And then there were eight. After a relatively lackluster week in which all four home teams won in Wild Card weekend, the four teams that were all on byes are hoping to ultimately pull off the same feat in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
The NFL playoff match-ups are among the most difficult games to predict, many people, including those who don't typically gamble on sports, will be getting in on the action.
In the NFL playoffs, the best teams usually win and what is witnessed is that the better teams are beating bad teams based on a few simple items of fundamental handicapping.
Identifying the best team is not always easy, but if you can, you can consistently win in the playoff weekends. There are a large number of stats to look at including straight-up record, core statistics (points, rushing, passing, etc) and non-core stats (sacks, punting yardage, etc).
When handicapping games NFL football playoff game lines, Coaching is a KEY in the playoffs, especially with guys that have been down this road before as either a head coach or a head coordinator.
A good head coach makes big time calls with the game is on the line and make the right calls when it all comes down to it. Experience of players in playoff games is also worth thinking about when you are handicapping the NFL playoffs.
It is a whole new ballgame when every play you make or throw away will cost you the Super Bowl, it is pressure that many young guys have never felt and it will factor in certain scenario's with young teams, versus teams with numerous playoff veterans.
You might also check team stats for Penalties in the game that affect momentum are also a huge factor in the NFL, both in the regular season and post season. That is a valuable item that can be researched in NFL playoff games.
The bottom line is that most teams play to their potential and these NFL football playoff games.
The Divisional Round of the playoffs always tends to be a bit on the strange side. Oftentimes, we have at least one blowout and at least one game that comes right down to the wire, and there is normally a surprising result thrown into the mix.
There's already a bit of history being made several days before the games actually kick off. The Falcons, the last team to sneak into the back of the playoffs in the NFC, are 3-point favorites over the No. 1 Eagles. It's the first time we've ever seen a No. 6 favored over a No. 1 in the NFL playoffs, and it's the first time that a No. 1 seed has been a dog in its first playoff game in league history.
It was already unprecedented to see the Eagles lined as the fourth choice to win the NFC at the outset of the playoffs, but the oddsmakers have made it clear that they're going to be dogs no matter who they play from here on out.
The opposite can be said about the Patriots in the AFC. Reports have surfaced this week of internal strife at 1 Patriot Place, but that hasn't stopped the oddsmakers from lining New England as one of the biggest favorites in NFL playoff history at -13.5. This is the sixth time Brady has been a double-digit playoff favorite in his career, easily the most in the Super Bowl era. Few are giving the Titans even a puncher's chance in this game.
The Jaguars knocked off the Steelers in Week 5, and many are pointing towards this being the big upset of the weekend. Blake Bortles and company played in a dog of a Wild Card game against Buffalo, but surviving and advancing is all that matters this time of year. Style points don't count for anything.
The best game of the weekend will pit the Vikings against the Saints. There's a lot of history on both sides that would suggest highs and lows, but the bottom line is that we have a great game between one of the most dynamic offensive teams in the league and one of the best defenses we've seen in recent seasons.
There isn't any one player on the field who stands out as the stud of all studs for the Vikings. That might be why they ultimately don't win a Super Bowl, but it also might be exactly why they become the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl at their home stadium. This team is a flat out solid group of 52 players from top to bottom, and Drew Brees and company will have their work cut out for them for sure.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles - 4:35 p.m. ET (NBC)
Opening Line: Falcons -3, O/U 43.5
Preview: Since the NFL expanded to 12 playoff teams, there hasn't been a No. 1 seed doubted as much as the Philadelphia Eagles. With Carson Wentz out of the fold, the confidence level in Nick Foles is virtually nil. Still, the road to the Super Bowl goes through the City of Brotherly Love, and Foles will do what he can on Saturday to dismiss the Atlanta Falcons. Continue...
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots - 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Patriots -13.5, O/U 47
Preview: Sometimes, you'd rather be lucky than good.
In the case of the Tennessee Titans, they weren't the better team on the field in Wild Card weekend against the Chiefs. That said, they were the team that got the better breaks, and they parlayed said good fortune into a trip to the second round of the NFL playoffs.
However, it's going to take a lot of luck and a lot of skill to pull off what would be one of the greatest upsets in NFL history against the New England Patriots. Continue...
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers - 1:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Steelers -7, O/U 41
Preview: Of the four teams who survived Wild Card weekend, none did so in uglier fashion than the Jacksonville Jaguars. Their 10-3 win was tied for the sixth-lowest scoring playoff game in NFL history, and it was a relatively unwatchable game most of the way.
None of that is going to concern anyone in Duval County, though. The Jags are one of the last eight remaining in the postseason, and there's no choice but to look at them as live underdogs against a Pittsburgh Steelers outfit they crushed 30-9 when these two teams met three months ago in the regular season. Continue...
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings - 4:40 p.m. ET (FOX)
Opening Line: Vikings -4, O/U 44.5
Preview: Keenum was never projected to be much of an NFL quarterback, but he took the second chance he has gotten at being a full-time starter and run with it. The Minnesota Vikings wouldn't have made the playoffs without Keenum playing at a tremendously high level.
However, quarterbacks aren't paid to win regular season games; they're paid to win in the postseason. If Keenum can do that on Sunday and lead the Vikes past the New Orleans Saints, he'll surely be earning himself a boatload of money when he hits the open market in the offseason. Continue...
|NFL Conference Championship|
|Sun., 1/21/18||3:05 PM||AFC - TBA||CBS|
|6:40 PM||NFC - TBA||FOX|
|Super Bowl 52|
|Sun., 2/4/18||6:30 PM||TBA vs. TBA||NBC|
The NFL Playoffs over/under betting totals is something you should not forget about the favorites in the NFL playoffs don’t often let up at the end of a game to allow a dog a late cover. In fact, in the playoffs teams run up the score.
Even if they are up by two touchdowns, the winning team wants to leave nothing to chance and will take the opportunity to score another two if they can.
Also you have to think about a team in general. preparation and health, that fact is strongly considered a huge plus when looking at games.
Many players are dealing with the effects of a season long torture test of endurance and there are those select few players that have been around the block that will play through those bumps, and injuries, and then there are others that will not be able too.
Also you might take a look at the teams who struggle in a 4 quarter games in round 1 of the playoffs, that have to travel and play a well rested team are clearly at a huge disadvantage as well in terms of health, morale and overall condition.
It simply boils down to man to man match-ups on the field and what is witnessed is that good teams beating bad teams based on a few simple items of fundamental handicapping.
The AFC looks to be the stronger conference by far, and provides much more parity in terms of match-ups this year. Also you must remember that ANY team in the NFL Playoffs, regardless of how they managed to get in, is a good football team.
Keep these items in mind when handicapping the NFL playoffs. My postseason picks utilize systems built around these variables.
When: Sunday, January 28, 2018
Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Time: 3:00 PM ET.
The 2018 Pro Bowl will take place in Orlando for the second time, and will continue with the traditional AFC vs. NFC format that lasted for years and years with the NFL's All-Star Game. Continue
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