The Las Vegas oddsmakers always show some love to the home team, but you can expect a couple of underdogs to win on the road this weekend.
Although I would never encourage gambling (*cough*), I will say that if you do choose to engage in such activities, you would be smart to throw some cash down on the following teams. Just don't blame me if this article exacerbates an underlying personality disorder and your life crumbles around you.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let's get to it.
*All odds courtesy of Bovada.lv
Seattle Seahawks (+3) at Atlanta Falcons
So you're telling me that the most complete team in football—which features the league's best defense, the best rushing attack left in the playoffs and a remarkably poised quarterback—is a three-point underdog against a team that has lost its last two playoff games by a combined score of 72-23?
Yeah, I'll take the underdog here.
I enjoy watching the Falcons, and I do think they deserve more respect than they've been getting from the national media. But until Matt Ryan wins a playoff game (0-3 thus far), I just can't put any faith in Atlanta.
Plus, this matchup against Seattle is just terrible for them. The Falcons ranked 21st in the league this year in terms of rushing defense (123.2 yards per game), and they especially struggled against teams like Washington and Carolina, who have scrambling quarterbacks, much like Seattle.
The Falcons split their season series against the Panthers and they trailed the Redskins until Robert Griffin III left with an injury.
Look for Russell Wilson to tear apart the Falcons' D on Sunday.
Green Bay Packers (+3) at San Francisco 49ers
Same conference, same line, and almost the same reasoning.
San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick is a promising young quarterback, but with just seven career starts under his belt, I don't trust him in a divisional playoff game. I'd be hesitant to pick him against any of the final eight teams. Considering that Green Bay's had the 11th-ranked passing defense this season (218.3 yards per game), I just don't see how he makes enough plays to win.
Green Bay also has an amazing offense, which is obviously no secret. Aaron Rodgers has been on an all-out rampage in the last four games, and if he gets an early lead, he will bury the 49ers.
I realize that San Fran is playing at home. I realize that they have a good rushing attack and a great defense. And I also realize that they beat Green Bay in Week 1.
But this isn't Week 1. Whoever wins this game goes to the NFC Championship Game, while the other team has an offseason full of regret.
With the stakes that high, I'm taking Rodgers and the 2011 Super Bowl champions to win.