All four road dogs in the division finals are coming in hot off a double-digit win!
The first round of the NFL playoffs is in the books and for the most part, things went according to schedule. All four home faves led by half-time, won straight-up by a healthy margin and covered their spread by anywhere from six to 20 points. Teaser bettors rejoice!
Green Bay veered the furthest from its team total (24.5), crushing the so called Giants with 31 points scored in the final 31 minutes to win 38-13. Detroit was the biggest letdown, losing 26-6 to fall 11.5 points shy of their projected team total.
Now is when it starts to get interesting and here is a first look at all four matchups in the Division Finals.
Seattle at Atlanta
Falcons HC Dan Quinn spent four years with the Seahawks, coaching the D-Line (2009-10) and running the defense (2013-14). As a coordinator his unit ranked first in ‘yards allowed’ and defensive scoring both seasons. This year, Atlanta D was 25th in total yards allowed and 27th in defensive scoring. Matt Ryan and the offense more than made up for the defensive shortfalls, leading the league with 540 points scored.
Atlanta won the latest playoff meeting between these teams 30-28 in 2012, and then they were ripped 33-10 by the Hawks in revenge mode the following season. This year, Atlanta owes Seattle one from a controversial 26-24 loss in Week 6. I played the over in this game the minute it came out Saturday night and at 51 or less, suggest you do the same.
The past 33 playoff road dogs in the Division Finals are 20-13 ATS when coming off a double-digit win.
Houston at New England
Last year the Patriots hosted Kansas City off their 30-0 win over Houston, wining 27-20. This year they get the Texans in Round 2 and the line gives a clear indication of what a mismatch this is.
Houston looks better now than they did in Week 3, when they lost 27-0 at Foxboro, but the Pats have changed quarterbacks since then. Houston has also made a couple changes at QB, flip-flopping between Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage out of necessity. Neither one stands a chance here.
Pittsburgh at Kansas City
If your have any chores to get done this weekend, do them on Saturday. Each of these Sunday matchups are too good to miss. KC is coming off a 37-27 shootout in San Diego but they’ve had a bye week to settle down. Pittsburgh flashed its offensive power early against the Fish but went into cruise control once it was clear how useless Miami was against the new Steel Curtain.
Kansas City was 6-2 straight-up at home this year, allowing an average of just 15.8 points. The only team to score more than 21 was the Chargers in Week 1. Pittsburgh’s team total for this game is 22 and when you run through the list of opponents KC hosted, the Steelers could arguably rank No. 1. Remember, when Oakland was here on December 8, it was a short week (Thursday game), freezing temperatures and Derek Carr was only 11 days off his initial hand injury. Long range, the weather at Arrowhead is not looking too kind for Sunday.
Green Bay at Dallas
This is the fourth matchup of the weekend featuring a same-season revenge factor and the record for road teams when the line is within +/- 3 points of ‘Pick’ is 10-4-1 ATS. This line opened at Dallas -3.5 but it moved Monday to -4 and the injuries to WR Jordy Nelson and RB Ty Montgomery are weighing heavily.
Nelson led the team in receiving (1257 yards, 14 TD) and Montgomery led the Pack in rushing yards (457) and yards per carry (5.9), counting those who had more than five carries. Safe to say that if these players don’t come back, this line is only moving in one direction. When playoff road dogs of more than +3 sought revenge and the total was 47 or more, the host team has averaged 29.7 points per game. Dallas’ team total has opened at 28.