The playoffs really are the best. This weekend we'll be treated to four dream matchups, the likes of which will actually result in a physical addiction to football, complete with withdrawl symptoms and maybe CTE also. Let's pick some football games, shall we?
Saints (+8) over SEAHAWKS
I get it, the Saints lost by a lot of points earlier this season when they played the Seahawks. However, as Bill Barnwell explained better than I ever could this week, the Seahawks had a number of things go their way which inflated that left the Saints no chance early on and inflated the final score.
New Orleans, by the way, hasn't lost a playoff game by this margin since 2006, where they lost 39-14 to the Chicago Bears in a snowy NFC Championship Game, one that clinched Rex Grossman's presence in a Super Bowl, scarring us all for the rest of our natural born lives. That loss also took place in the first year of the Sean Payton era, so it's been a while since the Saints have lost big in a playoff game.
Then there's also the fact that Russell Wilson and this Seahawks team haven't won at this playoff round, with last year's Divisional loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Sure, the Seahawks came back from a 20-0 deficit, but Pete Carroll also tried and failed to ice Falcons kicker Matt Bryant in one of the most Pete Carroll moments ever.
At the end of the day, it just seems kind of dumb to lay big points on a team that hasn't done it before, even if their fans are louder than a rock concert or whatever stupid decibel level comparison they use today.
Colts (+7) over PATRIOTS
So here's something fun that will make you hate Boston even more than you probably already do: read the Boston Globe's piece on "playoff fatigue," a phenomenon causing Boston sports fans to not want to go to tonight's game because they just know that their teams will make other postseasons soon. Boston truly is the worst place on this Earth.
Imagine using that excuse for other awesome things that everyone should totally love? "Ah, honey, I love you, but I'm suffering from a serious case of sex fatigue right now," or "Shit, you guys know I like hanging out and drinking beers but I'm just feeling some drinking beers with my friends fatigue this week." These people deserve to be forced to root for Steve Grogan again, dammit.
Anyway, New England managed to earn a first round bye despite losing players to other teams, injuries, and alleged double homicides. A huge reason for this was their strength of schedule, which was worse than all but three AFC teams (Denver, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City). Indy's meanwhile, is in the middle of the pack in the conference, but was better than all but one playoff team (San Diego). In other words, Indy has been tested more often than the Patriots, passing those tests as well, with wins over Seattle, San Francisco, and Denver this season.
A fanbase that doesn't seem to fully give a shit combined with a team whose best offensive weapon may actually be LaGarrette Blount, who hasn't defeated the best competition this year, and people are laying a touchdown with them? Have fun!
PANTHERS (+1) over 49ers
Yes, the Niners won last week as a road favorite. They also played a team that openly rejected winning that game by allowing approximately twelve third down conversions in the 49ers final drive. The Panthers' defense is much, much stingier than Green Bay's, which will make this week a different story.
In home games against playoff teams this season, the Panthers are allowing just 13.3 points per game, with half of those points coming in the Monday Night Football win over New England, a 24-20 game that ended on that controversial Rob Gronkowski non-pass interference.
By the way, 77% of bettors are on the Niners in this game, yet the line has dropped a point at the LVH, originally opening at San Fran -2. The line was a pick 'em yesterday, but has fluctuated again with the news that Steve Smith may miss the game, but will in any case not be a fully healthy Steve Smith. Regardless, that line should be moving towards the Niners, unless some sharp money is on the Panthers, which it surely is.
Chargers (+9.5) over BRONCOS
Remember this game, this exact same game, that happened a few weeks ago? Denver was favored by one more point, and people took the bait, and lost. Well, that's going to happen again.
San Diego has the highest strength of victory of any team in the NFL this season, while Denver has the lowest of any AFC team still in the playoffs (#RIPSmittyTime). The Chargers had an offense that was very comparable to the Broncos according to most metrics, including DVOA, and a defense that is awful, but still comparable to the Broncos.
I get it, it's fun to bet on Peyton Manning and watch him score fifty points. But when the opposing offense can score fifty themselves, that's not a smart play.
So, yeah! Pound the dogs this week. Enjoy the games. Win some money. Don't get playoff fatigue.
Last Week: 2-2