For the NFL playoffs—where the league's best clash in hopes of making a Super Bowl run—there sure are some big spreads in the divisional round.
Besides the Denver Broncos being two-score favorites over the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots are favored by 9.5 points over the Houston Texans, who they demolished in Week 14, 42-14.
While I can definitely see a repeat of Week 14 for the Pats, here's my take on the favorites who won't cover this weekend.
*All spreads via Bet Online
Denver Broncos (-10)
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are my Super Bowl pick, but I'm sorry, I just don't see them beating the Baltimore Ravens by 10 points.
The Ravens defense looks a lot better with Ray Lewis back on the field, and having a healthy Dannell Ellerbe doesn't hurt, either.
Baltimore's offense has looked solid recently, most notably against the Indianapolis Colts last weekend, to which Joe Flacco credits the no-huddle offense (h/t NFL.com).
With Bernard Pierce and Anquan Boldin amping it up at the right time, I think that this game will be a lot closer than most think.
Nonetheless, I like the Broncos to run the ball with Knowshon Moreno and, of course, for Manning to win the game through the air for Denver.
Atlanta Falcons (-1.0)
I understand why the Falcons are favorites, but I have Atlanta losing this game outright.
The NFL playoffs are all about which team gets the hottest at the right moment, and the Seattle Seahawks certainly fit that criteria.
I already outlined the importance of Seattle's defense against the Falcons offense (view here), and Atlanta's 21st-ranked rushing defense is going to have a tough time against the NFL's third-leading rusher in Marshawn Lynch.
Matt Ryan has a history of not getting it done in the playoffs while Russell Wilson and Seattle have shown the will to win all season.
Behind a staunch defense and an exciting offense, the Seahawks will advance to the NFC Championship Game.
San Francisco 49ers (-2.5)
Much like the Falcons, I think that the home favorite San Francisco 49ers will fall victim in the divisional round.
The Green Bay Packers are another team that is scorching at the right time, and with Aaron Rodgers playing out of his mind right now, it's going to be difficult for the NFL's third-best defense to contain the Packers offense.
The inexperience of Colin Kaepernick, combined with the week off for the 49ers, will prove to be devastating for San Francisco, especially since the Packers unveiled a decent rushing attack against the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card Round.
With Green Bay rolling and the 49ers having been abused by the Seahawks a few weeks ago, I like the Pack to meet Seattle in the NFC Championship Game.
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