to under 200 yards from December through the Wild Card weekend. Now, nobody expected that against the Patriots, but Tom Brady blew them out of the stadium.

We all know that Tebow’s offense has its issues—but the Denver defense evidently decided to send the body snatchers to Foxboro.

And isn’t John Fox supposed to be the “Egg McMuffin” of defensive gurus? He certainly wasn’t hired to coach Tebow. How does he explain a total defensive collapse?

I fully expect Fox to make first-year defensive coordinator Dennis Allen the scapegoat and fire him. In fact, Allen is already interviewing elsewhere.

You're not fooling me. Saying, “But it was Tom Brady” only goes so far, John.

While we’re talking about coaches—how about some love to Gary Kubiak for Coach of the Year? Yes, Wade Phillips was a huge part of the team’s success.

But Andy Reid received Coach of the Year for succeeding with a third-string QB—and Jimmy Johnson was coaching that defense. Or is this measure only applicable if you are continually revered Andy Reid?

Through the playoffs thus far, “offensive juggernauts” have been dropping like flies. Green Bay was simply dreadful against New York.

In the Wild Card round both Matthew Stafford’s Detroit and Matt Ryan’s Atlanta were bounced.

In a year where offense came out of the Lockout gate on fire and the defenses took more than a month to catch up—it’s defense that is getting it done in the playoffs.

Don’t you just hate it when platitudes prove true?

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