Picks Against the Spread for Every NFL Divisional Round Game
They say there are no excuses in the NFL playoffs.
Screw that. I've got them coming out—let's just say that I have quite a few.
First, the Cincinnati Bengals.
Well, I picked the Bengals. I got what I deserved, even if they did only lose by a point and a half.
But the Minnesota Vikings starting Joe Webb? Arizona Cardinals fans are mocking that decision.
As for the Indianapolis Colts, that's just unfortunate. Get well soon, Mr. Arians. You've earned some rest.
The beauty of picking games is that there are always more. There's always another chance to turn it around or look like a moron.
Click through for my no-excuses NFL picks against the spread for the divisional round.
All lines provided by footballlocks.com.
Playoff Record: 1-3
Baltimore Ravens vs. DENVER BRONCOS (-9)
All of these lines are troublesome, but that's not a new trend. I would have been 4-0 last week if not for the spread.
Anyways, it's tough to envision Ray Lewis getting blown out in his swan song. His emotional leadership and pre-play recognition fires up his fellow defenders and puts them in the proper place to make a play.
But Peyton Manning is on the other side. Manning can outwit anybody, including one of the greatest linebackers of all time. Furthermore, Lewis isn't capable of handling the Denver Broncos' passing barrage.
Paul Kruger isn't going to repeat last week's performance against a much better offensive line, and Terrell Suggs is struggling due to his Achilles.
Plus, the Baltimore Ravens offense wasn't dominant against a weak Indianapolis Colts defense. They're not going to fare well facing off versus Denver's destructive defense.
Green Bay Packers vs. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-3)
Do I like betting against Aaron Rodgers? No, but I'm going to do it for the second week in a row anyways.
I can already hear the genuine excitement in Green Bay Packers fans' voices at my selection. You're welcome, Cheeseheads. I just pushed your team through to the NFC Championship Game.
Now, back to the reasoning for my continued lunacy. Justin Smith is playing. He won't be 100 percent. Yet, he is going to be relentless since he knows the window for a title won't stay open for him much longer.
With Justin occupying blockers, Aldon Smith will be free to wreak havoc.
Moreover, the San Francisco 49ers are not going to allow DuJuan Harris to put on the same type of performance he did last week.
And the Packers aren't a lock to shut down the Niners offense. San Francisco has an explosive quarterback and an emerging star at receiver (Michael Crabtree) to pair with Frank Gore. The Niners will be able to win this game regardless of the style of play.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (+2.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
I know, Falcons fans. It was me, just a couple of weeks ago, saying that the Atlanta Falcons had finally earned my trust.
You didn't really expect that to last, did you? The Falcons haven't been getting respect for year. They're like that guy who has had a few and is bragging about his summer home while drinking well whiskey. I'm going to need to actually see something before I believe.
Yes, Matt Ryan doesn't lose at home, but Atlanta couldn't have drawn a worse matchup. The Seattle Seahawks cornerbacks are big and physical enough to handle Julio Jones and Roddy White down the field. They're also proficient-enough tacklers to slow down the short screens the Falcons like to run.
With an aging John Abraham coming off an ankle sprain, it'll be interesting to see how he plays against the mobile and intelligent Russell Wilson. And, well, Marshawn Lynch is Marshawn Lynch.
Houston Texans vs. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-9.5)
On one side, you have a team that barely beat the spread against the Bengals. A team that couldn't figure out a way to score despite numerous opportunities.
A team with one receiver and a quarterback who can't attack the New England Patriots' weakness—the vertical passing game.
The other team has a full complement of healthy playmakers. A team that scored 40 or more points on five occasions this year.
A team with a stout rushing defense that is facing a taxed Arian Foster (40 touches last week).
Bill Belichick isn't going to stop throwing the ball on that soft Houston Texans secondary. This one could get ugly if the Texans don't control the tempo from the opening kickoff.